VISIT NOVA SCOTIA WELCOME CENTER
The first thing we did when we entered Nova Scotia, was to visit the NOVA SCOTIA WELCOME CENTER. Got lots of brochures and information. The center is divided into sections - Purple - Bay of Fundy - Yellow - Yarmouth & Acadian Shores - Orange - South Shore - Blue - Eastern Shore - Green - Cape Breton Island. Also be sure to get your copy of the "Doers and Dreamers" book as it is such a valuable resource for finding accommodations, restaurants and things to do during your visit to Nova Scotia. I used it a lot for finding a motel, as you look up the area you're visiting - go to accommodations - program the address into my GPS and we're good to go.
Also got lots of brochures for my scrapbook.
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Halifax Harbor Boat Tours
I researched our options on going on a boat trip before we went and found this site. It turned out to be the best choice if you would like to be on a sailboat. We went on the "Pirate Cruise" . The 3-men crew worked very hard at "sailing" the ship, and only used the engine near the dock and were very happy to explain to us what they were doing and why. Two of them were injured, but they still worked!! We had to move and get out of the way frequently , while they switched the direction of the sails. At the end of the trip, they shot off the small but very loud cannon.
The other tourist ships with sails only used the sails for looks, and did not actually sail. The trip was interesting also. We got a good look at some Canadian Navy ships and a submarine, the small island with a lighthouse near the Harbor, an oil refinery on the other side, many other ships and boats, and the harbor itself.
It was sunny that day ( the only sun we saw the entire time we were in N.S.) but still cold on the ship.Related to:
- Family Travel
Admiral Digby Museum, Digby NS
The Admiral Digby museum was founded in 1972. It was named for Admiral Robert Digby who brought a fleet of Loyalists to the area in 1783. It focuses on the culture and history of the area with lots of antiques and exhibits to see. There's also a geneological research facility as well. My favourite was the costume room showing old clothing and accessories. You can wander around on your own or one of the staff will take you around and interpret the exhibits and tell you about the history of the area.
The house that contains the museum, on the main street through Digby, dates from the 1800's Georgian era.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
It was the first British settlement in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax.
Fishing and fish processing activities developed here over 250 years ago through the hands of German and Swiss migrants.
Despite we visited by mid August it was foggy and cold, anyway this condition gave Lunenburg a special charme and a place to remember.
A beautiful town in the Annapolis Valley, Wolfville is home to Acadia University. elegant heritage homes and some great theatre at the Atlantic Theatre Festival every summer. It is very close to the Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Evangeline Beach and cape Blomidon. There are wonderful little craft and antique shops as well to explore.
The town of Lunenburg was settled by the British a few years after Halifax was founded, in the mid 18th century. There is a strong German heritage here along the south shore of the province. Lunenburg has made it's fame by ship building in particular, and was the place our famous schooner, the Bluenose was built.
The town is architecturally beautiful with many old Victorian homes still standing. Lunenburg is also one of only two UNESCO world heritage urban areas in North America (the other being "Old" Quebec city).
Grand Pre/Evangeline Beach
Just outside of Wolfville, in the Annapolis Valley, is Grand Pre. This area was a center for French Acadians and it was from here that the Acadians were expelled by the British in 1755. Grand Pre has been restored as a historic park and several buildings reflect life in the 1700's including a school house and a chapel. Henry Longfellow invented a tale of separated lovers, Evangeline was his heroine. In the park there is a statue of Evangeline looking mournful as she waited years to find her lost love.
Near by is Evangeline beach, on the Bay of Fundy with it's world record high and low tides. There is a wonderful view of Cape Blomidon jutting out into the bay and there are walking trails and campgrounds all along the road and up into Blomidon park.
Open seasonally May to October.
This monstrous "Gingerbread" schoolhouse was the third school constructed in Lunenburg. The original Lunenburg Academy was soon replaced by two different buildings, with the photographed one being the latter of those built. The school operated as a K-12 academy between opening (1895) and 1965. Now it houses elementary school.
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Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal
The Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal is 17 acres of gardens, plants, trees and paths. there is a replica Acadian cottage overlooking the marshy dykelands and there is a German Bakery and cafe for treats! They also have a very good gift shop. The gardens are meticulously kept, with various types of gardens including a perennial, knot, experimental, a lily pond, and of course a spectactular rose garden which, in early July, is in full colourful bloom. There are sculptures and free standing art scattered through the grounds and benches to sit and enjoy the views. They often have events in the park, with music. In the evening they may sometimes have a "wine and roses" night. There are events for kids as well through the season. The gardens are open from mid May to the end of October and there is a charge for admission.
