Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Digby is More Than Motorcycles: The Town, Sea and Food Booths

The Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, Nova Scotia is, of course, all about motorcycles and those who own and drive them.  But it also means food and the sea.

Digby is a small town of about 2,150 residents at the edge of the Annapolis Basin with the Bay of Fundy, that ice-cold deep water, just beyond.  Its main industries are fishing and tourism.  The fishing fleet brings in those renowned scallops that can be found around the world.  In Digby, of course, they are found on nearly every restaurant menu.

My sister Paula's scallop dinner at home was superb.

As I always do when in Digby, I headed to the wharf.  Here, the scallop fishing fleet is at home and that day most seemed to be in port.  A yacht club with many privately-owned boats is also at home there.

A few of the fishing boats

The Yacht Club at the waterfront



Don't forget the fantastic lobster.  They also come out of this cold Bay of Fundy water. 

After walking through the crowds of people and gazing at hundreds of motorcycles, it was time to look around town.  I had stopped briefly for a bite to eat first at one of the many food booths on the main street overlooking the waterfront.  All were busy.  Fish and chips was a popular offering.  

I also went into the Farmers' Market, small but pleasant and in the centre of town near the waterfront.


At noon hour everyone was looking for some food and drink.  I had eaten my hot dog at this booth below, although I sat on a bench to have it and didn't have any of the beer shown.
A few booths along the street beside the waterfront



As I was heading back to the centre of town along the waterfront I passed a couple of B&Bs or Pensions.  Both face the water.  Neither had a vacancy.

A young entrepreneur
A little music for the passersby
By now I was ready to get off my feet.  It had been two and a half hours of enjoying the atmosphere of the Wharf Rat Rally and all that comprised it.  I had watched some trick motorcycle riding, had had a bite to eat and had jostled with the thousands who were there.  It was time to go. 
One last picture:  The Digby Pines Hotel and Golf Resort, built in 1929, overlooks the Annapolis Basin and the Bay of Fundy.  It is just outside town.  It's a wonderful place to go on a warm summer's day for refreshment or to stay overnight.  We have enjoyed dinner in their restaurant. 

For anyone considering visiting Digby, the town is also a port.  This is where one can take a car ferry to Saint John, New Brunswick or back from there to Digby.  We have taken this ferry.  On a stormy day, the crossing can be a little rough.  On a calm  day, however, it is relaxing and enjoyable on board the ship and means five hours less driving to New Brunswick and beyond or from there to Nova Scotia. 

One of the big weekends during the summer is the Digby Scallop Days festival.  Check for that and the boat schedule on the internet.  Just type in Digby, Nova Scotia and you should find it all.

Note:  Just to remind you that if you wish to see the pictures in a larger format, just click on them.  Click just outside the picture to return to my blog post.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wharf Rat Rally: Motor Cyclists Gather in Digby, Nova Scotia (Part 1)

Thousands of motorcycles with their drivers and passengers roared into Digby for five days over the Labour Day weekend for Atlantic Canada's largest motorcycle rally.  It may even be the largest in Canada. 

It all began in 2004 when several events were planned over that same weekend, including concerts, vendors, music and tours.  For that first rally, 750 motorcycles came into town along with 4,500 visitors.  Each year the event has grown larger.  Four years later, in 2008, 50,000 bikers and 25,000 bikes arrived.

Han's present motor cycle below, a Suzuki Intruder

I am not particularly fond of motorcycles even though I did learn to drive one, passing the driving course that was mandatory.  I was too nervous, however, to go out on the road.  For a while after that, I rode with Hans on the back of his motorcycle.  I don't any longer although he still drives one.  I prefer more comfort and no helmet on my head.

As I told him, I am not a motorcycle mama.

This blog post is not my usual type.  My sister Paula suggested it as she thought it would be interesting for others to see some of the goings-on during that long weekend in Digby.  Hans agreed with her.  So off I went on the Saturday of Labour Day weekend.

Cyclists coming into town and finding their parking spaces

I drove down to Digby, which is about 40 minutes west of Bridgetown, to see for myself just how much it had grown.  It was not my first time but my third, although I hadn't been for three or four years. 

I was overwhelmed this year as it was "wall-to-wall" people and bikes.  It was peaceful in the sense that everyone was orderly and enjoying it all, but the noise was deafening as the cycles arrived. 

The picture at right, below, I took early when the crowds were not as heavy as later on.

All the bikes were lined up along the main street.  I saw motorcycles from as far away as Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec as well as from the States of Missouri, New York and Maine among others.  The majority, of course, were from Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic provinces.

All kinds of bikes and people rolled into town. 


The same chap in both pictures.  He is wearing a kilt.  The name on the backs of many of the riders was interesting.
One of the veterans


In Digby and likely at other rallies in North America the Harley-Davidson is the most noticeable.  This year, for the first time, the Digby rally played host to the Canadian roll-out of the 2014 model line of the Harley-Davidson.  It coincides with the 110th anniversary celebrations of Harley-Davidson underway in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this summer.
A couple of the new 2014 Harley Davidsons 
Cost:  $29, 529
Cost $26, 529


I wandered along the main street, rubbing shoulders with others walking in both directions.  By noon hour, people were lining up at the various food booths.  I stopped at one for a hot dog and talked with a couple of women who shared their table with me.  Both were from Nova Scotia but not from Digby.  They had come down for the rally.
Time was going so I left shortly to browse the booths and to walk along the wharf to have a look at the fishing boats. I will have those pictures up and a few of the town in part 2.