Days 1, 2 - Halifax to Chester - 178 km/110 mi
Please phone our station on 1-877-626-8686 to arrange the morning transfer from the hotel to our station. Detailed vehicle instruction will be provided. Do your grocery shopping and head out!full details
Your first leg of the journey will take you southwest along Highway 333 to Whites Lake where you can turn south to picturesque Terence Bay, a village with a sheltered beach 13 km (8 mi) away, The SS Atlantic Memorial Park has a coastal boardwalk and an interpretive centre there. Going back up to Highway 333, continue your journey south to the next road on your left, which leads to Prospect, 12 km (7.5 mi) away, a scenic fishing village facing the open Atlantic.
Now it's time to head to Peggy's Cove. Along the way, you could stop at Bayside, where visiting golfers are welcome to enjoy the challenge and excitement of a championship golf course overlooking the beautiful waters of Shad Bay. Reaching the timeless magic of Peggy's Cove, you will see the graceful lighthouse sitting high upon the smooth wave-worn granite of the coast. This lighthouse is a revered symbol of the sea-born spirit of Nova Scotia. The tiny harbour below the lighthouse is a masterpiece of weathered fish sheds and colourful fishing boats, making it one of the most photographed places in Canada. The lighthouse now does duty as Canada's only post office in a lighthouse. It even has its own special stamp cancellation, an image of the lighthouse. The smooth rocks of the shore here are great for exploring, but visitors are cautioned to stay well back from the water's edge as large waves can strike the shore without warning, especially in rough weather. The Peggy's Cove area offers restaurants, gift shops and accommodations.
Continuing along Route 3, and just before Upper Tantallon, you will come across Lewis Lake Provincial Park, a recreation facility specially designed to be accessible for people with wheelchairs and for people with visual impairments. At Queensland visitors can choose from three popular sandy beaches: Cleveland Beach, Queensland Beach and Black Point Beach, which has a ramp providing wheelchair access.
Hubbards, a full-service community at the head of St. Margaret's Bay, has been a tourism destination since the mid-1800s. Hubbards Beach is a popular white-sand beach with the warmest salt water on the South Shore, and Bishop's Park, on Shore Club Road, is a lovely picnic park with a gazebo overlooking Hubbards Cove.
Every summer Saturday night since 1946, there has been a dance at the Shore Club, the last dance hall in Nova Scotia. For information, see the visitor service and interpretive centre at the head of the Aspotogan Trail.
Before you reach East River, the Lighthouse Route follows the ruggedly beautiful coastline of the Aspotogan Peninsula through small coastal villages such as Blandford, Bayswater and Northwest Cove. This peaceful scenic drive is often enjoyed by bicycle. At Blandford there is a boat launch, and at Bayswater Beach Provincial Park, visitors will find a peaceful seaside stopping place with a long white sand beach and picnic area.
The Lighthouse Route continues to Chester, an historic sea-side village noted for sailing, golf, stately homes, studio galleries, and relaxed lifestyle. It's a delightful place to stroll along tree-lined streets, take a boat tour of the harbour, or explore nearby islands by kayak. The Lordly House Museum is a fine example of Georgian architecture. The Chester Playhouse presents entertainment ranging from professional theatre to musical productions. The highlight of the summer season is Chester Race Week, the largest keel-boat regatta in Atlantic Canada, held in mid-August.
Chester is also the starting point for an adventure to one of Nova Scotia's hidden treasures, the Tancook Islands at the mouth of Mahone Bay. An 8 km (5 mi) passenger ferry service runs from Chester to Big Tancook and Little Tancook islands. The ferry runs two to six times daily. For further information, check at the Government Wharf in Chester. The ferry offers an unparalleled way to experience the beauty of the bay, and once on either island, there are many kilometers of quiet country roads and walking trails that offer ever-changing views of the bay and gently rolling island landscapes. There are no services on Little Tancook, but Big Tancook features a cafe, grocery store and gift shops.
A 32 km (20 mi) side trip on Route 12 will take you to New Ross, where you can get a taste of rural life in the early 1800s at Ross Farm Living Museum of Agriculture. The museum includes a 60-acre working farm, a village school, and a store. There are demonstrations of various farm activities using old-time tools, and of course the farm animals are a popular attraction.
Day 3 - Chester to Bridgewater (via Lunenburg) - 55 km/35 mi
The Lighthouse Route continues through Western Shore to Martin's River, where an attractive shoreline park offers superb views of the bay and its islands. Nearby is Oak Island, where a mysterious system of tunnels and shafts originally discovered on the island in 1795 has inspired two centuries of treasure hunters looking for pirate gold... (including American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.)full details
From here the Lighthouse Route continues on Route 3 to Mahone Bay. There's nothing typical about the town of Mahone Bay. The view will make you want to stop, park your car and stroll along the waterfront. The narrow streets are lined with a unique collection of studios and galleries of some of Canada's finest artists and craftspeople, specialty and general-needs shops, a pub, restaurants and cafes, and a visitor information centre. Make sure you stop at the Settlers Museum. And keep your head up - the architecture in Mahone Bay is marvelous. The three waterfront churches form one of the most photographed scenes in Nova Scotia. Outdoor enthusiasts can experience the area through sailing or kayaking. Early in August, the town's annual Wooden Boat Festival celebrates Mahone Bay's heritage of shipbuilding and sailing vessels.
The Lighthouse Route continues along the picturesque coastline to enter Lunenburg, one of Nova Scotia's most historic and beautiful towns. Lunenburg's colourful waterfront, narrow streets and captivating architecture radiate the flavour of the town's seafaring heritage. Settled in 1753 by German, Swiss and Montbeliardian Protestants under British patronage, German was spoken in the community well into the 1800s. Many of today's residents are direct descendants of the first settlers. The early settlers were primarily farmers, but they quickly turned to the sea for their livelihood, building a world-class fishing and shipbuilding industry. At the turn of the century Lunenburg's schooner fleet sailed the Grand Banks, competing with the fleets of New England to bring home the abundance of cod
Old Town Lunenburg is an outstanding example of British colonial settlement in North America. Dozens of historic buildings and homes dating back to 1760 have been beautifully maintained, and the streets still follow the original town plan of 1754.
This extraordinary level of preservation led to the town being declared a Canadian National Heritage District in 1994, and in 1995 the United Nations bestowed a major honour by declaring Lunenburg's Old Town area a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On the waterfront, the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is an excellent museum complex that displays the history of commercial fishing in Atlantic Canada.
The museum's dockside exhibits include the Theresa E. Connor, a restored salt bank schooner, and the Cape North, an early steel-hulled trawler. Adjacent buildings house an aquarium, three floors of exhibits, a theatre, a restaurant and a gift shop. Other museums are the Knaut-Rhuland House, a fine example of Georgian architecture, and Capt. Angus Walters House, home of the skipper of the legendary Bluenose.
Not all the history is in museums. In Old Town you'll find a working marine blacksmith, and a dory shop on the waterfront that first opened in 1895 and still builds dories the traditional way. Many of Lunenburg's renovated historic buildings are now attractive inns, restaurants, shops and galleries. The visitor information centre is in a replica of a blockhouse. Guided walking and carriage tours of the town are available, and boat tours are popular as well.
Lunenburg's shipyards produced many swift and able fishing schooners, but none more famous than the Bluenose. Built in 1921, the Bluenose was the undefeated champion of the North Atlantic fishing fleet and winner of four international schooner races. Her fame won her an immortal place on the back of the Canadian dime. Bluenose II, a replica of the original schooner, was built here in July 1963 and is open to visitors when it's in port.
