Tag Archives: nova scotia

Exploring Guysborough on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore

 

The Road Less Travelled

Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore may seem a bit remote, but in reality, it’s just a couple of hours from Halifax, Antigonish or Cape Breton. And it’s worth the drive—the highway along the shore offers spectacular views as it meanders along past bays, coves, inlets, tidal marshes, pristine beaches and rugged coastline. Coastal islands dot the nearby waters, and all of it offers hikers, nature lovers, paddlers, history buffs and photographers much to enjoy.

Arriving in Guysborough, NS, a town that was settled in 1629, feels like stepping into the past; many of the lovely multi-coloured wooden houses date from the 1800s.

The town’s famed Rare Bird Pub and Eatery is in the bright pink building that itself dates from 1866, when it was a general store. Its recently-restored woodwork and original tin plate ceilings, in addition to the onsite brewery and deck overlooking the marina, make it a great spot to unwind.

Slideshow

Photos by Denise Davies

You’ll find the Skipping Stone Café and Store right above the marina, in the historic Jost Building on the Guysborough waterfront. The café sells freshly roasted organic, fair trade coffee from Full Steam Coffee Co. The café’s courtyard overlooks the harbour and you can rent sea kayaks, canoes and bicycles for exploring the land and the sea.

DesBarres Manor Inn is an elegant and comfortable Victorian inn built as a home in 1837 for Justice W.F. DesBarres. The outdoor gazebo deck has a spectacular view of the valley and is a popular wedding venue. Upstairs, the bedrooms are spacious, luxurious and welcoming. An antique writing desk in the master bedroom offers a view of the back lawn and the valley below (with the modern convenience of a Wi-Fi connection) is a writer’s delight.

Dinner at DesBarres is a memorable experience. For dinner we enjoyed a five-course meal which had a creative flair; each beautifully presented dish offers unique flavour combinations and local ingredients. My meal featured his light Poutine appetizer; Seared Scallops; Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Truffles, Foie Gras and Walnuts; succulent Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Mushrooms; and was topped off with bite-sized Banana Bread Pudding with three kinds of homemade ice cream.

For a short hike, the grassy Shoreline Trail starts at the end of Guysborough’s Main Street and winds along Chedabucto Bay. Trail signs describe the history dating back to the 1600s when the area was buzzing with ship building and a large, vibrant port. For a longer hike, the Trans Canada Trail runs through Guysborough.

On the edge of town, the Osprey Shores Golf Resort offers brilliant greens and gorgeous water views. Comfortable accommodations, a swimming pool and a bonfire area make it an ideal family holiday setting.

Keep in mind that, because the Eastern Shore is off the beaten path, some of the back roads in this region are not in pristine condition; caution is recommended if you’re driving an RV. But that’s in keeping with the flavour of the region, anyway. It’s best enjoyed if you slow down and enjoy the scenery.

How to get there

MAP

Click for Google Maps

Guysborough Nova Scotia Map directions

Guysborough Nova Scotia Map directions

From Antigonish or Cape Breton, take exit 37 off Highway 104 at Monastery; travel south from Highway 4 onto Highway 16, through Boylston to Guysborough.

From Halifax, travel east and follow Marine Drive. Watch for signs indicating the status of the Country Harbour Ferry connecting Port Bickerton with Isaac’s Harbour North across Country Harbour.  If it is open, take Highway 211 just past Sherbrooke; if it is not operating, continue on Highway 7, turn right at Melrose Country Harbour Road and again onto Guysborough Country Harbour Road at Cross Roads Country Harbour; follow the signs to Guysborough.

Map Guysborough with points of interest

Map Guysborough with points of interest

More Information

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.

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.

More Information

 

 

Come by choice Saltscapes march april 2016 jpg

Come by Choice

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.

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.

Download the article PDF
Come by Choice Saltscapes March April 2016

 

Antigonish Small Town Big Heart

Antigonish: Small town, big heart

This was a fun article to write.  Antigonish is my home town and I am a graduate of StFX University.

“Every September, the small town of Antigonish (population 5,195) doubles in size with the arrival of the students excited to start their new year at St. Francis Xavier University. Well known for its campus spirit, its strong international reputation, top ratings by students
in Maclean’s university rankings, and, of course, the X-ring, StFX easily attracts students and faculty from all over the world.”

  • The XPerience
  • International Connections
  • Small Town Charm
  • Arts and Culture
  • Economic Impact

This is one of a series of articles in Saltscapes Magazine on “Our University Towns” in the March/April 2016 issue.

