Tag Archives: beach

Inverness Beach from the Boardwalk

Inverness Beach

Breathing in the salt air and digging my toes into the sand along with the wind and the sun make for a perfect setting to explore Inverness Beach.  The sandy beach stretches for 1.7 KM with views of the coastline up towards the Cabot Trail and back down towards Mabou along the west coast of Cape Breton.   This was a calm day with the waves lapping the shore.  It must be amazing on a stormy day when the waves crash in bringing “Mermaids Tears”- colourful beach glass washed up after years of churning in the ocean to make smooth and multi-colored shapes.

Spend an hour or a day exploring the beach with its pockets of colourful stones, bits of driftwood, sea grasses and dunes.  Swimming, building sand castles, going for a long walk or just sitting and relaxing in the clear air make for a great day.

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A beach boardwalk goes along part of the beach between the dunes and the Cabot Links.  You can watch the golfers on this spectacular course on one side, and views of the ocean on the other.

It’s a fascinating thought that the Cabot Links was built on top of a coal mining area. Along the Inverness Main Street and side streets you can see the company houses built in the early 1900s for the miners.  Stop into the Miner’s Museum housed in the old railway station on Lower Railway Street to learn more about this history.

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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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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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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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Winter Stroll in Point Pleasant Park

It was a January cold, frosty, icy day in Halifax but the sun was shining brightly. Bundled up for the cold I headed for Point Pleasant Park to see what the park looked like in the winter time.

Families walking in Point Pleasant Park

Families walking in Point Pleasant Park

This is a great family park and lots of people were out enjoying a walk with their dogs.  There are both on and off leash areas.  According to Andre’ Chiasson “It’s a great place to take Ceilidh (our dog) – she can run off leash and be safe. We like to see the dogs there – people are very friendly and the dogs are friendlier off leash. We used to go every week even though it takes us a half hour each way to get there. Ceilidh loves it – when we drive down she starts to get excited when we’re on Connaught Avenue and the closer we get, the more excited she gets. She can’t wait.”

The park has miles of roads and trails. There are many paths where you can go off on your own and explore.  Some of the paths were very icy – more like a skate than a walk.  But most of the trails were cleared and OK for walking.   The occasional maps will show where you are and three sides of the park are on the water with views of Dartmouth, McNab’s Island, the docks,  Purcells Cove, and on summer days you will see sailboats from the different sailing clubs.

In 2003 there was a violent hurricane – Juan that destroyed many of the old

Sculptured Trees

Sculptured Trees Point Pleasant Park

trees in the park.  Some of these are still standing and their beauty is in the sculptured look of their shape.  It is great to see the park is coming back to life.

There are old fortifications to explore and plenty of areas to view the ocean and get down on rocky beaches to watch the waves and the sea gulls.  On this day there were waves rolling in with a view of McNab’s island out towards the mouth of the harbour.   You can enjoy getting down to the water on the rocky beaches – lots of colors in the stones and sea weeds, and the smell of the salt sea air and sound of the sea gulls and waves are peaceful and refreshing.

Point Pleasant Park is situated at the south end of the peninsula of Halifax, near the CPR, tourist ship docking and the South End of Halifax with its stately homes.  You can catch a bus, drive or a 20 minute walk from downtown Halifax.   Be sure to bring your own water and snacks as there is nothing open during the winter.

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Whether you live in or near Halifax or are visiting by car or coming in on a tourist ship take some time to enjoy the peaceful trails and explore a historic and natural part of the city.  Every season will have its own special views and things to enjoy.
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Find more hiking places in and around Halifax see these books: