Category Archives: Eastern Shore

Off the Beaten Track on the Eastern Shore

Off the Beaten Track on the Eastern Shore

In October I was excited to go with a group of travel writers to visit the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.

SeaWind Landing Country Inn is certainly off the beaten track but well worth making this a destination.  The Inn is located in Charlos Cove on the Eastern Shore with ocean views and fresh air off the Atlantic. I had a cozy gable room on 2nd floor with an ocean view – a great spot to catch the spectacular sunrise next morning.  If you enjoy fine dining you are in for a gourmet experience.  Local seafood and produce are the star attractions.   The recipes are simply done to highlight the best flavor and presentation.  The dining room view of the ocean and the warm colors and ambiance makes this a treat for the senses. My breakfast favorite is the blueberry French toast.  There are several paths and trails leading down to the ocean and along the shore. Great for exploring.  The lounge area in the main building is comfortable for a group mix and mingle area with piano and drinks or to browse through the books and enjoy a drink from the well stocked bar.   There is also a small gift shop with local items.  The innkeepers, Dave and Anne Marie de Jongh are hospitable and knowledgeable of the area with suggestions on what to see and do based on your time and interests.

Our group went out on the fishing boat, “Get Kraken”, with Captain Damian  who expertly navigated us through the Sugar Islands, just off the coast – craggy rocky islands, wind swept trees, waves crashing over shoals and some sheltered sandy bays.  We sighted some playful seals.   The Berry Head Lighthouse and setting sun gave us some spectacular vistas while we enjoyed delicious snacks of Smoked Herring Fish Cakes and Digby Scallops prepared in the galley by Dave de Jongh, innkeeper of SeaWind Landing. A perfect way to enjoy in the tangy salt air along with a glass of wine.

For long sandy secluded beaches and interesting rock formations head to Tor Bay, a 15 minute drive from SeaWind Landing through Larry’s River.   If you are craving solitude and peace this is a great spot to take in the sea air.  Boardwalks, dunes, sea grasses and a variety of vegetation make for interesting nature exploration.

Jude Avery, a local historian gave us some insight to the history of the Acadian settlements along the Eastern Shore.  His recent book “The Forgotten Acadiens … a story of discovery” describes how the Acadiens came to settle in the Larry’s River area and how they have survived over the centuries.  The commemorative park “Parc de Nos Ancestres” in Larry’s River and Place Savalette National Historic Site, in Port Felix, commemorate this historic Acadien region.  Parc de Nos Ancestres has an anchor shaped set of stones painted with the history of the Acadiens in this region.

A visit to Guysborough community feels like a step back into the past.  The historical homes and churches show the prosperity of a past era when ship building and industry were an important part of this thriving town.   Now you can learn about this at the town museum which is set in the Old Court House.  The waterfront marina is usually busy in the summer but had suffered damage from the latest hurricane Dorian.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch at “Days Gone By” with lobster rolls, fish cakes and tempting fresh bakery deserts.

There is lots to see and do on the Eastern Shore – nature, hiking, history and culture – and don’t forget the food and drink!  On my next visit I would like to stay several days to be able to explore more of the area. 

Note: Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores (DEANS) organized and sponsored this FAM Tour.  My lodging, activities, and food were compensated.

MORE INFORMATION

Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores Nova Scotia

Eastern and Northumberland Shores

DEANS press release, Feb 23, 2016

Two videos featuring the Northumberland and Eastern Shores have recently been launched by the regional tourism association, Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores (DEANS) with the goal to promote the beauty and character of the region to visitors. The Northumberland Shore clip features stunning beaches, cobalt blue waters and golden shores as well as a rich Scottish and industrial history along with lush meadows and scenic waterways, while the Eastern Shore video highlights breathtaking panoramic coastal shots, outdoor adventure, unique event and heritage experiences.

The smiling faces in the videos are actual residents of the two shores who are proud to be ambassadors for their communities and province and pleased to showcase diverse tourism experiences and amenities awaiting visitors. They each offer a warm invitation to uncover the unspoiled beauty of rural Nova Scotia and a chance to meet and connect with those who love life in this part of the world.

