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45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia

45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia

I have recently returned from two weeks of traveling through Nova Scotia. Apart from biking the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island a few years ago, I had not been to what I call mainland Nova Scotia in over 25 years, despite having lived there on two occasions in my life. It was interesting to see the province with fresh eyes – and as a mature adult.

Here are 45 random observations I made about Nova Scotia.

1. People aren’t afraid of a little colour in Nova Scotia.

"A blast of colour is not unusual in Nova Scotia "

A blast of colour is not unusual in Nova Scotia

2. The highest tides in the world occur on the Bay of Fundy. That means you have to time your trips by boat with precision or you’ll get left high and dry.

"Boats at low tide near Blomidon Provincial Park"

Boats at low tide near Blomidon Provincial Park

3. You can find homemade butter tarts in almost every cafe or even gas station you stop at.

"Butter tarts fresh out of the oven from The Wilder Restaurant near Kejimikjik NP"

Butter tarts fresh out of the oven from The Wilder Restaurant near Kejimikjik NP

4. In Annapolis Royal there is a 9:30 pm candlelit graveyard tour led by Alan Melanson three days a week from June 1st until October 15th. It was fascinating, entertaining, enlightening and one of the highlights (really) of my trip to Nova Scotia.

"Gravestones come to life on this candlelit tour"

Gravestones come to life on this candlelit tour

5. Tax is high in Nova Scotia – 15% – a combination of the federal 5% GST and the 10% provincial sales tax.

6. Tacky is alive and well in Nova Scotia – though granted these people were trying to sell their tacky stuff.

"Tacky - but at the garage sale level in this case"

Tacky – but at the garage sale level in this case

7. So is craftiness. Over and over again I was surprised at the ingenious items I’d see outside on people’s lawns or gates. Incredible creativity is obvious.

"Someone's workshop in East Dover"

Someone’s workshop in East Dover

8. There is no shortage of antique stores in Nova Scotia. I love the old pieces of Nova Scotia pine that are much in evidence in B&B’s.

9. A stay in some beautiful B&B’s like the one pictured below in Annapolis Royal will run you a reasonable $99 in low season and as little as $129 in high season.

"The Queen Anne Inn in Annapolis Royal"

The Queen Anne Inn in Annapolis Royal

10. It was a refreshing change to see so few big box stores outside of the Halifax area. I did notice a few in Kentville but that was about it.

11. There is one heck of a lot of used lobster traps for sale. Some were offered for as little as $2.5o/trap.

12. There is a timeless beauty to the Peggy’s Cove area. It never gets old.

Peggy's Cove is always worth a visit

Peggy’s Cove is always worth a visit

13. The best lobster roll I had was at The Rope Loft in Chester. I savoured every mouthful and went back twice.

"Lobster roll from The Rope Loft in Chester"

Lobster roll from The Rope Loft in Chester

14. There are a lot of small cars on the road – partly I suspect as a function of the economy and the price of gas.

15. I’ve only seen signs like this offering pickled eggs and Solomon Gundy in Nova Scotia. I didn’t know people still ate pickled eggs.

"Solomon Gundy anyone?"

Solomon Gundy anyone?

16. Oil and wood are primarily used for heating homes unless you live in the Halifax-Dartmouth area. At one B&B I stayed at I hear they went through 40 cords of wood in a winter.

"Wood piles are a common sight"

Wood piles are a common sight

17. All over Nova Scotia I saw people with multi-coloured chairs – definitely a trend at least this year.

"Looking out over the Annapolis River"

Looking out over the Annapolis River

18. In June lupines are everywhere. I never got tired of seeing field after field of them.

"Lupins brighten up the whole province"

Lupines brighten up the whole province

19.  In Halifax I rented the cheapest car on four wheels – and ended up with a convertible Fiat mini. It’s the only place in Canada where it’s been offered. Did you know it’s possible to put a stuffed backpack and a bike in a car this size – if you take both wheels off?

"My red convertible mini Fiat"

My convertible mini Fiat – more comments on this car than anything I’ve ever driven

20. Wineries have taken off in Nova Scotia. There are wine tours galore Рespecially in the Grand Pr̩ region.

"Bear River Winery grape vines"

Bear River Winery grape vines

21. People in Nova Scotia still hang out their laundry to dry; I think that’s great. What a treat it is when you get to a place and sleep between sheets dried by sea breezes.

"Laundry drying outside"

Laundry drying outside

22. There are some glorious deserted homes that harken back to another era. Some of them look haunted.

"Beautiful old home - deserted, maybe even haunted"

Beautiful old home – deserted, maybe even haunted

23. Backroads are in abysmal shape. On the paved road into Thomas Radall Provincial Park I had to stay in the grooves or I would have bottomed out. Even the highways have some major potholes.

24. Churches are in great abundance. Some small towns boast three or more churches in just a few blocks. Most are white and black.

"Churches in Mahone Bay"

Churches in Mahone Bay

25. Parks are almost deserted in June so it’s a great time to visit. I felt like I had the whole of Thomas Raddall Provincial Park to myself one night. I saw one other vehicle.

"I had beaches all to myself at Thomas Wendall Prov'l Park"

I had beaches all to myself at Thomas Raddall Prov’l Park

26. Gas prices ranged between 1.26 and 1.37 per liter.

27. Some of the most out of the way places have the most incredible food. I think the winner from my experience is the Lighthouse at Cape d’Or. People I met elsewhere swooned in their description of his lunchtime grilled cheese sandwiches. Go now. It may close forever in the fall. There are many runner-ups in this category. If you’re in Advocate Harbour don’t miss Wild Caraway – a place where I had a giant piece of fresh halibut for $20 – after a three day solo backpacking trip eating granola and peanut butter.

