The Antigonish Highland Games 2021 is being celebrated with Highland Heritage Week this year presented by the Antigonish Highland Society. It is wonderful to hear the pipes again and to have virtual dances and music throughout the week.
Clan Thompson Pipe Band entertained us on a wet and windy day at the Antigonish Legion. Such a pleasure to see and hear the pipes again in Antigonish.
Click to watch the Highland Dancing at Chisholm Park with MacLeod School of Highland Dance
A lovely drive from Antigonish is along HWY 337. Pass rolling farmland with so many shades of green and tantalizing views of the ocean as you pass Mahoney’ Beach. As you approach Ballantyne’s Cove there is a lookout on your right.
The Fish ‘N Ships kiosk opened for the summer and the feast of fish and chips was delicious. A great selection of ice cream also available. We took our plates over to the pebble beach behind the Tuna Interpretive Centre. Such a beautiful peaceful spot. Just one other person on the beach.
Great place for a beach walk looking for colorful pebbles, or a paddle or a swim. I recommend beach shoes for the pebbles.
Explore Antigonish and the surrounding areas. This is a wonderful gift for newcomers, staff, family and friends. Antigonish Town, excursions within 2 hrs, day trips, outdoor recreation, hiking, history, culture, beaches, trails, nature and more.
NOTE – for accommodations and food it is best to check in advance about hours and opening.
Charlos Cove on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia is just 1 hr 40 minutes from Antigonish but it feels like a world away. Its a great place for a few days of peaceful relaxing and short explorations. Even the driving reminds me of my first trip there and “The Road Less Travelled”. Definitely not a lot of traffic.
Boylston Provincial Park
Enroute we stopped at Boylston Provincial Park, Day Use park has picnic tables and grassy area with lovely views of Chedabucto Bay. Walk down to the left of the entrance gate along a shady boardwalk to take you to a foot bridge over to a small island. A swimming, beach walking looking for pebbles and a shady island path are all great for the whole family. The park is just a few KM before you reach Guysborough town.
The ambiance of the town with its old homes and churches is from the late 1800s. The Old Court House Museum is a good stop to learn about the history of the area and to get any info you need for your trip. Only the visitor info is available during COVID times. There is a self-guided walking tour of Guysborough. Download the map. Stop for a meal at the Days Gone BY Bakery for a bowl of chowder, sandwiches and delicious baked goods. Browse antiques and local art. Head down to the marina and the Guysborough waterfront.
SeaWind Landing Country Inn is situated in Charlos Cove about 30 min from Guysborough town via Lundy. The inn’s proprietors Dave and Anne Marie are hospitable and welcoming and knowledgeable of the area. Our room was in the main part of the Inn, with a view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sugar Islands just offshore. The water was so calm there was little sounds of the waves. Great place to watch the sunrise and sit out on our little patio or the chairs on the well-kept lawn. Of course everything was spotless and all social distancing and masks in place.
The food is always memorable with breakfasts of eggs benedict, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and my favorite the blueberry stuffed French toast. Of course with lots of hot coffee. The evening meal favorites were mussels in Pernod sauce, lobster croquettes, halibut, scallops all in delicious recipes. Best desert was the crème brule with Baileys Irish Crème.
We were lucky to get the special stay of 2 nights get the 3rd night free. This gave lots of time for an enjoyable staycation and take small day trips in the area.
Charlos Cove is adjacent to Larrys River. This is a hub of Acadian culture on the Eastern Shore. I enjoyed reading “The Forgotten Acadians … a story of discovery” by Jude Avery while exploring the area. In other years this area would be buzzing with activities for the Acadien Festival on August 15 but all was quiet this year. No matter when you visit take time to stop at the Acadien Interpretive Site with paintings and interpretive signs illustrating the history of the area – Larry’s Rover Parc de nos Ancestres across from the St. Pierre church. Also wander down to the footbridge crossing Larry’s River for a view of the river.
Tor Bay Provincial Park
Boardwalks lead through various types of vegetation to several sweeping sandy beaches with rocky outcrops. Picnic tables and interpretive panels give insight into the creation and history of the area.
Black Duck Cove
Just 30 min north of Charlos Cove, towards Canso is Black Duck Cove Provincial Park. The Canteen at the Parking entrance has ice cream and meals with picnic tables and benches in the sun or shade. It looked like the locals as well as visitors frequent the place as it is one of the few places available for food in the area. A series of boardwalks and walking trails lead around the area. The swimming beach has lovely soft sand and a protected beach. Benches and picnic tables make it easy to stop and relax weather you are a swimmer or not.
In October 2019 I was on a trip in Guysborough with travel writers sponsored by DEANS. Darcy and Alex of thank HarbourTone Productions created this video which captured the spirit of our adventures.
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!
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/
Hearts and Hands Art Exhibit at Tall and Small Photographer Denise Davies
Susan Walsh Antigonish Arts Fair
Alan Syliboy and Bruce Campbell, Antigonish Art Fair
Rosemary Curry Red Sky Gallery
GoArts 2016 at People's Place
Hearts and Hands Art Exhibit
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/
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