748 Restaurant, Beresford, New Brunswick, Canada

            “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”—Chinese Proverb

          “Customer service is the new marketing.”—Derek Sivers, Founder CD Baby

“Bienvenue,” she stated enthusiastically with a broad, warm smile. We were tired, chilly, and hungry as we entered 748 Restaurant in Beresford, New Brunswick.   We had spent a total of over 24-hours of driving in the past two days—14 hours the previous day, and 10 hours on this particular day. We arrived to a cloudy, blustery evening. It was nearly 8:00 in the evening, and we had not taken time to eat much that day.

Menu at 748.

My family and I were arriving on what would be the first night of a two-week stay in the nearby village of Petit Rocher. Literally, we had walked through the gorgeous bay-side home that would be our residence during this time, talked briefly to the owner of this home, Denise, by phone, carried in our luggage, and based upon her reference, drove to this dining establishment.   We were told they would serve dinner until 9:00. Would the resent us entering an hour before closing? That did not appear to be the case as Nathalie, our waitress for the evening, quickly switched to English when it became apparent we did not speak French.

New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that is officially bi-lingual. Both French and English are spoken by nearly all residents. As I would observe on this night, and throughout the week, residents of the Acadian Coastal region in which we were staying switched so effortlessly between the two languages, it appeared to be as automatic as their proud Acadian heartbeats.

We explained to Nathalie that we had not visited 748 Restaurant before as we took in the expansive menu. She had no problem giving us plenty of time to look over the menu as well as make recommendations based upon our taste preferences. From traditional burgers and sandwiches, to salads and soups, from stir-fries and fried fish, to all variety of entrees in between, 748 had something for everyone! Additionally, they had what looked like an assortment of homemade pies and cakes for dessert. Plus, if that wasn’t enough, they had an additional breakfast menu that I just happened to notice at the entrance as we walked in.

Looking around the restaurant, I saw one large party, of perhaps 20 or so people, as well as several tables of smaller groups. As we observed the plates being served, we noticed sizeable portions that looked appetizing, and smelled tasty. Later, a resident would tell me that 748 Restaurant was the place to go when you were in the mood for good ol’ home-style meals with truck stop serving sizes!

Enter and feel welcome at 748.

To be honest, on that first night, I was so tired; I forgot to take pictures of all the wonderful food on which each of us dined. I did, however, think to get a picture of Nathalie. That said, I do recall how superb we all thought the food and service was on the bleary, weary evening.

John, my husband, enjoyed a big ol’ burger, cooked to his taste preference and served with poutine. What is poutine, you may ask if you are an American? Poutine is popular dish across much of Canada. It is made with French fries, topped with cheese curds with a light brown gravy poured over the top—although, we saw numerous variations of poutine offerings as different restaurants enjoy creating and serving their own special twist on this traditional dish.

Meanwhile, our daughter, Maddie, and her friend, Gracie, split an order of fish and chips with a side of fresh scallops. They were glad they decided to split the order as the portions were more than generous, and they each were able to sample a two different style/types of seafood.

Finally, I started with what was supposed to a small house salad. My goodness, it was loaded with fresh greens and topped with a variety of colorful vegetables. Then, for my main course, I chose vegetable stir-fry—oh my. If I thought the salad was heaped with vividly crisp vegetables, I was overwhelmed (with joy of course!) to see my plated overflowing with vibrant vegetables, covered in a light savory sauce, and served over perfectly cooked rice. My mouth is watering recalling that wonderfully cooked dish as the stir-fry veggies were neither overcooked nor undercooked.

To end a perfect dinner, John and the girls ordered pieces of sugar pie, another Canadian delicacy we have learned to enjoy. Okay, well, I cannot enjoy it because it has gluten (wheat) in it, but it looks and smells heavenly to me! (It is also a popular dessert in Northern France, Belgium and other western European countries as well as in a few Midwestern United States where it is often called sugar cream pie.)

In fact, our experience was so positive at 748 that we returned on another day to try out their breakfast menu, and we were not disappointed! We were preparing for a visit to Miscou Island, the most northeastern point of the Acadian Coast of New Brunswick. It was a beautiful, but windy (chilly) day, and a big breakfast sounded like the perfect start to our adventure on this breathtakingly beautiful island with its expansive, secluded beaches.

Once again the effusive 748 staff greeted us as we entered. Our waitress was gregarious and helpful with suggestions. (I remembered to take her picture, but did not write down her name—so, I unfortunately do not remember it.) Looking over the expansive breakfast menu, it was certainly a tough decision.

Friendly staff awaits you at 748 Restaurant, such as this gregarious waitress who helped us select the perfect breakfast before a day of adventure on Miscou Island.

As it turned out, Gracie and Maddie ended up eating blueberry pancakes. They were close to the biggest pancakes I have ever seen. Once these blueberry-filled golden cakes of joy arrived, the normally talkative girls did little talking as they attempted to eat the entire serving; but alas, their eyes were bigger than their stomachs.

Heaping over plates of blueberry pancakes served with plenty of butter and syrup!

I tried their vegetable omelet. The omelet was cooked to perfection, and it was served with a gigantic portion of potatoes. Additionally, the omelets are served with toast too, but as they did not have any gluten-free bread, I had to, sadly, decline it.

My yummy vegetable omelet served with plenty of potatoes and coffee!

Meanwhile, John thoroughly enjoyed his over-sized breakfast. He selected the ham and cheese omelet. Like my omelet, his was served with a generous portion of potatoes and toast. Plus, our waitress was always at the ready with a coffee refill for John and me as well as water refills for Gracie and Maddie.

John ordered a delicious ham and cheese omelet served with potatoes, toast, and of course, plenty of coffee!

