Back in the days when I ran a bed and breakfast business in the Stewart House, I was always on the lookout for attractive words and phrases I could plug into the minimal amount of advertising we did for the place.  The tourism season was very short (basically July and August), so it really didn’t pay to put a lot of money into marketing.

The province of Nova Scotia offered the best advertising around, a write-up in a telephone-size book called the “Doers and Dreamers” guide.  The books were widely distributed to tourist offices up and down the Eastern seaboard.

In the early years, I took great pains to put together an attractive brochure,  and get them distributed in time for the summer season.  They disappeared off the tourist bureau racks, but I never saw anyone walk in with one in hand.

At some point in our decade of doing business, the title of this post made it into our advertising.  I used to kid my wife about it, because it was her doing. We are only three kilometers from the Bay, but the trees across the road make it difficult to see more than a band of silver when the sun glances off the water. The attic has the best view, but our guests never went up there.

The phrase reminded me of “Fawlty Towers”, which was my favourite John Cleese vehicle, for obvious reasons.  At the end of every season I would get grumpy, beginning to identify with the irascible innkeeper in the show. In one episode, an unpleasant older lady with a hearing problem takes Basil to task for the rather ordinary view from her window.  Basil retaliates:  “It is Torquay, madame.  What did you expect to see, thundering wildebeasts?”

My guests at the B&B would inevitably ask, disarmingly, where they could see the tides.  That was is a difficult question to answer without seeming evasive.  The Bay of Fundy tides are the highest in the world.  One hundred billion tons of water rush in and out of the mud bathtub twice a day, but the land surrounding Grand Pre is flat, so instead of climbing up the side of a cliff, the salt water covers and uncovers vast areas of mudflats.

During low tide, one third of the basin is exposed to the sky.   Many thousands of migratory birds take advantage of that, stopping to stuff themselves with mud shrimp before tackling the long trip down to South America in the fall.

It is difficult to get a true sense of 17 meter (fifty-five foot) tides without a wharf or bluff or a very small harbour where fishing boats can be seen sitting on mud one minute, then heading out to sea the next.

For a good time-lapse view of the tidal change, have a look at this video– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2AtORivSY

Check out the “Not Since Moses” video to get a playful picture of the kind of a one of a kind race held once a year on the other side of the Bay of Fundy.  It is truly amazing–  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LBYX4aj340

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