Lunenburg Things to Do

  • Museum of the Altantic Fisheries
    Museum of the Altantic Fisheries
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Museum of the Altantic Fisheries
    Museum of the Altantic Fisheries
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Museum of the Altantic Fisheries
    Museum of the Altantic Fisheries
    by Jim_Eliason

Most Recent Things to Do in Lunenburg

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    Another great old vessel.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    I have written a tip on this page about the Theresa E. Connor vessel attached to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic which was an old saltbanker eventually put out of business by more modern steel trawlers with a larger capacity and in a strangely fitting way, the other large vessel here is exactly the type of craft that would have superseded the older dory boats.

    Built in Holland in 1962 she fished for 20 years before she, in her turn, was superseded by larger stern trawlers. Although just a little over 20 years younger than her sister vessel, there is a marked difference in the two, especially the crew quarters which seem much more comfortable on the newer vessel. The march of progress, I suppose.

    As with the other vessel, the great joy of visiting the Cape Sable is being able to chat to the wonderful old mariner who is what they call a Heritage Interpreter here. He really made everything come to life, it was great.

    If you do want to visit the Museum here are the logistics, taken from the website (details for 2014).

    May 17 – June 21
    9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    June 22 – Sept. 7
    9:30 am – 5:30 pm

    Sept. 8 – Oct. 11
    9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    Closing for the season Sat. Oct. 11th
    Adult $10.00
    Seniors: $7.00
    Children (6-17): $3.00
    Children (5 and under: Free
    Family: $22.00

    School Groups: $3.00/student | $7.00 univ. students with student ID card
    Tour Groups
    (10 or more): $7.00/each
    Adult Season Pass: $18.00
    Family Season Pass: $42.00

    If you have your Nova Scotia Museum Pass, the Museum and the two vessels are covered in that. Additionally, CAA and AAA members may obtain 10% discount on admission and gift shop purchases on production of their membership card.

    The Museum building is wheelchair acessible including toilet facilities although the vessels are regrettably not. Photo albums of the interiors of both vessels are available. there are two wheelchairs available on a first come - first served basis.

    Old trawler, Lunenburg, Canada. Old trawler, Lunenburg, Canada. Old trawler, Lunenburg, Canada. Old trawler, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Oldest in the country.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    I have written about the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic on another tip on this page and mentioned the two fascinating vessels that lie alongside the wharf there. This tip concerns the first of them, the Theresa E Connor, the oldest saltbank schooner still in existence.

    Built in 1938 in the town which is still her home she was involved in the long since commercially ended type of fishing known as dory fishing. Under this system a relatively large vessel would put pairs of men out in small boats called dories from there they fished with baited trawl before returning to the larger vessel. By the 1960's larger steel trawlers had taken over and the old saltbankers were just about obsolete. There is a rather poignant tale that on it's last voyage under it's old captain in 1963, he could not even muster enough of a crew to fully man the vessel. Fishermen were just not willing to undego the hardship and risk the danger any more. The vessel fished for a few more years when it was sold to the local Marine Museum Society which was the beginning of the excellent facility you see today.

    If you are wondering where the term saltbanker comes from, it refers to the fact that in summer the fish caught were preserved in salt until they returned to port. During the winter, ice served the purpose. If you are further wondering who Theresa E Connor was, well her middle name was Eleanor and she was part of a family that owned one of the the biggest fishing companies in the area. Sadly, she dies in 1954.

    If you are wondering anything else then this is where the best part of the whole experience comes into play. Both vessels in the Museum have proper old sailors / fishermen aboard who are happy to chat about anything, give tours etc. and this really brings the old vessels alive, lovingly maintained as they are in their own right.

    This really is part of a great day out, and I do recommend it.

    If you do want to visit the Museum here are the logistics, taken from the website (details for 2014).

