Category Archives: Northumberland Shore

Sunrise Trail Loop Northumberland Shore

Enjoy a scenic drive with ocean views, rolling hills, and stops at harbours a distillery and cheese maker.  Our road trip today goes in a loop from Antigonish and along the Northumberland Shore.

Start out in Antigonish on Hawthorne Street, to Hwy 245 and at Malignant Cove turn left on Hwy 245 W along the Sunrise Trail.  You are now traveling along the ruggedly beautiful Northumberland coast with vistas of the ocean and rural countryside.

Arisaig

Arisaig

At Arisaig turn right at the church down to the busy harbour.  The tangy salty sea air and the sound of the gulls and waves surround you while you explore the wharf and views from the Lighthouse.  You may see fishermen preparing to go out or on their return with lobsters in the May / June season.The beach at low tide is great for tide pooling and beach combing. Learn more about lobsters at The Lobster Interpretive Centre (July 1- Aug 31). The Dockside Tea Room has lunch pastries and chowder. In the summer season the Lighthouse Canteen will be open for ice cream and souvenirs.

Next stop is the Arisaig Provincial Park.  Explore the green forest trails with the clean scents of pine and spruce.  The interpretive centre describes the geology and history of the area and has a great view of Arisaig Harbour and the lighthouse.  Take the stairs down to the beach and look for fossils dating back millions of years.  At low tide you can walk along the beach to the harbour but be careful to check the tide times.

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Drop in to Steinhart Distillery and learn how local ingredients such as maple and cranberry are used to make fine vodka.  The Steinhart Gin in the blue designer bottle is also available with Haskap. Try this unique flavour.  The Distillery is open Monday to Friday 10-6, Saturday and Sunday till noon – 6 till Thanksgiving (2016). The view from Steinharts is spectacular with the Arisaig Harbour and lighthouse.  Check out also the chalets with their deck overlooking the coast.

The Red Roof Bed & Breakfast at McArras Brook is a great family place to visit or stay. This solar powered B&B welcomes visitors to drop in and meet the alpacas and donkeys, and to see the apple orchard and home garden.  Josie Dessouroux cards, spins, knits and weaves with the Alpaca fleece and is happy to show you the process from the raw fibre to the finished items that she has for sale.  The property has beautiful ocean views and a private beach with fossils.

Knoydart Farm is one of only 2 organic dairy farms in Nova Scotia. Family owned by Frazer Hunter, they produce organic Gloucester and Caerphilly cheeses in a variety of flavors including peppercorn, garlic, dill, cumin, chili, smoked, caraway and cranberry and Cheddar.  Call ahead to visit 902-867-1305

During your road trip keep an eye out and stop at several Historical Kiosks found in Lismore, Merigomish and Barneys River Station.  The plaques have interesting maps, tidbits on the area and historical photographs that will take you back to when these were thriving communities.

After Ponds, turn right to Big Island.  The narrow 2KM causeway connects Big Island to the mainland. Walk across the sandy dunes to the long sandy and pebble beach – perfect for beach combing and paddling.   Continuing on to the main island you pass through rolling green hills, with views across the inlet, wooded areas and even the occasional deer.

Back on Hwy 245 continue to Merigomish, a picturesque stop with the river, historical plaques and sign for Sunday tea on the old schoolhouse.

At Sutherlands River turn left on HWY 4 for a more scenic drive through rural country, or get on the HWY 104.

At Barneys River Station the one room school house was originally built in 1802.  These one room schools were phased out in the 1970s.   Read the Historical plaques to find out how Marshy Hope got its name and maps and business listings from the 1800s.

Merge on 104E after James River and take Exit 31 to return to Antigonish to finish the loop drive.

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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.

 

Pomquet Day Trip

 

This article was originally published in The Casket Exploring Pomquet. The Casket June 18, 2015 http://www.thecasket.ca/archives/45730. This edition contains more photos and maps.

Relax or swim on a sandy beach, browse fashions, enjoy an Acadian lunch and hike through woodsy trails all in beautiful rural Pomquet, Nova Scotia. Just 12 minutes from Antigonish turn off on the Taylors Road exit from Hwy 104 to Pomquet and within minutes you are enjoying a country road with views of Pomquet harbour, rolling green hills and bird song.

The tiny Acadian community of Pomquet, overlooks the Northumberland Shore between Monk’s Head and Pomquet Harbour. This rich area of bay, harbours, islands and forest was for centuries the home of the Mi’kmaq and then settled by French settlers in the late 1700s.

