As the cool days close in the warmth of gift-giving is in the air. This year while you are looking for that special something, consider shopping local. We have so much bounty available to us from local producers, crafters, artists and local shops.
Your money goes much farther when you shop local. Buying a thoughtful gift that is made
locally, or something sold in a local shop has a huge benefit in your
community. That money goes back into the
community and has a multiplier effect.
Here are a few gift ideas to get you started.
Check out the Antigonish Farmers Market and local gift shops for unique items that can be combined to make a gift basket – or given individually as hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or placed under the tree. These could include preserves jams and jellies, wine or spirits, cheeses, honey, maple or blueberry syrup, a pottery mug, a wooden cheese board, a pewter opener, a pate’ or cheese knife – you are only limited by your imagination! Steinhart, Peace by Chocolate, Havercort Maple, Cornect Honey and more. Farmers Market, Grannie’s Antiques.
Another themed approach for your gift basket is select self
care items – soaps, lotions, bath salts, aromatherapy, lavender sachet, creams
and gels and cosmetics. The Farmers
Market, Happenstance, The Posh Peppermint, The Plum Tree are great places to
check out as you create your gift basket.
Add your suggestions in the comments.
For the kids in your life – hand made wooden toys are
durable and will last to become a family heirloom. Check out Venluke Hand Crafted Wooden Toys at
the Farmers Market. Knitted and crocheted toques, vests, socks, scarfs are
great for all ages. Cuddly animals will be a hit for children (my Mom loves
A Few Photos of designers, producers, crafters and artists in Antigonish
Local galleries and markets offer an array of art to suit all budgets. Our area is home to gifted artists in all mediums. Art works range from large paintings in the original, prints matted and framed, photography and gift cards. You will find sculptures from wood, iron, metalwork, pottery and ceramics. Red Sky Gallery, Down to Earth Gallery, Granny’s Antiques, Through Rodney’s Eye, Felt Like Painting, Farmers Market.
Peruse the 5c to $1 and Cole’s Books for books by Nova
Scotia authors to suit all ages from kids to adults. Enjoy selecting from a range
of written and illustrated books that will be a long-held treasure. We have an amazing number of Antigonish
authors – Check the 5c to $1 to find a great selection.
A Gift Certificate for dinner at a local restaurant, or for
an overnight getaway to a cozy Inn or a night on the town would make a welcome
gift. Organize tickets to a local
production or a gift certificate to buy on a time of their choice to enjoy a local
theatre production or musical event. A
gift certificate from a local store, or for an art class or workshop are also
possibilities. To mention just a few –
Gabriaus, The Brownstone, The Townhouse, The Bauer Theatre, membership at The
Keppoch, SeaWind Landing. Add your
suggestions in the comments.
We have many talented local jewelry designers. Rings, necklaces, brooches, earrings, from
modern abstract designs to Nova Scotia and cultural heritage designs all bring
joy to the wearer. Check the Farmers
Market, Happenstance, Posh Peppermint and the Plum Tree.
Traditional crafts such as quilting and fabric art create
beautiful treasures for the wall, the table or to cozy up on a bed or as a lap
blanket for watching TV. A quilt can be
a gift for any age and treasured forever.
Maybe a sheepskin for a favorite chair.
Winter favorite gifts for apparel ideas include sweaters,
shawls, capes and scarfs, mitts, hats and leg warmers. Think soft warm and attractive colors. Maybe a sheepskin for a favorite chair, or
sheepskin slippers. Felted and Fleeced
Creative Designs, Brook Ridge Farm,
Find unique and beautiful items for all ages and shop local.
Take a stroll around town, visit the Farmers Market, shop online with local
producers and hand crafters and artists, and give a gift that has local meaning
and local impact to merchants, producers, crafters and artists.
I’m sure you have suggestions for other gifts and shops. Please feel free to add in the comments. It wasn’t possible to add every designer, artist and producer or shop. We have a wealth of possibilities. Happy Gift Giving and Shop Local!
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.
As we learned about the types of lavender from Dave Belt,
owner of Seafoam Lavender, we could see, feel and smell the differences in the
lavender flowers. Even though this is
October some of the plants were still in bloom.
It would be amazing to be here in the peak season in July when the air is full of the scent of lavender from the millions of lavender flowers and buds on the surrounding slopes. The lavender scent and taste is captured in the over 60 products created and produced by Suzy Belt and her team. Lavender herbs for cooking, jellies, honey, and tea. We enjoyed a treat of the Lavender Ice Cream and I have been cooking with the Lavender Herb blend at home and enjoying the jelly on toasted English muffins. A lovely fresh flavor. Soaps and skincare products, aromatherapy and bundles of dried lavender are just a few of other items. The beautiful display of products and testers are appealing and make great gifts.
