Despite having a flight home at 12:30 this afternoon, I managed to pack some more sightseeing into the few morning hours before I had to head to the airport. I was up with the birds at 4:30, hit the hotel gym at 6, breakfast at 7, and out the door by 7:20. A quick stop at Tim Horton’s (how could I resist?) and I was on my way to Eastern Passage. Famed for its Fisherman’s Cove, Eastern Passage is a small town located to the southeast of Halifax at the entrance to Halifax Harbour. There is a small channel between Eastern Passage and McNabs Island, and along this channel lies Fisherman’s Cove. When I was there this morning, there were several brightly colored fishing vessels in the narrow cove lined with lobster traps and fishing nets. Picture perfect! Adjacent to Fisherman’s Cove is McCormacks Beach and boardwalk. The long boardwalk traverses the marshes and along the rocky beach’s edge and was perfect for a brisk morning walk (it was only in the low 40s this morning!).
After my walk, I drove around to Cow Bay and stopped at Rainbow Haven Beach for another walk. The waves were rolling in and the wind was blowing, but it was a great view of the ocean. I followed the Marine Route around to Cole Harbour, then made a quick side trip to Lawrencetown Beach before heading north to the airport. The turboprop didn’t seem *quite* as small today as it did on Friday, but still not my cup of tea. Since you go through U.S. Immigration in Halifax, I was off the plane and into my car in no time. It amazes me that this morning I was walking along a beach in Nova Scotia and now, just a few hours later, I am lying on my couch with a coffee cake in the oven, catching up on my DVR. The wonder of travel!
Irish music and dancing, a visit to the Halifax Public Gardens and Citadel, and some local Nova Scotia cider were the highlights of a rain-filled day in Halifax. I abandoned my morning plans to drive along the Eastern Shore and instead spent the whole day in the city. I started by walking around the Public Gardens, which surprisingly had a large number of flowers in bloom for this time of year. From there, I hiked up Citadel Hill in time to see the 11:00 changing of the guard at the Citadel before walking along the ramparts and through the fortress. By the time I left, the rain/drizzle had set in.
What else was there to do but seek out some food at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market? The food never materialized, but I did sample some delicious local cider made from apples grown by the people in a neighboring booth. (The craft cider scene is strong in Nova Scotia!) If I didn’t have to transport it home, I would have bought some. I left the Farmers Market and headed out in the drizzle along the waterfront Harbourwalk. I managed to find a couple of shirts to take home and enjoyed the salt water smell to the air. In many ways, Halifax reminds me of Charleston, South Carolina. Both are cities built on the water with a mix of cargo ships, fishing vessels, and a fun coastal vibe.
By then it was time to pick up my original plan for the afternoon: Celtic music and dance. First up was The Old Triangle, an Irish pub with traditional Irish music and set dancing on Sunday afternoons. It was good, but I certainly wouldn’t call either the music or the dancers lively. I stayed about an hour and enjoyed a No Boats On Sunday cider (another excellent one!) before heading to the next stop on my self-proclaimed Sunday afternoon pub crawl. Except my pub crawl was cut short when I arrived at Durty Nelly’s to find the Sunday afternoon ceilidh cancelled. Oh well. I wasn’t planning to drink anyway since my last bottle was enjoyed on an empty stomach. I figured I might as well just have an early dinner. Except the restaurant I was planning to eat at was mysteriously closed (it is Thanksgiving here tomorrow…). Back to the car, back over the bridge to Dartmouth, back to the hotel. I settled for a decent, albeit boring, dinner at the nearby Montana’s Cookhouse before heading back to the hotel for a swim, hot tub soak, and a couple of trips down the indoor water slide. I’m hoping to head out early tomorrow to explore a bit of the Eastern Shore that I missed out on today before heading to the airport.
If you’ve never been to Nova Scotia, start making your plans now. Trust me on this one. This is my fourth visit to “Canada’s Ocean Playground”, and I love it just as much as I did the first time around. Sunny, cloud-dappled skies, crisp autumn temperatures, and huge ocean swells with crashing waves made for a perfect day along Nova Scotia’s southern shore.
I’m trying hard to forget about last night’s turboprop flight to get here (and the looming return flight home). It wasn’t a horrible experience, but small spaces and I don’t exactly get along. It was a big enough plane (75 or so seats), but way too narrow and low-ceilinged for me. Couple that with sitting right next to the propeller and it wasn’t what I would call a relaxing flight. Fortunately, it was a quick hour and ten minutes to Halifax where I picked up a rental car, found my hotel, slept fitfully for a few hours, and headed off to explore Nova Scotia (after grabbing a bag of Timbits for breakfast at Tim Hortons!).
First stop: Peggy’s Cove. I wanted to get there early to beat the crowds and tourist buses and despite multiple photo stops along the way, I was able to get in some good pictures before the first busload of tourists rolled in. Peggy’s Cove has somewhere around 300 residents and is perched on a rocky stretch of shoreline surrounded on three sides by the mighty Atlantic. And mighty it was today, with wave after wave crashing against the rocks and sending salt water flying up into the air. It’s no wonder its most popular attraction is a navigational lighthouse on the highest rocky outcrop. Beyond the lighthouse, there is the pretty cove itself with fishing boats dotting its waters along with a handful of local craft and gift shops.
After spending over an hour in Peggy’s Cove, it was time to keep moving. I followed the shoreline along St. Margaret’s Bay before joining the main road to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. Mahone Bay is situated along the bay of the same name and is famed for having three churches lined up along the water’s edge which are often photographed from across the bay. I walked around the town for a while before grabbing a sinfully delicious chocolate pastry (because the donut holes for breakfast weren’t nearly enough sugar for the day…) and relaxing in the loft at The Barn Coffee House. Then it was on to Lunenburg. Lunenburg is another seaside village with a large fishing fleet. I didn’t linger as long there, and soon I was heading back to Dartmouth for dinner and a little shopping before calling it a night.