Lunenburg is also the site of several festivals, including the Lunenburg Craft Festival in July, the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, the Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival, and the Nova Scotia Fisheries Exhibition and Fishermen's Reunion in August. In Lunenburg Harbour, divers can take guided tours to explore the Saguenay, a decommissioned 112 metre (365 ft.) Canadian Navy destroyer which was sunk to create an underwater marine park.
Continue on the Lighthouse Route to Bridgewater, a thriving town straddling the LaHave River . Known as the "Main Street of the South Shore", Bridgewater offers visitors numerous services and conveniences including restaurants, accommodations, a bustling mall, banks, hospital, museums, recreational facilities, and a visitor information centre.
Our CanaDream Club partner campground in Bridgewater is Oakhill Pines Campground. This campground offers CanaDream guests a 10% discount except on holiday weekends. Show them you are a CanaDream guest to receive the discount.
CanaDream Club partners on today's route are
Oakhill Pines Campground - 388 Oakhill Road, Bridgewater
Day 4 - Bridgewater to Liverpool - 48 km/30 mi
There's only a short distance to cover today so we suggest you spend time in Bridgewater before heading out. Bridgewater has attractions that visitors shouldn't miss. The DesBrisay Museum, situated on 10 hectares (25 acres) of parkland, features displays of Lunenburg County's history. The Wile Carding Mill, built in 1860, is a provincial museum with the original carding machines on display. The Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum preserves the rich and colourful history of the railway on the South Shore. The South Shore Exhibition and International Ox Pull is held in Bridgewater annually near the end of July.
The Lighthouse Route continues on Route 331. Before you enter LaHave, turn right to go to the Fort Point Museum, a former lighthouse keeper's house and site of the Fort Sainte-Marie-de-Grace National Historic Site, where Isaac de Razilly, the first governor of New France, landed with his settlers in 1632. Further along the Route, you will discover Risser's Beach Provincial Park, a perfect family stop for walking and swimming. A boardwalk over the salt marsh area has interpretive displays. The adjacent Crescent Beach offers a wonderful curve of fine sand whose waters are popular with windsurfers.
OFF ROUTE Turn right at Crescent Beach and follow the sign to LaHave Islands. The islands, both those connected by causeways to the mainland and the populated islands just offshore, retain the look and feel of "old-time Nova Scotia" and this flavour is captured in the Marine Museum on Bell's Island.
In Port Medway, the attractions include the Port Medway Lighthouse Park, the Old Meeting House Museum, and the Medway Head Lighthouse. Mill Village is a picturesque community nestled at the mouth of the Medway, one of Nova Scotia's finest whitewater rivers for canoeing and kayaking.
Continue along this scenic coastal loop to Beach Meadows, where Beach Meadows Park features a white sand beach and striking views of the Coffin Island Lighthouse. The next stop before reaching Liverpool is Brooklyn, birthplace of country music star Hank Snow. The Brooklyn Marina and Waterfront Park offers special events all summer long.
Further along, the Lighthouse Route enters historic Liverpool, "Port of the Privateers", the privateering capital of North America . Located at the mouth of the beautiful Mersey River, Liverpool features a delightful array of attractions, waterfront trails, art galleries and gift shops. It was the home port for some of North America's most successful privateers, who sailed forth to capture enemy ships and bring them back to port. They practiced this lucrative trade from about 1760 to 1812. Fort Point Lighthouse Park, at the end of Main Street, commemorates this vivid period of history.
Guided walking tours start at the lighthouse and visit over 30 historic sites dating back to 1763. Visitors can also relive the area's past at the Queens County Museum, where a special display of Samuel de Champlain's original map (circa 1604) commemorates the 400th anniversary of his exploration of the area.
Further down Main Street, in the former Town Hall (circa 1902) is the Astor Theatre, which has a year-round program of concerts, films and live theatre. The Sherman Hines Museum of Photography is also in the old town hall.
Just a little way from Main Street, the popular Rossignol Cultural Centre provides family entertainment and a number of unique museums and galleries. The Hank Snow Country Music Centre showcases the life and music of Hank Snow and other Canadian country recording artists. Liverpool hosts Privateer Days at the beginning of July, with period dress and re-enactments of life in 1780.
OFF ROUTE South of Liverpool is the scenic Western Head/Mersey Point Loop (directions available from Fort Point Lighthouse), which brings you to the Western Head Lighthouse, where surfers, a variety of sea birds, and harbour seals are often seen, along with a view of Coffin Island Lighthouse in Liverpool Bay.
Day 5 - Liverpool to Shelburne - 85 km/53 mi
This day starts with three possible off-route explorations:full details
OFF ROUTE In the village of Port Mouton, Carter's Beach is made up of three half-moon-shaped white sandy beaches. At the Spectacle Island Dive Park, divers can explore a variety of dive sites, from ship¬ wrecks to natural wonders. The newest artificial reef, the Matthew Atlantic, is accessible to novice divers and even to snorkellers. The exceptionally clear water makes it visible from the surface.
OFF ROUTE - Off Highway 103 in Port Joli, nature lovers will find one of the South Shore's premier outdoor experiences waiting for them at Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct, which covers 22 km 2 (8.5 square miles) of unspoiled Atlantic coastline on the Port Mouton Peninsula. The first trail passes through the forest, beside small pockets of bog, over coastal dunes to the beach at Harbour Rocks and on to the end of St. Catherine's River beach (5 km/3 mi return). Part of the beach is closed to public access from late April to early August, during the nesting season of the endangered piping plover. Harbour Rocks is well known as an excellent location to view seals. The second trail branches from the Harbour Rocks Trail, crosses an extensive bog by board walk, and follows the edge of the coast to Port Joli Head, looping back along the shoreline to Harbour Rocks (9 km/5.5 mi return).
OFF ROUTE - A left turn off Highway 103 on the East Port I'Hebert Road leads to Thomas Raddall Provincial Park, which offers scenic hiking trails, sand beaches, and secluded camp sites, and is a favourite destination for campers and day visitors.
As you continue along the Lighthouse Route, you will enter Lockeport, which is renowned for its fine white sand beaches. There are five of them in and around the town, including Crescent Beach, a stunning scimitar of sand that was once featured on the back of the Canadian $50 bill. Crescent Beach, 1.5 km (1 mi) long, is just the right size for a stroll, and a perfect place to get reacquainted with the feeling of warm sand sliding between your toes. The attractive visitor centre at Crescent Beach is a good place to start - it offers parking, a visitor information, canteen, gift shop, scenic look-off, change rooms, and shower facilities.
Also worth investigating in Lockeport is Nova Scotia's first Registered Historic Streetscape, made up of five houses built by descendants of Jonathan Locke between 1836 and 1876. The houses offer an interesting cross section of historical architecture with excellent examples of Colonial, Georgian and Victorian styles. A walking-tour guide book is available at the Little School Museum, which displays artifacts from early settlers. From the town wharves, Carter's and Gull Rock lighthouses can be seen. This is also a great birding area, with ocean beach, salt marsh, freshwater pond and forest habitats.
Returning to the Lighthouse Route , the next stop is Shelburne, a town whose rich history and picturesque charm has captured the hearts of many and attracted the attention of the film industry.