Overall, our family highly recommends the 748 Restaurant. It offers a varied menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The staff is friendly, efficient, and quite obliging. Plus, did I mention the overflowing plates of food? If you live in the Beresford area, or just happen to be visiting like my family, give 748 a try, and tell them Steph simply sent you!


Sea glass Searchings

            “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence . . .We need silence to be able to touch souls.”—Mother Teresa

“Sea glass is symbolic of the magic of transformation.”—Unknown

“Look how much I found!”

Her voice was insistent as she entered through the sliding glass doors and into the living area of the summer cottage in which we vacationed for two weeks along the Bay of Chaleur in Petit Rocher, New Brunswick, Canada. Her face was flushed red; eyes sparkled with exhilaration. Her friend, Gracie, whose face was just as crimson, followed her.

“I taught Gracie how to look for it!”

Spreading their loot across the kitchen table, they began sorting by colors: green, white, brown, and one blue.

“I found this cool rock, too!”

The first sea glass (and one heart-shaped rock) gathered on the shores of the Bay of Chaleur at the beginning of our two-week vacation in Petit Rocher, New Brunswick, Canada.

Madelyn, my daughter, placed a heart-shaped rock alongside the colorful sea glass they had collected. Then, seemingly, without thought, she began arranging the sea glass around the heart-rock in an aesthetically appealing rotating circular shape as she chatted about the bracing winds, the rocky shoreline, and the chilly, damp air. She smiled as she meticulously constructed her creation–though I do not think she realized she was doing this.

The very first arrangement of the sea glass designed by Maddie.

Sea glass is, in actuality, discarded trash. Before the proliferation of plastics as popular storage vessels, most liquids and creams were housed in glass bottles. In fact, I can still fondly recall the small 10-ounce green bottles of Mountain Dew, the blue Noxzema glass jars, the red Avon decorative glass goblets, the brown glass bottles that held Mrs. Butterworth’s pancake syrup, and the clear, tall 16-ounce Pepsi-Cola glass bottles of my youth.   All of these various glass bottles, and many others during this time period, were often carelessly dumped into our streams, rivers, and oceans; or, buried in the sand along the shore with little thought.

Sea glass is, in all actuality, trash–specifically–glass bottles–tossed carelessly into the earth’s streams, rivers, and oceans; or, buried in the sand of the shore.

Once in the ocean, these containers were tossed about in the waves like a colorful mixed green salad. As the waves violently thrashed the bottles against rocks, ocean floor, and various other inflexible objects, they were sharply broken down into smaller pieces, each with a unique shape. Eventually, the edges of these pieces were worn smooth, giving the glass found today a frosted and/or pitted quality.

Here are baggies of sea glass, sorted by color, collected by my daughter. Maddie’s collection reflects both the most frequently found colors such as green, brown, and white (clear); and the more rare colors, such as cobalt blue and red.


In fact, many sea glass jewelry makers consider sea glass a “reverse gem”. Traditional gems are created by nature, but refined by humans. Whereas, sea glass is created by humans; but then, transformed by nature.

Today, with the increasing use of plastics and numerous recycling programs, sea glass is becoming more difficult to find. I suppose that is part of the fun for Maddie–the challenge of spying scarce, multihued gems peaking through the milieu of rocks, pebbles, shells and other flotsam found along the shoreline. Perhaps, though, there is more to it.



Walking along the craggy shoreline of the Bay of Chaleur one day, I became totally immersed in the search for sea glass. My intention, when I left the cottage, was to enjoy a brisk walk along the bay’s edge, but with the sighting of one piece of green sea glass, briskness was set aside; and instead, all of my focus and energy was directed towards hunting for sea glass for Maddie. Earnestly searching for sea glass emptied my mind of all thoughts, allowing my vision to fully focus as I pursued multicolored oddities amidst shoreline debris. My breathing and heart rates were notably slower, and time was measured only by the present moment.



Occasionally, I noticed an abandoned house, a group of playful sea birds, or a passing sailboat; but then, my vision would return to my shoreline quest. During that walk, my mind was not attached to current worries, past failures, or future concerns—there was just the background sound of lapping water and the possibility of sea glass. Thus, I became the recipient of three lessons courtesy of the sea glass of the Bay of Chaleur.



           Nonattachment. While this wasn’t my first run-in with the concept of nonattachment, my experience with sea glass served as a reminder that nothing is permanent—change is a continual process, even when I cannot immediately see it. While I clearly observed Maddie happily creating various sea glass arrangements, she could not become attached to any of her creations if she wanted them to grow into something else. Likewise, in life, growth cannot occur when we remain attached to past events/failures, present-day worries, or future concerns. Growth can only occur with a release of mental grasping—just as the bottles could not become gems if they held on to their original shape.



          Transformation. Nonattachment can lead to transformation, the second lesson of the sea glass. Maddie’s artful creation of sea glass, formed at the beginning of our stay, was reworked several times, moved to another table, and ultimately disassembled in order to travel home where it will, no doubt, be changed again. Likewise, copious bottles of my youth, and even prior to my birth, are continually, and quite harshly, broken by the ocean’s waves; however, this seemingly brutal treatment creates exquisitely colorful treasures. Therefore, it is worth remembering, no matter how severe the seas of life become, there is transformative power for positive change especially if we seek it out. Even the sharpest edge of a glass bottle is eventually worn smooth.



          Connection to our Creator. Hunting for sea glass required Maddie and me to get outside and away from screens. The propagation of social media has the ability to distract and separate us from our natural world. Noise and visual stimuli distract our brains, leaving little room, or even time, for silence. When our minds remain attached to these stimuli, transformation can often become stalled. Time spent in nature, however, even in pursuit of sea glass, is an excellent conductor to our Divine Creator. If God created a sea with the ability to transform glass bottles into bits of colorful collectables, what sort of gems can we potentially discover within ourselves, and others, when we take time to unplug from what the world is telling us, and instead, spend a bit of time in nature, so that our souls may hear the whisperings of God?



