Family, Lighthouses, Nova Scotia, Nova Star Cruise Ferry, Nova Star cruise/ferry, photography, Shores, Travel in Atlantic Canada, Uncategorized

10 Excellent Adventures in Nova Scotia I’ve Visited and Can Vouch For (Part 1 of a 3 Part Series)

Woods  Harbour Barrington NS
Woods Harbour Barrington NS

Since I began working with Nova Star (the cruise ferry that takes the 10 hour trip daily between  Yarmouth Nova Scotia and Portland, ME),  I repeatedly get asked the same questions: “What is there to do in Nova Scotia? What is it like?” First, it is a stunningly beautiful and vibrant province in Eastern Canada, that is almost completely surrounded by water. It is made up of a mainland peninsula and Cape Breton Island, across the Canso Strait, and about 3800 smaller coastal islands. Nova Scotia covers some 55,284 sq. km (21,345.3 sq. miles) (Natural Resources Canada, 2001). Nova Scotia has a population of over 920K of which 390,096 live in the capital city of Halifax. It can look a little like New England, but also very different.

River in Barrington NS at the Barrington Woollens Museum
River in Barrington NS at the Barrington Woollens Museum


I tried limiting myself to 30 Excellent Places/Things to Do but that number kept creeping up. Especially since I keep discovering new places each time I visit the Province. But on this date July 15, 2014, these are the places that most people seemed interested in when I told them about my trips throughout the area. Seriously this is just the tip of the iceberg, and by the way, don’t go looking for icebergs – Nova Scotia has the warmest ocean water north of North Carolina due to the Gulf Stream. The ocean temps moderate the Province’s temperature making Nova Scotia, on average the warmest of the provinces in Canada. Oh and FYI I slipped in a few extras through the photographs.

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1. Cape Forchu Lighthouse I love this lighthouse it greets Nova Star as we sail into Yarmouth Harbour and it has amenities both natural and manmade including fabulous climbing rocks and trails and a tea room that serves a Nova Scotia classic – Hot Creamed Lobster sandwich. Everything about this place is a feast. It’s the second most photographed lighthouse in Nova Scotia and boasts the unique apple core shape.

Fisherman's Museum Yarmouth NS
Fisherman’s Museum Yarmouth NS

2. Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Yarmouth and Halifax I’ve visited the Yarmouth location with its focus on Nova Scotian artists and particularly enjoyed the joyful images from Yarmouth County folk artist Maud Lewis. For your viewing entertainment, here’s a Zoe D’Amato video for My Destination Nova Scotia on “Artsy Halifax” including Maud Lewis.

The Village Acadian
The Village Acadian

3. The Historic Acadian Village For most of your travels in Canada you will feel right at home, but at “The Village” as they call it, you begin to experience a different lifestyle, a different language – French –  if you want to give it a try, or stick to English if your foreign language skills are a distant memory).

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Hand tying a fishing net at The Historic Acadian Village in Pubnico.

3. Ye Olde Argyler – Creamed lobster poutine or regular poutine (french fries with gravy and cheese curd) in less skilled kitchens would be junk food, but at the Argyler it’s worth fighting for the last fry. The rest of the menu is created with equal care and local ingredients.

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Bear River Winery Barrels

4. Bear River Winery So the proprietor of this winery is a bit… “eccentric” …is perhaps the best word. But the winery is the oldest continuously operating in North America with the first plantings in 1611! It’s so revelatory to see how the wine making process of old, before hydraulics, electricity, etc., was based entirely on gravity.

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Darren Hudson Log rolling at his Lumberjack bootcamp

6. Darren Hudson’s Lumberjack Axeperience Most fun you can have with an axe. Really you have to try it to believe it more laughs per minute than any other activity we tried in Nova Scotia.

Digby Pines off season
Digby Pines off season

7. Digby Scallops/Digby Pines Pretty luxurious accommodations on a hill overlooking the largest scallop fleet in the world. Has an excellent golf course, and I believe I experienced a ghost when we visited off season. In any event it is beautiful and offers activities to soothe every soul, so no worries from the ghost, probably just a guest who couldn’t bear to leave. And make sure you try the scallops. There is something exquisite about them.

Foggy morn at White Point Inn
Foggy morn at White Point Inn made it hard to find bunnies

8. White Point Inn/Rabbits Anyone who knows me, knows my penchant for rabbits, so imagine my surprise to see dozens of them scampering about the property. It appears that long ago domestic rabbits were abandoned on the property and they were fed and did what bunnies do, so now there are a lot of them. The property is pet friendly and has enough activities to keep anyone busy or enough serenity to slow down any type A personalities. Open year round.

Tallest Wooden Structure in North Ameerica St Mary Parish museum
Tallest Wooden Structure in North America St Mary Parish museum

9. Maritime Museum of the Atlantic – Halifax Permanent exhibits on the Titanic (the deceased were brought to Halifax, the survivors transported to New York) and the Halifax Explosion (where Boston was the first responder with medical assistance) forever link our two nations and the sea that connects us. Very poignant.

Nova Star Arrives for Maiden Voyage
Nova Star Arrives for Maiden Voyage

Addendum: I intend to continue to eat my way through Nova Scotia – the whole province from the big city, Halifax, to the smallest food producing business or restaurant in rural Annapolis Valley. My food quest is neither a fait accompli or a “never tried” activity it deserves a special place of its own. A good guide to what’s cooking in Nova Scotia is The Taste of Nova Scotia Finally here is a Zoe D’Amato video for My Destination Nova Scotia on the food movement in Nova Scotia

DSC_0875 Nova scotia things blog


10. Nova Star My baby! I work with Nova Star and can honestly say the very gentle rocking of the ship provides me with the only time I sleep through the night, and that’s the conundrum, there’s so much to do onboard and such wonderful late night dining options, it’s hard to want to go to bed.

Nova Star - Nighty night.
Nova Star – Nighty night.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 where I talk about the places I’d like to visit but haven’t yet, and Part 3 Fabulous Places/Things I don’t want to try but lots of other people love.


(c)2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell

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