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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Take the White Glove Tour at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum

It’s a good omen when you spot a bald eagle and a fox within 10 minutes of leaving your hotel after breakfast. An hour later we were paddling the placid waters of St. Ann’s Bay on a guided half-day tour with North River Kayak. We would spot more bald eagles, one distinctive white head peering out from her massive bowl-shaped nest high up the hillside. We stopped for banana bread and chocolate chai, so delicious that owner Angelo Spinazola now sells it as a parting gift. Then we walked to a small waterfall before making the paddle back. 
 
That afternoon, I returned to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in the lakeside resort town of Baddeck. Graham Bell and his wife Mabel, a former student of his at Boston School for the Deaf, first built their summer home in Baddeck in 1886, a decade after he stated those first fateful words on the telephone to his assistant, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” In 1955, Graham Bell’s two daughters donated thousands of original artifacts to the museum, including all of the models that consumed him during his lifetime. There’s a bicycle that he hoped one could pedal on water, his invention of the gramophone, and a hydrofoil he helped build later in life, called HD-4, which reached a speed of 70 miles per hour on water, a record that wouldn’t be broken for another decade. The museum is now offering a “White Glove” tour where you put on gloves and enter a backroom. A guide lets you see and touch his walking cane (rather long since he stood 6 ‘4”), suit jackets, and notebooks where he would scribble any thoughts during the day. He was a meticulous note taker and you’ll find stacks of books lined up detailing all of his studies. I also enjoyed the early photo of his brothers, making silly faces. Unfortunately they both died of TB at an early age. It’s the reason Bell’s family left Scotland to move to Canada. Bell’s 37-room estate across the lake is still used by his descendants. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/30/16 at 04:30 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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