Tag Archives: sunrise trail

Seafoam Lavender, Northumberland Shore

Seafoam Lavender

We decided to do a day trip along the Sunrise Trail from Antigonish, via Pictou to Tatamagouche.

Although the day was cloudy and cool in early June it was an enjoyable and scenic trip.  We stopped at Seafoam Lavender along the Northumberland Coast.  It was early in the season so the Lavender was not blooming but the scent on walking into their shop was heavenly.  Kathleen welcomed us and explained that all the lavender products are produced in-house by this family owned business.

We purchased a couple of lavender plants for our garden and have been enjoying the Lavender Essential Oil and Lavender Soap to give that fresh lavender fragrance at home.  There was a lovely selection of products – Lavender Sugar, Lavender Sea Salt, Essential Oils, Lavender Herbs, soap, creams and skincare products and more.  The shop is very attractive and welcoming.

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Seafoam Lavender Festival PosterOutside we explored the information panels with their stories of lavender.  You can learn a lot on this stop and it will be wonderful later in the season when the fields of lavender are in bloom. Thank you to Seafoam Lavender for their photos of the fields in bloom and their poster for the July Lavender Festival.

A great time to visit will be at their annual Lavender Festival July 15-16. Create your own lavender bouquet with U-Pick and enjoy the gardens in flower. Bring a picnic and enjoy the Northumberland coast.   You will find Seafoam Lavender on the section of the Sunrise Trail between Pictou and River John.

Lavender, courtesy Seafoam Lavender Lavender fields, courtesy Seafoam Lavender

More Information

SEAFOAM LAVENDER CO. & GARDENS
(SEASONAL ONLY, 1 JUNE – 30 SEPT, 10-6 DAILY)
AND BY APPOINTMENT
3768 HIGHWAY 6 (SEAFOAM)
RIVER JOHN  NS  B0K 1N0

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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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
View Larger Map
View Larger Map

 

Mahoneys Beach

 

 

Mahoneys Beach is situated at the mouth of Antigonish Harbour along the Sunrise Trail, just 11 KM out of Antigonish on Route 337.

 

View on Route 337

View on Route 337
Along the route are beautiful views of rolling farmland, dairy farms and some spectacular glimpses of the meandering Antigonish Harbour.
Mahoneys Beach

Mahoneys Beach

 

Mahoneys Beach is a relaxing sand and beach stone sand bar that you can walk along at low tide. Explore the lagoons and sandbar, the tide pools, and beach grasses and flowers.

Heron Fishing in Tide Pool

 

I was lucky to see herons skimming along the coastline, wading in the tidal pools and fishing.

Kayak at Mahoneys Beach on a calm day

 

On a calm day people were enjoying kayaking along the coast line. The many coves and islets make it an interesting place to explore.

Mahoneys Beach Collage

Mahoneys Beach Collage

Things to take

  • Beach shoes for walking on rocks
  • Hat, sun glasses, sun screen, long sleeve shirt
  • Insect repellent
  • Water
  • Snack – or grab a sandwich or Salad from the Prissy Pig Café and Deli on your way out of town
  • Camera

Directions

  • Head out of Antigonish past the hospital towards Cape George on Hwy 337 , along the Sunrise Trail approximately 11 KM. Turn right.
  • Parking available. No lifeguards or beach services

Aerial View of Coastline and Antigonish Harbour

Mahoney’s Beach – Aerial View Google