WHO: Mary, 62, and Harry Drake, 60, of Bedford
WHERE: Newfoundland, Canada
WHEN: A week in June
WHY: "The trip was genealogy based," Mary said. "My mother and two sisters were born in St. John's, Newfoundland, and they always called it home."
ROOTS REVIVAL: "The research is very time-consuming, so I hired someone to do it," said Mary. "We were given all the addresses of where my mother had lived. Also, I had a cousin Fred [Smeaton] in Newfoundland I'd never met. He's 81 and remembers my sisters. They were 7 and 8 when they left; they're in their 70s now. Fred and I started e-mailing back and forth." Mary's sisters live in Montreal, where she was born and raised.
EUREKA: "I had two very old pictures," Mary said. "One was a grave of my grandfather. And we actually found the grave. It was a large cemetery, but my grandfather was a concrete block maker and had a little concrete fence around the grave. My grandmother, grandfather, uncle, and aunt were buried there." "We also had a photo of the place where her mother's father, the concrete block maker, had a little shop," Harry said. "We went back and forth on the street until we found it. We even found the original sign with his name on it: 'David Whittle, concrete block maker.' "
OUT AND ABOUT: "In St. John's, we stayed at a bed-and-breakfast, the Abba Inn. I'd been so intent on the genealogy piece of it that I didn't know a lot about St. John's. I thought, 'Wow,' when I got there," Mary said. "The whole city is on a hill, and as soon as we got out of the car, we both noticed how clean the air was."
TAKING A GANDER: They drove five hours to Gander, cousin
NEWFOUNDLAND, FOUND: "I would love to go back," Mary said. "I went for a specific reason and I didn't know just how much was there."