Can you find the piece of sea glass hidden in each picture?










Friendships with Borders

            “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”—William Butler Yeats

            “It’s easy to impress me. I don’t need a fancy party to be happy. Just good friends, good food, and good laughs. I’m happy. I’m satisfied. I’m content.”—Maria Sharapova

“I’ve gotta be that person. Where are you from?” The young girl queried with pink, spiked hair and curious, intent eyes that sparkled with her wide, youthful mischievous grin. She spoke with a delightful French accent.

It wasn’t the first time I had heard this question, nor would it be the last. I was with my family vacationing in the charming Petit Rocher area of New Brunswick, Canada nestled alongside the spectacular Bay of Chaleur. New Brunswick, one of Canada’s three Maritime Provinces in the eastern region, also happens to be the only province that is officially bilingual—meaning both French and English are the official spoken languages. Thus, most residents appear to seamlessly move between speaking French and English.

Petit Rocher Wharf of New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast.

Replying to this inquisitive youth, I explained that I was from the U.S., specifically the southern point of the state of Ohio between West Virginia and Kentucky situated in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains (These same mountains run through the western side of New Brunswick.) The young lady’s smile turned up at one side.

“So you left a rural area to vacation in a rural area?”

Her question aroused laugh as I added, “Yes, but you have the beautiful Acadian Coastal beaches that we do not have at home.”

Nodding in approval and understanding, she further asked, “How far away are you?”

When I explained that it was approximately a 24-hour drive split over two days, her eyes grew wide. I further added that this was our third trip specifically to New Brunswick, and our overall fourth to the Maritimes, she gasped.

“You like it here that much, then?”

Indeed, my family and I find the Acadian Coastal Region of New Brunswick lovely for both its picturesque scenery as well as its spirited and hospitable people. We discovered New Brunswick quite by accident five years ago. At that time, we were driving to another Maritime province, Prince Edward Island (PEI), the setting for our daughter’s beloved reading series, Anne of the Green Gables, for a family vacation. In order to reach PEI by car, we had to travel through the stunning countryside of New Brunswick. I recall wistfully observing through our car windows the stunning and ever-changing landscape. As much as we thoroughly enjoyed our time in PEI, the following year, our family decided to vacation in New Brunswick based upon that drive. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

John, me, and Madelyn in front of the charming vacation home we found on Airbnb, owned by Denise, in Petite Rocher area of New Brunswick.

During our first vacation in New Brunswick, we met Vincent and Gisele Theriault. Their summer cottage was next to the house in which we were vacationing in the bayside community of Janeville. Vincent and Gisele were our first insight into the generous, welcoming people that make up the Acadian Coastal Region. By our third day, we were sharing a traditional lobster dinner with them that also included fresh, steamed mussels, and crab in their cozy home. Throughout that meal, we shared stories and swapped laughs until we cried as if we had been life long friends. When week’s end arrived, our family decided we needed to return the following summer for two weeks instead of one.

Vincent Theriault, John, Maddie, me, and Gisele Theriault when we first met in Janeville, New Brunswick. The house (church) in which we stayed is in background, and their summer cottage is directly behind us.

Returning the next summer to the same vacation cottage, we were able to pick right up with Vincent and Gisel as if we were life-long neighbors. Furthermore, we continued to explore and expand our experiences of the Acadian Coastal Region. No matter where we traveled, be it a small store to a large shopping center; from a quaint tourist shop to an historic village center; or, from encounters on the beach to meeting other Acadian residents; we were enthralled by the generous and gracious nature of the people.

Vincent, Gisele, and Bijou Theriault of Janeville (summer) and Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Life sometimes gets busy and takes you on unexpected turns—which is exactly what happened to our family. Therefore, two years passed before our family was able to return to New Brunswick, and in that time, much had changed. Specifically, the rental cottage in Janeville was no longer available, and the political world-view had drastically altered. Would we still be welcomed, and would the people of New Brunswick still remain as pleasant as in our past visits?

Initially, we were saddened that we could not find a rental home in the Janeville community, and instead would be staying in the village of Petit Rocher—only because our home would not be close to Vincent and Gisele. As Divine Providence would have it, however, the home and the village in which we did stay this past summer did not disappoint, nor did its people, especially all of our neighbors. Furthermore, we found the village of Petit Rocher, and the nearby villages/towns of Nigadoo, Beresford, and Bathurst, to be just as warm and welcoming as Janeville, as well as wonderfully situated along the beautiful Bay of Chaleur!

Whimsical art created by an unknown home owner in Petit Rocher, New Brunswick, Canada.

In fact, not only were we blessed to spend some time with Vincent and Gisele, but also we were able to meet so many other wonderful neighbors and local residents. One such neighbor, Bobby Roy (and members of his family), visited our evening campfires on a regular basis. Talk about nice! By the end of our first week, he had bestowed upon us, “honorary Canadian citizenship,” and sealed the deal by giving us a Canadian flag, a jar of bar clams (a New Brunswick culinary specialty), and two Canadian caps for my husband, John!


The owner of the house in which we rented, Denise, visited us a couple of times during our stay as well. During her last visit she shared an observation worth sharing, although I may not get her exact wording.

“Everyone who has met you and your family cannot get over how nice you are as Americans. I don’t think it was expected.”

Of course, I took that for what I believe she meant it to be, a sincere compliment regarding our family’s interactions with others during our stay; yet it also reflected the current culture of vituperative rhetoric and sounds bites, for better or worse, now often associated with Americans—and, therein is the lesson.

