Category Archives: Accomodations

Lunenburg

Colorful buildings are perched on the hillside above the picturesque harbour with the Bluenose II and other wooden ships from the 1800s.  Lunenburg is one of Nova Scotia’s most photographed scenes. Your imagination takes you back to when this was a booming port with shipbuilding, fishing and trading.

Lunenburg is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, one of only two urban communities in North America. The multi coloured houses and businesses that line the streets are well-preserved examples of a prosperous and bustling 18th century coastal town.

Explore the town on foot on your own, by horse drawn carriage, or with a guided walking tour. Enjoy the view while you row a dory along the waterfront, or take a sail on the Bluenose II.

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Bluenose II

Bluenose II

The original Bluenose was launched from Lunenburg as a Grand Banks fishing and racing schooner in 1921. The ship became a famous Nova Scotian icon and printed on the Canadian dime. The Bluenose II, replica now has its home port in Lunenburg and during the summer and fall has water tours and sails to different ports.

 

 

Fisheries Museum of Atlantic

Fisheries Museum of Atlantic

The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic has fascinating stories and artifacts. Short films set the scene and helpful guides had stories of days gone by. The museum is set on 3 floors and a great view of the harbour ships and activities. The displays and interactive dioramas make you appreciate the lives and work of fisherman. An excellent gift shop is on the main floor.

 

 

Top Mast Motel

Top Mast Motel

There are many places to stay in the Old Town, but for my choice a perfect spot with a view of the Lunenburg town is the Top Mast Motel. The rooms are comfortable and the room patios overlook the waterfront and the Bluenose Golf Course next door. We enjoyed a lovely evening overlooking the harbour lights. The helpful manager provided a map and directions for things to do in the area and recommendations on places to eat.

 

Blue Rocks fishing shacks

Blue Rocks fishing shacks

Blue Rocks is a must visit – just a 20 minute drive to the east of Lunenburg. It has fascinating geology with folded sedimentary rocks with contrasting bands of blue, grey, brown, black and green are exposed along the tide line in fascinating shapes. A popular kayaking starting point, kayaks are available to rent at the General Store. The village has become a home to many artists.

Directions

Halifax - Lunenburg

Halifax – Lunenburg

  • From Halifax – take Hwy 103 then 3 which is a lovely coastal drive through Chester and Mahone Bay. Both are worth a stop along the way. ( 1 hr 10 min)
  • From Yarmouth take Hwy 103 through Barrington, Lockport and Liverpool.
Yarmouth - Lunenburg

Yarmouth – Lunenburg

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Destination Digby

 

Digby Town dating back to 1783 is on the Fundy Coast of Nova Scotia overlooking the Annapolis Basin. It is famous for its scallop fisheries and the high tides of the Bay of Fundy.

We stayed at the “Come From Away Inn and B&B” right on the shore overlooking the bay. The sunrise in the morning was spectacular and I just had to step out on the balcony of The Crows Nest room to get some wonderful photographs. There was a great view down to the harbour with the scallop ships where the huge difference in high and low tides were plain to see.  At low tide you can watch the herons, egrets and sea birds digging in the mud for a meal. An early morning walk along the boardwalk and the Fisherman’s Wharf was a great way to start the day followed by a delicious full breakfast cooked by the owner, Joe Van Heerden.

Across the street from the B&B is the Admiral Digby Museum where you can find out more about this history of the town. Information plaques and the Visitor Information Centre next store are also along the “Admirals Walk” boardwalk along the waterfront to learn more about the scallop industry and the highlights of the past.

There are several restaurants in the waterfront area. Menus of course have a selection of scallop dishes. My favorite was the scallop skewers at the Shoreline Restaurant next to the Fishermans Wharf. The restaurant has a large gift shop on the street side.  The Dockside and Fundy restaurants have a great view of the harbour.

Digby Neck

An interesting day trip is along Digby Neck a long narrow piece of land and islands which extends south west along the coast. The first stop along Highway 217 was Gulliver’s Cove just to the right at the start of the scenic drive. An easily accessible grassy trail leads along the coast with cliff views and beach. There are other more adventurous trails in the area.

Head back again on Highway 217 for a lovely scenic drive about 30 minutes towards East Ferry which takes cars and passengers to Digby Island. The Petite Passage Whale Watch Café and the small Café on the island shore at Tiverton were not open at that time (June). Be sure to have a picnic lunch with you if it is off season.

A short 10 min drive from the East Ferry takes you to Balancing Rock. The site has a well maintained boardwalk and trail with interpretive signs describing the vegetation and geology of the area. In the late spring skunk cabbage, fiddle heads and bunch berries were all found along the way.   There is a steep but interesting set of steps down to the beach level where you can view the balancing rock. It is well worth the climb. It’s hard to imagine how that huge needle of rock is balanced and continues to stay upright.