Shelburne was settled in 1783 when 3,000 United Empire Loyalists, who had maintained allegiance to the British Crown during the American Revolution, arrived by ship from New York City, creating an instant boomtown in the wilderness. Their numbers quickly swelled to over 10,000, making Shelburne the fourth-largest community in North America, but declined again within a few years as the settlers moved on.
The town's history comes alive in a harbourside stroll along Dock Street, where 18th-century houses and more recent commercial buildings have been restored and revitalized. Many waterfront events feature re-enactments and visitors can watch barrels being produced in the factory. This historic area also holds a fascinating complex of museums. The Ross-Thomson House contains the oldest restored store in North America. Nearby, the Shelburne County Museum presents displays and artifacts on the county's intriguing history and impressive shipbuilding heritage. The museum houses the oldest fire-pumper in North America . The Dory Shop, on the waterfront, produced about 350 of these sturdy work boats each year in the early 20th century and museum visitors can still watch them being built by hand. Many visitors each year come to Shelburne to trace their family roots, and the Shelburne County Genealogical Society on Water Street has extensive records and research facilities . The Muir-Cox Shipyard, last of the wooden shipbuilding yards on the waterfront, is now an interpretive and boatbuilding centre.
Just after Shelburne, Route 203 offers an opportunity to explore one of Nova Scotia's most pristine wilderness areas. The road follows the Roseway River and its network of lakes, passing through the small villages of Lower Ohio, Middle Ohio and Upper Ohio to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, which covers the headwaters of the Sissiboo, Jordan, Roseway, Clyde and Tusket rivers.
Days 6, 7 - Shelburne to Yarmouth - 268 km/167 mi
OFF ROUTE - At Port Clyde, a right turn takes you past an excellent golf course to the village of Clyde River and from there, the unpaved Upper Clyde Road is a delightful scenic side trip along the Clyde River, where you can enjoy birding, canoeing and bicycling. This loop road rejoins the Lighthouse Route near Shelburne.full details
OFF ROUTE - At Port La Tour, a left turn off the Lighthouse Route leads to Smithville and Baccaro, where the Baccaro Lighthouse offers a terrific vantage point for watching seabirds.
From here, the Lighthouse Route skirts the eastern shore of Barrington Bay. If you're ready to stretch your legs, Sand Hills Beach Provincial Park offers a beautiful natural setting with two curved beaches, one leading to the other. The park is named for the lovely white sand dunes that rise behind the beach area. Boardwalks lead through the fragile dunes to the beach and there are washrooms and change rooms for swimmers.
Your next stop is Barrington, an attractive village with several historic attractions. The replica of the Seal Island Light was built in 1979 as a lighthouse museum. Enjoy the panoramic view of Barrington Bay from the top. The massive Fresnel lens is the one that warned vessels away from the Seal Island shore.
Nearby, the Old Meeting House, built in 1765, was used by the early settlers for public meetings and as a place of worship. The oldest nonconformist church in Canada, it is now operated as a provincial museum.
The Barrington Woollen Mill, built in 1882, was in production until 1962, making it the last operating 19th-century mill in Nova Scotia. Now a provincial museum, it brings to life the days when small water-powered mills were a common part of life in rural Nova Scotia. The museum features displays of original machinery, exhibits on sheep-raising and wool-processing on the South Shore, and a large mural made up of hand-woven pieces, which includes the origin of the Nova Scotia Tartan.
Barrington is also home to two local museums. The Cape Sable Historical Society Centre has displays on local history, and the Western Counties Military Museum in the old courthouse features displays of historic military artifacts and uniforms.
The Lighthouse Route continues to the busy service centre of Barrington Passage, where it turns left on Route 330 to Cape Sable Island, a noted birding destination.
Cape Sable Island, the most southerly point in Atlantic Canada, is the home of the famous Cape Island boat, first built by Ephraim Atkinson at Clark's Harbour in 1907. Today the design is a standard for small boats that require high stability and efficiency in the North Atlantic. A typical Cape Islander is 11.5m (38 ft) long, with a 3.5m (12-ft) beam. It draws little water, sitting right on top of the surface, and is used primarily in the lobster fishery.
The first village on the island is Centreville, where the Archelaus Smith Museum features local history and displays on lobster fishing and shipbuilding.
Continuing back on the route, in Shag Harbour you can climb the tower in the Chapel Hill Museum for a panoramic view of the sea and outlying islands. At night the lights of five lighthouses - at Cape Sable, Bon Portage Island, Seal Island, Baccaro Point and Woods Harbour - are visible from this point. The post office in Shag Harbour has a special stamp cancellation commemorating the sighting of a UFO which crashed and sank here in 1967.
These lighthouses still perform a vital function that was even more critical in the days when virtually all traffic and commerce went by ship. The rocks around Seal Island, called the Sea Wolves by Champlain, wrecked hundreds of ships before the building of the first lighthouse in 1830.
The life of a lighthouse keeper was hard and sometimes lonely. Bon Portage Island was the home of noted author Evelyn Richards, on whose book We Keep A Light, described her life on the island when she and her husband tended the light in the 1930s and 40s. The island is now a research centre and bird sanctuary, and the Fresnel lens from the lighthouse is on display at the Seal Island Light Museum in Barrington .
Off Route 3 to the left, Route 335 leads to the French speaking communities of West Pubnico, Middle West Pubnico and Lower West Pubnico. Settled in 1653 by Acadians, these villages make up the oldest Acadian settlement in the province. In Middle West Pubnico, a monument displays millstones used here in 1699. At West Pubnico, there are two sites dedicated to preserving the area's rich heritage, and a cenotaph commemorating the founding of the village and the lives lost in the two world wars. Le Village Historique Acadien restoration features period homes and fish houses, artifacts, and plenty of Acadian joie-de-vivre. Le Musee Acadien, a homestead dating back to 1864, has costumed interpreters and offers various programs and demonstrations throughout the summer. Chez Nous a Pombcoup is an annual village festival held here in early August. Also in West Pubnico, the Abbott's Harbour Lighthouse offers a pleasant place for a picnic. The many islands in the area can be explored by sea kayak.
In nearby Middle East Pubnico, the Church of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1919. Its cemetery contains the grave of Simon d'Entremont who, in 1836, was the first Acadian elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.
Two complementary Acadian experiences await you in the Pubnico region - le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Ecosse and the Musee acadien et archives. The Village is a feast for the senses that resonates with the fascinating tale of Nova Scotia's Acadian people pre-1920. Feel their persevering spirit as you explore the site. Learn the old methods of fishing, catch a glimpse of a farmer tending his field or building a unique mushroom-shaped salt haystack. Farming was made possible here with the innovative wooden aboiteau dyke system, a living example of the ingenuity of this industrious people.
In the Musee acadien et archives, tour the gardens, overflowing with traditional ingredients for herbal remedies and nourishing meals that helped the original Pubnico residents survive in their new environment. Watch an early printing press create a page of the daily news from 1937, see an actual aboiteau, and learn to delicately stitch with traditional quilters as they create the same type of bed coverings that kept their ancestors warm on cold winter nights.
Your Acadian roots are here. Some local families can trace their lineage to France as far back as 1632 using the genealogy resources housed within the museum, proudly recognized as a UNESCO archive portal. Many of the small towns and villages along this coastline, like Wedgeport, West Pubnico and Woods Harbour, depend on the sea for their livelihood. Colourful fleets of longliners, trawlers and scallop draggers work the offshore fishing grounds, while smaller craft like lobster boats harvest the inshore areas. All along this shore, fishermen collect rockweed, a type of seaweed used as fertilizer, and Irish moss, a seaweed that is the source of a natural additive used in many foods, including ice cream and gelatin. You may see the small open rockweed boats, almost buried under their towering cargo, as they approach the wharves for unloading.
