Luxury and History at Quebec’s Auberge Saint-Antonine Hotel

Quebec’s Auberge Saint- Antonine Hotel

Quebec’s Auberge Saint- Antonine Hotel

Located on one of Quebec City’s richest archeological sites, the Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel literally sits atop centuries of history. This luxury hotel seeks to preserve history, provide luxurious accommodations and provide outstanding cuisine at its famous Panache Restaurant.

Check our full story from the November issue of

Luxury and History at Quebec-11-25-15


Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia

“Southern-Traveller Heads North” chronicles my recent trip to Maine, Nova Scotia, Quebec & Montreal. Today’s post continues with my third adventure in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia. Because of high seas and winds we were not able to dock in Sydney the previous day.)

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There’s so much to see on this tiny island of Nova Scotia that I had to make some difficult decisions since our time ashore was limited. Since I am a photographer, the ship’s shore excursions usually frustrate me because they only make one or two stops for photos. For that reason I arranged a tour with Tours by Locals, which I discovered is a worldwide network of independent local guides. (I highly recommend checking them out before your next trip–very reasonable prices also.)

Our guide Terry picked the five of us up at the pier where the Maasdam docked and whisked us away in a very comfortable van for a 3+ hour tour of the North Shore. During the drive through rolling hills and small fishing villages, Terry shared the history of the island with us as well as personal stories that only a local would know.

We drove past a mussel farm in Tracadie Bay to spot how the legendary PEI mussels are grown in the water. We also stopped at the very unique Dunes Craft and Cafe with amazing gardens and statuary in the back. Then on to Brackley Beach and National Park and the famous red cliffs of Cavendish National Park where this photography addict had to be dragged back to the van in order to keep on schedule!

The small fishing village of North Rustico was another great photography opportunity. Our final stop was Cavendish, the home and setting of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables. Although very touristy, it’s worth the stop to see the introductory film on her life, tour the house, and grab a pastry at the local gift shop. While I have never read the book, I toured the house with an avid fan of Montgomery’s who kept telling me what to take photos of because “when I did read the book, I’d understand why it was important.” (It’s now on my bucket list of books, if there is such a thing!)

Arriving back in Charlottetown, the capital which was settled as a French fortified post in 1720, we chose to have lunch at the port to enjoy yet another lobster roll and some PEI mussels.

(Photos and story by Sandra Chambers © 2015)

NC Woolly Worm Festival

Woolly Worm Races Predict Weather

The 38th Woolly Worm Festival takes place Oct. 17-18 in Banner Elk, NC (Photo by Todd Bush).

The 38th Woolly Worm Festival takes place Oct. 17-18 in Banner Elk, NC (Photo by Todd Bush).

Thought you knew about most of the festivals in North Carolina? Bet you never heard of this one–the  Woolly Worm Festival in downtown Banner Elk, NC. During this festival the weather prognosticating skills of the woolly bear caterpillar take center stage.

The festival, which takes place  October 17 & 18th is now in its 38th year and holds a series of races to determine which woolly worm is bestowed the honor of forecasting weather conditions for the upcoming winter. According to legend, the 13 fur bands of the worm foretell the weather for all 13 weeks of winter. Brown bands indicate mild weeks and black bands indicate cold, snowy weeks.

“It’s unique. You have crafts, food and entertainment, but the unique aspect of the festival is that we race woolly worms,” says event chairperson Mary Jo Brubaker. “Not only does the winning worm determine the winter forecast for the North Carolina High Country, but the human being with the winning worm receives $1,000.”

Saturday is the day for determining the champion prognosticator, although races do take place Sunday for a smaller prize ($500) and no forecasting honors. Races start both days shortly after gates open at 9:00 a.m. Each day’s championship race takes place at approximately 4:00 p.m. Attendees may bring their own worms, or purchase one for a dollar from school kids raising money for the local PTO.

The festival draws approximately 20,000 people from across the country. When they’re not racing worms, attendees enjoy live music, kids’ games, a superb collection of craft vendors, plus a variety of food options ranging from Amish doughnuts to Carolina barbecue. The music lineup includes an Elvis tribute artist, Dolly Parton tribute artist and several bluegrass acts.

Admission to the festival is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12. Kids five and under are admitted free. For festival info, visit:, or call 800-972-2183. For lodging options, go to

(Info supplied by Craig Distil, PR Representative, Banner Elk TDA)

Southern-Traveller Visits Halifax and Peggy’s Cove

As part of my series, Southern-Traveller Heads North, today’s post focuses on Halifax and Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia. Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and was one of the first English settlements in Canada. The city itself is a blend of modern office towers, restored historic buildings and a waterfront boardwalk with shops, museums, and galleries.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Photo courtesy of Canadian Museum of Immigration)

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Photo courtesy of Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21)

My first stop after embarking the ship was the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. I have to admit that my first thought was, I don’t want to spend my limited time in a musty, old museum. But, I was pleasantly surprised as I explored Canada’s newest national museum. It is beautifully designed (just re-opened in May 2015 after being renovated) and offers many interactive activities to keep not only kids, but adults engaged.

Canadian Immigration Hall (Photo courtesy of Canadian Museum of Immigration)

Canadian Immigration Hall (Photo courtesy of Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier21

First-person stories with archival photos and artifacts bring the history of emigrants to life. Guests are invited to add some of their own history to various exhibits throughout. The restored historic site tells the stories of 1.5 million immigrants, war brides, displaced people, evacuee children and Canadian military service personnel who passed through its doors 1928-1971.

