It took several hours to drive there, and several hours back. As my dad and I can't drive (at least not safely), my mom had to do all the work. The days are short, and my mom doesn't feel safe driving after dark, so we only had about an hour to visit.
When we arrived in Hantsport, I noticed that every street corner had a bucket full of orange flags. Pedestrians are supposed to wave them as they cross the street, and then drop them in the bucket on the opposite side. Another one of their good ideas, just like how they provide free high-speed wireless internet everywhere within their boundaries.
All of my grandmother's kids were there - Aunt Charlene (and her husband Victor), Uncle Dave, and Dad. My cousins Laura and Martin were there, too. We chatted together for a bit. My grandmother didn't recognize anyone, but she subtly prompted us for clues so she could carry on the conversation. She also has a thick journal that she fills with reminders.
The nursing home that she is in is an old mansion. It was probably built using treasure stolen from American ships during the War of 1812, when Nova Scotian fishing boats got government licenses to go privateering. My grandmother kept asking me where she was; whenever I said "Hantsport", she was comforted, as she recognized the name and place. She was also comforted by the marble fireplace, elaborate windows, and ornate plaster mouldings. "I don't know how I got here, but I must be doing pretty well for myself to have this house". The owners are also incredibly kind and patient with her - and from her behaviour to them, it's apparent that it's not just when visitors are around.
When I visited in September, my grandmother filled in the time by getting me to help her remember the words to "Over the River and Through the Wood". This time, she went through the words of "It's a Long Way to Tipperary". It was good for her use that, as neither of us was quite sure of how they went, and so for a time, we were equals memory-wise.
(pictures from September and December 2014):