“Nova Scotia is known around the world for its beautiful world class icons but there is even more for visitors to uncover. Rural communities such as those along our two shores offer memorable authentic experiences that speak to our Nova Scotia way of life,” says Cindy MacKinnon, DEANS Managing Director. “In this region you will find unspoiled shorelines, warm waters and night skies that are filled with stars. We have a pristine beauty that others want to not only see, but experience. There are also many outdoor activities for those visitors who want soft adventure and to explore and truly understand life by the sea as well as the chance to savour the stories, music and cuisine that are part of our coastal communities and charming, historic towns. These two shores have a lot to offer-opportunities to experience the natural beauty of miles of coastline, rivers and lakes as well as stirring music and inspiring arts and culture. There are quality products and experiences being offered along both shores by tourism industry leaders and our communities that include outdoor exploration, amazing bounty harvested from both land and sea, opportunities to take a step back in time, uplifting fun filled festivals and delectable cuisine from innovative chefs as well as home spun cooking/baking in our restaurants and accommodations from recipes that have stood the test of time, from generation to generation.

Visit DEANS Facebook Pages

Karen Wenaus, Chair of DEANS and Wes Surrett, Chair of the DEANS Marketing Committee, are also property managers of two destination accommodations on each of the shores, and both agree that many visitors to Nova Scotia appreciate the opportunity to get off the beaten path. They explain that the tourists they meet are eager to make new discoveries at their own pace and also want to meet locals who are so interesting, friendly, genuine and talented.

“There is something to be said for a change in pace, picturesque vistas, rugged shorelines and the serenity and tranquility of our shores,” says Wenaus. “It is easy for us to take sandy beaches and wide open spaces for granted but for many, it is chance to nourish the soul,” adds Surrett.

The videos were produced by Proptonics, a Nova Scotia video production company that is dedicated to servicing corporate, commercial and small businesses.

 

Sherbrook VIllage – Step Back in Time

 

Sherbrook Village stretches along the St. Mary’s River, a peaceful cool spot to get away from it all and relax under a shady tree and watch the river currents.   Of course in the 1860s the river was a hub of activity with gold, timber and tall ships. The village recreates life of the times with people in costume that tell the stories of the time.   The back yard gardens have pumpkins and cottage crops, cows and geese, and the washing up on the line in good Nova Scotia tradition. It is fascinating to visit the different houses and businesses, sit in the one room school house and explore inside and out.

A couple of years ago I enjoyed a 3 day Photography Camp at Sherbrook Village with Wally Hayes. It was a great way to explore the village, stay and do night shoots, explore the water mill and short hike to the lake and a couple of trips to the beach and headlands. This is a wonderful way to have a learning vacation in a unique environment. Our group learned photography tips and had the opportunity to practice and share our photos.

Other learning opportunities at the village include black smithing, sewing and hands on history.

There is a working forge with the blacksmith, a telephone exchange, a print shop all in working condition. See carding, spinning and weaving and learn how these were part of daily life. Just a short walk from the main village is the water wheel and saw mill. Here’s an example of the fun activities that are posted on the Sherbrook Village Facebook page:

Sawmill & Goldmine Frolic at The Old Mill Trail

Join us for excitement and a few laughs around the mill for our friendly woodsmen’s competition. Competitions include hatchet throw, kettle boil, double buck saw and spike drive. Competitions are free and open to everyone!

Members of the Heritage Goldenville Society will show visitors how to pan for gold (the real thing, not fool’s gold!).

There’ll be samples of our “good as gold” recipes for baked beans and brown bread.

The What Cheer Tea Room is open daily with home cooked meals. The pies are real old time pies – rhubarb, apple, blueberry, strawberry depending on what’s in season.

How to get there

  • From Antigonish via Hwy 7 (50 min)
  • From Halifax via NS-102, Trans-Canada Hwy/NS-104 E and NS-347 S  (2 hrs 41 min)
  • From Halifax via Trunk 7 shore route  (2 hrs 56 min)

More Information:

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.

Watch a short video

For more information:

 Click Here to Download Country Harbour article and more information