Pomquet map

Pomquet map

From Taylors Road, take the left turn to L’Église Ste. Croix (Holy Cross Church) built in 1863. Genealogy buffs will find gravestones from the 1800s and the Pomquet Museum located just north of the church with historical photographs and genealogical information (Call 902-386-2679).

Continue on and turn right to Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, a peaceful long (3 KM) sandy stretch of beach on the Northumberland Shore. This is one of the best swimming beaches in the area and during the summer is supervised by lifeguards. Boardwalks lead up to the beach through the dunes and sea grasses. Enjoy a beach walk with the fresh salty air and the gulls above and a view of Cape Breton on a clear day, or beach comb for shells, stones and drift wood. Some areas are protected for the Piping Plover nesting sites. Facilities include change houses and washrooms.

Follow the wooden boardwalk trails from the beach parking lot with interpretive signs on the history, geology, plants and animals of this area. The grasses and plants found on the sand dunes are well adapted to the salt environment. The boardwalk protects the undergrowth and provides an easy view of blueberries, cranberries, beach mosses and grasses.

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Back on Monks Head road – continue on to Chez DesLauriers situated on a hill above Monk’s Bay, with a spectacular view of Pomquet Beach and harbour. The heritage home was built in the 1860s. Enjoy a home cooked Acadian lunch on Fridays during the summer. Learn about the geology and history of the area in the Interpretive Centre.

Behind Chez DesLauriers, wander to the top of the hill behind the house and well-marked signs point the way to the Acadian Trail, a 6KM series of loop trails along the meadow cliff, through the forest with mossy and well-kept paths, and along the shore. Bring along your nature guide books to identify mushrooms, mosses, trees and birds. The inland trail weaves through forests of various ages, including 100-150 year old pine trees, and views of Cape Breton Island in the distance.

Retrace your drive to the Taylor Road intersection and continue on to visit The Old Barn Gallery & Boutique to find hand selected one-of-a kind designer fashions, handbags, fun art and antique dishes. You will get lots of decorator ideas and you can enjoy cookies and tea on the patio. The Boutique recently was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Be sure to bring water, snacks or a picnic lunch, sunscreen, bug spray, and your sense of adventure.

Directions

  • Exit Highway 104 on Taylors Road between Exits 35 and 36. 10 minutes from Antigonish, 40 minutes from the Canso Causeway.
  • Or Exit from the 104 Highway on the Upper Pomquet Road across from the St. Andrew’s sign. Closest exit for Melanson Rd and the Old Barn Gallery and Boutique.

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Pomquet Beach

 

 

One of the best swimming beaches in the Antigonish area is Pomquet Beach.

This long sweeping beach (3KM) of sand and pebbles stretches along the Northumberland Shore. It’s a great swimming beach and in the summer and fall the air and water temperatures are almost the same. Lifeguards are posted on a marked stretch of the beach. In the distance on a clear day you can see Cape Breton.

Whether you enjoy swimming or beach walking this beach has lots to explore. Build sand castles, search for shells, and enjoy the bracing sea air. Sometimes the water is calm and flat. Other times you will find a small surf.

Boardwalks lead up to the beach and over the dunes and sea grasses giving a lovely view of the waving sea grasses that help to stabilize the sand dunes. Take the boardwalk trail that explores the different vegetation and history of the area with interpretive signs.   You will see blueberries and cranberries, mosses, a tidal estuary, old and new growth forest. The plants here are adapted to the salt environment. Some areas are protected for the piping plover when they are nesting.

Facilities include changing rooms and toilets. Be sure to bring your own water, sunscreen, snacks and anything to enjoy your day at the beach.

Directions

Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, is located north east of Antigonish off Highway 104 through the village of Pomquet. Driving from Antigonish take the Taylor Road exit off Hwy 104. Turn left at the end of that road on Monks Head Road and follow the signs to the beach. The last section of road Is a gravel surface. Stop at the bridge and you may see herons or other sea birds.

Pomquet Map

Pomquet Map

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Arisaig Collage

Arisaig

A trip to Arisaig is always a great day out. Now that summer is here the beach is inviting and safe for children. The lobster boats are all tied up as the season is over and wonderful to enjoy the peaceful views and the smell of salt-sea air and a fresh breeze.  The water was so calm this day that it was difficult to see the horizon with the sea and sky the same hue.

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The Lobster Interpretive Centre / Tea Room is open with sandwiches, wraps, hot dogs and desserts. Great view of the harbour and learn lots of interesting facts about lobsters. There is an interesting short film to give more of the history and even tips on how to serve and eat a lobster.