At Roberts Island, a 1.5 km (1 mi) interpretive trail leads through the Goose Creek Marsh wetlands management area. The wetlands include an area of dykelands constructed by Acadian settlers in the late 1800s. Here birdwatchers may glimpse herons, osprey, geese, kingfishers, and several species of ducks. Just beyond Roberts Island on Route 3 is the Glenwood Provincial Park, whose broad, shady picnic sites and tree-lined lake offer a choice resting spot.
The Lighthouse Route follows the picturesque shore to Tusket, settled in 1785 by Dutch United Empire Loyalists from New York and New Jersey. The Argyle Township Courthouse, built in 1805, is the oldest standing courthouse in Canada. The courthouse has been carefully restored and is open to the public, with interpretive guides in summer. Upstairs, the airy courtroom offers insight into the judicial processes of the 1800s, while the restored cells in the basement give a view of the hard life of those the judgments went against.
Just before Tusket, the Church of Ste. Anne in Ste-Anne du Ruisseau is a magnificent structure with high, vaulted ceilings featuring beautiful paintings, and ornate stained glass windows. The church was built in 1900 near the site of the original parish chapel, built in 1784. It is open to the public, with interpretive guides in the summer.
Off Route 334, remnants of Acadian dykes can be found at Pinkney's Point, a thriving small Acadian fishing community on a peninsula. The waters off the coast teem with schools of sleek, powerful tuna and the town of Wedgeport was once known as the Sport Tuna Fishing Capital of the World. It was the site of the World Tuna Cup Match from 1937 to 1976, and attracted such luminaries as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart and Ernest Hemingway. Today, Wedgeport is home to the Sport Tuna Fishing Museum and Interpretive Centre. The museum is also the starting point for a 5.4 km (3.4 mi) interpretive nature trail that leads through coastal wood lands and along the Tusket River Estuary.
In Wedgeport, the Butte-de-la-Croix is an historic site commemorating the first mass held here in 1769 for the returning Acadians. Marked by a cross, the site remains a symbol of Acadian courage and perseverance. The site also features a salt marsh boardwalk and a magnificent view of the Tusket Islands. The Festival Acadien de Wedgeport is held at the end of June.
Many of the coastal areas in this region were settled by Acadians, some as early as 1653 and others after the expulsion of 1755. In 1767 the first of these Acadians settled in Wedgeport and other nearby areas. With most of the productive farmland already occupied, the returning Acadians turned to the sea for their livelihood.
The Lighthouse Route ends, appropriately, at one of Nova Scotia's most dramatic and historically significant lighthouses. The Yarmouth Light stands on the rocky point of Cape Forchu, named by Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Follow the Yarmouth waterfront north to Vancouver Street, then take scenic Route 304 to Cape Forchu . The original lighthouse, built in 1839, was replaced by the current structure in the 1960s. Rising 23 metres above the ground, the lighthouse's two-million-candlepower beam can be seen over 30 nautical miles out at sea. Today it's a great place to have a picnic or to walk the short shoreline trail, enjoying the views and crisp salty air of Yarmouth Harbour. In addition to a picnic area and trail, there is a canteen, gift shop and lighthouse interpretive centre.
The town of Yarmouth is an historic seaport whose proximity to New England and rich offshore fishing grounds contributed to the town's development and prosperity. Yarmouth was settled in 1761, and the town's proximity to the ports of New England and lucrative trade with the West Indies brought a prosperity that can still be seen in the town's splendid architecture. Yarmouth today has the salty romance of a working seaport.
Yarmouth's great shipping heritage is reflected in the exhibits of the Yarmouth County Museum, which includes one of Canada's largest collections of ship paintings, as well as exhibits on the early Acadian and English settlements of the area.
Another of Yarmouth's delightful surprises is the Firefighters' Museum. Dedicated to the history of firefighting and firefighters in the province, the museum's extensive collection includes several horse-drawn pumpers, steam pumpers and historic firefighting equipment from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The town's waterfront park is a great place to enjoy views of the harbour. Nearby, the Killam Bros Shipping Office Museum offers a look at coastal shipping businesses of the type that were prevalent along this coast in the 1800s. Yarmouth is also home to the Yarmouth Arts Centre (Th' YARC), which offers a variety of entertainment in its 350-seat theatre on Parade Street .
Stop at the Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centre, 228 Main Street (up the hill from the ferry terminal), for information and travel literature about Nova Scotia. An excellent brochure describes a self-guided walking tour of 26 historic buildings and heritage sites, including the Collins Heritage Conservation District.
Days 8, 9 - Yarmouth to Digby & the Digby Neck - 243 km/151 mi
The Lighthouse Route becomes the Evangeline Trail as you leave Yarmouth going north. A few kilometres beyond Yarmouth lies the tiny picturesque fishing village of Sandford, whose scenic harbour is spanned by the world's smallest wooden lift-bridge. Beyond this, the Port Maitland Beach Provincial Park has a picnic area by a lovely beach. full details
The Municipality of Clare, often referred to as the Acadian Shore, hugs Baie Ste-Marie midway between Yarmouth and Digby. Route 1 passes through twelve picturesque French-speaking villages between Beaver River and St. Bernard. The bilingual inhabitants along this shore are descendants of the first European settlers, who came from France in the early 1600s. Scattered over eastern North America by the Deportation of 1755, many of Nova Scotia's Acadians came to this area several years later to build new communities, turning from farming to the sea for their livelihood. Acadian music and culture are presented at festivals and restaurants throughout the district during the summer months.
This is a region of handmade quilts, smoked fish and Stella Maris, the tri-coloured Acadian flag with a single star that proudly flies from many homes and public buildings. The architecture of Clare's older homes reflects the New England post-Deportation influence. The Acadians built magnificent churches and every visitor should make time to stop in at least one of these celebrated edifices.
One of the region's most popular sand beaches can be found by taking a turn off Route I in Mavillette to Mavillette Beach Provincial Park . Mavillette Beach, a lovely 2 km (1.2 mi) expanse of sand and dunes, provides interpretive panels, guided tours, and a bird watching platform on the marsh.
In the village of St. Alphonse, I'Eglise St. Alphonse is one of the most charming of the Acadian churches along this shore. Inside the church, the walls are covered with extensive murals and, in one corner, a trickle of springwater flows across a grotto of "stones" that are actually carved from wood.
Further along the Evangeline Trail, Smugglers Cove Provincial Park affords a splendid place for a picnic lunch, with inspiring views of the coastal cliffs and St. Mary's Bay. A small path leads down to a pebble beach and a natural cave. Interpretive panels and guided tours tell about the rum-running past.
Meteghan, settled in 1785, is the Acadian Shore's busiest port. Scallop draggers, trawlers, herring seiners, and cod and lobster boats anchor here. Ask for directions to the Bangor Sawmill Museum, a restored water-powered sawmill.
Comeauville, enjoy a challenging round of golf.
One of the finest and most celebrated of the Acadian churches is St. Mary's Church at Pointe de I'Eglise (Church Point). An engineering marvel, St. Mary's was constructed between 1903 and 1905 in the form of a cross 58 m (190 ft) long and 41 m (135 ft) wide. The spire rises an impressive 56 m (185 ft) above the surrounding countryside. From May to mid-October, a bilingual guide is available for tours of the church and its small museum.