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse in Canada (Photo by Sandra Chambers)

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse in Canada (Photo by Sandra Chambers)

Peggy’s Cove is one of several small fishing villages on the eastern shore of St. Margaret’s Bay. While Nova Scotia is home to over 160 historic lighthouses, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse (established 1868), perched atop a huge granite ledge is one of Nova Scotia’s most famous lighthouses and is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in Canada.

Picturesque Peggy's Cove (Photo by Sandra Chambers)

Picturesque Peggy’s Cove (Photo by Sandra Chambers)

The small village is quite a tourist destination and it’s almost impossible to get a photo of the lighthouse without people around unless  you come early morning or late evening. However, some of the most scenic shots to photograph can be found by just walking around the small village. Quaint inlets with boats, wooden buildings, lobster traps and buoys provide a wealth of photographic material.

The quaint fishing town of Peggy's Cove (Photo by Sandra Chambers)

The quaint fishing town of Peggy’s Cove (Photo by Sandra Chambers)

The village itself is likely named after Saint Margaret’s Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret), which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother Marguerite. Another interesting site, approximately 1 km northwest of Peggy’s Cove, is a memorial to the victims of Swissair Flight 111 which crashed into St. Margaret’s Bay on September 2, 1998.

(Article & photos by Sandra Chambers © 2015)

Southern-Traveller Heads North!

From Maine to Nova Scotia, Quebec and Montreal

Although my blog usually features southern destinations, for the next several weeks I’ll be featuring my travels aboard Holland American’s 7-Day Canada & NE Discovery Trip.

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Bar Harbor, Maine

Embarking from Boston, our  ship’s only stop in the US was Bar Harbor, Maine. I fell in love with this low-key, beautiful seaport town. Dating back to the 18th century, the port was built on shipbuilding, lumbering and fishing. By the 20th century, Bar Harbor had become the summer playground to America’s wealthy such as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, and John D. Rockefeller, all of whom owned “cottages” there.  But with World War I, the Great Depression and a devastating fire in 1947 which swept through the town destroying most of the estates, the leisurely class mostly vacated the town.

Today, tourism is Bar Harbor’s main attraction during the months of May through October. More than 25 cruise ships stop in Bar Harbor, but since the port is small, they anchor away from shore and don’t detract too much from the beauty of the idyllic rocky seacoast harbor dotted with pristine white sailboats.

As soon as our tender from the ship landed on shore, I took a walking  path that followed the coastline with the ocean on the left and beautiful inns and estates on the right. The path eventually wound back around to the town where I explored several quaint shops that line the main street. But the highlight of the day was lunch at a waterfront restaurant devouring my very first lobster roll ever! I thought $22 was pretty steep until I bit into that sweet lump lobster meat piled high on the role. The beautiful view didn’t hurt either.

Bar Harbor is also home to Arcadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. Although our stop in Bar Harbor did not allow time to explore the park, it’s now on my bucket list.  A free shuttle bus allows you to hop on and hop off at many campgrounds and locations within the park. However, the free shuttle won’t take you to Cadillac Mountain, which, at 1,532 feet, is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and is the first place to view sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6.

Those of you who have visited Bar Harbor are invited to add your favorite places and experiences by commenting on this post.

Photos by Sandra Chambers ©2015

The Paula Deen Store Opens at Broadway at the Beach

The queen of southern cooking comes to Myrtle beach

The Paula Dean Store is now open at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach (Photo courtesy of Paula Deen)

The Paula Dean Store is now open at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach (Photo courtesy of Paula Deen)

Fans of Paula Deen will be pleased to know they don’t have to drive any further south than Myrtle Beach to shop for Paula Deen merchandise.  The Paula Deen Store opened July 13 at Broadway at the Beach, one of  South Carolina’s largest entertainment venues, which features great family attractions, unique specialty shops, fabulous nightlife and a wide variety of dining options.

The new store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and features a wide variety of Paula Deen merchandise. Shoppers will find accessories, cookware, apparel, recipe mixes, food, gifts and more.

In addition, shoppers and guests will have the opportunity to speak with Paula Deen, who will occasionally Skype into the store.

The Bag Lady Foundation merchandise is also featured at this store. Established by Paula Deen, this foundation’s mission is to provide hope, inspiration and support to women and families in times of need. (For more more info click on the link.)

The Paula Deen Store is located on the 21st avenue side (Southwest corner) of Broadway at the Beach.

(Info provided by Jamie Wilburn
Public Relations Coordinator)

Beyond Orlando’s Theme Parks

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 19:  Singer Ricky Martin (R) unveils his brand new figure at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas on November 19, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Figure will soon travel to Florida for the spring 2015 grand opening of Madame Tussauds Orlando.  (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds) *** Local Caption *** Ricky Martin

Singer Ricky Martin meets his double at Madame Tussauds in Orlando, FL

Take flight high above Orlando; dive deep into three oceans; or take a selfie with famous stars. Merlin Entertainments, the second largest attraction operator in the world, is bringing three of its best-known attractions to Orlando: The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquarium

Read the entire article in Allegiant Air’s in-flight magazine, Sunseeker. AllegiantOrlandoBeyondThemeParks copy