Head over to the Lighthouse Café for an ice cream cone and watch the sea birds roosting on the rocks.

There will be lots of fun for all ages at the Arisaig Mid-Summer Festival July 16-19 with food, socials, dancing, kids games, live demonstrations, boat tours, music and more. (http://arisaigns.com/sum-r-fest/ )

There are so many things to see and do in the area. Enjoy the day. See my article in The Casket newspaper on the “Loop Drive Offers Delights from Arisaig to Barney’s River” for a full loop drive.

Arisaig is only 30 minutes from Antigonish via Hawthorne St / HWY 245 on the Northumberland coast.

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View of Arisaig Harbour from Steinhart Distillery

Maple Vodka – Visit Steinhart Distillery, Arisaig

 

The view is spectacular – facing out over the Atlantic on the Northumberland shore with Arisaig lighthouse below you to the right and PEI just visible on the horizon. We visited on an early spring day with ice still on the water but sun shining and green grass starting to show.

Thomas Steinhart, distiller and owner of Steinhart Distillery, welcomed us in. It was fascinating to learn how he came to this part of the world, found an old farm and land and considered business ideas that would be feasible in this beautiful location so that he could settle in Nova Scotia. His father and grandfather both were in the distilling business in Black Forest area of Germany making Schnapps.   Steinhart produces a fine line of Vodka with natural ingredients – local wherever possible.

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I first tasted Steinhart Maple Vodka at a party and was blown away by the smooth flavor and color. This is a delicious drink – just have it over ice. To think this was produced just a few miles from Antigonish. Other vodkas are Cranberry, Blueberry and Organic.

The gleaming brass handmade copper still towers up in light of the panorama window. Huge bags of wheat used to make the daily mash, fruit, herbs and spices used for the flavored vodka are ready at hand. No artificial flavors or chemicals are used.

The bottling and labeling are ingenious and sure to be a real collector’s item and make this a great Nova Scotia gift. The Steinhart brand outer label is a genteel cream and gold, but after purchase you remove that and beautiful art from a Nova Scotia artist appears. Recipes and suggestions for the vodka are on the label backing.

While you are visiting the Distillery enjoy the delights of Arisaig. During the season (June – Oct) visit the Lobster Interpretive Centre, the Lighthouse Café for ice cream, and walk around the harbour to see the fishing boats, enjoy your snack at the picnic tables and enjoy the rocks and waves. Just a mile away along the coast is the Arisaig Provincial Park where you can explore for fossils on the cliffs and take the stairway down to the beach. Interpretive signs guide you through the geology and history of the area.  Take a swim at the beach or explore the tide p ools.

Thomas has built comfortable and well-furnished chalets on the property. Terrific view of the ocean from the large deck.  Great for a place to stay in Arisaig as you explore the area.

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Enjoy an Acadian Lunch in Pomquet

 

 

Pockets of Acadian life are found throughout Nova Scotia. Pomquet is a small village just 20 min from Antigonish and just off the Trans Canada. It has a strong community spirit and beautiful setting.

You can enjoy an authentic Acadian Lunch at Chez DesLauriers in Pomquet village during the summer months. Every week has a different menu which you can find posted on their website. http://www.pomquet.net/en/chezdeslauriers.html

The setting is spectacular with Chez DesLauriers, a white heritage home on Monk’s Head having a view over St. George’s Bay and Pomquet Beach with a view to Cape Breton. Old photographs and antique home items provide the décor in the tea room. There is lively atmosphere from visitors and locals enjoying the food and company.   We enjoyed a great lunch of Fricot or Pate’ – both traditional Acadian dishes that I remember from my childhood.

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Next door the Interpretive Centre describes the history, geology and formation of the area and the people who have lived here and their way of life.   In the area behind the house the Pomquet Acadian Walking Trails are well marked and take you across the grassy cliffs with views of the ocean, wending through the forest, or down along the beach.

In August there are two special Lobster Roll dinners to look forward to.

Antigonish Beaches along Saint George’s Bay

Antigonish is blessed with a variety of beaches within a half hour drive all along the St George’s Bay coastline.  This posting is about the beaches along Highway 337 going north along the coast from Antigonish.  I enjoy hunting for colorful stones and shells, breathing the fresh sea air and beach walks.