"Fresh haddock at the Cape d'Or Lighthouse"

Fresh haddock at the Cape d’Or Lighthouse

28. There are so many lighthouses all over the province that I’d be hard pressed to pick the prettiest. I sure loved the feeling of desolation though at the one at Cape d’Or. You can stay in the Lightkeeper’s Cottage – an experience I’d highly recommend.

Lightkeeper's cottage at Cape D'or

Lightkeeper’s cottage at Cape D’or

29. Inland Nova Scotia – Kejimkujik National Park excepted – is relatively uninteresting. It’s heavily forested. Stay to the coast for the scenery – and to avoid the bugs.

30. Kayaking is superb in Nova Scotia – though more challenging than I expected. The half day guided trip to the Three Sisters off Cape Chignecto will thrill you with its beauty.

Kayaking past the Three Sisters at low tide

Kayaking past the Three Sisters at low tide

31. Don’t miss a drive of the Cabot Trail – or if you’re feeling adventurous try biking it over five to six days. If you want to see a moose head for the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

"The Cabot Trail"

The Cabot Trail

32. Bear River is a small town where some of the stores/houses are built on stilts because of the tide. This might be an idea for those people in Calgary living along the river.

"Cafe on stilts in Bear River"

Cafe on stilts in Bear River

33. The memorial to Swiss Air Flight 111 where 229 people perished in the cold Atlantic Ocean on September 2nd, 1998 is very moving – still after all these years.

"One of the memorial's to Swiss Air Flight 111 near Peggy's Cove"

One of the memorial’s to Swiss Air Flight 111 near Peggy’s Cove

34. There are some beautiful plants in the seaside Kejimkujik National Park including these pitcher plants that I’ve seen nowhere else but in Nova Scotia.

"Orchids seen in Kejimkujik NP"

Pitcher plant actually seen in Kejimkujik NP

35. Strawberries are in season in June and July and judging by the number of towns I traveled through there are a lot of strawberry socials on the calendar.

"Local strawberries for sale"

Local strawberries for sale

36. The Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail seems to be deserted on weekdays in June. It offers incredible beauty with its fog forests and huge cliffs. I saw no humans for 2.5 days.

Never a boat on the Bay of Fundy

Never a boat on the Bay of Fundy

37. You can get a big glass of wine in restaurants for $5 – and I’m not talking gut -rot kind of wine here. What a treat to pay those kinds of prices.

38. Teenagers in Nova Scotia are the same as anywhere else I’ve been.

"Teenagers hanging out at the edge of the cliffs at Cape Split"

Teenagers hanging out at the edge of the cliffs at Cape Split

39. You make think you’re in Scotland when you go into cafes looking for food. Oats are big – and oatcakes seem to be de rigeur as an offering.

40. There were glorious fields of flowers, especially in the Wolfville – Halls Harbour region.

Beautiful fields of flowers near Halls Harbour

Beautiful fields of flowers near Halls Harbour

41. Walk into a general store and you might just find the local ladies all playing bingo. You feel like you’ve stepped back in time when the internet didn’t exist.

42. You can get amazing bowls of fish chowder in the most unlikely looking places – this one from The Deck – on a rural road near Hubbards.

"Fish chowder at The Deck - a general store near Hubbards"

Fish chowder at The Deck – a general store near Hubbards

43. Biking is excellent around Annapolis Royal – and along the south shore. I found drivers to be extremely courteous – which is a good thing since there weren’t any shoulders 90% of the time.

44. The houses in Lunenburg are beautiful – colourful and loaded with architectural details.

" a blue painted house in Lunenburg"

One of the colourful houses in Lunenburg

45. The people I ran into in Nova Scotia were unbelievably friendly – and very proud of their province. It was a breeze to be traveling solo – and surprisingly social, especially since I mostly stayed in B&B’s.

Other posts related to my Nova Scotia trip you might like:

45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 222 Comments
  1. Looks like you had a lovely time in Nova Scotia Leigh. We’re heading out to Glace Bay for a wedding next week. Looking forward to getting in as much sightseeing as possible – will be looking to your posts for tips!!

      1. I grew up outside of Springhill in central northern Nova Scotia. I really don’t think you are giving inland NS a chance. There are mountains, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, wildlife, friendly people, excellent restaurants, tourist attractions, museums, and the list goes on.

        I would hope you would refrain from telling people to stick to the coast and maybe take a closer look next time you are in Nova Scotia at the interior. I remember camping on the River Philip back in the 80’s and waking up to the sunrise with fog lifting and a large herd of white tail deer, led by a male with a huge rack, just outside my tent. It was gorgeous and I’ll never forget it.

        1. @Aaron I have lived in Nova Scotia on two occasions plus I spent 4 months one summer there. Although the interior does have some attributes that you mention my bias is still the coast – with the exception of Kejimkujik National Park. I have traveled extensively in the province so I don’t feel like I’m coming from the place of a tourist on a quick once off trip. Where you camped sounds beautiful and I know there are many rivers for canoeing – and even tubing – but most visitors don’t do that. I still think for the visitor the appeal is the coast – and it’s a pretty amazing one.