    May 17 – June 21
    9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    June 22 – Sept. 7
    9:30 am – 5:30 pm

    Sept. 8 – Oct. 11
    9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    Closing for the season Sat. Oct. 11th
    Adult $10.00
    Seniors: $7.00
    Children (6-17): $3.00
    Children (5 and under: Free
    Family: $22.00

    School Groups: $3.00/student | $7.00 univ. students with student ID card
    Tour Groups
    (10 or more): $7.00/each
    Adult Season Pass: $18.00
    Family Season Pass: $42.00

    If you have your Nova Scotia Museum Pass, the Museum and the two vessels are covered in that. Additionally, CAA and AAA members may obtain 10% discount on admission and gift shop purchases on production of their membership card.

    The Museum building is wheelchair acessible including toilet facilities although the vessels are regrettably not. Photo albums of the interiors of both vessels are available. there are two wheelchairs available on a first come - first served basis.

    Old fishing vessel, Lunenburg, Canada. Old fishing vessel, Lunenburg, Canada. Old fishing vessel, Lunenburg, Canada. Old fishing vessel, Lunenburg, Canada. Old fishing vessel, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    A few old fishermen's tales here!.

    by planxty Updated Oct 3, 2014

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    We all know about fishermen's tall tales about "the one that got away" and so on but the great thing about visiting the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is that all the tales are true.

    Apart from the excellent museum itself, there are two perfectly preserved vessels for the visitor to explore, the Cape Sable which is a 1960's side trawler and the Theresa E. Connor which is Canada's oldest surviving saltbank schooner. Because there is so much to write about in the museum building, I shall deal with the vessels in separate tips on this page.

    The main building appears to be housed in an old warehouse or similar building built in the traditional Maritime Provinces style and striking in it's red paintjob. After passing the obligatory (and rather large) giftshop, you come to an aquarium with a decent selection of species on display. There is also a "touch tank" for youngsters and, indeed, the whole place is very good for children.

    There are verious activities during the day and we were there in time for a surprisingly interesting presentation on lobsters including how to tell male from female. I cannot remember the fine detail now but it seemed to make sense at the time. On the subject of lobster, they also have the preserved remains of the largest lobster I have ever seen (see the image). Incidentally, I was not being untidy, I deliberately left my cigarette lighter there to give a sense of scale. If memory serves it was about 24 pounds weight or something ludicrous like that.

    There are numerous exhibits in this rather splendid place including an actual boatbuilding workshop which normally turns out dorys, the mainstay of the fishing fleet at one time. You may get a chance to try your hand at rug-hooking or even launch a model boat (kids seem to love this one). Do give yourself plenty of time to visit, as you will need it, especially if you visit the two vessels which you really should.

    If you do want to visit the Museum here are the logistics, taken from the website (details for 2014).

    May 17 – June 21
    9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    June 22 – Sept. 7
    9:30 am – 5:30 pm

    Sept. 8 – Oct. 11
    9:30 am – 5:00 pm

    Closing for the season Sat. Oct. 11th
    Adult $10.00
    Seniors: $7.00
    Children (6-17): $3.00
    Children (5 and under: Free
    Family: $22.00

    School Groups: $3.00/student | $7.00 univ. students with student ID card
    Tour Groups
    (10 or more): $7.00/each
    Adult Season Pass: $18.00
    Family Season Pass: $42.00

    If you have your Nova Scotia Museum Pass, the Museum and the two vessels are covered in that. Additionally, CAA and AAA members may obtain 10% discount on admission and gift shop purchases on production of their membership card.

    The Museum building is wheelchair acessible including toilet facilities although the vessels are not. Photo albums of the vessels interiors are available. there are two wheelchairs available on a first come - first served basis.

    Fisheries Museum, Lunenburg, Canada. Buoy, Fisheries Museum, Lunenburg, Canada. Huge Lobster, Fisheries Museum, Lunenburg, Canada. Dory, Fisheries Museum, Lunenburg, Canada. Fisheries Museum, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Take another walk!

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    I have already constructed another tip on this page concerning taking a walk on one of the very pleasant trails hereabouts but this tip concerns a different type of walking and is, I suspect much of the reason many people visit here. Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO Wrold Heritage Site and rightly so in my opinion.