St. Mary's Church is located on the campus of Universite SainteAnne, a centre of Acadian culture and Nova Scotia's only French language university. During the summer months the award-winning Evangeline, a musical drama based on the famous poem written by Longfellow 150 years ago, is performed both indoors and outdoors. The university is also the site of the oldest Acadian festival in the Atlantic Provinces, Festival Acadien de Clare, held here during the second week of July.
The village of Grosses Coques is named for the large clams found there, which are said to be the largest on the eastern seaboard. Just past the Grosses Coques River Bridge, a left turn leads to Major Point Beach, where a cairn and small chapel have been erected to mark the site of the first Acadian cemetery of the region. This is the starting point for an interpretive seaside walking trail, a 5 km (3 mi) loop trail along the rocky shore and past freshwater wetlands to the well-protected harbour at Belliveau Cove (L'Anse-desBelliveau). This former lumbering and shipbuilding community features a picturesque lighthouse and wharf, a park with guided tours, and a beach that is a popular clamming location when the tide is out.
At St. Bernard, an awe-inspiring granite church, which seats 1,000, was constructed between 1910 and 1942 by local residents. Guided tours are available, and classical music concerts are held here.
Weymouth, settled in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists, is a quiet town on the Sissiboo River with its roots in lumbering. The Weymouth Historical Society has restored St. Thomas Anglican Church for use as a museum and cultural centre. An interpretive centre tells the story of New France, the first community in the area to have dynamo-powered lights. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the area by canoe or kayak on a wilderness excursion.
At Gilbert Cove, there is a restored lighthouse which provides picnic facilities and excellent views of the bay in every direction. Another place to enjoy the beauty of the area's seashore is Savary Park, a provincial picnic park on the left near Plympton. This is a fine beachcombing area, and groves of white birches and evergreens overlooking a tidal pool make it a pleasant setting.
Digby was founded in 1783 by Loyalists from the New England colonies led by Admiral Robert Digby. The town overlooks the magnificent Annapolis Basin and the Digby Gut, which opens out into the Bay of Fundy. Digby is home port of one of North America's largest scallop fleets, harvesters of the world-famous Digby scallop. For a great view of the colourful scallop-draggers go to Digby's floating marina, which rises and falls almost 9 metres (3 storeys) every few hours. The stairs are steep at low tide! This historic waterfront is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and in summer there is live entertainment at the bandstand next to the marina. Visitors can stroll past the fishing boats tied up to the fishermen's wharf, take a harbour cruise, wander through the marina, or observe an active boatyard.
At the end of the boardwalk a restored 28 m (92 ft) scallop dragger - the Lady Vanessa - has been made into a private museum highlighting the local fishery and scallop-dragging. Along the street, one block from the municipal visitor information centre, visitors can enjoy a wealth of history on the area and on the scallop industry at the Admiral Digby Museum. The museum also has an extensive genealogy research facility. Two blocks uphill from the museum, the Trinity Anglican Church highlights the town's shipbuilding heritage. Built in 1878, the church is thought to be the only one in Canada built entirely by shipwrights. Their unique handiwork shows in the laminated arches, braces and handwrought ironwork common to sailing ships built a century ago.
On the way to enjoy a round of golf at a classic Stanley Thompson designed golf course, turn on Lighthouse Road for a side trip to Point Prim Lighthouse, on the Bay of Fundy. This rocky shore is an excellent vantage point for viewing splendid sunsets.
North on Route 303, there is a visitor information centre near the terminal of the MV Princess of Acadia ferry, which carries vehicles between Digby and Saint John, New Brunswick .
Digby is the gateway to one of Nova Scotia's most spectacular natural regions. The Digby Neck and Islands Scenic Drive. Route 217 follows the narrow ribbon of land between the waters of the Bay of Fundy and St. Mary's Bay, along Digby Neck to Long Island and Brier Island. The Bay of Fundy's great tides have created a rich ecosystem that supports an abundance of wildlife, including great numbers of whales and seabirds. The area has become famous for its whale and seabird watching tours, and the land is an environmental treasure that offers spectacular panoramas of rocky headlands and tide-carved coastline. The road winds through timeless small fishing villages such as Sandy Cove, Mink Cove and Little River. Sandy Cove is a particularly charming village with a boat-filled bay, several historic buildings, and cliffs with volcanic ancestry. A right turn in Sandy Cove offers a short, scenic drive across the peninsula to a bay where a fishing weir can be seen just offshore. The weir takes advantage of the extraordinary high tides to trap fish as the tide goes out.
Long and Brier Islands, off the end of Digby Neck, are reached by short ferry crossings. Both ferries operate hourly, 24 hours a day, year-round. In September, sightings of finback, minke, and humpback whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are common. You may also see endangered North Atlantic right whales. The islands are located on the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration route for many species of sea birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, and, in the spring and fall, birdwatchers flock from all over North America and Europe. Both islands have restaurants, accommodations, gas stations and convenience stores.
The first ferry leaves East Ferry on the half-hour for Tiverton on Long Island. Tiverton, settled in 1785, is an unspoiled fishing village that is home to several whale-watching tours. Boar's Head lighthouse is a great place to gaze out over the Bay of Fundy. The Islands Museum and visitor information centre is located in the village. It provides local information and displays on island life, including the voyage of Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail around the world alone. Halfway along Long Island, a well marked hiking trail with magnificent views along the spectacular rugged shoreline, leads to the much-photographed "Balancing Rock", a large column of basalt rock that balances delicately at the edge of the shore.
At the other end of the island is Freeport, founded in 1784. Freeport is a fishing village blessed with natural beauty. Wildflowers are profuse, there are shorebirds in the cove, and there are many areas for hiking. A breathtaking look-off over the Bay of Fundy is a great place to watch the whales from the shore. Dartmouth Point is a wonderful place for a hike, with its basalt columns and views of the surging tide. Whale-watching and deep-sea fishing cruises are available in Freeport.
Another ferry crosses on the hour from Freeport to Westport, on Brier Island .
Just 6.5 km (4 mi) long and 2.5 km (1.5 mi) wide, Brier Island is renowned as a sensitive ecological treasure, with rare wild orchids among the profusion of wildflowers on the island. Brier Island is a paradise for hikers and walkers, with easy-to-moderate trails that lead along the island's shore to places like Seal Cove, where you can sit and watch a seal colony. Walkers can also enjoy a visit to the island's lighthouses - the Western Light and the Northern Light. Westport, the only village on the island, is a major fishing port and a busy tourist centre with several whale-watching cruises. Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruises offer whale watching tours from the beginning of June to Thanksgiving and discounted tickets for these cruises are available through CanaDream.
Day 10 - Digby to Annapolis Royal - Distance: 64 km/41 mi
The Evangeline Trail continues to Smith's Cove, a favourite resort area with excellent accommodations. The Smith's Cove Historical Museum is located in the centre of the village, in the Old Meeting House (1834) and Temperance Hall. full details
A scenic detour off the Evangeline Trail, at Highway 101, Exit 24, leads to Bear River, "The Switzerland of Nova Scotia". Bear River is a wonderfully picturesque village nestled in a deep valley at the head of a tidal river. The town is best known for its many outstanding artists and craftspeople whose attractive shops line the main street. The town's unique architecture has a European flavour and waterfront buildings have been built on stilts to stay above the dramatic high tides. The visitor information & interpretive centre is located in a windmill in the Waterfront Park. The Bear River Heritage Museum offers a look at the town's rich history of shipbuilding and trading.
