Category Archives: Antigonish

Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Antigonish Staycation

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.

The Arts

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.   

Short drives

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.

Antigonish Gift Shopping – Shop Local

As the cool days close in the warmth of gift-giving is in the air.  This year while you are looking for that special something, consider shopping local.  We have so much bounty available to us from local producers, crafters, artists and local shops. 

Your money goes much farther when you shop local.  Buying a thoughtful gift that is made locally, or something sold in a local shop has a huge benefit in your community.  That money goes back into the community and has a multiplier effect.

Here are a few gift ideas to get you started.

Check out the Antigonish Farmers Market and local gift shops for unique items that can be combined to make a gift basket – or given individually as hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or placed under the tree.  These could include preserves jams and jellies, wine or spirits, cheeses, honey, maple or blueberry syrup, a pottery mug, a wooden cheese board, a pewter opener, a pate’ or cheese knife – you are only limited by your imagination! Steinhart, Peace by Chocolate, Havercort Maple, Cornect Honey and more. Farmers Market, Grannie’s Antiques.

Another themed approach for your gift basket is select self care items – soaps, lotions, bath salts, aromatherapy, lavender sachet, creams and gels and cosmetics.  The Farmers Market, Happenstance, The Posh Peppermint, The Plum Tree are great places to check out as you create your gift basket.  Add your suggestions in the comments.

For the kids in your life – hand made wooden toys are durable and will last to become a family heirloom.  Check out Venluke Hand Crafted Wooden Toys at the Farmers Market. Knitted and crocheted toques, vests, socks, scarfs are great for all ages. Cuddly animals will be a hit for children (my Mom loves them too!).

A Few Photos of designers, producers, crafters and artists in Antigonish

Local galleries and markets offer an array of art to suit all budgets.  Our area is home to gifted artists in all mediums.  Art works range from large paintings in the original, prints matted and framed, photography and gift cards.  You will find sculptures from wood, iron, metalwork, pottery and ceramics.   Red Sky Gallery, Down to Earth Gallery, Granny’s Antiques, Through Rodney’s Eye, Felt Like Painting, Farmers Market.

Peruse the 5c to $1 and Cole’s Books for books by Nova Scotia authors to suit all ages from kids to adults. Enjoy selecting from a range of written and illustrated books that will be a long-held treasure.  We have an amazing number of Antigonish authors – Check the 5c to $1 to find a great selection.

A Gift Certificate for dinner at a local restaurant, or for an overnight getaway to a cozy Inn or a night on the town would make a welcome gift.   Organize tickets to a local production or a gift certificate to buy on a time of their choice to enjoy a local theatre production or musical event.  A gift certificate from a local store, or for an art class or workshop are also possibilities.   To mention just a few – Gabriaus, The Brownstone, The Townhouse, The Bauer Theatre, membership at The Keppoch, SeaWind Landing.  Add your suggestions in the comments.

We have many talented local jewelry designers.  Rings, necklaces, brooches, earrings, from modern abstract designs to Nova Scotia and cultural heritage designs all bring joy to the wearer.  Check the Farmers Market, Happenstance, Posh Peppermint and the Plum Tree.

Traditional crafts such as quilting and fabric art create beautiful treasures for the wall, the table or to cozy up on a bed or as a lap blanket for watching TV.  A quilt can be a gift for any age and treasured forever.  Maybe a sheepskin for a favorite chair.  Farmers Market

Winter favorite gifts for apparel ideas include sweaters, shawls, capes and scarfs, mitts, hats and leg warmers.  Think soft warm and attractive colors.  Maybe a sheepskin for a favorite chair, or sheepskin slippers.  Felted and Fleeced Creative Designs, Brook Ridge Farm,

Find unique and beautiful items for all ages and shop local. Take a stroll around town, visit the Farmers Market, shop online with local producers and hand crafters and artists, and give a gift that has local meaning and local impact to merchants, producers, crafters and artists.

I’m sure you have suggestions for other gifts and shops.  Please feel free to add in the comments.  It wasn’t possible to add every designer, artist and producer or shop.  We have a wealth of possibilities.  Happy Gift Giving and Shop Local!

Denise Davies

A Few Shops and Galleries

A Visit to Steinhart Distillery

The Antigonish Chamber of Commerce organized their monthly networking meeting “Business Connects” with a trip on the Luxury Bus to Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig.

The Luxury Bus is a great way to chat and meet with people as the comfortable padded seating goes around the bus – not in row seats.  Our driver, owner, Gerard MacIsaac was engaging and helpful.  Great way to travel with a group.

Such a beautiful drive along the Northumberland Shore.  A beautiful view of Arisaig from the patio at Steinhart Distillery.  Thomas Steinhart gave us a tour of the operations and an interesting history of developing his business.  It is amazing to see how this business has impacted employment and agriculture.  Wherever possible the ingredients are locally sourced.  Truckloads of rhubarb arrived from multiple farmers to be made into the rhubarb gin. Several of the products have won awards nationally and internationally.