    In the introduction to a fairly lengthy explanation, UNESCO states, "Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Established in 1753, it has retained its original layout and overall appearance, based on a rectangular grid pattern drawn up in the home country. The inhabitants have managed to safeguard the city's identity throughout the centuries by preserving the wooden architecture of the houses, some of which date from the 18th century.". It really is a joy just to wander round even with no set plan. In a reasonably short walk you will come upon many beautifully preserved houses, often with a small wooden plaque as shown indicating who the house was constructed for and when.

    Although I chose not to use one, there are guidebooks available locally but you really don't need one. You can also take a guided walking tour or a tour in a hors-drawn carriage but, again, I prefer just to wander about at my own pace. It is great fun, very photogenic and completely free.

    Heritage Building, Lunenburg, Canada. Heritage Building, Lunenburg, Canada. Heritage Building, Lunenburg, Canada. Heritage Building, Lunenburg, Canada. Heritage Building, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Burnt but unbowed.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    During our time in Lunenburg we passed several fine looking churches, all in roughly the same architectural style, which I suppose is understandable and consists of white planking "trimmed" with black window frames, guttering and the like. Apparently the style is known as Carpenter Gothic and they all seemed to be well cared for externally at least. Regrettably, the only one we found to be open was St. John's Anglican Church of Canada. and so we paid it a visit.

    Even before you get inside the building there are several things of interest outside it. The first, which had a particular resonance with me (no pun intended) is the rather magnificent Jessen Bell which was cast in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry which is a mere few minutes walk from my home in London and I pass regularly. Mr. Jessen presented it to the Church in 1814 but sadly died before he ever heard it rung. I shall explain the reason for it being outside later. There is also a plaque commemorating the open-air Protestant services which began here in 1753 prior to the building of the Church. This plaque was erected on the bicentennary.

    On entering the Church you will be given a guided tour by knowledgeable young people. Amongst the things they will point out to you are the magnificent ceiling decorated to look lie a clear starry night, the very fine stained glass work behind the altar (and elsewhere) and I also managed to find several military memorials and even the colours of the Lunenburg Regiment, laid up here after 1936 on the disbandment of the Unit.

    What they will also show you are a few scorch marked pews and a piece of a chancel wall and it is these that give rise to the title of this tip. In 2001 a fire took hold in what was essentially an old wooden building with many combustible materials in it. Despite the best efforts of fire crews from miles around the place was all but razed to the ground. You will be told many poignant stories of firefighters physically dragging out religious relics and taking them to a nearby place of safety.

    Almost immediately after the fire, the parishioners decided that they were not going to merely build a new church on the site but try to restore as much as possible of the old one using salvaged materials and traditional techniques to make it look as close to the original as possible. They managed to achieve this by 2005 and there is a fascinating story atttached to the restoration which you can see on the attached website. I mentioned earlier the star painted ceiling which looked fairly random according to old source material. It was only when an astronomer went to work on the pattern that he discovered that the star pattern was actually the night sky as seen from Lunenburg on the night of the first Christmas. Considering when it was done and without the use of computers, it is a tremendous piece of astronomy.

    Another fascinating artefact is the so-called Vinegar Bible, which was printed in Oxford, UK by the printer to King George I in 1717. The reason for it's curious name is that there is a misprint in one of the Gospels rendering the word vineyard as vinegar and hence the unusual name.

    These are just a few of the wonders on offer in what is the second oldest Protestant Church in Canada although there are many more and it is well worth a visit to see them. Should you wish to do so, here are the logistics taken from the excellent attached website.

    "Daily tours start in June and run through until the beginning of September. During this time, the church will be open from 11 am until 7 pm. During the months of May, September and up until Thanksgiving, the church is open on holidays and weekends from 12 noon to 4 pm. St. John’s welcomes groups to visit. If you have a group that would like a tour outside of these times please contact us to make arrangements."

    Should you wish to worship,

    "Regular Services
    Wednesday 10:00 am
    Sunday 8:30 am & 10:30 am".

    You may wish to avoid visiting at these times other than to worship.

    The building is wheelchair accessible.