      2. I might be biased but there are countless inland roads in Cape Breton that are just gorgeous. Also, since you like to bike there is a beautiful trail that runs from Inverness down through past Port Hood on an old railroad. In that neck of the woods there are lots of beaches and restaurants, and you can hit up square dances in brook village and mabou. Yes the Cabot Trail is breathtaking but you could easily spend a week touring the rest of the island alone. Down on the south eastern tip the rocky shored fishing villages on Isle Madame are so vastly different from the rolling farmlands of Mabou and yet both so beautiful.

        1. @Yvette I love the sound of the bike trail. Part of my heart is in Nova Scotia so I will be back (especially with direct flights on West Jet between Calgary and Halifax). It sounds like I need at least another week in Cape Breton!!

      3. I grew up in rural Cape Breton. I’ve never visited this site before but I can safely tell you that the inner part of Nova Scotia is just as beautiful as the coast. Hiking trails (a tourist favourite) are in great abundance in the Mabou area and I happen to live right beside a waterfall which houses a cave containing a geocache. If that’s not a bit magical, I don’t know what is. The forests somehow have this mystical whimsy about them (just be careful of the coyote wolf hybrids). I know your bias is with the coast but next time you come down, try Mabou’s hiking trails and come to a ceilidh. We’ll show you a good time inland and you can make another list. 😉

        1. @Conner I’ll give you that the Mabou area might be gorgeous and granted I haven’t explored all of Nova Scotia. But I have explored much of the interior of the main part of Nova Scotia as a geologist years ago so you’re right about my coastal bias. However a ceildh would be great fun and would open my eyes to other aspects of the province I still haven’t had the chance to participate in. Thanks very much for stopping by! Was it a coyote wolf hydrid that killed the girl a few years back?

  2. That was quite the list! Some great photography accompanied as well. Nova Scotia never really called out to me, it was always one of those that if I had the opportunity I’d go but it wasn’t high on the list. Your list has definitely changed my mind though!

  3. Read this and drooled over the pictures with my tongue hanging out! I’ve wanted to go to Nova Scotia since I saw Lunenberg featured in a TV program, oh, must be ten years ago now. You just affirmed my desire and answered just about every question I might have! Loved this, thank you!

  4. Love this! So true on so many fronts – especially the colours of our homes. I was sad when we moved from yellow to boring white.

  5. Love the 45 factoids. #47 If you sit quietly in the woods on Cape Breton you might see a snow-shoe hare. We did this with out son when he was 4- now a father himself, he still remembers it.

    Wonderful photos- I’ve wanted to go back to NS for years and this really made me want to even more.

  6. It was interesting to read your article – I live in Nova Scotia and love it here. I have lived all across this great nation – but NS is by far the most friendliest place to live. I enjoyed viewing it through your eyes.

  7. I just came upon this post and it made me home sick. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia and moved to Calgary in 1984. I still think of Nova Scotia as home. It has been ages since I had a lobster roll. Oh how I loved those! Thank you so much for sharing your random observations and taking me back home again, if only for a few moments.

    1. @Andra Since I too live in Calgary I can appreciate your feelings of homesickness. We don’t have quite the colour or personality of Nova Scotia here and lobster rolls – at least at affordable prices are few and far between. The good news is that there are direct West Jet flights between Calgary and Halifax so perhaps you can visit one day soon.

    2. My thoughts exactly! I loved reading this and seeing the pictures but now incredibly homesick. Off to post of my Facebook to show all my friends from all over the world the beautiful place I come from. I grew up in Melvern Sqaure and then moved to Wilmot I’m the Annapolis valley. I moved a few times since then and have now been in England for nearly 10 years now. I’ve been home twice with my little guy who just turned 2 but our time was just spent with family although we did make a few trips to the shore. Can’t wait to go home next summer with my husband (he’s been there a few times. He got to experience our winter and Christmas traditions and we also hicked cape split and we got married back home) and stepson. Where would people recommend to go canoeing/kayaking? I shall start making a list of what to do when we go 🙂

  8. Gorgeous photos of my home province, but Kentville (my home town) (actually nearby New Minas) is where the big box stories are, not Kemptville (a town in eastern Ontario) 🙂

  9. The flowers in #34 are actually a pitcher plant called the Crimson Carnivore. It is the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador.

  10. I have lived in NS most of my life, I have seen some of the sites you posted here, but there is so many more that I would love to see, thank you for renewing my pride in Nova Scotia

  11. Glad you enjoyed yourself! I am from Glace Bay and know the flowers in #34 well. It is actually not an orchid but a pitcher plant and the provincial plant of Newfoundland actually.

  12. Too bad you did not make it to southwestern Nova Scotia – Shelburne and Yarmouth counties. There you would have found the most pristine beaches and some of the most unique and flavourful eating establishments in the province. Not many people venture our way; citing it is too “out of the way”. They are all missing out on many of the province’s best kept secrets.

    1. I was thinking the same thing, April, when I saw Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties didn’t make the tour…

      1. @Kathie I only had so much time on my last trip & it was all about research for hiking, biking, canoeing & kayaking trips. There is only so much one person can do in 2 weeks. Though I haven’t made it when I lived in Nova Scotia and that’s because work got in the way of exploring.

    2. I agree, April. I love MY Nova Scotia, but folks who miss southwest Nova Scotia are missing some of the best Maritime beauty ever.

  13. I currently work in Prince George, BC for the Canada Games, but born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. Being one of two maritimers on staff, we constantly swap our stories. She shared this with me and i can’t wait to share my beautiful province, through your incredible photos, to my colleagues! Only 8 months until I’m Bluenose Bound!!