When people really talk, get to know each other, “break bread” (aka share a meal), swap jokes, or even share a beverage around a campfire, you see the commonalities more than the differences—gender, race, skin color, religion, politics, nationality, and even borders—don’t matter—just the common human experience.


On the next to the last evening of our two week stay in Petit Rocher, our family shared coffee with Denise in the morning; dinner with our friends, Vincent and Giselle; and shared a beer while swapping stories with Bobby around the campfire. As the fire embers burned low and I headed back into the house, an outside light revealed a rather large spider web anchored between two completely different plant species. The web was intricate with multiple strands radiating in all directions between the two plants linking them, at least momentarily, together. The spider did not seem to care that its web touched the borders of two very different plants. It only wanted to find a way to nourish its body.


I thought of the saying I have often heard spoken by a beloved teacher, “The resiliency of the web depends upon the strength and flexibility of every strand.” Our family is but one strand in a complicated and complex global world of different people, but on our trip to the picturesque Acadian Coast, we strengthened at least one strand between two different countries and numerous families. It’s but one drop in an enormous sea of life, but what would happen if more people did that? Naive, not really. I am all too aware that our globe, like that spider web, is in a tenuous state; however, on that night, it was indeed enough, exceedingly enough to provide an ember of hope.

Afterthought: What if a #breakingbread movement began on social media, including my website, stephsimply.com, where people around the world shared pictures of “breading bread” with another from a different culturally, nationally, ethnically, politically, etc? What ideas could be shared?  What understanding could be gained?

The red rocky coast in Janeville, New Brunswick Canada.


Maddie and Gracie B. stand in front of Miscuo Island Lighthouse–a place we visited after meeting and talking with Chris, a staff member of Joey’s Pub in Bathurst, New Brunswick.
Vincent Theriault graciously prepared us a traditional lobster dinner in his summer cottage in Janeville, New Brunswick, Canada.


Sunrise over the Bay of Chaluer on the morning we left for our return trip home. We brought with us many fond memories.










Joey’s Pub & Eatery, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

            “It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back.”—Dave Thomas

           “A pub can be a magical place.”—Rhys Ifans

Not many restaurants can claim to be ranked #1, but Joey’s Pub & Eatery, in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada can proudly assert that they are, indeed, #1—at least as determined by Trip Advisor. In fact, according to Trip Advisor, Joey’s Pub & Eatery is ranked #1 out of 41 other restaurants in Bathurst! This is an honor for which the staff feels very proud.

Entrance to Joey’s Pub & Eatery, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

“We are trying very hard to stay at #1 on Trip Advisor,” stated the restaurant via a message exchange with me on Facebook Messenger.

The restaurant further elaborated how hard the staff works to ensure that customers have a wonderful experience when visiting Joey’s; and, my husband, John, and I, just happened to enjoy that very thing . . . a wonderful dining experience!

A sign outside of Joey’s Pub & Eatery that especially made my husband, John, and me laugh as we are both teachers!

John and I were visiting the beautiful Bathurst area of New Brunswick, Canada, along the Acadian Coast during the first two weeks of July. We were staying in nearby Petit Rocher, a charming village along the Bay of Chaleur. This was our third time to visit this officially bilingual province of Canada where most residents, much to my admiration and astonishment, appear to switch between speaking French and English as easily as breathing.

Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

Previously, we had stayed in the more rural area of Janesville, New Brunswick, and therefore, had never before dined out! This year, however, we decided it was time to get out a few times for dinner, rather than doing all of the cooking in our vacation rental home. Therefore, we referred to Trip Advisor for advice regarding what restaurants to try.

The red rocky coast in Janesville, New Brunswick Canada.

Once we saw that Joey’s was rated #1 in the Bathurst area, we decided to take a look at their website, specifically to view their menu. One of the main reasons is because I have celiac disease, and therefore, need gluten-free food options. Much to my great pleasure, Joey’s menu, printed in both English and French, was chock-full of gluten-free choices. From appetizers to salads, from seafood and grilled entrees to sandwiches and burgers, Joey’s Pub and Eatery had a wide variety of gluten-free dishes from which I could choose. Furthermore, there were plenty of tasty options in which John was interested in trying.


On our first visit to Joey’s, Cindy was our waitress/bartender; and, sadly, I did not think to take her picture. (We returned a second time hoping to get her picture, but, of course, it was her night off!) Cindy was friendly, efficient, and quick to offer recommendations when asked. Furthermore, she was quite patient with us as there was a plethora of scrumptious-sounding food choices, making it difficult to decide what to eat. Additionally, for craft beer lovers, Joey’s list of Canadian crafted bottled beer offerings for the summer was extensive.


We decided to begin dinner with Three Cheese Atlantic Snow Crab Dip served with gluten-free tortilla chips. Wow! Talk about ooey-gooey cheesiness, combined with tender, sweet crabmeat–it was absolutely delectable! Plus, the portion was giant-sized!


John and I went in completely different directions for dinner. I chose the Asian Sesame Stir-Fry, while he chose, The Smokin’ Joey Burger. My stir-fry could have been served with chicken or shrimp; however, I decided to go meatless since I had already indulged on the appetizer. The fresh seasonal vegetables were cooked to perfection, and the sweet sesame sauce possessed the perfect combination of tang, sweet, and zest.

Asian Sesame Stir-Fry at Joey’s Pub & Eatery

Meanwhile, John’s Burger looked like a meat lovers dream. The hand-pressed, all beef patty was topped with Joey’s very own special Montreal smoked meat. This colossal-sized burger was served with hand-cut French fries, along with house made coleslaw that John did not want, so I was “forced” to eat it. (The slaw was quite tasty, but different from any slaw I have had in the U.S.!) John and I, most certainly, did not leave Joey’s hungry.