Bear River is also home to the award-winning Solar Aquatics Treatment Facility, an innovative waste treatment facility in a greenhouse environment where effluent is cleaned using a biologically balanced environment of aquatic plants and creatures. The facility has attracted international interest among environmentalists.
Continuing on Route 1 from Smith's Cove, the Evangeline Trail passes through Cornwallis, where the military museum is worth a visit. Just off the Evangeline Trail at Clementsport, the old church of St. Edward, consecrated in 1797, is now a museum. Surrounded by its historic cemetery, the church is situated on a high hill. From the tower there is a magnificent panorama of the Annapolis Basin.
Visitors with children may want to stop and enjoy Upper Clements Park in Upper Clements , where they'll find fun for kids of all ages. This is a bright, modern 10 hectare (25 acre) park, where the theme is Nova Scotia's heritage and music. In addition to exciting rides and activities, there are several historic buildings that house displays, entertainment, handcrafts, food outlets and other attractions. Across the highway, the Upper Clements Wildlife Park offers forested trails that allow visitors a close-up look at some of Nova Scotia's native animals. The park is trailhead for 10 km (6 mi) of hiking/skiing trails.
Your next stop is Annapolis Royal, which offers a captivating blend of heritage and charm that has made it a favourite stopping place along the Evangeline Trail. The town contains over 150 heritage buildings, including the oldest wooden house in Canada, the deGannes-Cosby House, built in 1708. Two other houses of great historic value in the town are the Adams-Ritchie House (1712), and the Runciman House (1817).
Today, Annapolis Royal is a town of gracious large homes, colourful gardens and broad tree-lined streets. The town is also known for its unique shops, fine inns, artists' studios and galleries, and golf course.
At the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens visitors can enjoy 4 hectares (10 acres) of beautiful, tranquil gardens, including several theme gardens, collections, and displays spread along more than 1.5 km (1 mi) of winding pathways, most of which are wheelchair-accessible. The marshland adjacent to the garden is a popular bird watching area that can be accessed by paths along the top of the dykes.
Fort Anne National Historic Site overlooks the mouths of the Annapolis and Allain rivers. The fort features well-preserved earthwork fortifications, a museum in the officers' quarters and a gunpowder magazine. Built in 1708, the magazine is the oldest building in any Canadian National Historic Site. Vibrant colours and lively vignettes in the Fort Anne Heritage Tapestry illustrate four centuries of the history of the site and area. The present fort is the fifth built on this location and its park-like ambiance makes it a good place to stroll and contemplate what life was like for the young soldiers who defended it. In summer months, an entertaining candlelight graveyard tour is offered by the local Historical Society on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
After visiting Fort Anne, take time for a walk along lower St. George Street, the oldest town street in Canada. Here you will find the O'Dell Inn Museum (c. 1869), open daily during the summer, and ARTsPLACE, where visitors can get a taste of the work of the area's artists. We recommend you stay tonight at Cove Oceanfront Campground in Parker's Cove right on the Bay of Fundy, about 14 km from Annapolis Royal. This campground is a CanaDream Club partner and will offer CanaDream guests a discount for cash payments on overnight stays with them. Some blackout periods apply.
Day 11 - Annapolis Royal to Wolfville - 158 km/100 mi
Along this stretch of the Annapolis Valley, Route 1, the Evangeline Trail, follows the north side of the river while Route 201 follows the south side. Tupperville, 16 km (10 mi) east of Annapolis Royal on Route 201, is the location of the Tupperville School Museum, a country school over 100 years old. full details
In Annapolis Royal on Route 1, you'll find Nova Scotia Power's Annapolis Royal Tidal Power Project, the first of its kind in North America. The facility generates hydroelectric power from the force of the Fundy tides at the Annapolis River Causeway. A visitor information centre is also located at this site.
To reach Port Royal, follow the Evangeline Trail (Route 1) to Granville Ferry then turn left. At Granville Ferry the North Hills Museum, in a beautifully restored late 18th-century home, houses the lifetime collection of celebrated antique dealer Robert Patterson. The collection includes an exceptional array of fine Georgian furniture, ceramics, glass, silver and period paintings.
Continuing on, you come to Port-Royal National Historic Site. One of the most historically important sites in North America, Port Royal offers a fascinating insight into early European settlement of the new world. A colony and fur-trading post built in 1605 by Sieur de Monts, the Port Royal Habitation was the earliest European settlement in North America north of Florida. The present Habitation is a reconstruction based on detailed drawings made by Samuel de Champlain. Inside the Habitation, costumed interpreters bring to life the hard daily existence of these early adventurers in the New World .
OFF ROUTE - A short drive from Port Royal leads to Delap's Cove, where excellent hiking trails lead along the rocky splendour of the Bay of Fundy shore to a lovely 13 m (43 ft) waterfall. The road then traces the magnificent tide-carved coastline, passing through several picturesque fishing villages along the way, including Parker's Cove, Young's Cove, and Hampton. From Granville Ferry, the Evangeline Trail continues through the Annapolis Valley . Known as "Canada 's first bread basket", this historic fertile valley has been farmed for over 300 years. Today, the orchards and rolling farmlands comprise one of the most celebrated apple-growing regions in the world. Graced with attractive towns and villages and threaded with gently winding rivers, the valley extends from Digby to Windsor (about 30 kilometers - 18 miles east and south of Wolfville), an area 160 km (100 mi) long and from 8 to 24 km (5 to 15 mi) wide. The valley is sheltered on both sides from heavy winds and the Bay of Fundy fog by the North and South mountains. Sunshine and rich red soil combine to produce excellent fruit and a trip through the country during apple blossom time (late May or early June) is memorable.
On the Evangeline Trail, continue to Bridgetown, which was once the busy head of navigation on the Annapolis River, where the produce of the valley was gathered to be shipped to the rest of the world. Today, Bridgetown has an abundance of small-town charm with colourful shops, accommodations and numerous services. Walking tours of heritage homes and the Historic Cyprus Walk highlight Bridgetown's rich history. The James House, built in 1835 by the merchant Richard James, is now a museum, tea room and local gallery. Jubilee Park on Granville Street (Route 1) has picnic tables, a bandstand, a play area, a boat ramp and wharf on the Annapolis River, and a visitor information centre. There is a beautiful golf course nearby.
From the centre of Bridgetown, a road to the north off Route 1 leads across North Mountain to the Bay of Fundy, 10 km (6 mi) away. Valleyview Provincial Park, situated on the brow of North Mountain, offers picnic and camping facilities and provides a panoramic view of the valley.
The Evangeline Trail continues to Lawrencetown, where the Annapolis Valley Agricultural Exhibition is held each August. The College of Geographic Sciences has an international reputation in surveying, mapping, and computer sciences. A little further along at Brickton, a road on the left climbs North Mountain to Mount Hanley, then continues to Port George on the Fundy shore, where Cottage Cove Provincial Park offers picnic facilities and, at low tide, tidal pools to explore.