The Sunrise Trail

Traveling from the East end of Antigonish you have the beaches and coves along the Sunrise Trail (HWY 337) – Mahoneys Beach, Jimtown, Cribbons, Crystal Cliffs, Balantyne’s Cove and Cape George.   Each of these has its own charm and atmosphere.  As the name “Sunrise Trail” suggests, these beaches are facing to the East and a good place to see the sunrise.    Head out of town on Hwy 337 past the Museum and railway tracks and up past the hospital.

The first beach you come to is Mahoney’s Beach. it’s great for a long walk along the ocean or lagoon side.  I saw 6 blue herons here the other day standing in the still water of the lagoon at sunset.   You will often see paddlers and Kayaks exploring the area – the outlet from Antigonish Harbour is here.  This is a pebble beach with some sand on the lagoon side.   It’s a great place for a beach campfire.

Jim Town Beach is a stretch of sandy beach with Ogden Pond on the inland side.  At low tide you can walk towards Mahoneys Beach.   Watch for the currents at this beach as the fresh water runs out into the ocean at this point.  This is a good beach for watching sea birds, beach combing and beautiful views of the hills and homes surrounding this tiny beach.  Stop and see the tiny white country church along the access road.

Cribbons Point comes next.  This is not a beach but I am including it because during the summer season you will find Boyd’s Seafood Galley with a delicious selection of fish and chips, lobster, calamari, shrimp, scallops and burgers for the non-seafood eater.  Fresh salads and ice cream top off their menu.  The restaurant is perched above the harbour with a good view of the fishing boats and pleasure crafts.  Eat in the gazebo, patio area, inside or take-out and explore the wharf area.  This is only 20 minutes from Antigonish so head here for a great seafood dinner any night of the week.

Ballantyne’s Cove is a working fishing wharf.  The Tuna Interpretive Center is worth exploring and if you are a big game fisherman you would be interested in the tuna charters that head out on angling expeditions.  Just behind the Tuna Center take the path to the beach.

As you travel a bit further up the coast explore the Cape George Lighthouse and trails.  This is the Northern tip of the St. George’s Bay.  No beach here but gorgeous views of the entire Bay and over to Cape Breton Island.  At this point you can retrace your drive to Antigonish or continue on to Arisaig and come back by the land route returning onto Hawthorne Street in Antigonish.

Future posts will explore the beaches on the Northumberland shore towards Arisaig, and another along  Hwy 104 heading towards Cape Breton

Map

Antigonish to Cape George

Be Prepared

Take water, sunscreen, a jacket, hat, snacks, beach shoes.  There is little or no shade on these beaches so take what you need to be comfortable.

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Art Out and About Antigonish

 

 

Antigonish has long been a centre for the arts and artists.  In the past year there have been a lot of new additions to art exhibit spaces and the arts are flourishing.   There are many wonderful galleries and exhibits to explore and enjoy as you stroll along Main Street and then take a drive for more.  See how many you can visit and be sure and add your comments and suggest any others that you find.

Main Street Mural Andrew Murray

Main Street Mural Andrew Murray

Starting from the Post Office end of town and heading East on the right side of the street:

  • ASAP, 319 Main St. (next to the Post Office)  www.asapartcentre.com All of Us Society for Art Presentation, is a newly formed artist-run centre founded by local artists and art supporters.
  • People’s Place Library, 283 Main Street www.parl.ns.ca/peoplesplace/guide Browse the community art in the Bistro area changing monthly.  Permanent exhibits commissioned from local artists are found throughout the building.   July displays the GoArts juried works from 25 artists in a variety of medium.  Free WiFi, friendly staff, great collection of books and bulletin board with local happenings.   Bring in your coffee or lunch to enjoy in the Bistro while you meet or play board games.
  • Bergengren Credit Union, 257 Main St. www.docstoc.com/docs/72284899/THE-GIFT –   Frieze by Fenn Martin “The Gift”- celebrating the journey of the Bergengren through 75 years.
  • McLeod Gallery, 219 Main Street, Kirk Place. www.antigonishphotographersexhibit.com Antigonish Photographers Exhibit.  July and August.  “Scottish Ayres”.  Photography exhibit by APx.
  • Prissy Pig Café and Deli, 20 St. Andrew’s Street (corner of Main St) www.facebook.com/prissypigcafedeli – – Peter Jowett photography exhibit July and August.  Have lunch or a brunch from this great local food restaurant.