Due to our first positive experience, we decided to visit Joey’s one more time before leaving. This time we had the pleasure of meeting Chris, our waiter/bartender for the night. Chris, like Cindy, was personable, competent, and quite accommodating. We learned from our previous experience, that appetizer portions were quite large; therefore, John and I both chose to start of our meals with salads.

Chris, our waiter/bartender, for the night at Joey’s Pub & Eatery, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

As it turned out, however, these salads were also generous in size. My Mixed Green Salad was a gorgeously colorful mix of greens, peppers, celery, cucumbers, and carrots served with a house-made vinaigrette.   Whereas, John’s salad, a bit smaller than mine, but not by much, was served with his entrée. He chose a Caesar salad, one of his favorite salads, and declared it to be delicious.

Mixed Green Salad at Joey’s Pub & Eatery, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

Since I am a nacho lover, I decided to try Joey’s Famous Nachos for dinner. Chris advised me to select a small order, and I am glad he did! My plate of nachos was piled high with cheddar and mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and banana peppers. Plus, I had a choice of adding chicken, beef, sausage, extra sauce, and/or guacamole. These nachos were the perfect mix of crispy crunch, spice, and melted cheese. Even with a small order, I could not eat them all!

Joey’s Famous Nachos

John, meanwhile, dined on house made lasagna. This traditional layered dish combined Italian meats, pasta, and plenty of cheese. In addition to being served with a salad, this entrée also included two large hunks of crusty, buttery garlic bread. Once again, John and I did not leave Joey’s Pub & Eatery hungry!

House made lasagna with Caesar Salad, and garlic toast at Joey’s Pub & Eatery in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

Our waiter, Chris, was not only helpful when it came to excellent service, but also quite knowledgeable of the Acadian Coastal region of New Brunswick. In fact, his manager told us that Chris was knowledgeable in “all the good spots,” and was certain he would lead us “to a local paradise.” Therefore, based upon our conversation with Chris, we followed his advice the next day, drove two hours north, and visited Miscou Island, the northeastern tip of New Brunswick.   Wow! Was it ever an excellent recommendation!


I cannot say enough about our positive experience at Joey’s Pub & Eatery. The service was accommodating, pleasant, and courteous. Furthermore, our food portions were generous in size, cooked to our requested preference, beautifully plated, and most certainly, delectable. John and I highly recommend this spot to anyone visiting or living in the Bathurst area! And, if you do stop by, tell them, “Steph simply sent you!” 😉

John and I at Joey’s Pub & Eatery

Best wishes to Joey’s Pub & Eatery on their continued success. Additionally, we send a huge thank-you to the outstanding staff for making our visits to the restaurant so memorable. We hope to return in the future!


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Ducks and Dilemmas aka Lessons from the Waterbirds of the Bay of Chaleur, New Brunswick, Canada

            “Put the need for certainty aside. Focus on riding the best wave you can today. Don’t wait for the tide to be perfect tomorrow.”—as seen on strikingtruth.com

          “I intend to not allow the waves of change to knock me off my feet, but instead, learn how to ride them.”—as seen on intent.com

We arrived to bracing winds with gray clouds so low and heavy, it appeared as if the sky would drop its burdens at any moment. The water in the Bay of Chaleur was sliced with angry white caps rapidly forcing their way to the shore. While this was our third time to visit the province of New Brunswick in Canada, we had never before witnessed rough bay waters as the weather on past visits was typically mild, warm, and sunny with calm, serene waters.

Nonetheless, as I continued to take in the unfolding scenery currently surrounding me, I noticed a family of ducks tranquilly navigating through the turbulent waves.   There appeared to be Mama duck in the front with several ducklings in tow. In fact, upon closer inspection, there were several types of waterfowl somehow remaining afloat on the enraged, swelling waters. How was this possible? They were clearly not in distress, despite the whipping winds tossing the waves about; rather, they seemed to glide over each growing surge with grace and ease. This image became imprinted upon my mind

Sunrise the following morning found the waters somewhat calmer, but still a bit choppy as rain was now a promise felt in the moist, heavy air. Looking once again towards the bay, there was the familiar duck family and numerous other waterfowl calmly rising and sinking with each lift of waves. Sometimes, they would dive below the water obtaining hidden fodder; but then, emerge with poise and dignity again and again. Even after the rains, heavy and cold, began to empty from the bloated, distressed clouds, the duck family managed to move up and down the shoreline feeding itself as if it were another playful day in the sun. Here were the whisperings of a lesson in which I was in need.

Throughout the rest of my stay in Petit Rocher, New Brunswick, Canada, nestled along the shore of the Bay of Chaleur; I would frequently and curiously observe the bay’s waterfowl, with a particular fondness for the duck family living near the summer cottage in which we were vacationing. Regardless of the weather, cool or hot; rainy or dry; blustery or calm; cloudy or sunny; that duck family never failed to lightheartedly swim to and fro as they dipped and darted for their daily diet. They seemed to possess great faith that all their needs would be provided by staying the course, no matter the current emotion of the atmosphere surrounding them. Oh, to be like that duck family!

The Bay of Chaleur, named by Jacques Cartier in 1534, translates into English as “bay of warmth” or “bay of torrid weather.” (Cartier is said to have arrived during a July heat wave.)   The waters of the bay during the summer months, indeed well-known by tourists and locals, are said to be some of the warmest saltwater north of the state of Virginia due to the warm ocean current that enters the bay from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Furthermore, numerous freshwater river tributaries also flow into the bay creating a unique fishery. However, due to the bay’s shape, as well as the precipitous, red, rocky cliff line of the northern shore where we were staying, many Petit Rocher residents warned of hazardous wind conditions that sometimes develop, quickly creating large areas of treacherous waters. Thus, the abundant waterfowl, most likely attracted by the ample supply of food, must adapt and remain flexible to the ever-shifting water conditions.

