There’s a lot to see and do in Halifax, but on a glorious summer day, it’s hard to beat the allure of a road trip. Whatever your taste, you’ll find an attractive destination near Halifax
By: Trevor J. Adams
• About a 45-minute drive west of Halifax on Route 333, you’ll come to the historic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Ramble amongst the homes, fish sheds, and small local businesses, and you’ll see fishermen preparing for their next excursion on the wild North Atlantic, just as their ancestors have for generations. Perched on the rocks above the ocean is the village’s iconic lighthouse, one of the most-photographed sites in Nova Scotia. Here you’ll also find The Sou’wester, a friendly family restaurant that has been serving boiled lobster, seafood chowder, and fish and chips for five decades. (The home-style gingerbread is a local favourite).
Photo: Tammy Fancy
• Continue west on scenic Route 3 for about 130 kilometres, and you’ll make your way through the picturesque seaside villages of Chester and Mahone Bay. Your final destination on this itinerary is Lunenburg. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town is noted for its distinct historic architecture, and large assortment of world-class restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. It’s also the home port of the Bluenose II schooner, which graces the Canadian dime. While here, be sure to visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. Meet retired fishermen and learn about the East Coast’s fishing heritage from a plethora of exhibitions and artifacts.
• Nova Scotia’s wild and rugged Eastern Shore is the perfect destination for hikers, kayakers, and beach lovers. About an hour’s drive east of the city on Highway 107, you’ll come to Clam Harbour Beach. This giant sandy beach is a local favourite, offering spectacular ocean vistas, good (albeit a bit chilly) swimming conditions, and balmy ocean breezes. On August 12, it hosts the Clam Harbour Sand Castle Competition.
• Also in this area, you’ll find Memory Lane Heritage Village in nearby Lake Charles. This living-history village re-creates life in a 1940s-era rural Nova Scotian village, with several carefully restored buildings and expert guides and interpreters. It hosts special events throughout the summer, including the Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival on August 11. And while you’re there, try a traditional meal in the cookhouse.
Photo: Trevor J. Adams
• Heading northwest from Halifax on scenic Route 1 will lead you to the fecund Annapolis Valley. It’s known as “the breadbasket of Nova Scotia” and you’ll see why, with lush farms, orchards, and vineyards everywhere you look. En route, take a short detour into Ashdale and you’ll discover the charming little Meander River Farm craft brewery. It’s a great place to discover unique Nova Scotian beers and other farm products. (Phone ahead, hours vary).
• Back on track to the Valley, you’ll next come to the Avondale Sky Winery & Restaurant in Windsor. Located in a restored church, this little gem of a spot offers a variety of wines, with tasty food pairings in the restaurant. Also in Windsor, you’ll discover the Schoolhouse Brewery, another small spot serving local (English-style) brews.
• As you continue, keep an eye out for the many markets and produce stands (often a simple table at the end of a farm’s driveway) selling seasonal local produce. And history buffs will want to make a stop at Grand-Pré National Historic Site to learn about Nova Scotia’s early Acadian settlers.
• The next major town you’ll come to is Wolfville. Just before you hit the downtown, you’ll come to Luckett Vineyards, one of the many wineries in this region. There’s a wine bar on site, and it hosts special events throughout the season. Also in Wolfville is Paddy’s Pub, a neighbourhood favourite brewpub serving house-made beers and hearty pub food.
• There are many more wineries, breweries, and restaurants to explore in this region. If you decide to stay longer, drop by a visitor-info centre for a free guidebook.