We didn’t have as much time in Nova Scotia as we would have liked, as we had a flight in Boston to make for a trip to France with David’s family (more on that later). We managed to fit in quite a lot though, as has become our style. We are working on slowing down our pace and not always feeling rushed, but it is tough! Our top activities in Nova Scotia beyond the Cabot Trail included:
Port Hawkesbury Cèilidh
A Cèilidh is a traditional Scottish event involving music and dance. We lucked out and happened to be in Port Hawkesbury on the night of their weekly Cèilidh. We were actually doing some internet catch-up at a Dunkin Donuts across the street from the civic center. I was looking for any bars in the area with traditional Scottish music when I stumbled on the civic center’s website and the weekly Cèilidh. What luck! Port Hawkesbury is a relatively small town and I didn’t have any expectations for the event, but figured it was worth a try. Wow was I impressed! Several of the musicians were from the nearby Gaelic college and alternated instruments throughout the performance. Below is one video I took at the end where each person took turns getting up and stepping. I didn’t want the music to end and would have gladly sat and listened for a few more hours.
We spent an afternoon wandering around the Halifax waterfront. I especially loved a farmer’s market in an old building on the Seaport. I learned on the market’s website that it is “the oldest, continuously operating farmers’ market in North America.” We also went to the Canadian Museum of Immigration just down the block from the market, which is held in Pier 21. The pier served as a gateway for immigrants between 1928 and 1971, primarily arriving by boat. The museum was fascinating and super well done, with a big mix of exhibits. We spent at least half a day there and could have stayed longer if we hadn’t gotten so hungry! We also loved Tidehouse Brewing Company which is the smallest brewery I have ever been to. The brewery has seating for 7 and standing room for 2! We lucked out and arrived just as two others were leaving. The beer was delicious and the bar seating guarantees that you’ll meet others. We got some good recommendations from the people sitting around us and loved the chance to get to meet some locals!
Peggy’s Cove is a tiny fishing town about an hour from Halifax and known for having one of the most photographed lighthouses in Nova Scotia. We were also warned by several people how dangerous the rocks around the lighthouse are, as unsuspecting tourists can easily get pulled out to sea by waves. We stayed far from the water’s edge and spent an hour or so wandering around the rocks. We found a delicious seafood restaurant nearby where David continued his fish and chips streak (I think this was the fourth fish and chips in two weeks!).
Our final stop in Nova Scotia was Truro to see the tidal bore. We had wanted to observe the dramatic tides on the Bay of Fundy, but this was the next best option. A tidal bore is when a river flows back upstream as the tide comes in. The Bay of Fundy produces some pretty significant tidal bores given its dramatic tides. The tidal bore wasn’t too epic when we were there, but it was still pretty neat to see! We got up early to see the 6:30 a.m. tidal bore and surprisingly found one other couple there as well. Luckily the tidal bore was a little late so it was a bit lighter out when it came through.
After the tidal bore we hightailed it to Boston (with a quick overnight in Portland, Maine) for a flight to France for a trip with David’s family. This started a few week hiatus from the van for some family visiting, to be covered in a future post!