I wish to navigate life more like that duck family and other waterfowl I watched on the Bay of Chaleur. Feeling pain? Breath, be curious, and ride it out. Feeling frustrated, hurt, confused, or uncertain? Dip into the warm waters of faith, and trust that all will be provided. Feeling sad, angry, or lost in a sea of changing, turbulent waters? Relax into, rather than resist, life’s current—the ducks don’t always control where they are going, but they still manage to remain afloat and are returned, in due time, back to their home estuary.


In life, at least for me, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed by change, worry, and/or struggles. However, it is important to realize that feelings are often created, or at the very least increased (or even decreased) by emotions. Our emotions are like the weather of the Bay of Chaleur—they can quickly change. And while the physical shoreline is certainly altered from season to season by the weather, just as emotions sometimes can alter our constitution; the basic make-up of the bay–rocky cliffs, river estuaries, warm ocean current, and abundant wildlife–remain the same.

Change, pain, struggles, even emotions come and go like the wind blowing the waves on the Bay of Chaleur. However, just as the Gulf of St. Lawrence continually sends an undercurrent of warm waters to the bay, so too is there a Divine source flowing to, through, and around us. The lesson of the Bay of Chaleur’s ducks and waterfowl for me to share, and (hopefully) put into practice, is to let go of the attachment to struggle, pain, change, and so forth; and, relax into the warmth and love of our God. Those ducks, I observed, were always fed, never lost, and yet did not resist the waves of change—rugged or placid—they remained firmly in the water, but flexible in their course, trusting in their source. So too, must we remain firm in our faith, but flexible in life path, and trust our heavenly source to provide all we need.




Cast & Crew, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

“Welcome to Cast and Crew. We take your taste buds seriously. Great food.   Awesome Atmosphere. Amazing people.” Cast & Crew Gastropub, Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada

Many restaurants in the states are situated near movie theaters; however, I have yet to see a movie multiplex and a restaurant in one, stand alone location as I did on a recent vacation trip to Bathurst, New Brunswick in Canada. Cast and Crew Gastropub is located next door to the Apollo Cinemas on St. Anne Drive just outside of the downtown area. What a convenient way to have dinner and movie with your favorite date! In fact, if it’s your birthday, Cast and Crew will include a two-for-one movie pass with your meal as well as give you a percentage equal to your age off your food bill! However, you do not have to go to a movie to enjoy dinner or lunch at Cast and Crew.

My husband, John, and I, visited Cast and Crew on warm Thursday night in July while vacationing in Petit Rocher, a town near Bathurst. Our daughter and her friend, Gracie, were making their own pizza in the summer cottage in which we were staying, so John and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for a date night. Walking into Cast and Crew, we were immediately greeted by staffers and offered a table; however, we politely declined and chose, instead, to sit at the expansive bar area.

Expansive bar seating at Cast & Crew. Photo courtesy of Cast & crew website.

Choosing to sit at the bar is a trick John and I have learned to do, especially when traveling.   The bar area is fantastic opportunity to meet locals who can offer unique insight to area in which we are staying. Additionally, dining in the bar allows us an opportunity to scope out both the ambiance and atmosphere of an establishment.

Walking through the front part of the restaurant towards the bar, John and I could not help but notice the welcoming environment perfect for get-togethers with family or friends, a date-night, or even dining alone. From the beautiful bar area, to the comfy fireplace setting; and, from numerous tables and booths, to the warm patio area; Cast and Crew was spacious, comfortable, and appeared able to accommodate all sizes of parties, small or large. Additionally, we observed several customers ordering take-out food.

Our bartender/waitress for the evening was named Terri. And, while Terri was originally from the Bathurst area, her mom now resides in the Cleveland, Ohio area! What a small world in which we live! Terri states that she does visit the Cleveland area a couple times per year, but continues to reside in Bathurst. When we asked her why she chose to remain in Bathurst, she replied with a question, “Have you seen this place?”

This caused us to laugh because that was one of the reasons we were on our third trip to this maritime province! We agreed with Terri—New Brunswick is indeed beautiful (not to mention friendly), especially in the summer time of our visits. That said, Terri informed us that this past winter was particularly rough in the Bathurst area of New Brunswick as they received many deep snows. “But, you know, that is part of living here,” Terri added with a smile. “You just learn to appreciate the two months of summer that much more!”

Terri our bartender/waitress at Cast & Crew.

As John and I often do when dining out, we arrived at Cast and Crew during Happy Hour, which happened to occur there daily from 4:00-7:00! Happy Hour is often an excellent time to get deals on food and drinks in many restaurants, allowing the dining experience to be easier on the pocket. Cast and Crew’s Happy Hour was no exception. In addition to daily lunch specials and the previously mentioned birthday special, Cast and Crew presents five different specials—depending upon the weeknight. Wings, Salt ‘n’ Peppa Ribs, and MooseLight pitchers were specials on the night of our visit. Furthermore, Terri stated the restaurant often prepares exclusive entrees not found on the menu; and, on the night in which we dined, that dish was a lobster stuffed salmon dish for an incredibly reasonable price.

Scanning the menu, John and I could not have been happier as it was expansive, eclectic, and offered a number of gluten-free and vegetarian dishes. Cast and Crew’s menu has something for everyone. From a wide variety of appetizers to salads galore; from meat-based entrees to sandwiches and wraps; and from pasta/rice-based dishes to “cast from the sea,” the choices were a bit overwhelming. Furthermore, sitting at the bar near the kitchen entry/exit, all the food that went by us was beautifully presented, smelled delectable, and made our dinner decision that much more difficult. It is also worth mentioning that I could not help but notice that there was a separate menu for kids, which includes a wide array of meal choices, choice of beverage, and dessert for just $8.00!

