Lunenberg for me was definitely like taking a step back in time. The town has done an exceptional job of keeping the area as true to its early heritage as possible. Clapboard homes with no front setbacks. Many vividly painted and almost all of them very well kept up.
While there in many cases no sidewalks walking downtown Lunenberg among the various shops and homes is a true delight.
A short less than 1 km walk would be as follows. Come into town and the main street is likely to be Linden Avenue. Park at near the intersection of Linden Avenue and Bluenose Drive. Walk down Linden Avenue north towards King Street. At King Street go down to the water and observe some of the shops along Bluenose Drive. Proceed and go up King Street. At Cumberland Street turn left and in approximately three blocks turn right on Cornwallis and back down to Linden Avenue. Along the way you will see many well preserved old homes, shops, a nice park with a gazebo and a few gorgeous churches.
Aside from the clapboard homes of small lots in downtown Lunenberg there are also some fine Victorian homes on the upper streets. They have been well maintained and walking the streets around the Lunenberg Academy and observing their brilliance is definitely an aesthetically pleasing experience. Allow around 15-20 minutes.
It is cold and rainy as we descend into Lunenberg on a Saturday morning. Lunenberg and its harbor has been in existence since the mid 1750's. The second British model town after Halifax. It was developed as an important shipping port between Nova Scotia and Britain. Today the harbor still maintains many of the vestiges of an earlier time. There is also a wonderful park to view the harbor from as you come into town. The Blue Nose II is definitely worth seeing on a trip to Luneberg.
Driving into Lunenberg, the Academy is visible for miles around. Sitting on top of what locals call, "Gallows Hill," it commands a majestic appearance.
The Lunenberg Academy was built on its current location in 1894 after a fire destroyed the old academy building downtown which was across from the town hall. Wanting more land the owners decided on the current location. The cost of building the structure was $ 30,000 and completed in 1896.
The Lunenberg Academy is three stories tall and has a striking mansard roof. It is made entirely out of wood. Up until 1965 the building served as the town's high school until a new one was built. The academy continues today to be an elementary school, with enrollment just under 200, and is not open to the public from what we could determine for tours.
The striking Carpenter Gothic architecture of St Johns first hits you like a bullet as you walk by. However its charming exterior is made more impressive when you consider that it is Canada's second oldest Protestant Church. From the distance the church appears to be constructed of stone but up close it is clear that the primary exterior is finished wood.
The church was first used as a meeting hall in 1754 and over the years has evolved and additions have added to the many functions it serves. In 1994 the church was designated as a National Historic Site. In November of 2001 a fire destroyed a majority of the church. It was painstakingly rebuilt and now maintains the elegance of earlier years.
The Knaut-Rhuland House Museum is located in the former house of Benjamin Knaut, a merchant and sheriff of Lunenburg.The condtruction of the house was finished in 1794.
The house has been designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada due to its historical importance. It has also been designated a Registered Heritage Property by the province of Nova Scotia and a Municipal Heritage Property by the Town of Lunenburg.
Nowadays the museum displays the artifacts, style and garden of the time of the Lunenburg settlers.
The museum is open in the Summer season Ma-Sa: 11AM - 5PM..
Admission fee: CAD 2.00 (adult).
This Museum commemorates the fishing heritage of the Atlantic Coast of Canada. Housed in brightly painted red buildings, with floating vessels at wharfside, the Museum offers a host of attractions and nautical Gift Shop.
Located on Lunenburg's Historic Harborfront at 68 Bluenose Drive, the FISHERIES MUSEUM OF THE ATLANTIC is a must see. Housed in the buildings of a former fish processing plant, the Museum celebrates the rich fishing heritage of the Atlantic Coast.
The First Floor has the Gift Shop and features an Aquarium which has a wide array of North American species, The Lobster Lore Area, Hall of Inshore Fisheries - fishing gear, Whaling & Whales Exhibit.
The Second Floor features the Ship Model Shop, Vessel Gallery Exhibit featuring the famous schooner Bluenose, Lunenburg Fishermen Memorial room - dedicated to fishermen lost at sea from the port of Lunenburg. The Old Fish Factory Restaurant is also on the second floor,
The Third Floor includes various exhibits including "Life in Fishermen Communities " and a Theatre with daily showings.
Also as part of admission price ($10.00 Adult) you have access to the Wharf. You can board the Theresa E. Connor and Cape Sable
One of the town's oldest buildings, the KNAUT-RHULAND HOUSE MUSEUMlets one see how life was 200 years ago. With its hand-blown window panes, large fireplaces (seven) and well-worn stairs, all give you a glimpse of how this house appeared over 2 centuries ago.
Open June 7 to August 31
Monday to Saturday 11:00 s.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Daily Noon to 4:00 p.m.
A quick look at Lunenburg and you will immediately understand why it has made it on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is quite evident that extra special care has been taken to preserve the harmony and beauty of its unique maritime architecture. Many of the Old Town's heritage homes have now been turned into restaurants or souvenir shops (some good, some bad), but it doesn't take away the essence of the place. The Old Town area is not that big and it is quite easy to walk up and down the streets, snapping pictures here and there. So put on your walking shoes and enjoy!
We went on the Bluenose II in September and saw no whales. I don't know if that was because whales are scarcer (is that a word?) in September or if that was because no whales go where the Bluenose typically sails.
You realize that getting sailing tickets to the Bluenose is somewhat difficult. They presell most of the tickets, and have a few (maybe 25 or 40) "rush seats" (no one actually gets a seat) each day. We had to stand in line for 2 hours (made sure we were in the first 25) to go sailing the day we went.
I was not lucky to see the sailboat "Bluenose II" in Halifax's harbour, but to my surprise, she swayed softly on the waves of Lunenburg's harbour. Apparently, the ship travels regularly between these harbours.
What is it about? The "Bluenose II" is a reconstruction of the famous "Bluenose I" (who would have thought that???), the ship that is seen on the dime coin. She was built in 1921 and became famous because she constantly won races against her US competitors. in 1942, she was sold to the Caribbean and sank soon after. The reconstruction was built in 1963 and is nowadays nearly as famous as the original.
Located in upper Lunenburg, this church is in my opinion the most beautiful of the town. Shining bright white, it really looks divine in the middle of the square. But St. John's suffered a terrible tragedy not long ago: On November 1st, 2001, the church burned down almost completely and had to be rebuilt in a long process from 2002 to 2005.
The original church was founded in 1753 and thereby is Canada's second oldest Anglican church. It's built in Carpenter Gothic style where typical stone features are made from wood.
Best discovered during a walk through the steep streets of Lunenburg, the town's architecture is what made it earn its UNESCO world heritage site status. The centre of Lunenburg is a close to complete ensemble of 18th century wooden houses. To learn more about them, you should grab a free map of the local board of trade first. It provides you with an overview about the most important sights and also marks with a little dot every heritage property. Then, start walking and enjoy the views.
There are many buildings worth seeing in Lunenburg but perhaps none as impressive as St. John's Anglican Church. When Lunenburg was founded in 1753, services were first held in the open air on this site. 500 pounds were donated for the building of a church, and a church frame was brought to Lunenburg from Boston (the frame could have been the old King's Chapel in Boston) and the church was completed in 1763. Several alterations were made throughout the years: it's been moved a bit, made bigger, suffered damage from fires... but through it all it has retained it's beautiful gothic architecture and gorgeous woodworks.