    1. Adam, welcome to PG! I was born in Wolfville and raised in Bear River and although I’ve been in PG for 25 years and have grown to like many things about it, in my heart I’ll always be a Bluenoser. That said, enjoy your time in PG and thanks for making the Games here a success.

  14. #29 – ouch. The interior is amazing. I think you went to the wrong parts. New Ross, Gaspereau, Rawdon, Stewiacke River Valley, Musquodobout River Valley, and more are worth seeing.

  15. As a Nova Scotian who has lived away you have perfectly captured some of my favourites. For every lust like this there could be 10 more for different regions (Northumberland straight has great swimming in warm ocean water and my fav lobster rolls are at Carvers in Pictou).

  16. Loved your article, expect one part. I grew up 5 minutes away from Keji and worked at what is now known as the Wilder restaurant ( back then the M&W). Your observation of Keji is unfair. It is beyond beautiful. There is hiking, camping, biking, back country camping and the best of all paddling. There is so many beautiful places to canoe/kayak in this park. And my all time favorite a swim in the Mill Falls. Next trip back, check it out. You won’t be disappointed!

    1. @Corry Not sure I represented myself properly because I loved both Kejimkujik’s – the seaside and the inland – though inland I would rather canoe than hike – and that’s just my personal preference. A swim in Mills Falls sounds great.

  17. We are called Bluenosers and I am so happy you enjoyed you stay. You left out or missed out our great Pubs and Nova Scotia is translated as New Scotland. We are proud, friendly and love our Provice. The welcome you receive is the same in all of the Atlantic Provinces. Did you take in a Ceilidh. Many people still speak Gaelic – both Scotish and Irish versions. Thanks for enjoying our treasured homeland – you’ll have to return for more experiences. 🙂

    1. @Janice I shouldn’t have left out the pubs because they were a big part of my life when I was living there in my twenties – especially in Halifax and Wolfville. I have traveled all through the Maritimes – about 7-8 weeks in the last few years and have always found it to be a very friendly place. Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Most of the Halifax Pubs haven’t changed…..Lower Deck, Middle and Upper Deck – Old Triangle etc. Barrett’s Privetters is a song I’m sure you could sing again and of course Sonny’s Dream. Cheers !!!!

  18. I Grew up in the valley live in halifax now just so you know there are big baulk stores threw out nova scotia just a lot arent on the main roads… Bridgewater, Digby, CFB Greenwood, Truro to name a few of the places that have them but other then that great articular

  19. I was born and raised in Nova Scotia. I still live here. When I left for college I missed it. So glad I live in this province. I just love the picturistict beauty of my province.

  20. The ‘orchid’ you saw (#34) is the flower of the pitcher plant, a carnivorous plant found in bogs. Glad you enjoyed this fine provence.

  21. Just a heads up — there are NO box stores in Kentville. New Minas might be a minute away, but it’s still a separate community!

  22. I lived in Shelburn, Digby, New Waterford, Parrsboro, Truro and Halifax in the 22 years I spent growing up in Nova Scotia. Since the age of 22 I have lived in 3 other provinces, 7 different countries and traveled to 28. I now reside in the Caribbean. But my heart is filled with my beloved Nova Scotia. I will be 50 next month and the memories of this most beautiful and friendly of provinces remain in my dreams and thoughts every day. Thank you for capturing the essence of the loving people and places of this unique and wonderful place.

  23. Great article, but it appears as if you never went to Cape Breton and simply threw in the Cabot Trail just because it had to be mentioned.

    1. @Caper How wrong you are. I have been to Cape Breton twice and in fact cycled the whole of the Cabot Trail unsupported and had extra time in Baddeck. No I haven’t seen much of the other sections of Cape Breton but why so snarky???

  24. I live in Nova Scotia. But my family always likes traveling our home province a lot. We always find something new and interesting too.

  25. It’s too bad that you didn’t get to or write about any of the Acadian areas in NS. There’s a stretch called The French Shore between Digby and Yarmouth that offers so much. Maybe next time…

  26. I was sad to hear that there was practically nothing from northern and central nova scotia. what about Joggins fossil cliffs? Wentworth mountains in the fall, countless waterfalls, old mines, Theaters, Tall ships, blueberries (Oxford ns is the blueberry capital of Canada ya know) and even have Blueberry festivals all over Cumberland county. The Tantramar marshes, Masstown, Glooscap, the Giant massadon…

    It sucks when people don’t get the full picture of Nova Scotia. its not all Cape Breton highlands and coast sights. Anything that advertises Nova Scotia its always about them spots. and then you see inland places and no one even knows that its actually nova scotia, they expect the hills and coast to be everywhere and it isn’t. Or Lobster, cod, and other sea food to be anywhere and everywhere. up where I’m at people sell Crows Feet (plant not actual birds feet), Haddock, Fiddle heads, or strawberries. out of the back of their trucks.

    1. @Christina Just a reminder that the title of the post was 45 random observations – based on my last two week trip. I have lived in Nova Scotia on two occasions and I have some biases. You have made some great points and I thank you for that. I will always prefer the coast – but that is just me.
      PS.I love fiddleheads and blueberries and have picked both when I was a kid living in Halifax.

  27. living in Camrose Alberta, owner of the Campus Rose Inn B & B // Born in Cape Breton Nova Scotia // Still have a house in main land Nova Scotia // so loved looking at the beautiful photos what a wonderful job each one is so very beautiful and shows the beauty of the land and those who live in it.

