The rain thundered down as we arrived at The Bottle Houses in Cap-Egmont. When it relented to a murmur we entered the gift shop and secured our admission to a day of non-returnable fun. Umbrellas framed our first impression as we entered the gardens. The gusting wind propelled us forward as we laughed and splashed past flowers of all shapes and sizes.
We followed the fragrant path to its end at the Six-Gabled House. After seeing a postcard of a bottle house in British Columbia, Édouard Arsenault in 1980 gathered over 12,000 bottles from friends, community businesses and even the local dump to create this symphony of green, clear, and blue glass. Pennies and messages filtered the light streaming through the bottle-lined walls, and our eyes scanned vessels of all shapes and vintages.
Icelandic poppies, dahlias, and stargazer lilies next led us to the Chapel of 10,000 Bottles. The light filling the chapel looked like multi-colored stars, bathing the bottle pews and altar in a warm glow. Drink bottles mingled with church votive holders, burned down to the wick and yet still blazing brightly in the overcast light.
The path then wound through a canopy of shade and soon opened in a lush lawn punctuated with beds of love lies bleeding and echinacea. A replica lighthouse rose from the southern edge of the property, watching the sea as Édouard did all those years as the last resident keeper of the Cap-Egmont lighthouse two kilometers downshore.
We retraced our steps to cross over fire-orange goldfish in a flower ringed pond. We soon entered the Tavern, filled with bottles of special interest to Édouard and his visitors. Like all the bottles houses, the Tavern slowly shifted in the spring thaw each year and was re-constructed in the 1990’s.
We continued retreating from the sea to reach the Acadian Vegetable Garden. Planted in the traditional Acadian way, the root vegetables in the south side yielded to those with savory leaves and stems until fruiting beans and peas filled out the north end. Our umbrellas swept the tops of thyme and chives ringing the garden border as we came full circle back to the entrance. The giant bottle beacon announced the end of our trip just as it had the beginning. The rain, now hardly a whisper, slowly rolled down the smooth surface, refreshing a magnificent recycled dream.
****Disclaimer: No bottles were actually bashed in the making of this post.****