Seafoam Lavender uses sustainable hand picking of the blossoms
which extends the season. At peak times
of the year, usually mid July, thousands of people come for the lavender
festival and may choose to U-Pick their own lavender bouquets. Lavender bud bouquets and Lavender Sachets
are a wonderful way to bring that scent of lavender home.
We learned how lavender soap is made and saw how it is cut
into bars with patterns of purple and white swirls.
Seafoam Lavender is on the Northumberland Shore of Nova
Scotia on the Sunrise Trail near River John.
Colorful and descriptive information panels describe the types of
lavender, interesting facts about lavender and some of the production processes. The sample garden with 25 selected varieties
(out of 400) give you the chance to see and compare different varieties. The purple theme through the buildings and
accessories bring out the colors of the lavender flowers.
You know you are in Cape Breton when you take in a lunch
time Ceilidh and enjoy a delicious seafood chowder.
Just 20 minutes from the Canso Causeway along Highway 19 –
the Ceilidh Trail is the village of Judique and the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre. Local musicians perform fiddle and piano in Cape
Breton style Scottish music at the Lunchtime Ceilidh.
On our recent visit Donna DeWolfe on fiddle and Allan Dewar on piano entertained. A guest piper from Antigonish, Heather MacIsaac added her talents on the small pipes. Listen to a brief clip on the link.
The chowder was delicious and the desert of warm Blueberry
Bread Pudding was memorable.
Learn about the history of the area, the musicians and Scottish
music. Pickup a few steps on the video
tutorial on step dancing. The gift shop
has a selection of books, CDs and gifts.
Next to the center the Alexander trail is a cool and shady
forest trail leading down to the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail – the 70 KM trail from
the Causeway to Inverness. Bikers and walkers
enjoy this trail along the coastline with access to side trails leading to accommodations
and food. Cape Breton’s Musical Coast is
a pleasure with changing vistas of ocean and a variety of topography. Wild apples, berries, flowers changing with
the seasons, small streams and bridges and coastal grasses. Good opportunity for bird watching and chance
sightings of fox or deer along the way.
The Antigonish Chamber of Commerce organized their monthly
networking meeting “Business Connects” with a trip on the Luxury Bus to
Steinhart Distillery in Arisaig.
The Luxury Bus is a great way to chat and meet with people
as the comfortable padded seating goes around the bus – not in row seats. Our driver, owner, Gerard MacIsaac was engaging
and helpful. Great way to travel with a
Such a beautiful drive along the Northumberland Shore. A beautiful view of Arisaig from the patio at Steinhart Distillery. Thomas Steinhart gave us a tour of the operations and an interesting history of developing his business. It is amazing to see how this business has impacted employment and agriculture. Wherever possible the ingredients are locally sourced. Truckloads of rhubarb arrived from multiple farmers to be made into the rhubarb gin. Several of the products have won awards nationally and internationally.
At the bar we ordered from their variety menu of gin, vodka and
mixed drinks made to order. A wonderful
way to socialize and network with the Chamber members and guests. Looking forward to future trips to other
businesses in the area.
Arts and culture in its many forms is a pillar of community life in Antigonish where all ages participate. The arts are important in continuing to keep up traditions and have enabled young people and established artists to stay in the community rather than moving away. This small town in northeastern Nova Scotia punches above its weight in the arts. Stroll around town and enjoy the wonderful art scene.
A stroll along Main Street is a great way to start
exploring the visual arts in Antigonish.