  28. I’m fairly certain the flowers in #40 are canola flowers. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to NS so much. I’m from Halifax but living in NB for the past decade. So much beauty to see. I’m glad you enjoyed the wonderful food and hospitality.

    1. @Jeannie I have lived in Nova Scotia on a couple of occasions so it’s always a treat to go back. I have a lot of very fond memories of Halifax, especially since that’s where I got engaged.

  29. Okay, guys, chill. The author might have a different opinion on a few things, but all the nitpicking is starting to get embarrassing. I know we have a lot of pride in our province, but the world won’t end if someone shares their opinion (ie the inland doesn’t have that much going on). If it did, our ancestors would have settled inland, instead. I’m just happy that someone wrote a nice article about us.

  30. great job!

    not in any way “critical” … but btw, i rented a fiat 500 in toronto airport last nov.

    sorry you missed the “world famous” Zodiac whale-watching (?)

    1. @Tom I got more comments on that Fiat than I ever have had on any other car. There are a few trips I’m sorry I missed – the rafting trip on the Shubenacadie River and any whale watching trip is always great fun.

  31. Please come and visit Weymouth and Digby and surrounding area. You can camp and hike, visit ‘New France’ aka ‘The Electric City’. And you can kayak via Hinterland Adventures….you won’t be disappointed. I promise you.

  32. Thank you for the post. I am in the military and was posted to the East Coast for the past 12 years and just recently (2012) I was posted to the prairies. Seeing these pictures brings a smile to my face because I really miss the smell of the salt water! Thanks again!!!

  33. I have lived in and traveled Nova Scotia my entire life and I have to say, this article pretty much nailed it.
    A few things to add:
    tacky really is alive and kicking (they might be selling it, but that’s so they can go to someone else’s yardsale and by more),
    multi-colour chairs are always a trend,
    pot holes are a way of life (I wish they weren’t)
    Gas was that low? I’d love to know were you got gas so I can fill up my car!
    always eat the fresh fruit over imported. Especially in the summer months. Yum!
    If you like the fish chowder, try the seafood chowder.

    I love living in Nova Scotia. It’s a gorgeous place with a ton of history and
    friendly people. Come and visit!

  34. Every time I visit Nova Scotia, I love it more. I have lost count of how many times we have been there… 15…20 times over the years. We plan to retire in NS and we love the seaside and all the lakes and rivers. Thank you for sharing all your experiences – you have given me some new ideas of places to visit in October when we return to Halifax to visit our three daughters who now live and work there.

      1. I too grew up in Nova Scotia not only on the coast but inland a bit in the beautiful Chignecto Game Santuary..I agree with Aaron we dont only have a world class coastline but if you dont get a chance to explore the interior of Nova Scotia if not for the landscape but for the great hospitality from all the friendly residents..I have traveled all over Canada and USA coast to coast..and I have never met as freindly people as you will find in all 4 of the Maratime provinces..N.S., N.B., PEI and NFLD..THE MARATIMES ARE DEF AS MUST SEE..summer and winter..or even all year round..there is a lot to do all year round here

  35. Great pictorial! We moved to the Annapolis Valley in 1987. Best place to live in Nova Scotia because we have:
    #1 The most beautiful scenery…rivers, lakes, mountains, Bay of Fundy, lush farmlands, lovely little towns and villages. #2 Best climate in the province if not in all of Canada. Spring earlier, fall later, not too hot, not too cold (most of the time) #3 Friendliest people you will meet anywhere. #4 Very affordable real estate. You can live close to amenities or pure country!

  36. Something to be said about being so proud of your province. Although taxes are high, Nova Scotia is still the best. It’s the friendly atmosphere you receive on your visits. Born and raised in the Annapolis Valley…no mention of the gorgeous apple blossoms each year, these are a sight to see and the smells…OH MY!! A Must see while visiting June-July.
    Now I live on the beautiful SouthShore in Rose Bay, near Hirtles Beach one of Nova Scotia’s finest beaches. Another must see Gaff Point Trail, just off Hirtles Beach. If you are an art collector, so many fine art galleries all over the SouthShore and especially in Lunenburg.
    Thank you for all your observations and pictures, they again remind me why I am so proud to live here. Wonderful post, you have done us all proud.
    Bono

  37. I enjoyed reading your perspective of points in NS. My sense is some are accurate and reflective of the province, some maybe appeared to be uniform for the province but probably just your particular experience (such as butter tarts and oat cakes and heating with oil as pervasive..). By the way, the pitcher plant is the provincial flower of Newfoundland (so they’re definitely found outside NS 😉 ). Anyway, enjoyed reading about a beautiful place we now call home. I’d add that the number of abandoned farms and farming properties available for sale, as well as the small flood of new farmers into NS, is a definite point of distinction to most anywhere else in Canada (the only province to see an increase in farming in the last Canadian census). Thanks for your article.

  38. Correction for you. Pitcher plants are not only native to Newfoundland but they are NL’s national flower. Shame on you for not double checking on this important face. (Important to this Newfoundlander anyway.)

  39. I recognized Noble Meisner’s Solomon Gundy sign in Blandford, and I haven’t lived there since 1982! He used to put smoked mackeral in my little brother’s Halloween bag every year!
    (I even double checked it on Google maps, streetview, to be sure!)

    1. i noticed that too he is still there and doing business. i grew up in that area and my father fishes from the wharf right there.

