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We often hear stories of out-migration from Nova Scotia. Here are stories of people who have chosen to come and live in Nova Scotia.
Learn the stories of John Graham-Pole, Kulbir Singh, Carol Rivoire, Joe Van Heerden and Thomas Steinhart who have “come by choice” to Nova Scotia.
Joe Van Heerden
Come by Choice
All of these individuals are living in small communities in Nova Scotia. They see opportunities in our natural resources, the land,space, location and people. They have come by choice, and they bring new skills, talents, experiences and ideas and a fresh eye to what we have here. They often see potential in resources that we take for granted.
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.
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.
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)