A few seasons ago, my oldest friend and I had talked about renting a cottage in her native Nova Scotia for a summer getaway. We’d have our husbands, the dog, maybe another friend and her partner would join us. It would be low-key: BBQs; evenings around a fire pit; bike rides; salty air and lobster, lots of fresh, hot Nova Scotia lobster. We started bookmarking rentals and getting excited. Then life got busy, dates got hairy and then, the pandemic hit. With the weather feeling like summer today, I find myself unable to shake images of this beautiful pocket of Canada and daydreaming about when we can finally gather again, explore again, take comfort in one another’s company in person again.
While the borders to Nova Scotia remain shut, I thought it would be nice to have something to look forward to. So until the time comes, I’ve put together a tiny guide for a “weekend getaway” that can be bookmarked and stored away for a sunny (literally and metaphorically!) day. These are places that are more of less, close together. that lend themselves to visits by groups of friends.
Halls Harbour and the Bay of Fundy. If you look up “typical, charming, tiny Maritime fishing village” in the encyclopedia this is what you’ll see. A big draw here is the Halls Harbour Lobster Pound, were you can sit right on the water and watch the boats come in and out and the tide ebb and flow as you crack open steaming lobster. After, you can walk down to the shores of the Bay of Fundy and take in the epic view of the cliffs and the sun sparkling off the bay. Foggy, cloudy days here are equally stunning and add to its allure.
The Market and the Town of Wolfville. Wolfville is a picturesque, college town that is nestled in the Annapolis Valley. It is home to Acadia University and has a rich tapestry of historical inhabitants–from several First Nations tribes to French and English settlers. A visit to Wolfville wouldn’t be complete without a shopping session at The Market, a curiosity shop with a fantastic array of branded hats and comfy clothing, candles, stationary and more. After, a group can check out the Annapolis Cider Company down the street for a flight of incredible hard cider, or one of the many, wonderful wineries just outside of town.
The South Shore Fish Shack and the Town of Lunenburg. The port town of Lunenburg is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and swoon worthy. We’re obviously big fans of quilts around here and an ariel view of Lunenburg is not unlike the tapestry of a quilt, with its multicolored, spattering of buildings along the water. Rainy or sunny day, once we make the trip, I’ll insist that we come here, work up an appetite exploring and then feast on more seafood at the laidback South Shore Fish Shack.
The Titanic and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Halifax, the captial city of Nova Scotia, has strong ties to the Titanic disaster. It was two steamers from Halifax that were sent to recover bodies at sea, and it is in Halifax that many of these bodies were laid to rest. One of those was “J. Dawson,” and after the release of the 1997 film, resulted in an uptick of visitors to the Fair Lawn cemetery in Halifax where he rests. The museum is a must-visit for any history fans, specifically maritime history fans (when in Rome!)
Writing this has me excited for reunions with friends, new adventures and connecting again with the experiences that bring us new stories to tell and new reasons to keep exploring. Now more than ever, I think we will appreciate times like these. Have a great weekend, everyone.