Sudden Lunenburg Love Syndrome

Stole this heading from my new-found cousin (about 9 generations back), Charlie. He lives in Florida most of the year, but he and his wife, Linda, have a beautiful home  in Lunenburg, too, and we spent time exploring our mutual Langille ancestry over the past few weeks. Sadly, my month was over today, and it’s back to reality. Not that doing research isn’t “work”, but Lunenburg is just so incredibly beautiful, and such a welcoming and artistic town, that it was a most pleasant place to do that work. A highlight for me was meeting with the “Gallows Hill Writers”, a lovely group of writers (my landlord for the month, Gill Osmond, is part of this group) – we had tea at the art gallery of Joseph and Tela Purcell – their work is incredible! And if Tela is there, she’ll welcome you with open arms:)

Purcell Art Gallery

Purcell Art Gallery

I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do – now it’s a matter of sitting down and figuring out how the story might come together, blending characters from 2014 with people in 1753, a challenge for sure. I took loads of pictures and here are a few that capture the essence of my month exploring the area. So long, lovely Lunenburg – I’ll be back!

Hearth, as it has been since 1805 in this authentic Cape

Hearth, as it has been since 1805 in this authentic Cape

Random mysterious cottage in the woods ...

Random mysterious cottage in the woods …

Sigh ...

Sigh …

IMG_4122

So easy to see why people from around the world fall in love with this town and end up becoming seasonal Lunenburgers.

So easy to see why people from around the world fall in love with this town and end up becoming seasonal Lunenburgers.

The Anglican Church (as featured in "Simon Birch" the movie inspired by John Irving's "A Prayer for Owen Meany"  - beautifully restored after being burned on Halloween in 2001, I believe).

The Anglican Church (as featured in “Simon Birch” the movie inspired by John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany” – beautifully restored after being burned on Halloween in 2001, I believe).

IMG_4159

Access Copyright Foundation = Opportunities for Writers

http://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogspot.ca/2013/07/the-power-of-harmony.html Review from a site dedicated to reviewing books for young readers.

Thanks to a grant from the Access Copyright Foundation, I’ll be living in old town Lunenburg for the month of August and researching the arrival of the first Lunenburg settlers (among them, my French Huguenot ancestors from Montbeliard) in the 1750s. I’ve received support from ACF one time before when they gave me a grant to attend the Carver/Stinson writing retreat in Port Joli. Grants are hard to come by, and I’m feeling lucky to have their support for researching this project.

300px-SackofLunenburgByAJWrightNSARMno1979-147no64

My Menegaux (Mingo) family arrived in Nova Scotia originally in 1752, but as far as I can tell, they then moved to Philadelphia for a few decades before returning in the very early 1800s and settling in the River John area. I have a clay jug that came to Canada with those original settlers, and I’ve always wanted to write a novel, maybe inspired by that jug, somehow connecting a kid today with those original ancestors. I’m planning to dig deep, visit all the local museums, and hope that somebody will introduce me to an expert in the area of the “Foreign Protestants”, as they came to be known.  I’m so curious to see what random bits and pieces I’ll stumble upon that will spark my interest and ignite the story.  It won’t be the story of my actual relatives, but rather of the original inhabitants of Lunenburg, many of whom still have descendants living in the Lunenburg area. Wish me luck!

Do you have a story you’ve always wanted to write?

montbel1