An annual tradition got a new twist this year. Each August or September, my wife and I make a six hour drive into isolated western New Brunswick for an extended long weekend at her family’s cottage. This year, we had an additional family member along for the trip – our dog, Chewy, who we adopted back in October last year. He’s pushing eleven years old and we hadn’t yet done a long road trip with him, so we were curious as to how he’d make out. Generally, he’s a pretty laid back fellow who likes to get about twenty two hours of sleep a day so we were hoping for the best. Two minutes into the road trip we stopped for some Starbucks and he was looking pretty relaxed in the back seat:
Chewy was totally chilled out during the drive. He slept a bit, looked out the window a bit, and seemed to enjoy himself. After a fuel and lunch stop in Moncton, our next stop was in Nackawic, NB, my wife’s hometown. We visited the feature attraction there, the world’s largest axe.
When my wife and I starting seeing each other, our first trip was up here so she could show off her hometown and so I could visit the axe. We felt it only right to give Chewy the same opportunity:
Another reason for the stop in Nackawic was to pick up a growler of beer to take to the cottage. There’s a relatively new microbrewery, Big Axe Brewery, in the community. The world’s largest axe and a microbrewery… more than enough reason for a short detour off the highway! After a couple of samples, I settled on the Belgian wit. Only a few minutes after reaching the cottage, I poured a glass for me and my mother-in-law. It was a great beer for a hot afternoon with a light citrus and coriander flavour and the perfect way to kick off a weekend at the lake:
In addition to visiting family, the sheer beauty of this place keeps bringing us back. It’s a special place for my wife who spent the summers of her childhood here. Here’s a look out at First Eel River Lake from the shoreline below the cottage. Pretty stunning eh?
Turning your head 90 degrees, you end up looking due east. Just after taking the dog out the next morning, I grabbed my camera to take this picture as the sun was rising:
Weekends up here are filled with a lot of peace and relaxation. This year, they were also filled with our urban-living Chewy getting to stretch his legs out in a place with lots of grass and fresh air. Here he is looking pretty happy with cottage living shortly after chasing some ducks:
We’ve come to realize he’s a happy and easy going dog, especially when he’s got both of us nearby. After a day to get used to his new surroundings, he was getting pretty comfortable at the cottage. We tried to take a picture of the three of us, but his friendliness changed the composition of the picture:
One of the traditional activities of a weekend at the lake is evening Yahtzee. Usually it’s also accompanied by snacks and drinks. On this night, red wine was the poison of choice:
Yahtzee is such a time-honoured tradition of this place, that my all-time high score is featured prominently on the fridge alongside artwork by the grandchildren. That 591 was a great game and no one has scored within 130 points of it in the seven years since.
Another tradition of the weekend at the lake is a feed of barbequed steak. It’s always the best steak I have all year.
And what would a weekend at the lake be without some napping. I sometimes try to squeeze two to three naps in during a day. Chewy got into the spirit of this pretty quickly.
Food, family, relaxation – all in all, it makes for one of my favourite trips each year. If the cottage was a bit closer, I’d be there all the time.