July 2016 Nova Scotia Tour (11 nights) Part 2

By DD - Last updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2016

uniacke-estate-lakeAfter postponing writing this second part many times it’s about time we post it. We’re so thankful for taking notes! A pictures paints a thousand words but still, there are some details we wouldn’t have remembered without notes. This article is about the second part of an 11 night trip to Nova Scotia we made this past summer. We toured the Nova Scotia Museums, among other attractions, using a Parks Pass, skipping those we had already visited before.

We started our trip in Moncton, driving counter clockwise. In part one (Day 1-5) we drove through Truro, Wolfville, Annapolis, Yarmouth, Liverpool, Lunenburg and Bridgewater.

Day 6

Our day started in Halifax at the Best Western Chocolate Lake Hotel. We weren’t very happy with our kitchenette suite, one of the last rooms not refurbished yet but it had everything we needed, including a delicious complimentary breakfast looking out the lake. Despite being cold and rainy, we had a great day and did all we had planned.

Our first stop was at the Museum of Natural History. This was DD’s second visit and her favorite parts were the wildlife dioramas and the indoors bees nest connected to the outside world by translucent tubing. We did a quick tour of the Halifax Public Gardens right across the street while we still had some money in the parking meter. After a quick visit of the Maritime Museum we drove 35 minutes to what would become one DD’s favorite houses in Canada: Uniacke Estate Museum. Before our tour, we had lunch in the car admiring the grounds behind the rain drenched windshield. Later, as we were touring the house, DD had this feeling of dejà vu, this sense of having been there before and told the lady working there about the movie Somewhere in Time which she had never heard of. In the movie, Richard Collier (Christopher Reeves) travels back in time at the Grand Hotel to be with the love of his life, Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour). Then, walking to another room, DD got a flash back all the way to the Big Island of Hawaii at the Jacaranda Inn, the old Ranch Hotel that we had almost all to ourselves back in 2007. We walked around the property and along the lake and it was with great sadness that we left the Estate as if we had to go back to 2016…

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Day 7

After another plentiful breakfast buffet we started the day at the Halifax Citadel where we used our Canada Parks Pass. Although it was still grey, cold and windy, thankfully it didn’t rain. It was Dami’s first visit to the fort and DD’s second; DD had visited with Mama D before. We went on a French guided tour then explored some more on our own and had a comforting cookie and a soothing hot beverage at the coffee bar before heading out to Shubenacadie Wildlife Park (home to the famous groudhog Shubenacadie Sam), a 45 minute drive from Halifax. On the way there, we realized we had left our binoculars in the room; We gave the park a call and they reserved two pairs of binoculars for us at The Greenwing Legacy Interpretive Centre! We were able to use them on the trail around the pond and in the park as well so we were able to get a better view of the animals that were further away. Even though we only did two activities we still did a lot of walking: DD’s phone registered 13000 steps and 8.5 km: almost a Tater Tour day; A little later on our trip, in Sydney, we spoke to a woman with an organized tour group called the Taters. They are a group of people that travel across America and hike ten kilometers a day. We’ve seen them at a few places we stayed at.  We’d love to participate in one of their tours!

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Day 8

After leaving Halifax, driving towards Cape Breton Island, our first stop was at the Fisherman’s House. The lady there highly recommended we stop at Memory Lane Village which we were glad we did. The highlight of our visit was playing and cuddling with Laurel the tabby kitten who had lost his brother we presumed was named Hardie. We also met a widow at the church who told us she was wed to her deceased husband in that same church a long time ago; it was a special moment.

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Our next stop was the Sherbrooke Village we had been wanting to visit for so long! But before doing so, we checked-in to our hotel Liscombe Lodge which was on our way to the Village. We started our Sherbrooke Village tour with a very disappointing lunch at the Tea Room. We were expecting a meal like the ones we had at Louisbourg, Le Pays de la Sagouine, King’s Landing or at the New Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Acadian Villages but The Tea Room was more like any ordinary diner with nothing special and a very limited menu. We should have listened and have eaten at Memory Lane. The best part of our visit at Sherbrooke Village though was that the streets were almost empty as it was the end of the day and we had our picture taken at the photo shop using the original 1860’s wet plate collodian ambrotype process. It was so neat as we dressed up and stood still for the photographer. We would like to go back next year for another picture which was a lot more exciting than our Passport pictures! We drove twenty minutes back to our cabin at Liscombe Lodge.