  40. 10. It was a refreshing change to see so few big box stores outside of the Halifax area. I did notice a few in Kentville but that was about it.

    they are in new minas…. not kentville

  41. Did you get a chance to visit Windsor while you were in Nova Scotia? It’s quite a charming town if you can get past some of the people. 😉

  42. Thanks for posting! Love these pics. They are some of the pictures you forget to take when you live there your whole life. I’ve been landlocked in Alberta for almost 3 years now but am from the South Shore. Thanks for a little piece of home 🙂

  43. You’re missing a lot when you say “Inland Nova Scotia is relatively uninteresting.” It is buggy *in June* I’ll grant you that, but the Tobeatic Wilderness Reserve is the largest tract of protected wilderness in the Maritimes and a canoeist’s paradise. Not easy to get to, but worth it.

    1. @Jonathon I knew that it was a great place to go canoeing – and I did love what little I saw of Keji. But for me, I still want the coast – that’s who I am – coast and mountain girl, not dense forest girl.

  44. I do not recommend cycling in Nova Scotia there are no shoulders on the roads and your stuck out in traffic.. thats why there are so many pedestrian and cyclists hit by cars

    1. in NS cars must give cyclist a one meter buffer and are unable to pass over the centre line until on coming traffic is safe, the trans canada hwy has over a meter of shoulder in most areas

  45. Interesting observations. Nova Scotia is my home province but I moved to Denmark three years ago. I spent much time exploring the province backpacking, canoeing, etc. I find it difficult how you dismissed Kejimkujik. It is both a wonderful wilderness park for camping and an important historical area where you can see native petroglyphs etc. All is fairly easily accessible and it is truly a Canadian experience. There are plenty of trails for biking and if you are lucky you will spot a rare blandings turtle. Keji is serene and pristine. You can rent canoes and there are plenty of presentations by park staff plus a well run visitors centre. A great place for a picnic etc. Of course, your article is your observations. I just wanted to give another view on keji from someone who has spent decades touring the province. Regarding oats and oatcakes – some of the best can be found at the Normaway Inn up in Margaree, Cape Breton 😉

    1. @Heather I love Kejimkujik for canoeing and kayaking. I think it’s an exceptional spot. But personally, I am not a fan of hiking in woods without much in the way of views. I think Keji is a park best appreciated from the water and in fact I’d love to spend more time there.
      It’s almost worth a trip to the Normaway Inn just for the oatcakes. Thanks for taking the tome to comment.

      1. Some excellent and thoughtful observations of this beautiful province. The only point I would argue is that if you think inland NS is only trees with little to offer you didn’t travel the right places. Follow almost any river inland and you will be amazed by what you might find. An endless array of wonderful places to camp on crown land away from the crowds at Keji.

      1. That house is located in Clements port! There’s actually 3 I believe right on the same strip that are abandoned!

  46. Originally from Bear River and thank you for the mention BUT the picture you left viewers with of the café on stilts does not do justice to the town. love the one of the vineyard, though.

  47. Pitcher plants are actually the provincial flowers of my beautiful home province, Newfoundland. Lupins are Nova Scotia”s. And honestly, everywhere but Halifax and Dartmouth uses wood or oil for heat? I lived in Halifax and have used oil ( older century home) and electricity, also had a wood burning fireplace. I have friends who live in other parts of NS and they use electricity as well. No Natural gas heating , but certainly a lot of people outside of Halifax use electricity.

  48. I loved this, thank you! Missing home terribly and it was like I got a mini visit from your experience! I have to agree about Keji being a great camping experience but don’t knock some of the others too, Dollar lake or Laurie provincial park are beautiful with hiking and lots of wildlife, I agree about the bugs there was a time there people were trying to make the mosquito our provincial bird…. 😛 Hope you had a great time!

  49. It seems to me like you had missed out on the best part of the trip, and maybe put a little too much focus on the mainland. There is SO much more Cape Breton island has to offer.

  50. Your photos were great, I LOVE my province…SO many many places of beauty… I did take some exception to some of your comments though..not great exception but.. just sayin’. #1:White Sails USED to be great, It has been taken over by a Korean family who has no idea how to bake the “martitime” way and their products are gross and taste like shortening (as of summer 2013if they were voted “best places to eat in Canada” in 2012, they did not taste their wares in the early 2000’s, you had to get there early or there often would be nothing left. Everything(bread, squares, pies, cakes…) was ” OFF the hook!!)
    #13 Lobster Roll : try the one from Masstown Market, outside Truro, on the TC104, 1.5 lbs of real lobster in it. May through October, as long as they can get it..
    #34 Pitcher plant : take the road to Tor Bay, Guysborough County… all along the road in summer+ you are going to one absolutely beautiful Beach.
    #37 Where is THIS $5 glass of wine….??!????
    A Fan of anyone who travels the Cabot Trail on a bike, Susan Richey

  51. Beautiful description on Nova Scotia, except….
    16. Oil and wood are primarily used for heating homes unless you live in the Halifax-Dartmouth area. At one B&B I stayed at I hear they went through 40 cords of wood in a winter.

    Moss house burn 3 to 6 cords of wood, some old and big house will burn 10-12 cords not 40… 🙂

  52. I am so proud to call Nova Scotia my home-especially the valley. Thanks for taking the time to visit and enjoy so many of the natural beauties our little province has to offer!

    1. I grew up in Annapolis Valley, living in Kingston-Greenwood area and then later on in Wolfville……my Grandparents lived in Grand Pre, and my other Grandparents were from Cape Breton.
      Very nice to see these photos…….makes me homesick!!!!