    Incidentally, I took rather a lot of images here and so I have constructed a travelogue on this page to showcase some of them

    St. John's Church, Lunenburg, Canada. Bell, St. John's Church, Lunenburg, Canada. Ceiling, St. John's Church, Lunenburg, Canada. St. John's Church, Lunenburg, Canada. Colours, St. John's Church, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Lest we forget.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    Readers of many of my other pages will know that I have an interest in military graves and war memorials and I will generaly stop to have a look at any I pass. I also write tips here about them which are often pretty short as there is not really much to say about them because everyone knows what they are and what they represent. I make no apology, however, for including them here as I feel it is important that we remember the ultimate sacrifices made by those that went before us and, indeed, are still being made.

    Lunenburg has a memorial garden including the bandstand which contains a number of monuments. These are separate monuments for either World War and the Korean War, a memorial to the locally raised Lunenburg Regiment (1870 - 1936) and a memorial to the large number of Norwegians who fled their homeland when the Germans invaded in World War Two. Many of them found their way to Lunenburg where they were based at nearby Fort Norway before returning to fight in Europe.

    Ordinarily I would have created separate tips for each memorial but their close physical proximity and overlapping themes fits better into one I feel.

    War memorial, Lunenburg, Canada. War memorial, Lunenburg, Canada. War memorial, Lunenburg, Canada. War memorial, Lunenburg, Canada. Bandstand, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Pleasant but totally empty.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    Although I have sung the praises of the Knot pub in Lunenburg and rightly so (see separate tip on this page), I decided that in the interest of fair reporting I should try one of the several other eating and drinking establishments in town. I should point out that I had previously discounted one or two as they were obviously far too high class for a long-haired scruff like me. So it was then that I wandered into the Smugglers Cove Inn, or more precisely, the Scuttlebutt restaurant of that establishment. It can often be difficult to know in Nova Scotia what is a pub serving food, what is a restaurant serving alcohol or indeed if there is much difference. This place is definitely a restaurant serving drinks.

    A quick look around proved that I was the only patron there which is never a good sign in my book, especially as this was late June and getting into high season. I had seen plenty of visitors and the campsite was all but full. All was soon made clear to me when the charming young lady behind the bar (and there is a recurring theme there with Canadian servers) that I was more than welcome to have a beer but that the pplace was closing shortly. I could scarcely believe it. A bar closing at 1400 in the summer season, what lunacy was this?

    Anyway, the young lady served me a well-poured pint of Garrison and told me not to rush myself as she had several things to do before she went off shift which was decent of her. Whilst she was attending to whatever it was she was doing, I had a bit of a look round and noted that it was a very modern styled restaurant, pleasantly done and not perhaps what you would have expected on viewing the rather older exterior of the premises.

    I also perused the menu which looked interesting if marginally more expensive than other places I visited. I also noticed that they make cocktails although I am not much of a cocktail drinker myself.

    All in all a pleasant if somewhat abbreviated experience but if you are on the main tourist drag (Montague Street) you could do worse than pop in for a drink if it's not mid afternoon.

    Smugglers Cove Inn, Lunenburg, Canada. Smugglers Cove Inn, Lunenburg, Canada. Smugglers Cove Inn, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    A beautifully scenic place to relax.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    I suppose it is only to be expected that if a place is a UNESCO World Heritage site, as I alluded to on my Lunenburg introduction page, that they are going to make a large effort to make the most of whatever natural assets they have. This certainly appears to be the case here.

    Having a little time on my hands one morning, I decided to take a stroll down here as it was near to the campsite we were staying on (see separate tip). I found it very pleasant and there were other people there also enjoying the weather, scenery and boat launching facilities. It was only whilst researching this tip that I discovered the place had benefitted only the previous year to the tune of over $200,000 to spruce it up, jointly funded by all three levels of Government. They certainly have made rather a good job of it.

    I am afraid I have been unable to unearth anything of the history of the wharf but I am taking a guess there must have been a sawpit nearby which it served. This would certainly be suggested by the naming of the nearby Sawpit Road. If any reader could enlighten me further on this, I would be much obliged. Whatever the history the visitor today can enjoy the wharf itself (which you are allowed to walk on) toilet facilities, picnic area and decent sized pcarpark. It really is a charming place although I don't quite know what the pirate was up to!