Continuing along Digby Island takes you to a Freeport / Westport Ferry which goes to Briar Island, famous for its bird life and whale watching. Accommodations and services are available on Briar Island. We didn’t visit it on this trip but plan to go back.

Activities in Digby include kayak rentals, whale watching, exploring lighthouses and beaches, golf at the Digby Pines.

Digby Annual Events

  • Early August: Scallop Days Festival with a variety of activities for all ages, including scallop shucking contests and a parade. See how scallops are harvested and shucked and learn how to prepare a variety of recipes.
  • Labor Day weekend, September 2-6, 2015: Wharf Rat Rally. The 11th annual multi-day motorcycle rally will host more than 25,000 motorcycles. Hard to imagine how they all fit but this event continues to grow with the glowing support of the town residents.

Getting There

  • From Halifax via Hwy 101 through the Annapolis Valley (2.5 hrs)
  • From Yarmouth and the South Shore via Highway 1 East (1.5 hrs)
  • By ferry from New Brunswick Info and schedule – http://www.ferries.ca/nova-scotia-to-new-brunswick-ferry/schedule/ The ferry service between Digby and Saint John, New Brunswick, on the opposite sides of the Bay of Fundy, has been in operation for over 200 consecutive years.

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Fortress of Louisbourg

7 Fun Things to do in Louisbourg

 

 

There is so much to see and enjoy in Louisbourg plan on staying for 2-3 days if possible. Some of these suggestions are seasonal. Please check the website links for details of hours and specifics.

  1. Fortress of Louisbourg

Of course the Fortress of Louisbourg is the main attraction in Louisbourg. Give yourself at least 4-5 hours. There is so much to explore in the various houses and buildings. Talk to the people in their period costumes. You will hear stories and recounting of events and how people lived in 1744. Take one of their mini tours – check on the website or at the desk for what is available on the day you are there. The rebuilt fortress covers a large area so wear good walking shoes and bring your water bottle. Each season of the year has different types of activities. The “shoulder season” in the fall is a great time to visit with fewer crowds and more chance to ask questions. Parks Canada Website – National Historic Site Fortress of Louisbourg http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/ns/louisbourg/visit.aspx

  1. Hike the Lighthouse Trail

The Louisbourg Lighthouse is the first lighthouse in Canada and the 2nd in all of North America. The trail is in various lengths and winds along the coast with terrific views of cliffs, cormorants, waves and a variety of vegetation and geology. The path is well maintained and just a few ups and downs. There are several hiking trails around Louisbourg https://www.facebook.com/pages/Louisbourg-Lighthouse-Coastal-Trail/573458949340263

  1. Eat Lobster

The Lobster Kettle restaurant in down town Louisbourg serves a whole lobster in a cute presentation. The lobster is delicious and a lovely setting on the deck overlooking the harbour. There is also inside seating if the weather is not great and other choices on the menu. http://www.lobsterkettle.com/

  1. Railroad Museum

The Sydney & Louisburg Railway Museum is on your right just as you are driving into town. Learn more about the relationship of the railway and marine trade and transport in 1895 hauling coal. Train buffs will love this and it brings the era to life through models, photos and artifacts. http://www.novascotiarailwayheritage.com/louisbourg.htm

  1. Louisbourg Playhouse

This performing arts center offers a variety of entertainers, musicians, plays. Check for programme details http://louisbourgplayhouse.ca/

  1. Beach trip

This beach is worth the 25 minute drive from Louisbourg along the Marconi Trail. I was really taken with the beach at Main A Dieu – a network of boardwalks through the seagrass and then a beautiful wide and long sandy beach. http://www.whatsgoinon.ca/cape-breton-beach-bum-adventures-main-a-dieu-beach/#.VCHXaRbP_sk

  1. Historical Dinner – The Beggar’s Banquet

Dine in 18th Century Style with delicious selection of lobster, crab, fish or chicken. This is an experience – not just a dinner. Dining room of Point of View Suites http://www.louisbourgpointofview.com/dining/

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Where to Stay

  • Point of View Suites. Beautiful location right on the coast with a view from the Fortress and across the bay to the Louisbourg Lighthouse. Spacious suites most furnished with a kitchen which makes it easy to stay a while and enjoy the area. http://www.louisbourgpointofview.com/
  • Cranberry Cove Inn. Easy to spot this place with its beautiful cranberry color and heritage house look. http://www.cranberrycoveinn.com
  • RV Park & Campground. On the main street of Louisbourg close to the boardwalk.  http://louisbourg.com/motorhomepark/
  • More Louisbourg accommodations on Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g499217-Louisbourg_Cape_Breton_Island_Nova_Scotia-Vacations.html

More Information (Links)

 

 

 

Grand Pré – Acadian History

 

 

Grand Pre church

Grand Pre church


Grand Pré is situated at the north east end of the Annapolis Valley.  It borders on the Minas Basin and the tidal lands of the Bay of Fundy.  The area was settled in the 1600s by French settlers from Port Royal who reclaimed the lands from the tides and made a fertile land.

Now we see the low meadowland and dikes and on the hills above, vineyards and wineries commanding a view of the area.

The history of Grand Pré is dramatic with the land being fought over by the English and French during the 1700s and the expulsion of the Acadians from their lands in 1755.  The story is well told in the multi-media centre at the  Parks Canada National Historic Site.  The grounds with the sweeping willow trees and wandering stream are peaceful and commemorate the deportation.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Evangeline to bring the story to light and the statue of Evangeline and bust of Longfellow are featured in the garden.

Sunset from Beach Breeze Motel Grand Pre

Sunset from Beach Breeze Motel Grand Pre

The church, built on the site of the 17th century Acadian village (Eglise Souvenir Memorial Church) depicts life in the village and scenes of the deportation.  Be sure to listen to the audio stories from the voices of 2 children.

The path off to the left of the church goes to the blacksmith forge with a lovely view of the dikes and fields below.  You can bike or walk along the dikes.

Just 10 minutes from Grand Pré National Historic Park there is a large and well kept campground and the lovely Beach Breeze Motel.  We stayed here and had a wonderful view of the sunset and sunrise over the vast changing tides of Fundy.

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Directions

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Country Harbour

 

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Country Harbour River

When you hear the name Country Harbour in Nova Scotia you might think you are on the coast with fishing boats and the ocean waves.  However in driving from Monastry on highway 316 you see a sign for Country Harbour and then pass signs for Country Harbour Cross Roads, Country Harbour Mines, Middle Country Harbour, Country Harbour Ferry and still are miles from the ocean.

Country Harbour is a 10 mile long deep inlet from the sea on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.  It is not only beautiful but has an interesting past.

SeaWind Landing comfortable accomdations great dining

A great place to stay and use as an exploration point is the Seawind Landing Country Inn in Charlos Cove.  The 20 acre grounds has interesting paths through the forest or along the shore are great for an evening or early morning stroll.  The food is superb, prepared with loving care from local ingredients by the innkeeper.  There is a choice of comfortable rooms near the shore with the sound of the waves – or rooms with a view to the east or west from your 2nd floor porch.

The Seawind Landing Country Inn is a 30 minute drive from Drum Head at the mouth of Isaacs Harbour and  Country Harbour.  Stop along the way at the lovely Tor Bay Provincial Park and enjoy the boardwalk through the trees and over marshes and mosses.   Seabirds nest on offshore islands – great for birdwatchers.  Continue along Hwy 316 to Isaacs Harbour and take the turn off to the Country Harbour Ferry.  This 12 car cable operated ferry takes you across Country Harbour to continue down along the coast through Port Bickerton towards Halifax on Hwy 211. Even if you decide not to take the ferry it is fun to watch it make the crossing.  Signs are posted at the turnoff informing if the ferry is operating or not.

Empire Loyalist Trail

This part of the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia was the closest part of North America for the early ships from Europe. The long protected harbour was a welcome relief from the open sea.  The discovery of gold in the area was another draw to the area. From the 1600s the area was alive with ship building, forestry, small farming, fishing and gold mining.

Country Harbour was also settled by Loyalists from the King’s Carolina Rangers and the South Carolina Royalists who left Florida in October 1783, landed in Halifax and then the settlers went on to Country Harbour.  The United Empire Loyalist 2.2 KM trail has interpretive signs giving the history of the settlers.

Salsman Park Golden Sunrise

Salsman Provincial Park is located on a small peninsula on the east side of Country Harbour near Middle Country Harbour.  From June to September the park offers campers a quiet setting to relax and enjoy the area.  The camp ground is situated on an island connected by a short causeway giving lovely views of the water and hills.  On an early November morning the sunrise over Country Harbour was memorable with its golden glow and reflections in the calm water.

The nearby Loonsong Cottage Retreat offers workshops and retreats for women on a variety of topics.  Check their website for calendar of events.

Country Harbour River offers fishing and exploring.  The rural farms and cottages enjoy spectacular views in fall with the changing leaf colors.

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