At the bar we ordered from their variety menu of gin, vodka and mixed drinks made to order.  A wonderful way to socialize and network with the Chamber members and guests.   Looking forward to future trips to other businesses in the area.

More Information

Arts Antigonish: Visual Arts

By Denise Davies

Arts and culture in its many forms is a pillar of community life in Antigonish where all ages participate.  The arts are important in continuing to keep up traditions and have enabled young people and established artists to stay in the community rather than moving away.  This small town in northeastern Nova Scotia punches above its weight in the arts. Stroll around town and enjoy the wonderful art scene.

Arts on Main

A stroll along Main Street is a great way to start exploring the visual arts in Antigonish. 

Grab a coffee or fresh locally made baking and lunch specials at the Tall and Small Café, a popular laid-back hangout.  Browse the latest art exhibit from local artists. Exhibits change monthly. https://www.facebook.com/antigonishtown/

As you continue down Main Street, be sure to visit the Red Sky Gallery, the newest Antigonish art gallery.  The curator, Rosemary Curry, will be happy to show you around. When asked about the name “Red Sky Gallery” Rosemary replied “I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t paused and taken a moment to fall in love with a red sky.   I think we all fall for a red sky at some point when it’s just right for us.  And the art we fall in love with is kind of the same. “The gallery is a wonderful space to enjoy local and regional art – photographs, oils and watercolors, pottery, sculpture in contemporary and more.  Featured artists include works by Anna Syperek, a realist printmaker and painter, Linda Johns with her metaphorical paintings and sculptures, and Kath Kornelson Rutherford’s mezzotint works. The open space design and peaceful welcoming atmosphere has made this a not to be missed spot on your art walk.  Upcoming shows include “Home Coming” – with artists from StFX University alumni, and popup shops of fashion and jewelry during the fall.  https://www.facebook.com/Red-Sky-Gallery-239919850108535/

The next stop is the People’s Place – Antigonish Town and County Library.  Opened in 2011 it has become a hub of community life.  Twenty-two local artist works were commissioned in the design including the colorful hanging silk art panels on nature theme in the Bistro area by Anne Camozzi, the large mural of Mi’kmaq children fishing by Alan Syliboy, the tapestry by Murray Gibson in collaboration with the L’Arche community, and many other interior and exterior art works.   Pick up the Artist and Artisan Guide from the PARL website.  The Bistro area has a monthly changing exhibit by local artists.  In July the GoArts Gathering of the Arts is jam packed with art and entertainment.  http://www.parl.ns.ca/locations/antigonish.php

Continue on Main Street to the Down to Earth Art Gallery featuring art by Alan Syliboy, a renowned Mi’kmaq artist, J. Franklin Wright – specializing in marine art.  Kate Brown Georgallas landscapes and etchings are inspired by rural life in Nova Scotia, and her murals are found around town including the mural over the main desk at The People’s Place  http://www.downtoearth.ca/

The Kirk Gallery, on the corner of Church and Main Street displays a changing exhibit by artists and photographers.

Head up to the St Francis Xavier University home to 3 art gallery areas on campus.  The StFX Art Gallery on the 1st floor of Bloomfield Center features a permanent collection and changing exhibits, talks and concerts.  The McNeil Gallery in beautiful Schwartz School of Business displays changing exhibits. The Student Success Gallery in the Angus L. MacDonald Library features the best of student art.  The fall Arts Gala is a special event with live auctions, artists painting and sculpting on site, and a fun social time with artists and art aficionados.   http://www2.mystfx.ca/art-gallery/exhibitions

During the summer a bi-weekly Antigonish Art Fair is held in Chisholm Park. This is a wonderful place to talk to artists with displays of their art work.  Enjoy the music and entertainment, a children’s corner and food trucks with international and local tasty treats. Art classes and workshops are offered at the Art House. http://antigonishartfair.ca/

Subscribe to see following articles on the Performing Arts and Arts organizations in Antigonish

Special Olympics Summer Games – Antigonish 2018

Welcome to the Special Olympics Summer Games 2018

Antigonish is eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Special Olympics athletes, their coaches, supporters and families.

The athletes and coaches will be housed on the St. Francis Xavier (StFX) campus and the majority of the athletic events will also take place on campus except for the softball and golf events.

There has been amazing community support with over one thousand volunteers.   The events, except for the ticketed opening ceremony are open to the public at no charge.  Come and view and cheer on the Special Olympics Athletes who are participating from all over Canada.

Several events have been planned to have the participants experience the hospitality and unique experiences of Antigonish and Nova Scotia.

Find out what’s going on at www.so2018.ca  and you can also follow the events live on Bell Alliant.  Details and links are on the Special Olympics 2018 website.

If you are tweeting and sharing on social media use the hashtag  #so2018

While you are in the area enjoy exploring Antigonish and the surrounding areas.

