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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.

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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.

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