Menu for Cast & Crew restaurant.

After ordering drinks, we decided to start off our meal by splitting a so-called “side” of Homemade Chips thinking it would be a small snack on which to nosh. Nope, it was a huge serving! These chips were thick cut, but still managed to be crispy and cooked to perfection! We enjoyed savoring these crunchy morsels.  (Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of these delectable delights!)

John’s Pump House Blueberry Ale and my chilled Chardonnay made for two summer drinks worth toasting. Cheers!

For my main meal, I decided to try a dish I had never before eaten called, “Cauliflower Steak.” Seared and oven roasted, this so-called “steak” was topped with a bold tasting, roasted red pepper and olive tapenade. Further, it was served with a beautiful and delicate tasting “chef salad;” however, this was not what is often considered the typical chef salad in the states. Chef salad simply meant— the chef’s salad creation for that day. Therefore, my salad consisted beautiful, local greens and veggies tossed in a house-created vinaigrette.

When it came time for John to choose his dinner, he really struggled, but in the end, could not resist trying the Mac ‘n’ cheese. Terri shared that the Cast and Crew Mac ‘n’ Cheese was one of their more popular dishes. She explained that it was the Gruyere cheese mixed with the more traditional cheddar cheese that made this baked pasta dish so yummy. In the end, John could not have agreed more! The menu offers to top this creamy pasta bowl with bacon or lobster for a modest price addition, but John is a purist and would not hear of it.

I should also add that John enjoyed tasting Pump House Blueberry Ale Draught. This beer has been proudly brewed in New Brunswick since 1999. Served in a chilled glass with fresh blueberries, John found this beer to have a refreshing, light taste—not too heavy with subtle fruit hints. It was a perfect summer ale in his opinion.

Overall, John and I enjoyed our gastro-adventure at Cast and Crew. The atmosphere was relaxed and inviting. Our service was attentive and affable. Additionally, our meal was a delicious, tasty treat. Cast and Crew is highly recommended in our humble opinion. If we lived in the Bathurst area, we would certainly become regulars!

John and I enjoy a date night at Cast & Crew restaurant in Bathurst, CA.

Sedona Taphouse, Charlottesville, VA

            “Serious food and over 500 craft-beers—discover your new favorite today.”— Sedona Taphouse website

          “Sedona Taphouse works diligently to bring you the best in local and international craft beer, interesting wines, and creative handcrafted martinis. We also prepare our dining menu from the finest ingredients based on their seasonal quality and availability.”—Sedona Taphouse website

As faithful readers know, my husband, John and I love traveling. Part of the appeal of a trip is meeting new people; and, of course, eating new foods/dishes. What better place to meet others and get a sense of the local flavor than eating a meal at the bar in a well-rated restaurant? And, for those of my readers that do not imbibe alcohol, trust me, you are still welcome to dine at the restaurant bar—it is an experience I highly recommend, especially when traveling!

When sitting at the bar of a restaurant, you often get more than one bartender taking care of you, which is great if you tend to need frequent refills on your favorite beverage. Furthermore, they tend to have more time to talk to you—after all, that is part of their job. Not only are bartenders helpful in making food, wine, beer, and dessert recommendations, but they are also a wealth of information regarding best places to visit in the area—especially if you’re interested in non-touristy or off-the-beaten-path adventures. Such was the case while we were visiting the Charlottesville, VA area.

Sedona Taphouse was ranked number 19 out of 339 restaurants reviewed in Charlottesville, VA on Trip Advisor, one of our go-to websites. What especially appealed to me was the fact that it appeared to offer an unbelievable number of gluten-free dishes—which is a huge plus for me as I have celiac disease and cannot consume wheat products. According to Trip Advisor, not only did Sedona Taphouse offer copious, exclusively gluten-free dishes, but also a variety of menu items coded, “gfo,” meaning, a gluten-free variation of that dish can be prepared. Furthermore, the menu also featured dishes deemed, “heart healthier.” What’s more, we later learned from bartenders, Ryan and Danielle, the kitchen would gladly modify any dish to our taste-preference. Additionally, a visiting manager, Peter, further elaborated that each location (I counted six on their web site.), creates unique menu offerings based upon local availability of ingredients.

Walking into this Charlottesville location of Sedona Taphouse, the ambiance was warm and welcoming with earthy greens, wood, and stone surrounding the diners. The bar area was quite large, and we were able to find two seats together without waiting (another plus for sitting at a bar—no wait time). One of the biggest eye-catchers of the restaurant was the extensive line of beer taps as well as chalkboard and TV screens listing the bottled craft beers alongside reviews. In fact, we happened to meet one diner from, of all places, Columbus, OH, taking pictures of the beer taps, boards, and screens because as he stated, “My buddies back home won’t believe me when I tell them, and I want proof!”

Once seated, we met Ryan, our main bartender/waiter, for the evening.   As we chatted with Ryan, a young man preparing to enter chiropractic school, he handed us the menu. I had already viewed parts of the menu on-line; however, taking in the extensive list of gluten-free and gluten-free option dishes—including appetizers, salads, pastas, sides, wood grilled meat-based entrees, and various seafood dishes (hello, crab cakes)—well, I was stunned. Adding icing to the cake, literally and figuratively, was a gluten-free, flourless chocolate cake! (Oh, yes, you know I had my eye on that one immediately!) Needless to say, Ryan seemed accustomed to diners who experience difficulty deciding on the perfect meal. Furthermore, he was quite knowledgeable about the various dishes and patiently answered our questions.

Ryan, our waiter for the evening, hard at work pouring a beer for a customer.

We happened to be visiting Sedona Taphouse on a Wednesday evening. We already knew it was their happy hour; which meant all appetizers were 50% off as well as several drink specials. What we did not realize was that it was “Wine-down Wednesday.” This special included a wine tasting of two featured wines near the entrance of the restaurant, discounted wine by the glass, as well as 50% off all bottled wines.