Seals, Puffins and Eagle spotting
There are small boat trips out from English Bay, near Baddeck on Cape Breton that take folk out to the offshore seal islands. The boat was called the Puffin, so called because if you go in the summer you're likely to see these charming little sea birds flittering around the cliffs of the islands. You'll also see the Grey Seals bobbing in the water and basking on the rocks. Enjoy watching the Bald Eagle that has learnt that it can get an easy meal from the boat when they throw a dead fish overboard and in perfect range for cameras. Get ready for that photo - they only do it once!
Go Whale watching
All around the Nova Scotian coast there are opportunities to enjoy boat trips out on the Ocean in the hope of spotting whales. We took 3 such trips. Our first was off Ingonish on the eastern coast of Cape Breton Island. This was on a schooner under sail. We were not so lucky that time and we returned to harbour just having enjoyed the trip but thinking we'll hopefully have better luck next time. Sure enough we did!
Pleasant Bay on the north west side of Cape Breton has a resident pod of Pilot Whales in the summer. We saw them at close quarters and even listened in to their click noises because the boat had some hydrophones.
Third time was off Lunenburg further south on the eastern seaboard. On that trip we were in a bigger, faster boat and the captain managed to track down a Minke Whale.
On crossing the Bay of Fundy from Digby to St John we saw whales off in the distance through our binoculars. They were spouting and surfacing then diving. I wished we'd had a chance to go to Brier Island at the southern end of Nova Scotia; that's where you get to see the Humpbacks really close.
10 Things to Experience On Nova Scotia's Cape Bret
Travel Guide Trip & info's : www.madisonvillearts.org
1) Mountaintop and seaside hiking trails. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park has both easy and rugged trails for both the casual and ambitious hikers. You can hire a hiking tour or just strike out on your own to enjoy the serene and beautiful scenery of the region.
2) Sea Kayaking - hiring a tour guide can provide you with equipment and experience to better encounter the wildlife and rugged scenery of the coast of Cape Breton Island. Depending on where you hire your tour, you can see bald eagles, cormorants, guillemots, pilot whales, a minke. You can find sea kayaking tours from Cheticamp, Cape North, Baddeck, Ingonish, or Louisbourg and places in between.
3) Spend an afternoon in Baddeck, at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum overlooking scenic Bras d' Or Lake. Mr. Bell made his summer home in Baddeck, and the museum houses many of his lesser known, but highly intriguing projects. His hydrofoil, his fascination with tetrahedrons, and many other intriguing things are in the world-class museum for you to discover.
4) Dust off your kilt and don your dancing shoes. Cape Breton is full of Celtic colors and tunes. If you're driving through town and see home-made signs that say "Ceili Tonight" it might be worth stopping for a spontaneous sampling of Celtic culture. Otherwise, you can also plan your Ceili (pronounced Kay-Lee) experience by checking local tourist bureaus for feature events. In October, the entire island is abuzz with the Celtic Colours International Festival, the largest celebration of its kind in North American, but you'll also find smaller events at other times of the year.
5) Scuba diving around Cape Breton Island. Literally hundreds of shipwrecks litter the ocean floor along Cape Breton Island. In fact, since 1597, more than one thousand shipwrecks have been recorded along Cape Breton Island's coast. For the most rewarding diving, consider St. Anns Bay to St. Paul Island.
6) Descend down into a coal mine beneath the ocean floor in an underground tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery Your guides for the underground excursion are retired coal miners who will help you imagine making your daily living in dark quarters beneath the ocean floor. Located about one mile from downtown Glace Bay on Cape Breton Island.
7) Hit the beach and bum around. The beaches of Cape Breton Island can be small and isolated, or large and packed with people - or any combination in between. If you've seen on Cape Breton beach, you have NOT seen them all. So, if beaches are one of your interests, you may want to consider a sampling of Cape Breton's beaches and find out which ones suit you the best for your vacationing state of mind, and your personal travelling style.
8) Visit the Fortress Louisbourg. Spend your time wandering freely through a wonderfully restored centuries-old Acadian village. Staff at the fortress are dressed in clothing from the period, and restaurants on site serve food from the era. It's a delightful step-back in time at North Americas LIVE largest historic reconstruction on the east coast of Cape Breton Island.
9) Hit the road (or the mountains) on your bicycle. Cape Breton's scenery has been embraced by bikers worldwide, and Cape Breton Island officials have greeted them with arms wide open. Several wonderful biking trails (cycling and mountain biking) are available across the entire Cape Breton Island. Local chambers of commerce should have ample information about their specific locales trail system and related service providers.
Travel Guide Trip & info's : www.madisonvillearts.orgRelated to:
- Theme Park Trips
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Halifax, the capital and largest city
When visiting Nova Scotia, you'll most certainly want to spend at least some time in Halifax. This is the province's capital and - by a long shot - largest city. In fact, Halifax is THE major city in all of maritimes Canada. Some 400,000 Haligonians (as they call themselves) inhabit this harbor city.