Grab a coffee or fresh locally made baking and lunch specials at the Tall and Small Café, a popular laid-back hangout. Browse the latest art exhibit from local artists. Exhibits change monthly. https://www.facebook.com/antigonishtown/
As you continue down Main Street, be sure to visit the Red Sky Gallery, the newest Antigonish art gallery. The curator, Rosemary Curry, will be happy to show you around. When asked about the name “Red Sky Gallery” Rosemary replied “I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t paused and taken a moment to fall in love with a red sky. I think we all fall for a red sky at some point when it’s just right for us. And the art we fall in love with is kind of the same. “The gallery is a wonderful space to enjoy local and regional art – photographs, oils and watercolors, pottery, sculpture in contemporary and more. Featured artists include works by Anna Syperek, a realist printmaker and painter, Linda Johns with her metaphorical paintings and sculptures, and Kath Kornelson Rutherford’s mezzotint works. The open space design and peaceful welcoming atmosphere has made this a not to be missed spot on your art walk. Upcoming shows include “Home Coming” – with artists from StFX University alumni, and popup shops of fashion and jewelry during the fall. https://www.facebook.com/Red-Sky-Gallery-239919850108535/
The next stop is the People’s Place – Antigonish Town and County Library. Opened in 2011 it has become a hub of community life. Twenty-two local artist works were commissioned in the design including the colorful hanging silk art panels on nature theme in the Bistro area by Anne Camozzi, the large mural of Mi’kmaq children fishing by Alan Syliboy, the tapestry by Murray Gibson in collaboration with the L’Arche community, and many other interior and exterior art works. Pick up the Artist and Artisan Guide from the PARL website. The Bistro area has a monthly changing exhibit by local artists. In July the GoArts Gathering of the Arts is jam packed with art and entertainment. http://www.parl.ns.ca/locations/antigonish.php
Continue on Main Street to the Down to Earth Art Gallery featuring art by Alan Syliboy, a renowned Mi’kmaq artist, J. Franklin Wright – specializing in marine art. Kate Brown Georgallas landscapes and etchings are inspired by rural life in Nova Scotia, and her murals are found around town including the mural over the main desk at The People’s Place http://www.downtoearth.ca/
Gallery, on the corner of Church and Main Street displays a changing
exhibit by artists and photographers.
Head up to the St Francis Xavier University home to 3 art gallery areas on campus. The StFX Art Gallery on the 1st floor of Bloomfield Center features a permanent collection and changing exhibits, talks and concerts. The McNeil Gallery in beautiful Schwartz School of Business displays changing exhibits. The Student Success Gallery in the Angus L. MacDonald Library features the best of student art. The fall Arts Gala is a special event with live auctions, artists painting and sculpting on site, and a fun social time with artists and art aficionados. http://www2.mystfx.ca/art-gallery/exhibitions
During the summer a bi-weekly Antigonish Art Fair is held in Chisholm Park. This is a wonderful place to talk to artists with displays of their art work. Enjoy the music and entertainment, a children’s corner and food trucks with international and local tasty treats. Art classes and workshops are offered at the Art House. http://antigonishartfair.ca/
Subscribe to see following articles on the Performing Arts and Arts organizations in Antigonish
Antigonish is eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Special Olympics athletes, their coaches, supporters and families.
The athletes and coaches will be housed on the St. Francis Xavier (StFX) campus and the majority of the athletic events will also take place on campus except for the softball and golf events.
There has been amazing community support with over one thousand volunteers. The events, except for the ticketed opening ceremony are open to the public at no charge. Come and view and cheer on the Special Olympics Athletes who are participating from all over Canada.
Several events have been planned to have the participants experience the hospitality and unique experiences of Antigonish and Nova Scotia.
Find out what’s going on at www.so2018.ca and you can also follow the events live on Bell Alliant. Details and links are on the Special Olympics 2018 website.
If you are tweeting and sharing on social media use the hashtag #so2018
Boats at Ballantyne’s marina
View of Ballantynes Cove from Lookout
Old Barn Gallery, Pomquet
Cape George Lighthouse, Antigonish County
Crescent beach Arisaig
Colombus Field, Antigonish
Antigonish Heritage Museum Ceilidh
The Antigonish Farmers Market
While you are in the area enjoy exploring Antigonish and the surrounding areas.
What about an afternoon drive out to Ballantyne’s Cove. Heading out on Hwy 337N from Antigonish, past the Hospital from the end of Main Street you pass through luscious farmlands with views of the ocean. Then up hill and down dale with wildflowers along the roadside and occasional views of the Northumberland shore. Just as you reach Ballantyne’s Cove stop at the lookout for a spectacular view of the cove, St. George’s Bay and Cape George beyond. You can use the map there to identify some of the places that you see including Cape Breton on the horizon.
Stroll around the marina and look at the Tuna fishing boats and pleasure boats. Learn about Tuna and Tuna fishing at the Tuna Interpretive Centre. Find some amazing facts about Tuna that have been caught in the area, the largest was over 1400 pounds. The Tuna season runs from August through October. Several tuna sport fishing charters are based here.
Boats at Ballantyne’s marina
Fish ‘N Ships
Ballantynes Cove Beach
Ballantynes Cove Tuna Interpretive Centre
Boats at Ballantyne’s marina
View of Ballantynes Cove from Lookout
Behind the Interpretive Centre take a short walk to a crescent pebble beach perfect for dabbling your toes in the warm waters of St. George’s Bay, sunbathing and beach combing.
Enjoy a feed of Fish and Chips from Fish ‘N Ships. Or select one of their burgers or an ice cream.
Directions: Take Hwy 337N (past the hospital) 30 minutes along the Sunrise Trail.