    Sawpit Wharf, Lunenburg, Canada. Sawpit Wharf, Lunenburg, Canada. Pirate doll, Sawpit Wharf, Lunenburg, Canada. View, Sawpit Wharf, Lunenburg, Canada. View, Sawpit Wharf, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Go for a walk.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    Readers of my other pages will know that I am very fond of walking and so, when I stumbled upon the Bay to Bay walk one morning, I couldn't help but explore it a little

    Subsequent research shows me that it is 10km in length and runs form Southeastern Lunenburg to Mahone Bay, although there is a little spur that will take you back into town if you only want a really short walk. Looking at it and with a knowledge of other trails in the region, I would not be at all surprised if this was a disused rail bed, it just has that kind of look about it. I did not have time to do more than a short section and found the one problem the walker or cyclist should be aware of, the dreaded Nova Scotian mosquito. Honestly, I was bitten half to death in a few minutes (it was in late June) so bring the necessaries with you.

    Be aware also that for a portion of the trail it will be marked as the Back Harbour Trail (as shown) which shares the path. This is the spur I mentioned. If travelling Northwest, where the trail forks take the right hand to go to Mahone Bay and the left hand to return to Lunenburg.

    The trail appears to be flat and level which would make it good for children and even looks stroller accessible although I would check that beforehand.

    Bay to Bay trail, Lunenburg, Canada. Bay to Bay trail, Lunenburg, Canada. Bay to Bay trail, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    What a lot of monuments.

    by planxty Written Oct 3, 2014

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    On Blockhouse Hill Road, adjacent to the campsite and in a commanding position overlooking Back Harbour I found a number of monuments all together which at first I took to be one but in fact are not. I suppose this site was chosen because, as the name suggests, this was the site of the blockhouse, a military building and therefore where much of the historical action took place.

    Perhaps the most eye-catching of the three is the (granite?) monument to the people who arrived here in 1753 which was erected in 2003 on the 250th anniversary. It names all the original settlers and notes that they were predominantly German with smaller contingents from other Continental European states. Even the name Lunenburg suggests the Germanic influence which has remained in the place to the present day.

    The smaller monument is dedicated more specifically to the 431 settlers from the principality of Mantbeliard which I must admit I had never heard of until that point. The monument informs me that it was a principality Northwest of Switzerland and now in France which was once the only Francophone Lutheran country in the world. As my late grandmother used to say, "It's a bad day when you don't learn something" and frankly I learnt an awful lot during my trip to Canada. This monument also lists the names of the vessels and surnames of the settlers who arrived here.

    The third "monument" is merely a small plaque of the official bilingual variety which you see all over the place and this describes the sack of Lunenburg in 1782 when the town was attacked by privateers who eventually left with their plunder and a promissory note for £1000 which was apparently never paid. I wonder what it is worth now

    Monument, Lunenburg, Canada. Monument, Lunenburg, Canada. Monument, Lunenburg, Canada. Monument, Lunenburg, Canada. Information Board, Lunenburg, Canada.
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    Bluenose II

    by King_Golo Updated Jul 8, 2014

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    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.
    You might wonder what's so special about this ship. Well, the "Bluenose II" is a reconstruction of the famous "Bluenose I" (who would have thought that?), the ship that can be seen on the Canadian dime coin. It was built in 1921 and soon became famous because it always won races against its US competitors. in 1942, the ship was sold to somebody in the Caribbean and sank shortly after. "Bluenose II" was built in 1963 and is nowadays nearly as famous as the original.

    The
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    Walk the Historic Downtown

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jul 16, 2013

    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.

    Walking Downtown Lunenberg Brightly Painted Commercial Buildings

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    Walk the Upper Town To See the Grand Homes

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jul 11, 2013

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    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.

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    Lunenberg Waterfront and Harbor

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jul 6, 2013

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    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.

    Looking Out at Lunenberg Harbor from the Park Lunenberg Boatyards cour. Wiki.

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    Walk Around Lunenberg Academy

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Jul 6, 2013

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    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.

    Lunenberg Academy

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