Before we became full timers, we were avid explorers, and even though we were still working, we took time each year to make a two-week “road trip”. For us, that meant packing up our Mazda Miata (one gym bag each of clothes, one cosmetic case for Brenda, one laundry bag, and a couple of rolls of quarters for the Laundromat), and hitting the road. We didn’t have the time to enjoy a leisurely pace like we do now, but we covered a lot of ground and saw so many incredible places – many that we’ve been back to and many that we plan to, especially the subject of this trip – beautiful Nova Scotia.
We visited Nova Scotia in the early summer, when the days were beginning to become comfortably warm and everything had turned green. Entering from New Brunswick, we were charmed by the visitor center – cheerfully painted like so many of the boats and homes we’d see as we toured the area. We stayed in Halifax, a large city with an interesting history and a waterfront full of great restaurants, shops, and museums. We visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and were surprised to hear the story of the WWI Halifax Explosion, when two ships, one laden with explosives, collided in the harbor and caused the largest ever non-nuclear man-made explosion, killing over 1500 residents. The story of how Halifax was devastated is extraordinary, and you can read a great version here. In another area of the museum, we viewed a deckchair from the Titanic and learned that as the closest port to the sinking, over 200 recovered victims and their belongings were brought here, and that 150 are buried in the area. This is an amazing facility, and we hope to return when we can spend more time. Nearby is another one-of-a-kind facility, the museum of Canada’s immigration, Pier 21 . It was truly impressive – we never thought of immigration to North America other than through Ellis Island, yet 1.5 million men, women, and children came through this place on their way to a new life. Films, images, and exhibits bring to life what it must have like to have passed through these buildings – what a remarkable place!
While we enjoyed Halifax, touring the countryside is the real joy of visiting Nova Scotia. As you drive the coast highway, each turn takes you to another fishing village, with colorful boats and houses. The best way to describe it is that it looks like a living jigsaw puzzle. On the North coast, the Bay of Fundy produces incredible tides, up to 50 feet, and what looks like miles of mud flats in the morning becomes water-covered bay in the afternoon. Small lighthouses and great restaurants are everywhere on the coast, and we stopped to get Brenda a lobster here and there while I enjoyed the Digby Scallops. Everywhere we traveled, we found people to be friendly and helpful, a quality we didn’t always find in New Brunswick.
If you visit Nova Scotia, chances are you’ll journey to the area’s most photographed site, Peggy’s Cove. And for good reason. In spite of all of the tour busses and cars crowding the parking lots, it somehow remains what we all imagine is the ideal image of an North Atlantic fishing village. The lighthouse is perfect, the village picturesque, and in spite of all the people, the atmosphere is somehow relaxing. A truly magical place to visit.
We’ll be back soon, hopefully with some visits to local attractions, so stay with us & c’mon back!