I guess it’s a “given” that leaving a place like Newfoundland is certain to bring on a bad case of ennui. After a month of glorious solitude, scenic coastal roads, and serendipitous encounters with wildlife on “The Rock,” Nova Scotia didn’t really stand a chance. Like going on an arranged date with a preppy, plaid-clad provincial boy after a painful break-up with that long-haired “bad boy” from summer vacation.
Ordinarily, travel through Nova Scotia would be a dream. But being squeezed back into restrictions on where one can and cannot park, relegating me back into the Walmart parking lots after sleeping in such scenic spots was just tough to take. Now being late August, peak tourist season is in full swing in these parts. Heavy traffic, crowded tours, and sold out RV Parks did not make for a happy camper.
Ideally, I would have done this trip in the opposite order, as the sense of wonder definitely builds the further one goes east. First New Brunswick as an “amuse-bouche” to prepare the guest for the “meal” to come, an intro to Canada. Then bring on the quaint, light-hearted charm of Prince Edward Island as the delicate second course to further stimulate the palate. Next comes the scenic Nova Scotia with its culturally rich Cape Breton Island as the hearty, flavorful “main course.” And finally, the pièce de résistance of all desserts, magical Newfoundland. But because of my intense desire to see icebergs, it didn’t work out that way. I gorged on dessert first.
Now back in “real time Maine,” I am challenged to complete my Maritime series. But having already edited the photos for each of the provinces, I feel compelled to do a post wrap-up….lest I forget. So what follows are the highlights, from my time spent after coming off the ferry from Newfoundland, moving from east to west and then north across Nova Scotia. It’s short on dialogue, because I lost my mojo upon return to the mainstream.
ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
About an hour from the Newfoundland ferry is the little village of Baddeck on the shore of Bras d’Or Lake. Behind the bagpipes is the Kidston Island lighthouse. Don’t miss the nightly “Ceilidh” (traditional Cape Breton fiddle concert) in St. Michael’s Hall.
Baddeck is also home to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. “Alec” as he was known, had a summer home on the Bras d’Or Lake.
Prior to visiting the Alexander Graham Bell museum, I associated him only with the telephone. But he also had numerous other inventions from medical and electrical devices, telegraphs and telephones, kites and seaplanes, all which are featured in the museum, including a replica of the Silver Dart, Canada’s first powered, controlled airplane. In this photo, a replica of his office.
So hard to believe how far we have come in only 140 years, two lifetimes, from those first famous words, “Mr. Watson, Come here! I want to see you,” to “Can you hear me now?”
I signed up for the optional “White Glove Tour” at the A.G. Bell Historic Site, which allowed some “behind the scenes” fondling of the inventor’s actual artifacts.
This photo of Bell’s wife Mabel was inscribed on the back, “The girl for whom the telephone was invented.” Mabel was hearing-impaired, and a former student of Bell, who invented many devices to aid the deaf.
Halifax is the provincial capital of Nova Scotia. It has a very scenic, walkable waterfront.
I’d never considered a city parking lot as a viable overnight option before, but the Cunard Parking Lot in Halifax offers overnight parking for only $6CAD for the night ($16CAD for all day.) It’s easy in/easy out for exploring the waterfront.
There are many food court options along the waterfront, this one offering Canada’s famous poutine.
The waterfront contains a group of Historic Properties, seven restored warehouses built between 1815 and 1905.
For less than $3, one can take the commuter ferry across the bay to the harbour of Dartmouth.
I wanted to stop in Halifax to tour the Titanic exhibit in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, oldest and largest maritime museum in Canada. The Titanic is a permanent exhibit containing the largest number of wooden artifacts recovered.
One of the more famous artifacts, an original deck chair. How many times in my corporate career did I use the metaphor, “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” They have a replica just outside the glass that you can sit in…which of course, I did.
While survivors were taken on to New York, the bodies were taken to Halifax. In keeping with the class system, only First Class passengers (based on clothing attire) were embalmed. Second and third class passengers were buried at sea. Over 150 are buried in Halifax, of which 46 remain unidentified.
PEGGY’S COVE VILLAGE AND LIGHTHOUSE
Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, constructed in 1914, marking the entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay.
This famous icon is purported to be the most photographed lighthouse in all of Canada. Its image appears on the 25 cent coin.
I was given permission to boondock in the adjacent restaurant parking lot, though it was not a peaceful night, as cars came and went all night.
There were three large tour buses in the parking lot before 9:30am.
The village of Peggy’s Cove, established 1766, is believed to be named after St Margaret’s Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret)
The village of Peggy’s Cove was established later in 1811. Once a thriving fishing community, it’s mainstay is now tourism, with art galleries, coffee shops, and the ubiquitous fudge shop.
In front of Peggy’s Cove Visitor Center was the first female bagpipe player I have ever come across. She never skipped a note!
OLD TOWN LUNENBURG, UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Old Town Lunenburg is one of only two urban communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Seventy percent of the colonial buildings are original from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Established in 1753, Old Town Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a British planned colonial settlement in North America.
Hour long harbour tours are offered for only $20 CAD.
Or you can tour the historic old town by horse carriage.
When the lobster starts disco dancing, your order is ready.
Knots are not not for sale along the waterfront.
St. John’s Anglican Church, first church established in Lunenburg in 1754. (This is replica, as original was destroyed by fire on Halloween night, 2001.)
The UNESCO status aside, Lunenburg is worthy of a stop for its beautiful architecture.
The Lunenburg Academy, built 1895, now houses several foundations, including a music school.
Lunenburg architecture is known for the “Lunenburg Bump” where wives of captains are said to have looked out for the return of their men’s boats from dormers protruding over the doorways of their houses.
Though this particular house was built in 1826, the “oldest” less ornate house is on the same block, built 1760.
KEJIMKUJIK NATIONAL PARK
Although I did visit the Kejimkujik National Park, I didn’t take a single photo. It was a whole lot of greenery surrounding a small lake and some kayak-able streams. Sorry to be so brutally candid, but I found it extremely underwhelming for an official “National Park.” Don’t make a special trip.
Within the town of Annapolis Royal is Fort Anne National Historic Site, replica of early Acadian settlement with remains of 1635 French fort.
Annapolis Royal was the site of Canada’s first European settlement.
Annapolis Royal’s quaint waterfront lighthouse.
POINT PRIM LIGHTHOUSE, DIGBY, NS
Point Prim Lightstation, Digby, NS, stands watch over the Digby Gut and Annapolis Basin along the Bay of Fundy.
Although Point Prim lighthouse is way out of town with a huge parking lot, sadly there are “No Overnight Parking” signs all around. We ain’t in Newfoundland anymore, Dorothy.
Digby is famous for it’s scallops. Here, you can see a scallop farm just offshore.
Next up, the Maritime Wrap-up continues with Prince Edward Island…