Sedona’s Happy Hour Specials

Ultimately, we ended up beginning dinner with an appetizer of Chicken and Black Bean Tostada. Made with a scrumptious combination of tortillas, cheddar cheese, fresh pico, jalapenos, black bean salsa, cilantro, and sour cream, this was truly the perfect appetizer size for sharing—just enough to nosh and enjoy without filling up the stomach. For dinner, I chose another succulent appetizer, Spicy Thai shrimp served with fresh green beans and Napa cabbage, sautéed in a savory Thai sauce. Beside me, John enjoyed the Australian ‘Kobe Beef’ Sliders. These mini-sandwiches were made with Wagyu beef, Vermont Cheddar, house made sauce, and caramelized onions. They were served with a side of house made blue potato chips that they call, “blues.” Needless to say, John and I were in food heaven. And, yes, I did order that gluten-free Chocolate Decadence cake (I could only eat a small portion; it was that rich, and saved the rest for the next night.); whereas, John ordered the Salted Caramel Cheesecake—which he thoroughly enjoyed!

Needless to say, our experience was so positive at Sedona Taphouse, the menu was exceedingly extensive, and the service was outstandingly personal, that we returned the following night. Just as the night before, we returned during happy hour for food and drink discounts, and the place was packed! Fortunately for us, Ryan, was working again, and he quickly cleared two seats in order for us to join him at the bar.

Like a broken record, John and I split the same Tostado appetizer—it was that yummy. Then, after consulting with Ryan over various food choices—it was still as challenging a choice as the first night—I decided to try the Wood-grilled Salmon Asparagus Salad. This salad was filled with organic greens, asparagus, feta, walnuts, tomatoes, dried cranberries, and a house made lemon balsamic vinaigrette. Talk about delicious—even John, who claims not to like salmon, tasted my salad and was surprised by how much he like it! Meanwhile, John ordered the Prime Rib Sandwich made with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion, Fontana cheese, and horseradish sauce on an artisan roll. It was served with those tasty, salty, and perfectly crisp blue chips. John loved every delectable morsel.

Therefore, if you are ever in the Charlottesville, VA area, I highly recommend the Sedona Taphouse. We were treated to personal service, a kitchen open to customer modification of dishes, unbelievably scrumptious foods, and an extensive selection for those in need of gluten-free, heart-healthy, and/or other specific dietary needs. Plus, for those who enjoy “adult beverages”, the beer, wine, and drink varieties are wide-ranging. And, let’s not forget, this memorable dining venue serves up gluten-free Chocolate Decadence Cake!

There were two cases of beer on either side of the tap–all with different types of craft beer and ciders.




Wait for me

Wait for me, Sweetheart.

I am here to pick you up.

There, there, dry your eyes now;

My dear, baby girl.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

I’ll be back after work.

There, there, dry your eyes now.

Daycare will be fun.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

I can see you’re hurt.

There, there, let me hold you for a while;

The cast won’t be forever.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

I am trying to catch up with you.

There, there, something must be in my eyes.

I can see you’re eager to start school.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

It was night, and I was asleep.

There, there, close your eyes now.

It was only a bad dream.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

I know life isn’t fair.

There, there, it’ll get better;

Those boys won’t always be mean.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

The supply list is long.

There, there, we will find it all;

Middle school locker will certainly be full!


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

It will be fun, you’ll see.

There, there, hold your head high; and

Sashay your way across that  dance floor.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

No, really, I’m fine; just an allergy flare up.

There, there, your friends are waiting.

First day of high school just begun.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

How many dresses must be tried?

There, there, you’ll find the perfect one.

Dazzling as you take his arm for prom.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

Oh, you know, my watery eyes.

There, there, your speech made me proud.

Golden cap and gown of graduation sounds.


Wait for me, Sweetheart.

No, really, wait.

There, there, one more hug,

Before I must walk away.


Waiting for you, Sweetheart.

I know you must soar solo.

There, there, the world is at your hands.

We’ll be right here, cheering on your journey!

Dedicated to my daughter, Madelyn Clarice Hill

May the stars ever twinkle;

May the sun ever shine.

May your mind be ever open, but

May your feet be firmly planted.

May your soul be strong, and

May your heart be full of love.


Morning Crashes

Morning Crashes

Rising, rioting, reveling

Indigo first, pales slowly

Vivid cantaloupe and blood orange

Light emerges victorious

Splashing, sparkling, spooling

Gently caressing the shore

Calm after the storm’s

Angry, hungry face

Ebbing, emerging, emanating

Brilliant white light reflecting

Moving liquid glass

Tide returns to harmony

Darting, diving, drifting

Ducks play to and fro

Stormy or silky

Neither detract from the swim


Swinging, swaying, swiveling

Blades of jade glistening

Petals of plum shimmering

Wet kissings of last night’s rain

Calling, chirping, crooning

Flights of dance

Chirrups from the branch

Twitters of early dawn

Crashing, colliding, clattering

Resonance in my head

Battle to breathe calmly

Be like the sea


Imbuing, imparting, infusing

Sweetly aromatic space

Heady, rich perfume

Inhale deeply

Stretching, seeking, searching

Arms outstretched for the firmament

Cosmically small; still

I will try again


















Let’s have a cup of coffee

My cousin, David’s, wife, Shannon, has an excellent blog entitled, “Glimpses of Heaven.”  Here is an article from her site that resonated with me.  It was her simple coffee/God metaphor that knocked my creative socks off!   Enjoy and check out her site!

Source: Let’s have a cup of coffee

Just like the daily cup of coffee boosts your morning, time spent in daily communion with God is just as uplifting!