Middleton offers museums, an historic streetscape, shops and boutiques along tree-lined streets, and activity parks. Macdonald Museum, located on School Street in the oldest consolidated school in Canada, includes a vintage 1903 school classroom, a popular art gallery, and a fascinating collection of nearly 150 antique clocks and watches. Next to the Town Hall, visitors can watch the interesting workings of North America's first water-run Town Clock. The hundreds of unique railroad artifacts at Memory Lane Railway Museum make learning fun. In the west end of town, surrounded by an historic cemetery, the Old Holy Trinity Church (c. 1789) is one of only five remaining Loyalist churches in North America . Elegant in its simplicity, the church is an excellent example of Colonial church architecture. The river provides opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, or just relaxing on the riverbank. At dusk throughout the summer months, birdwatchers can enjoy the aerial acrobatics of hundreds of Chimney Swifts flying in formation.
A side trip on Route 362 leads from Middleton across North Mountain to the seaside village of Margaretsville. Margaretsville is a photographer's paradise, featuring a lighthouse, old fishing shacks, a waterfall, and spectacular sunsets over long stretches of pebble beach. In an old fish shack near the village wharf, a co-operative studio gallery displays the work of artists from the area, and visitors are able to watch an artist at work. Fundy Folk, in East Margaretsville, hosts some unique live musical and theatrical events.
Kingston is a quiet, friendly country village in one of the most fertile and abundant regions of the Annapolis Valley. Scenic country roads wind past well-tended orchards and farms, where apples, blueberries, strawberries, and a host of vegetable crops are grown. Numerous U-pick farms and orchards offer a great way to enjoy the outdoors and take along some of the valley's delicious produce. On the second Saturday of July, Kingston is the site of Nova Scotia's largest steer barbecue, boasting the best beef you'll ever taste.
North of Kingston is the coastal village of Morden, location of the French Cross honouring Acadians who perished there after the Deportation of 1755.
Off Route 1 on Route 201, the village of Greenwood, settled by Planters and Loyalists, is now a bustling commercial centre with the largest enclosed mall west of Halifax. Adjacent to the village are 14 Wing Greenwood Air Base, a golf course open to the public, and Greenwood Military Aviation Museum, which presents the fascinating history of the base's role in the growth of Canadian Aviation.
Aylesford is the home of a golf course and one of Nova Scotia 's most popular attractions, Oaklawn Farm Zoo. This modern zoological park features hundreds of exotic and domestic animals, including jaguars, tigers, zebras, llamas, a pride of lions, and comical and noisy troupes of monkeys. There is also a petting zoo that is a favourite with the younger set.
Off Route 1, Berwick, known as the "Apple Capital of Nova Scotia", combines small-town friendliness with the bustle of a busy commercial centre. The Apple Capital Museum displays the history of the apple industry. The town's beautiful parks, Rainforth and Centennial, are great spots for families or sports-lovers. The town is surrounded by hundreds of acres of orchards on the valley floor and on the gentle mountain slopes.
For a picturesque side trip, take Route 360 north to Harbourville and enjoy the delightful fishing village, with a restaurant, gift shop, cabins, and a lobster pound.
Continuing on Route 1, the Evangeline Trail enters Kentville. The largest community in the Annapolis Valley, Kentville retains lots of home-town charm, with pubs, colourful shops and galleries. The Kings County Museum on Cornwallis Street focuses on the social and natural history of Kings County and contains an extensive collection of genealogical records.
One of the town's most popular places for enjoying the outdoors is the Kentville Trail System, which follows the Cornwallis River from the bird sanctuary at the western edge of town to the ravine on the east side. Nearby is the Kentville Agricultural Research Station which includes Blair House, an on-site museum devoted to the history of both the agricultural centre and the Valley apple industry. In June the spectacular display of rhododendrons is well worth a visit.
Every spring, at the end of May, Kentville is the centre of the Apple Blossom Festival, which is celebrated throughout the valley. The Festival marks the appearance of the Valley's famous apple blossoms, which herald the start of another growing season. Another popular Kentville celebration takes place in October, when the often humorous lawn displays known as "Pumpkin People" appear in profusion, adding a bright note to an already colourful fall tour of the area.
North of Kentville, Route 359 leads through Centreville over North Mountain to Hall's Harbour. Over 400 Bald Eagles spend winters in Kings County, and can be viewed daily in communities such as Sheffield Mills, just east of Centreville. In Centreville, visit the golf course and the Charles Macdonald House, a museum dedicated to the achievements of one of the region's most colourful residents. Charles Macdonald was an artist, ship's carpenter, avid socialist and businessman. The house and the sculptures on the grounds are unique in that they are all made of concrete.
Hall's Harbour is a lovely natural harbour and picturesque fishing village on the upper Bay of Fundy. A favourite with naturalists who come to walk the beach, birdwatch and kayak, the harbour is also popular with valley residents seeking cool breezes on hot summer days. The village has accommodations, several artists' studios, hiking trails and a walking trail, and an open-air restaurant/lobster pound that serves up fresh boiled lobsters at the picnic tables by the water's edge.
Just beyond Hall's Harbour, a side road leads to four colourful and highly unusual small cottages built of concrete in the 1920s by Charles Macdonald. Heading back to the Evangeline Trail, it continues to New Minas, the major shopping area of the Valley, with two malls and numerous shops, restaurants and service businesses. The Lockhart and Ryan Memorial Community Park, at the northeast end of town, features ball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, a picnic area and a playground. New Minas is popular with golfers who enjoy the attractive and challenging 18-hole golf course.
Side trips off the Evangeline Trail lead to some of the area's most fascinating "off-the-beaten-path" attractions and scenery. One of the region's outstanding scenic drives is on the Port Williams Blomidon-Lookoff Loop. Tides, dykeland, farms and great beaches abound on this route. At Greenwich turn left on Route 358 to Port Williams, and then on to Acadian Dyke Drive, which winds along the coast via Starr's Point, Kingsport and Pereau, to Blomidon and the Look-off. This verdant farmland was claimed from the sea by means of dykes, which were built by the Acadians and later extended by the New England Planters. Take time at Starr's Point to visit the impressive Prescott House Museum, an elegant Georgian-style house built in 1814 by Charles Ramage Prescott and now superbly furnished with period antiques. Prescott was a businessman and horticulturist who introduced many new varieties of apples into Nova Scotia, and the lovely grounds and gardens around the house reflect his love of nature and gardening.
This road continues, offering tantalizing views of the Minas Basin and the dramatic headland of Cape Blomidon, until it reaches Blomidon Provincial Park. The park is renowned for its spectacular scenery and for the hiking trails that lead along the towering seacliffs of Cape Blomidon, offering unforgettable views of the Minas Basin. The ebb and flow of the world-famous 15 m (50 ft) tides move over fourteen billion tons of seawater twice daily. The trails also lead to beaches where rockhounds hunt for agates and amethysts.
A short distance back, Stewart Mountain Road leads across to Route 358. To the right lies Scots Bay , an attractive seaside village whose long crescent beach is another rockhound's paradise, and where the water is often warm enough for swimming. This promontory is part of the phenomena which cause the world-famous high tides in the Minas Basin.
Returning along Route 358, be sure to spend some time enjoying the breathtaking view of the Annapolis Valley and Minas Basin from The Lookoff, one of the Evangeline Trail's most popular attractions. Situated 200 m (600 ft) above the floor of the valley, The Lookoff provides a panoramic view of the valley's rolling farmlands, orchards and woods to the majestic shore of the Minas Basin .
The lovely village of Canning was once a major port for the region. Large wooden sailing ships, built along the banks of this now lazy river, were used to ship apples and potatoes to large cities at the turn of the century.