See the attached PDF of the article
Antigonish Small Town Big Heart PDF

article photos Coady, People's Place, GoArts, Antigonish Sidewalk Fair

Click Here to Subscribe to Out and About Nova Scotia

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:

Artport Gallery Co-op Halifax Airport

 

Artport Gallery Co-op
Stanfield International Airport, Halifax

Artport Gallery artistsThe gallery houses original works by ten local Nova Scotia artists: Peigi Alcorn, Annabelle Caissie, Judy MacIntosh, Warren Melanson, Heather Bowman, Marshall Burgess, Anne Duggan, JoAnne Muise, Pat Stewart, Janet Jones

One of the artists is on site during the open hours.  Drop in and chat and find out more about the artists and their works.

It is a delight to see a local artist cooperative at the airport.   Not only is it fun to browse but also a great place to buy from local artists for gifts or for yourself. Be sure to ask for the artist card to get more information.

Artport Gallery Co-opartport gallery-3481 Artport Gallery Halifax AirportYou will find a wide range of styles and mediums including watercolors, acrylics, oils originals and reproductions in various sizes and formats including matted prints, cards and bookmarks.

This is a great addition to the airport and its support of the arts.

Contact information

Open daily 8:30 am – 8:00 pm
During hours: 902-873-4446
After hours contact Marshall Burgess 902-429-9073

 

 

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.

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.

More Info

 

Fortress of Louisbourg

7 Fun Things to do in Louisbourg

 

 

There is so much to see and enjoy in Louisbourg plan on staying for 2-3 days if possible. Some of these suggestions are seasonal. Please check the website links for details of hours and specifics.

  1. Fortress of Louisbourg

Of course the Fortress of Louisbourg is the main attraction in Louisbourg. Give yourself at least 4-5 hours. There is so much to explore in the various houses and buildings. Talk to the people in their period costumes. You will hear stories and recounting of events and how people lived in 1744. Take one of their mini tours – check on the website or at the desk for what is available on the day you are there. The rebuilt fortress covers a large area so wear good walking shoes and bring your water bottle. Each season of the year has different types of activities. The “shoulder season” in the fall is a great time to visit with fewer crowds and more chance to ask questions. Parks Canada Website – National Historic Site Fortress of Louisbourg http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/ns/louisbourg/visit.aspx

  1. Hike the Lighthouse Trail

The Louisbourg Lighthouse is the first lighthouse in Canada and the 2nd in all of North America. The trail is in various lengths and winds along the coast with terrific views of cliffs, cormorants, waves and a variety of vegetation and geology. The path is well maintained and just a few ups and downs. There are several hiking trails around Louisbourg https://www.facebook.com/pages/Louisbourg-Lighthouse-Coastal-Trail/573458949340263

  1. Eat Lobster

The Lobster Kettle restaurant in down town Louisbourg serves a whole lobster in a cute presentation. The lobster is delicious and a lovely setting on the deck overlooking the harbour. There is also inside seating if the weather is not great and other choices on the menu. http://www.lobsterkettle.com/

  1. Railroad Museum

The Sydney & Louisburg Railway Museum is on your right just as you are driving into town. Learn more about the relationship of the railway and marine trade and transport in 1895 hauling coal. Train buffs will love this and it brings the era to life through models, photos and artifacts. http://www.novascotiarailwayheritage.com/louisbourg.htm

  1. Louisbourg Playhouse

This performing arts center offers a variety of entertainers, musicians, plays. Check for programme details http://louisbourgplayhouse.ca/

  1. Beach trip

This beach is worth the 25 minute drive from Louisbourg along the Marconi Trail. I was really taken with the beach at Main A Dieu – a network of boardwalks through the seagrass and then a beautiful wide and long sandy beach. http://www.whatsgoinon.ca/cape-breton-beach-bum-adventures-main-a-dieu-beach/#.VCHXaRbP_sk

  1. Historical Dinner – The Beggar’s Banquet

Dine in 18th Century Style with delicious selection of lobster, crab, fish or chicken. This is an experience – not just a dinner. Dining room of Point of View Suites http://www.louisbourgpointofview.com/dining/

More Photos

 

Where to Stay

  • Point of View Suites. Beautiful location right on the coast with a view from the Fortress and across the bay to the Louisbourg Lighthouse. Spacious suites most furnished with a kitchen which makes it easy to stay a while and enjoy the area. http://www.louisbourgpointofview.com/
  • Cranberry Cove Inn. Easy to spot this place with its beautiful cranberry color and heritage house look. http://www.cranberrycoveinn.com
  • RV Park & Campground. On the main street of Louisbourg close to the boardwalk.  http://louisbourg.com/motorhomepark/
  • More Louisbourg accommodations on Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Tourism-g499217-Louisbourg_Cape_Breton_Island_Nova_Scotia-Vacations.html

More Information (Links)

 

 

 

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.

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.