Here are a few suggestions:

 

Fish and Chips and a Drive? Ballantyne’s Cove

What about an afternoon drive out to Ballantyne’s Cove.  Heading out on Hwy 337N from Antigonish, past the Hospital from the end of Main Street you pass through luscious farmlands with views of the ocean.  Then up hill and down dale with wildflowers along the roadside and occasional views of the Northumberland shore.  Just as you reach Ballantyne’s Cove stop at the lookout for a spectacular view of the cove, St. George’s Bay and Cape George beyond.  You can use the map there to identify some of the places that you see including Cape Breton on the horizon.

Stroll around the marina and look at the Tuna fishing boats and pleasure boats.  Learn about Tuna and Tuna fishing at the Tuna Interpretive Centre.  Find some amazing facts about Tuna that have been caught in the area, the largest was over 1400 pounds.  The Tuna season runs from August through October.  Several tuna sport fishing charters are based here.

Behind the Interpretive Centre take a short walk to a crescent pebble beach perfect for dabbling your toes in the warm waters of St. George’s Bay, sunbathing and beach combing.

Enjoy a feed of Fish and Chips from Fish ‘N Ships.  Or select one of their burgers or an ice cream.

More Information

Antigonish Art on Main – Summer 2018

Stroll along Main Street Antigonish and enjoy the summer art scene.  Antigonish is well known as a hub for the arts.

  • Red Sky Gallery. Visit this newest art gallery for a refreshing exhibit of local and Nova Scotia artists.  Paintings and drawings, pottery, jewelry, sculpture.  320 Main Street.
  • Down to Earth Art Gallery. Featuring art by Alan Syliboy, J. Franklin Wright, Kate Brown Georgallas and more. 240 Main Street.
  • Tall and Small. Great coffee shop with baked goods and lunches. Monthly changing exhibit by artists and non-profit groups. 342-2 Main Street.
  • The People’s Place Antigonish Town and County Library. Monthly changing art exhibits by local artists. Commissioned art work in and outside of the library.  Look for the silk banners in the bistro area, murals and art pieces. 283 Main Street.
  • Antigonish Art Fair. Summer art fair with artists, artisans, food and entertainment every second Friday during the summer.  June 20, July 6, 20, August 3, 17.  Chisholm Park with rain location at the new legions, St. Ninian Street.   6:30 – 9:00 PM
  • Grannies Antiques and Gifts. At the east end of town. Antiques and collectibles. 7 Adam Street.
  • Murals. Look for murals around the town.

 

I Scream for Ice Cream

Where can you find an ice cream in Antigonish? We have lots of choices for enjoying an ice cream on a hot summer day.

  • Goji’s Neighborhood Treatery – 44 James Street
  • Dairy Queen – 155 Church Street
  • Scotsburn Ice Cream – Next to the Sunflower, 194 Main Street
  • Granny’s Antiques and Gifts – 7 Adam Street
  • Arisaig Lighthouse – Arisaig Harbour (out of town)

Add your favorite spot in the comments below

Carol Rivoire at the Old Barn Gallery

Old Barn Gallery – Pomquet

Enjoy 5 galleries of art in a delightful farm setting with seasonal old-fashioned perennial flower gardens. In season the scent of roses fill the air.   The barn built in 1845 has a high vaulted ceiling and displays changing light and shadow on the art and studio.  The original horse stalls are converted to gallery space and Arthur Rivoire’s studio is now a gallery on the upper part of the property.   Views of Pomquet harbour and islands, and the country surroundings are visible from this upper area.

Carol Naveta Rivoire original art works and other noted artists are tastefully displayed in galleries inviting you to browse and soak in the environment.  Galleries include antiques and hand-crafted items such as rag rugs which were a home staple of the past.

The gallery is situated on the 300 acre Beaver Dam Farm, just 10 minutes from Antigonish. Chat with Carol Rivoire, artist/owner and founder of the Old Barn Gallery & Decor at Beaver Dam Farm.  She is a passionate abstract artist and collector.

It is a true experience to visit the Old Barn Gallery and the art is affordable.

During the summer there will be artist workshops.  Check the Facebook page for details.

Old Barn Gallery 71 Melanson Road, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G 2L4  (Pomquet area)

 

Cape George Lighthouse

A beautiful 35 minute (53Km) drive from Antigonish will take you to Cape George Lighthouse overlooking St. George’s Bay.   Highway 337 winds through rolling agricultural lands and along the coast.  Scenic views abound and this drive is sometimes called the “Mini Cape”  or the “Mini Cabot Trail” and is part of the Sunrise Trail.

On a sunny day, enjoy views of Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island in the distance.  Perhaps you will see an eagle soaring above or below you and sea birds skimming along the ocean below the cliffs.

Imagine what it was like back in the day as the lighthouse keeper with his family living up here with his wife and children in all seasons.

The original lighthouse was built in 1861.  The iconic white and red lighthouse style is similar to what you would see at Peggy’s Cove.  The current lighthouse is the 3rd on this spot.

Nearby is a trailhead for Cape George Heritage Trail system.