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Day 9

Liscombe Lodge has a beautiful setting but the bed as in other cabins we rented in Nova Scotia, was not comfortable. We’d love to go back but unfortunately our cellphones were not working in the area so we will not be able to go back as we need to stay connected at all times for our work. After a morning walk, we set off for the longest drive on the trip (five hours total) to Canso, another place we had been wanting to visit for a long time; Every time we drove to Cape Breton Island and saw the signs to Canso. For some reason, everywhere we went was quiet but whenever we mentioned it we were told it was either super busy earlier in the day or the day before which was fine by us. On the road, not far from Canso, we stopped at a lookout where there was a plaque and information about “The Chronicles of Prince Henry Sinclair’s Voyage to the New World in 1398”: Who knew? At Canso, we took a boat ride to Grassy Island that we had all to ourselves for an hour and we could have stayed longer if we had wanted to but we still had a long way to go to Sydney. The island is a berry picker’s and a birder’s paradise. We didn’t find any berries as they had all been picked along the trail but we did hear a lot of different bird songs we hadn’t heard before. On our way to Sydney, we stopped in Guysborough for lunch at the Days Gone By restaurant and bakery. It was a very busy place and food was better than at the Sherbrooke Village in our opinion. DD had a seafood chowder and Dami a bowl of chili with a spinach salad. We shared a bowl of bread pudding. We arrived at The Hampton Inn Sydney early in the evening, did some laundry and had the last of our prepared meals.

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Day 10

A day at the Fortress of Louisbourg! One of our favorite places in Canada. Before taking the bus from the Welcome Center to The Fortress, we hiked the short trail next to the parking lot. We like that trail with its view of the Fortress. On the bus to the Fortress, we were disappointed there was no introductory recording –  that on our previous visits reminded us of the ones on the Disney buses to the parks – but we were still happy to be there once again. Since we moved to the Maritimes, we’ve been to Louisbourg at least once a year and some years twice so that would make it at least our 6th visit. We were told at Canso Islands to mention we were from Canso when at the gate of the Fortress and if the guard knew his history we’d be put in jail but no luck, we walked straight in! As always it was very windy but it was sunny and for once all the buildings were open. In one of the houses, just as I mentioned we hadn’t seen any cats yet (we’re always on the lookout for cats), I turn my head and there I see it, a drawing of a family with children playing with a cat in a cradle! We saw the sheep and goats and had a delicious turkey meal with a vegetable and rice soup and bread pudding for dessert. We left Louisbourg with some freshly baked buns to take with us from the bakery.

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Day 11

After two nice days of blue sky, rain came back with a vengeance so we decided to go shopping and we got three dwarf African frogs to bring home; they don’t sell them in New Brunswick anymore. It was so much fun to have them in the hotel room with us! We had a little precious Cargo the next day on the ride back home. They made it fine and adapted very well to their new tank with our other frogs, tetras, plants and snails. After shopping we came back for lunch to our room and then went for a walk at the Petersfield Provincial Park trail. It was a lovely trail with beautiful views of the water. And that is the end of our July 2016 trip to Nova Scotia. We can’t wait to go back next year! It was an awesome trip.

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Back in the spring, Mama D and DD were in Alberta and British Columbia and while at the Calgary Tower were lucky enough to be there while they were filming the last season of The Amazing Race Canada. We waited anxiously for the season to start and enjoyed watching the show, especially the Western Canada part and the Maritimes! We have been to almost all the places they visited in Canada and it made us so proud to be Canadian and have such an awesome Country! We were so happy for the winners: Steph and Kristen; they are on our pictures of day! DD posted the picture she took as they were the first to come out of the elevator at the top of the Tower. Mama D and DD have a trip coming in December. Can you guess where they are going to?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 2016 Nova Scotia Tour (11 nights) Part 1

By DD - Last updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2016

wolfville-view-of-the-bay-of-fundyAfter a couple busy months have passed, it’s about time we post this awesome trip we had in Nova Scotia this summer. We’ve been to NS many times but usually only stayed at either Big Hill Retreat on Cape Breton Island near Baddeck or at Mersey River Chalets near Kejimkujik with the cats. DD had a train trip with Mama D and Dami to Halifax on The Ocean on two separate occasions and it was just awesome! But this time, we wanted to do things different and tour the whole province skipping the Cabot Trail. We planned on buying a provincial Museums Pass and visit all of the museums except the ones we had already seen before. We traveled from July 5th to 16th, counter clockwise leaving from Moncton and it was pretty intense; Not quite The Amazing Race Canada but still!

Day 1

Our first stop on Day 1 was in Pugwash which wasn’t planned but it looked like such a quaint little village. We were curious about the Thinker’s Lodge National Historical site but time didn’t permit so we will have to visit another time. Our first museum was Balmoral Grist Mill where we bought our year pass. We were told on specific days where the mill is running, it is possible to buy fresh ground Scots oat flour; the mill was being repaired so we will have to go back. Our second museum was at Sutherland Steam Mill where we had lunch in the scorching sun; we could have had lunch at the bucolic Grist Mill where they had picnic tables down beside the river but there were lots of mosquitoes so scorching sun it was!  We watched the swifts come and go from their nests above in the original water barrels. There used to be a train station across the road but it is gone now and nobody knows when or where it went; whatever happened to it is a complete mystery. We wrapped up our tour with the McCulloch House Museum that was just lovely! Our first night was spent at the Best Western Truro where we decided to pay extra to be in the main building.

pugwash info centerbalmoral grist millsutherland steam millMcCulloch House Museum3

 

 

 

 