  53. I’m a native Nova Scotian now living in Florida and I thoroughly enjoyed your list and photos. Having cycled through every place you mentioned (and more), this brought back many wonderful memories. There is no place like it and will always be the home of my heart.

  54. Managed to miss everything French/Acadian, Yarmouth-related or sport related, eh? Doesn’t sound like the Nova Scotia I grew up in. Seems like you visited the valley, the island and spent a day or two in Halifax. Please, for the love of Nova Scotia change the title of your piece.

    1. Actually Dave i have lived in Nova Scotia on several occasions (Halls’ Harbour, Wolfville, Halifax) and on the last trip I stayed for two weeks. I have vacationed on several other occasions as well. Why such a caustic remark?

    2. @Dave I was in the province to kayak, hike and backpack – all rather sports related though not the country club variety.
      I agree that I missed the Yarmouth area – but in two weeks I covered more of Nova Scotia than most people ever see on a visit. I didn’t actually go near Halifax, I backpacked the Cape Chignecto trail on my own for three days, kayaked very cool islands near Peggy’s Cove, ran into a mother bear & 2 cubs while alone in Keji NP – seaside addition – and that’s just a sampling from the trip.

  55. You should have went whale watching in digby neck, I think it’s arguably the best in the world and also went biking or as we do 4 wheelin to the settlement/electric city in New France

  56. Thank you for posting this “tour” of Nova Scotia. I have lived here most of my life and I love giving my family and friends who come to visit a personal tour of the province. They all think it’s a great place and can’t wait to come back. Nova Scotians are very proud and friendly people and we love sharing our province with tourist! Everyone should visit it atleast once (although I’m sure you’ll want to come back!)

  57. I enjoyed your comments, but you must visit the South Shore and the French shores next time. the food, the scnery and the people are wonderful.

    1. The French Shore is highly overlooked when people visit N.S. The Gilbert’s Cove lighthouse is a must see and the many beautiful churches along the french shore.

  58. Lovely! Nice to see all those pictures. Surely, people can understand that you couldn’t go everywhere! I love this province and after 64 years of living here, I haven’t seen it all… thanks for sharing your adventure and insight! Come back soon!

    1. @Nancy I love people like you who don’t admonish me for everything I didn’t cover. We all try and do our best and I have covered more of the province than most between visits and actually living in Nova Scotia on several occasions.

  59. The Pitcher plant, I discovered, grows in much more abundance in Newfoundland. I saw countless on a 9km hike from Sandy Cove to Salvage (highly recommend this hike). I later also discovered that this is the provincial plant of NL.

  60. Great observations. So very true. Hopefully you may get to enjoy the over 650 km of inland salt water sea known as the Bras d’Or Lakes the next time. Louisbourg is amazing too. But, I guess, you can only ‘sea’ so much:).

  61. I live in Nova Scotia. All of the photos and descriptions were wonderful, however, someone who has never been here might conclude that we don’t have any “pully” clotheslines or “cities”. A photo of the Halifax/Dartmouth harbor with the two bridges included would have balanced out the “tacky” pictures.

  62. Great observations and great pictures. We have a fantastic province, don’t we? I’d never heard the term “fog forests” before. Love it.

  63. I do not feel like I can relate to much in this article, actually I take offence to a lot of it, I feel like it stereotypes Nova Scotians, granted maybe some of Nova Scotia is this way but a majority of it is not….

  64. Hi great post…..do not forget our Beautiful Victoria Park in Truro.,,,the hub of NS…it is a thousand acres of beauty!!!!

  65. I really enjoyed this! A great fresh perspective from someone who hasn’t grown accustomed to the scenery. Isn’t the fiat awesome? And I love the restaurant suggestions – I’ve been wanting to try Wild Caraway for some time. Through the comments I see that you’ve been given the opportunity to see that Nova Scotians can be very proud and very negative. Our most recent OneNS report even pointed it out as a provincial weakness.

  66. I know – time… but you’ve missed the whole beautiful Eastern Shore – Highway 7 from Halifax to Cape Breton, or Marine Drive if you loop via Canso and Guysborough. You could spend your whole vacation just along our beautiful coast. Kayak through the 100 Islands Legacy (NS Nature Trust) for example and then down through the two mapped Bay of Islands routes. Trails, villages, excellent value (food and accommodations) and great people! You’ll simply have to come back. One free night, air bnb at the half-way point 🙂 http://www.highway7.com

      1. Lots of hiking trails along the Glooscap Trail (Rte. 2). Most hiking trails are of wilderness standard from moderate to challenging…along banks of the Bay or Fundy or inland in Provincial Protected Areas. Check out Kenomee Wilderness Hiking Trails. Did you know that every river or stream in the Cobequid Hills has a waterfall? Did you know at Five Islands Provincial Park there is a timeline between Triassic and Jurassic eras that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world….except Morocco! On Jacob’s Lane in Economy you get one of the most spectacular views of the tide out/tide in, in the province! Stop at Cobequid Interpretive Centre in Economy to learn so much more than can ever be put in print!