Back on the Evangeline Trail, Wolfville is a charming university town, with stately trees and beautiful heritage homes. Wolfville has a flavour of historic elegance that is evidenced by the town's rich architecture. Downtown Wolfville is home to the 500-seat theatre of the renowned Atlantic Theatre Festival, an array of colourful shops, and some of Nova Scotia 's finest restaurants. The Waterfront Park features interpretive panels, a gazebo, and a tidal gauge.
Dominating the centre of town is Acadia University, one of Canada's top undergraduate schools, offering schools of music, divinity and other disciplines, as well as faculties in arts and sciences. The new Environmental Sciences Research Centre has a six-acre native botanical garden, greenhouses, and a gene bank of Atlantic Region flora.
Randall House on Main Street, built in 1815, is operated as a museum by the Wolfville Historical Society. It features displays and collections that reflect the history of the New England Planters and the Loyalists who settled the area. A self-guided walking tour of Wolfville's heritage homes is available at the Visitor Information Centre in Willow Park on Main Street.
The Robie Tufts Nature Centre on Front Street offers an interpretive display on Wolfville's Chimney Swifts, the aerobatic birds that fly in spectacular formation as they return to their nests each evening just before dark.
At the end of Front Street, by the harbour, there are dykes which were built in the 1600s by the Acadians. This spot offers superb views of the dykelands, the Bay of Fundy, and the dramatic beauty of Cape Blomidon .
Off Pleasant Street is Reservoir Park, a 30-acre park with two ponds, a perimeter trail, a picnic area and spectacular views of Minas Basin and Cape Blomidon. It can be reached by a walking trail from downtown.
A popular sunny-day activity in early summer is taking a cool and relaxing ride down the Gaspereau River in an inner tube. Follow Gaspereau Avenue 2 km (1.5 mi) out of town to the river, where local operators rent tubes.
Day 12 - Wolfville to Halifax - 186 km/116 mi
Nova Scotia's oldest operating winery is in Grand Pre. At Grand-Pre National Historic Site, a graceful stone church stands as a memorial to the Acadians who were forcefully exiled from their homes and farms during the Deportation from 1755 to 1763. The church is built on the site of one of the original Acadian villages, and contains an interesting exhibit about the Deportation. full details
The site also features a statue of Evangeline, the fictional heroine of Longfellow's immortal epic poem, whose perseverance during the hardships of the Deportation came to represent the indomitable spirit of the Acadians. The church grounds are peaceful and lovely, with attractive formal gardens, ancient French willows, an Acadian well, and a blacksmith's shop.
Continue along the Evangeline Trail through Avonport to Hantsport. Situated on the Avon River, Hantsport has a rich tradition of shipping and shipbuilding. Due to the mighty Minas Basin tides, it has one of the few natural dry docks in the world. Artifacts of Hantsport's seafaring past are on display in the Marine Memorial Room, located in Churchill House. Churchill House was built in 1860 by Ezra Churchill, owner of the Churchill & Sons Shipyards. Guided tours are available throughout the summer. "The Captain", a woodcarving gracing the corner of Main and William streets, is further testimony to Hantsport's heritage. On the grounds of the Baptist Church is a memorial to William Hall, the first Black man and the first Nova Scotian to receive the Victoria Cross - the highest award given by the British military for bravery and gallantry. Candlelight cemetery tours are offered from mid-June to mid-September.
Near Hantsport, fossils of plants, fish, and amphibians can be seen at Blue Beach .
At Falmouth, visitors can play a round of golf on a first-class 18-hole course or tour a vineyard located on the site of an Acadian village. The Sainte Famille Cemetery is a pre-Deportation Acadian burial site.
Windsor is a bustling town with a number of interesting attractions. Lovers of Canada's favourite sport will be delighted to find that the "Little Town of Big Firsts" is the birthplace of hockey. The game was first played around 1800 by students of Kings-Edgehill School, the first independent school in the British Commonwealth. While Long Pond, on the Dill property, is considered to be the actual heritage site, the Windsor Hockey Heritage Centre downtown has displays on the origins of hockey and unique articles from the game's early years.
Next door to the hockey centre is Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. The theatre's wide variety of stage productions by and for young people have toured around the world.
The West Hants Historical Museum and Genealogy Centre focuses on the cultural history of one of Nova Scotia 's oldest communities. The Centre houses an extensive library and archives.
Thomas Chandler Haliburton, the first widely-recognized writer of humour in North America, was born and lived in Windsor. His fast-talking, wise-cracking creation, Sam Slick, known for such sayings as "the early bird gets the worm" and "quick as a wink", lends his name to an annual festival. His home, "Clifton", is now a provincial museum furnished in period antiques.
Another favorite son, and an official Goodwill Ambassador for the province, is Howard Dill, who developed a world-famous variety of pumpkin, the "Dill Atlantic Giant", some of which have grown to over 608 kg (1,337 lb.). These gargantuan gourds are showcased at several autumn events.
Shand House Museum is a Victorian home featuring the latest innovations in household conveniences and styles at the turn of the century. The displays and collections reflect Windsor's history as a major shipping port.
The blockhouse at Fort Edward National Historic Site is the oldest such structure in North America. An interpretive display provides details of the fort's history.
Downtown, visitors can enjoy the waterfront, shops, services, Victoria Park and the old homes that line Windsor's tree-shaded streets, and a visitor information centre. Nature lovers will enjoy the three walking trails and Shell Environmental Park .
North America's oldest agricultural fair, the Hants County Exhibition, has been held in Windsor for more than 230 years.
Windsor Playland Park, featuring a thrilling waterslide, is located adjacent to the Exhibition Grounds.
From Windsor, Route 14, right leads cross-province to Chester on the Lighthouse Route, 57 km (36 mi) away. Route 14 follows the course of the Avon River to Windsor Forks, an agricultural area also known for magnificent fall foliage. Martock, a popular ski area, offers rides on the ski lifts in the fall to view the exuberant colours. At Vaughan, a side road leads to Ross Farm Living Museum of Agriculture at New Ross.
Between Windsor and Mount Uniacke on Route 1, the gypsum underlying much of this area can be seen as dramatic white cliffs along the St. Croix River.
Mount Uniacke was named for the summer residence of Richard John Uniacke, who became Attorney General of Nova Scotia in 1797. His large colonial-style country home, Uniacke House, built in 1813, is now a provincial museum. The museum boasts an outstanding collection of original furnishings and is considered one of Canada's most interesting examples of colonial architecture. The Church of the Holy Spirit, built in 1845, is an architectural gem. Mount Uniacke is a naturalist's dream with many kilometres of excellent walking trails leading through woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. There is an abundance of lakes that are headwaters for rivers flowing to the ocean and to Minas Basin, and opportunities for fishing, canoeing, cross-country skiing and golfing.
The Evangeline Trail continues on Route 1 through the suburban areas of Upper, Middle, and Lower Sackville, and ends in Bedford in the Halifax metropolitan area.Spend your last night on the road at Shubie Campground, the only campground located within the Halifax City limits. Shubie's park-like setting, convenient and central location and friendly staff will ensure you have a first class camping experience in Halifax.
Day 13 - Halifax
Sadly today you end your RV vacation. Drop off time at our Dartmouth location is between 08:00 and 10:00. Our friendly staff will be happy to take you downtown or to the airport and look forward to welcoming you back again on another occasion. full details
If you are planning to spend some time in Halifax and area after dropping off your RV, you may like to take a brewery tour at Keiths Brewery, walk up to the citidel, take a harbour cruise or browse through the shops in downtown Halifax. If you need a hotel in Halifax for tonight, click here for a listing of suggested hotels.