by Denise Davies
I live in Antigonish and find that it is the best of 2 worlds. We have all the amenities for comfortable living and yet the advantages of a small town set in a delightful rural setting. I love to show visitors around or give them ideas of what to do and what not to miss. In these days of the Atlantic Bubble and Nova Scotia residents exploring the province for 2020 holidays what would be better than spending a few days in Antigonish where there is something for everyone.
Its best to check with establishments for hours and openings. Remember to wear your mask and keep physical distancing.
Antigonish is known as a hub of the arts. Strolling along Main Street check out the Red Sky Gallery https://www.facebook.com/redskyantigonish/ for wonderful ambiance and a wonderful selection of Nova Scotia art – paintings, sculpture, jewelry. Stop in to the Antigonish People’s Place Library http://www.parl.ns.ca/locations/antigonish.php for their monthly changing art exhibits and find out what is going on in town while you are here. This is a hub of community events and activities for all ages. Local artists are often featured at the Tall and Small Café. Visit the Down to Earth Gallery for indigenous and a wide variety of artists.
The Antigonish Farmers Market is buzzing with arts and crafts, locally made produce, food and entertainment all in the new Farmers Market building on the Arena grounds on Saturdays. The new building opened on the August 1 weekend and it was a delight to see the airy and bright space filled with vendors and their wares. What a wonderful community space. www.antigonishfarmersmarket.ca
Unfortunately most of our summer events are cancelled but there are occasional smaller happenings that you may find.
Outdoors and Recreation
Set in rolling hills Antigonish creates a variety of outdoor activities in town and close by. For kids the splash pad at Columbus Field is popular and the new Skate Board Park is a wonderful new addition. For runners the track at Columbus Field and at St.FX, walking and biking on the Antigonish Landing Trail www.outandaboutns.com/2018/01/31/antigonish-landing /that starts near the Museum.
The Keppoch Mountain www.thekeppoch.ca has over 20Km of maintained trails for all abilities including an accessible gravel nature trail for mountain biking, hiking and children’s’ climbing and play area. Relax in the clubhouse and meet some local outdoor enthusiasts. Bike rentals are available at Highland Bike Shop on Main St but check ahead for availability.
There are several beaches within a 30 min drive. Walk run and swim on the long crescent sandy Pomquet Beach with lifeguards, boardwalks with interpretive nature boards. Look for pebbles and driftwood on Mahoneys Beach often frequented by kayakers.
You can even camp right in town at the end of Main St at Whiddens Campground and have your smores around the campfire.
Take a lovely drive along the Hwy 337 past St. Martha’s Hospital and on past Mahoneys Beach, Jimtown, Cribbons, Ballantyne’s Cove to the Cape George Lighthouse. You will see signs for hiking trails along the route and spectacular views of the Northumberland Shore www.outandaboutns.com/2018/05/23/cape-george-lighthouse
There are several beaches within a 30 min drive. Walk run and swim on the long crescent sandy Pomquet Beach with lifeguards, boardwalks with interpretive nature boards. Look for pebbles and driftwood on Mahoneys Beach often frequented by kayakers. Enjoy a Pomquet day trip www.outandaboutns.com/2015/08/30/pomquet-day-trip
There are many drives from Antigonish – Arisaig, Eastern Shore, Museum of Industry and more for another posting.
Stroll the Main
Enjoy the fine selection of restaurants along Main Street. All have take out, some outdoor patios and indoor with physical distancing in place. There is a new large patio at the Maritime Inn called Mi Patio.
Explore the shopping on Main with trendy boutiques The Plum Tree, Posh Peppermint. Find Nova Scotia souvenirs at Happenstance. Head down to Granny’s Antiques for some lovely antiques, local preserves and sit in the shade. Antigonish Small Town Big Heart www.outandaboutns.com/2016/03/25/antigonish-small-town-big-heart
Hope you enjoy your staycation in Antigonish and surrounding areas. I would enjoy seeing your favourite spots in the comment section below.