Day 2

We left Truro to arrive at Lawrence House Museum at 10 but as usual we were a little late and got there just before 11 and got a guided tour with Art… We had just been bingeing on the TV series Warehouse 13 on Shomi, and our tour guide reminded us of Arty in the series, who is in charge of the warehouse’s billion artifacts. He didn’t quite look exactly like Arty who is shorter but had something in his voice and in the way he talked about the “artifacts”. We only realize what his name was near the end of the tour when some other patrons asked him a question starting with him name… Oh my goodness we thought it was so freaky! Art didn’t know about the series when we mentioned it to him but said he was told he looked like one of the Lagina brothers from The Curse of Oak Island on History Channel. We’re still wondering if Arty’s character in Warehouse 13 was inspired by him? I mean come on, Art, Arty, Artifacts…

Our next Museum was supposed to be Prescott House but we didn’t have time because we wanted to visit the Oaklawn Farm Zoo and stop by Wolfville. It would definitely have been worth it to spend and extra night or two in this area. We parked at the information center and walked through Willow Park to the Wolfville’s Community Museum where our guide was able to give us a super quick 15 minute tour and then we went for a walk on the riverfront trail.  We visited the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in two hours including our picnic and headed to Queen Anne Inn in Annapolis. After checking in to our room # 12 in the carriage house, we went to the Royal Annapolis Gardens from 7 to 8 where we had the whole place to ourselves; It was so romantic! What a long day this was!

Art at Lawrence House MuseumLawrence House Museum WindowWolfville Dami with Statue Oaklawn farm Zoo CatBengal leopard catQueen Anne Inn Room 12 living

 

 

 

Royal Annapolis Garden Acadian HouseQueen Anne Inn Breakfast Room

 

 

 

 

Day 3

After a delicious but frugal 3 course breakfast – 3 times the dishes for the dishwasher and 3 times the steps for the waitress – we drove two hours to get to The Nova Scotia Acadian Village. The weather wasn’t nice, it was windy and it started to rain but at least there were buildings to hide in and warm people to chat with. After our visit and a walk, we stayed for lunch in the main building that was packed for the Strawberry Festival. There was a band playing traditional and popular songs. DD got to talk about her Acadian ancestors. We had corn chowder with rappie pie and biscuits looking at the dessert buffet table and DD couldn’t resist; There were mini strawberry desserts everywhere. She bought a ticket for the dessert buffet and got a plateful. It actually took a month to get rid of the weight gained from that trip! With a full tummy, we headed back to Yarmouth to the Firefighter’s Museum and then to our home for the night at the Best Western Mermaid in Yarmouth.

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Day 4

We started our day in Barrington at The Barrington Woolen Mill where we talked about our cats with the ladies, then we walked to the Old Meeting House; we saw a lot of graffiti, some dating back to 1812, and because they held all kinds of events there recently, I’m wondering if maybe some were fake but I hope not. At the Seal Island Lighthouse which was moved behind the Meeting House, we were lucky to be able to get a tour just before they were starting to paint. We found out later in Halifax that the curtains were there to block the sun rays which could ignite a fire; there’s a gigantic magnifying glass in there!

Barrington Woolen Mill WoolBarrington Woolen MillBarrington Meeting House DamiSeal Island Light Museum

 

 

 

 

We continued on to historic Shelburne where we visited the Thompson House and the Dori Shop. We learned later that some scenes of the TV Series Haven were shot in Shelburne and the movie The Scarlet Letter was filmed here as well.

Shelburne stone pathShelburne catShelburne Red ChairShelburne Thompson House

 

 

 

 

We had lunch at The Islands Provincial Park where we were able to use our super cool car trays . We were ahead of schedule so we decided to go to Liverpool which was on the next day itinerary. Unfortunately the Perkins House Museum was closed for the entire season but then we got to do an impromptu visit to the Hank Snow Museum which is also a train Museum! DD had never heard of him and we listened to his famous song Ghost Trains while driving there on Spotify. After all those activities we were so happy to get to our hotel Best Western Plus Bridgewater which was our 2nd favorite of all.

Dami at Islands Provincial ParkIslands Provincial ParkDami at Hank Snow MuseumHank Snow Recordings Collection

 

 

 

 

Day 5

Another big day, with a visit to the Ross Carding Mill in Bridgewater where DD bought some wool for her step father who likes to knit. Then it was off to the Des Brisay Museum still in Bridgewater, with all the artifacts collected by this judge, Mather Byles DeBrisay. We then went to Lunenberg, listed as a Unesco heritage site, to visit The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic that turned out to be a lot bigger than we expected. Next time we would plan more time to visit as they have an aquarium section, movies, and ships that we can tour outside. Our last stop of the day was at The Ross farm Museum that is a small village with interpreters and animals and buildings to visit: it was awesome! We love those villages were we get to immerse ourselves and go back in time! After another long day it was time to return to our nice suite at the Best Western Plus Bridgewater.

Ross carding MillDe Brisay Museum OrganFisheries Museum Folk CatCape Sable Ship Dining TableDami Ross Farm MuseumSheep Ross Farm Museum Horse Ross Farm MuseumHorses Ross farm Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for the second part of this amazing trip to Nova Scotia.

 

 

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