  67. I’m sure somewhere in this article you mentioned that Nova Scotia means, ‘new Scotland’, thus the reason you ‘think you’re in Scotland’. I take my biking helmet off to you for biking some of the Cabot Trail. My husband and I and several close friends participated in The Cabot Trail Relay for years. Running up Mackenzie Mountain (my husband’s leg one yr) and running down it (mine the same yr) was difficult. We’ve done several Ironman competitions, including the Worlds in Hawaii, and trust me, biking the Cabot Trail is harder than bking 180 kms. I loved all your pictures and comments. Born in Toronto area, lived in Nova Scotia from 1983-2005. Lived/worked in Thailand for 3+years; lived in Bridgewater, NS (10 mins from Mahone Bay, 15 to Lunenburg) for a yr; India to work/live for 2+yrs; the South Shore for 3 months, and now Greenville, SC. Seeing all these places we have visited and the food/places we have eaten brought back wonderful memories. Thank you for such an amazing article.

  68. Great article, you could easily had 100 observations about Nova Scotia! I was born in Cape Breton, but live in Thunder Bay, and I return home whenever I can. This Fall we toured around Nova Scotia for almost a month, visiting places we’ve been to before and others for the first time. I highly recommend any visitors to Nova Scotia to see and do as much as they can while there!

  69. I loved reading your article with great pics. I have been to NS x3, loved every area I visited. Travelled mostly solo, stayed at great B/B’s and took friends in NS to places they had never been too. people very friendly and helpful. need to do coast from Digby to Lunenburg and Kej. park yet but have been all over rest of province. Great sites to see on Cape Breton ie Scottish village, Rita’s tea house, Louisberg. Love all the Maritime provinces. what time of year does Pitcher plant bloom? have Nfld/Lab to see yet. I loved seeing the old way of living and laid back lifestyle, small town stores etc– how I grew up in Sask. love your book on travel

  70. You saved Yarmouth and Acadian Shores for your next trip I bet. 😉 You could easily fill a month. From exploring the new coastline trail by 17 giant wind turbines and stepping back in time at a pastoral Acadian Village, to kayaking alongside docked fishing boats and yachts in Yarmouth Harbour. There’s oodles of Frenchys, antique stores, culinary experiences, some of the finest sea captain’s homes in North America, art galleries and SO much more. I’m happy to toss more suggestions your way.

    Carla Allen
    Blogger “Life with Yourgogirl”
    and reporter for the Yarmouth Vanguard

    1. @Carla I would be happy to go back and explore the Yarmouth area on my next trip. Thanks for the informative comment and link. There are still many parts of your beautiful province I’d like to see – preferably during lobster season!

  71. Looks like you had a great trip and you really can’t do it all. Makes future visits easy to plan. I’ve been living out west for 13 Years now and have come to appreciate the work and reward of a mountain view. Neck of woods with bugs is not for me either. Though at the right time of year there are some gem spots. Sorry a few have taken on a negative tone. Even in what I believe to be one of the friendliest places on earth the internet still seems to provide too easy a venue for the critic. Thanks for your post. It was a nice trip down memory lane and has given me a few ideas for my visit with my family this summer 🙂

    1. @Lealea Thanks for your great comment. I am always amazed at the vitriol out there and wish angry people could put some things in perspective. I think they missed the heading – random observations!!

      1. I wouldn’t worry too much about negative reactions, but try to understand them. Many people in the Maritimes will brace at any remarks they perceive to imply they are old fashioned, quaint, or unsophisticated – so someone could see “I didn’t know people still ate pickled eggs!” and be quite offended. I think this is largely a reaction to being perceived as, and sometimes treated as, the poor cousins by people from the larger provinces. Basically, people everywhere are insecure, and this is one particular insecurity common in the region.

        1. @NSPete Interesting observation. If I haven’t visited a part of Nova Scotia it would be very helpful if people told me specifically what I’m missing so I could check it off the list on the next visit.

  72. I wish she had of stayed at “CANDLE INN THE WINDOW B & B” in Berwick. She was close at Hall’s Harbour.

  73. HI. I enjoyed all the pictures as I haven’t seen most of these place and I lived in the valley for most of my life . Don’t know why people complained as they are your pictures not a professional ones. Good job .

  74. I see that you did like most mis/un-informed tourists …. by-passed the Acadian shore from Digby to Yarmouth …. went straight to Digby Neck & Islands. Also, didn’t see much from the South shore. Perhaps time to come back to do the rest of the province.

  75. What a great article/photo spread. So happy you mentioned Advocate Harbour and Cape d’Or and the Wild Caraway and Lighthouse keeper’s…#27. Two of the many highlights along the Parrsboro shore…from Masstown to Joggins……which is Nova Scotia’s best kept secret and has great motorcycle riding and bicycling………….

  76. I loved all the beautiful pictures of Nova Scotia and your accompanying reference guide to these very interesting, colourful and tasty, local haunts. You have an amazing eye for colour and composition and I enjoyed your comments and observations. I live in the Metro area and am amazed you were able to bike, kayak and drive to all these locations in just two weeks. I am inspired and will make every effort to visit many of the spots, if only by car. Cheers – Linda

  77. I appreciate your assessment of NS. You have a wee mix up in #10 – Kentville does not have “box stores” – it is New Minas — the little village between Kentville and Wolfville.

  78. It is too bad you missed one of the most beautiful places in Nova Scotia with the most unique characteristics- Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties. Maybe next trip!!

  79. I love your stories and pictures,I know you missed parts that are so beautiful and so much history and the French shore is a part of Nova Scotia I love and you know to cover it all takes time,and Please come back and see the parts you missed,many Nova Scotians have not seen what you seen and your stories and pictures I think seeing these places will getthem out and visit Nova Scotia and learn their History,thank you

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