Halifax has something for everyone.... varied shopping, historic sites, cruises, fine dining and a plethora of other activities. Lodging runs the gamut from tiny bed and breakfasts to five-star grand hotels. This IS a major city, although I will admit that it's a bit more intimate than your typical big city.
I'll put more specific tips down on my short Halifax page, but as a tease, let me mention one item that interested us.... I am a history buff, and I learned that some 120 or so victims of the 1912 Titanic disaster were buried in Halifax. So we sought out and visited their final resting place, Fairview Cemetary. There is actually a grave marked as "J Dawson", which some people mistakenly think is the lead character in the Leo DiCaprio-Kate Winslett movie "Titanic". In fact, this is actually a crew member, the Jack Dawson in the movie is an entirely fictional character. (PLEASE SEE MY SEPARATE "OFF THE BEATEN TRAIL" TIP FOR FAIRVIEW CEMETARY ON MY HALIFAX PAGE)
So, be sure to enjoy your time in Halifax. You'll enjoy yourself and will most definitely feel welcome.
Springhill, our "center of operations"
When we planned our trip to Atlantic Canada, we decided to locate in smaller towns. We wanted to use bed and breakfasts and to remain in place for several days in each location. THEN, we would venture out from our bed and breakfast location each day to do different things and visit different towns.
I ended up picking Springhill, Nova Scotia for two reasons.... First, I kind of "fell" for the Sugar Maple Bed and Breakfast. It just seemed like a really comfortable and informal place to stay for a bit, and that turned out to be right. And, Springhill looked to be well located for exploration of central Nova Scotia, the eastern shore, and to access metropolitan Halifax. That plan worked out as well.
But as for Springhill, it turned out to be more of a town than I'd imagined. It's a place with a long and somewhat dark history. This used to be coal-mining territory, and over the last 100 years or so, there have been several fatal accidents in area coal mines. The last such accident (in 1958) not only killed scores of miners, it killed the coal industry in this part of Canada. The mines were sealed and Springhill looked elsewhere for economy. Over the subsequent years, Springhill has reinvented itself, acquiring other outside sources of economic growth. These would include farming and other agriculture products (maple syrup, etc.), and academics - Nova Scotia Junior College. Yes, there is also a minimum security prison in the area providing needed employment. Today's Springhill is a thriving town poised for continue growth and a bright future.
Whether or not you choose to actually stay in Springhill, it's still a place worth a bit of time. Drop by and have yourself a donair at the Pizza Delight, or catch a hockey game over at the Dr. Carson Murray Center. (GO COOL BLUES!!)
And, please do visit my Springhill VT page for more information on area restaurants, our bed and breakfast and other items.
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Parrsboro - fossils, tides, and lobster rolls. :)
Another great place to spend a little time on your visit to Nova Scotia is the eastern shore town of Parrsboro. Located some 50 km west of Truro and 30 km south of Amherst, Parrsboro is another friendly Fundy Bay town.
If you'd like to experience the natural power of the massive Fundy tides, Parrsboro is an excellent place to view. And, since the tides have been so high and strong for so long, it's not surprising that Parrsboro is another location in Nova Scotia famous for its fossils and geological sites. The Fundy Geological Museum is just one example of the town's commitment and involvement in prehistory and geology. And, if you're into crystals and stone jewelry, there are local festivals and experts who share your passion.
Last of all, let's talk about what the folks down in Maine call LOBSTAHHHHH rolls. Parrsboro, like many of the small towns that dot the maritimes coasts features some of the freshest and sweetest lobsters you'll ever find on your plate. And, for those times when you need to eat and run, maybe you'll skip the drawn butter feast and move on to a simple lobster roll. This is fast food maritimes style, a nice conconction of lobster meat and mayonnaise, nicely seasoned and smeared onto a crusty roll. Man oh man, that's good eating.
You'll like Parrsboro - a REAL friendly town. Please do visit my Parrsboro page on VT.
Province of Nova Scotia Hotels
This place is overpriced. The are nice places to stay in Halfax that are cheaper than this.more
94 Pelham Street, Box 1378, Lunenburg, B0J 2C0, Canada
Good for: Solo
96 Starrs Rd, Yarmouth, NS B5A2T5
Good for: Families
Top Province of Nova Scotia Hotels
- Halifax Hotels
- 987 Reviews - 1902 Photos
- Sydney Hotels
- 29 Reviews - 95 Photos
- Wolfville Hotels
- 7 Reviews - 11 Photos
- Digby Hotels
- 18 Reviews - 90 Photos
- Yarmouth Hotels
- 25 Reviews - 154 Photos
- Truro Hotels
- 5 Reviews - 11 Photos
- Pictou Hotels
- 25 Reviews - 36 Photos
- Lunenburg Hotels
- 73 Reviews - 239 Photos
- Ingonish Hotels
- 3 Reviews - 2 Photos
- Scots Bay Hotels
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