Starting from the Post Office end of town and heading East on the left side of the street:

  • The Tall and Small Café, 342 Main St.  The café expanded recently and now has ample seating room and a delicious vegetarian menu.  Changing exhibits of art and photography are displayed along the walls in both rooms.  July Exhibit – Ruth Young.
  • The Made in Nova Scotia Store – 324 Main Street  www.themadeinnovacotiastore.com A treasure trove of hand-made crafts from Nova Scotia.
  • Aphrodite Art and Fashion, 292 Main Streetwww.aphroditeartandfashion.com Enjoy whimsical and elegant selection of art from Atlantic artists in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.  Including works from Wayne Boucher, Ann Manuel and many others.
  • Andrew Murraywww.antigonishculturealive.ca/aca-outstanding-artist-of-the-year-2011 See Andrew’s murals on several of the buildings along Main Street and his interior design of Cameron’s Jewelry.
  • Down to Earth Art Gallery and Fine Framing, 240 Main Street.    www.downtoearth.ca Featuring works by J. Franklin Wright, Alan Syliboy and others.
  • Lyghtesome Gallery, 166 Main Street. www.lyghtesome.ns.ca This gallery has been a mainstay of culture in Antigonish since 1975 and exhibits works from Linda Johns, Anna Syperek, Julia Redgrave and many others. A fine selection of original paintings, sculpture, prints, cards and works of art. The Summer Showcase of Gallery Artists July 6 — Aug 31 – “A Slice of Nova Scotia at its Visual Best”.  New and recent works by gallery artists. Special Feature: “Unheard Music”, Linda Johns’ newest ltd. ed. book

Slideshow of a few of the locations:

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Off Main and out of town:

  • St FX Art Gallery – Bottom floor, Bloomfield Center, St. Francis Xavier University.  The summer exhibit is from the permanent collection.
  • Old Barn Gallery.  Melanson Road, Pomquet (30 minutes east of Antigonish off Highway 104). www.facebook.com/OldBarnGalleryDecor Beautiful display of arts and antiques set in an old barn and surrounded by gorgeous flower gardens.
  • C.A.  MacLean A Matter of Tastes.  3931 Highway 7 (10 minutes from Antigonish) www.amatteroftastes.ca Featuring works by Vicki (V.L.) MacLean

Upcoming Art Events 2012

  • Gathering of the Arts.  GoArts 2012. July 9 – 30. www.antigonishculturealive.ca Peoples’ Place Library.  Exhibition of juried art work from 25 local artists from Antigonish Culture Alive. Opening reception July 9.
  • Art Ceilidh Studio Tour.  July 13 – 14.  www.facebook.com/events/241118522665990 Part of the Highland Games week celebrations.  Tours of artist galleries and studios in and around Antigonish.  Start your tour at Lyghtesome Gallery for maps and directions.
  • Antigonight: Art After Dark. September 21-22.  http://antigonightfest.tumblr.comNighttime participatory festival for all the arts, celebrating the rich arts community of northeastern Nova Scotia.
  • Antigonish International Film Festival.  October 19-20. www.antigonishfilmfest.org Over 40 documentary films.  Peoples’ Place and Empire Capitol Theatre.   Community Dinner and arts at the Prissy Pig Oct 20.

July in Antigonish an Arts Celebration. The Casket, June 26, 2012 by Richard MacKenzie

Directions

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Denise Davies is a travel writer, photographer, filmmaker and entrepreneur.  This article appeared in the Highland Heart, June 29.  www.highlandheart.ca

 

Jimtown and Ogden’s Pond

 

 

 

Marsh grasses Ogden's Pond

Marsh grasses Ogden's Pond

We have been having some beautiful weather in September – more like summer than July and August. It’s a great time to explore the outdoors. I ended up at the beach on Jimtown Road at the end of an afternoon drive. The rain clouds were building up but there was a great spotlight from the sun shining on the beach as I arrived which gave a dramatic look to Ogden’s Pond which is on your left, and the marsh grasses with the dark sky in the background.

 

Chapel

Chapel

On the side road there is a lovely white chapel in a shady and grassy area.

 

The beach has easy access and good for walking on the sand. Great place to relax and watch the waves, look for shells or skip rocks. Ogden’s Pond is great for bird watching. The water flows in to the ocean here.

 

Rainbow at Jimtown evening

Rainbow at Jimtown evening

I was lucky to catch a rainbow over the ocean with the setting sun behind me. You can see parts of Cape Breton Island from here.

 

There are lovely views of Crystal Cliffs to your left.

From Antigonish head out Route 337 on the Sunrise Trail. The turnoff is about 12KM from Antigonish – Just past Mahoneys Beach. The sign is marked as “Jimtown Road”.

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Jimtown Road – Google Maps  View Larger Map
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