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Peggy’s Cove

Hit the Road

Hit-the-Road_Planters-Ridge

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

SEASIDE RAMBLES

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).

Hit-the-Road_Peggy's-Cove
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.

 

Hit-the-Road_Clam-Harbour-Sandcastle-Competition
Photo: HRM

EASTERN ADVENTURES

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.

 

Hit-the-Road_Meander
Photo: Trevor J. Adams

EPICURIAN ESCAPADES

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.

 

Concierge Q & A

Concierge_Trevor-Proude

Trevor Proude is head concierge at The Hollis Halifax-A Doubletree Suites by Hilton. He is a musician, limousine chauffeur, and has been in the hotel industry for the past 15 years. Trevor has recently become the new regional director for Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic, part of an international association of concierges.

Q: What’s your pick for June’s can’t miss event for visitors?
A: My top pick for June would have to be the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo festival. It’s your chance to see pipers, drummers, dancers, acrobats, cyclists, singers, choirs, military bands and much, much more. It is a great Maritime tradition. Also, one may want to take in Halifax Ribfest happening around the same weekend on the waterfront. June 29 to July 2.

Q: What’s a great way for a family to spend a June day in the city?
A: I usually recommend the Discovery Centre on the waterfront. This would be a good way to start your day with the kids. It also offers free admission between 5pm and 8pm on Wednesday evenings. If you’re here on June 2 and 3, take advantage of Doors Open Halifax; 30+ venues whose doors normally are closed to the public will open. The kids may also want to see the Museum of Natural History and visit Gus, the 95-year-old tortoise. They can join in on his daily walk around 3:30pm every day.

Q: If you only had one day in the city, how would you spend it?
A: I would recommend starting your day at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on the south end of the boardwalk. It’s a great way to take in local vendors from around the province and a great place for a light breakfast. If it is a rainy day, one may like to take in the museums we have to offer such as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street, which has fascinating exhibitions on the Titanic and Halifax Explosion. Be sure to make your way to Halifax Citadel for the noon gun and the changing of the guard. This National Historic Site has a lot to offer with military reenactors and the Army Museum, plus ghost tours for the kids. The Halifax Public Gardens and the architecturally distinct Halifax Central Library are also must-visits.

Q: Where can visitors find a unique souvenir to take home?
A: There are a few places in town one can find a nice souvenir. Murphy’s Company Store at the Cable Wharf on Lower Water Street has a lot to choose from, and you’ll always find something unique at NovaScotian Crystal at the foot of George Street on the waterfront. Another popular stop is Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia located in the heart of the downtown shopping district on Spring Garden Road.

Q: What’s the best thing about June in Halifax?
A: Visitor season is in full swing, and that means the opening of all of the historical tours and boat tours, including the bus tours to Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg plus many more. You have all of the vendors starting to open shop on the waterfront as well as all of the bars and restaurants starting to rebuild their popular patios. We locals call it patio season. Our entertainment district on Argyle Street hosts many of these. The city of Halifax has many secret gems that are just waiting to be discovered.

Ultimate Halifax Guide

Live theatre, exciting exhibitions, fun outdoor activities—discover this season’s top destinations to explore in Halifax

By Janice Hudson

NEW DISCOVERIES
For 32 years, the Discovery Centre has been giving kids and adults alike exciting, hands-on opportunities to learn about science, math, engineering, and technology. And now, it’s moved to a new 40,000-square-foot home on the Halifax waterfront. The new site has four themed galleries, an innovation lab, and Atlantic Canada’s only immersive dome theatre.

Discovery Centre. Photo: Mark Dilangelan.

Discovery Centre. Photo: Mark Dilangelan.

Not just a planetarium for exploring outer space, this theatre also lets visitors immerse themselves inside the human body or run like an animal through the jungle. The centre also hosts changing exhibits: The Science of Rock N’ Roll runs until May 14 and opening on May 29 is Tyrannosaurus: Meet the Family. On Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., admission is free.

BUYER’S MARKET
Spring weekends in Halifax are the perfect time to discover Nova Scotia’s fresh produce, tasty baked goods, local artwork, and cool souvenirs. More than 250 vendors from across the province showcase their goods over two levels at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road.

A few minutes’ walk up Lower Water Street takes you to the Historic Farmers’ Market in the Alexander Keith’s Brewery building. Find vendors and live entertainment in the main courtyard or tucked away in the maze of wings and hallways in this historic facility. You’ll find it less crowded than the Seaport, but equally fun to explore.

Historic Farmers’ Market

Historic Farmers’ Market

Heading north on Windsor Street is the Halifax Forum, home to one of the city’s newest farmers’ markets. More than 50 vendors take over the facility’s bingo hall each Saturday morning for the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market. Find local farmers selling produce right off their trucks in the parking lot.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, just steps from the Halifax Transit ferry terminal, you’ll find the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market. It has live entertainment on its main stage on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Outside, find flower and plant vendors aplenty during the spring months.

ALL THE CITY’S A STAGE
Eastern Front Theatre’s 2017 Stages Theatre Festival presents 15 shows and events from May 15 to 27. The schedule includes new plays, workshops, theatre for families, and world premieres held at venues across the city. The festival highlights work from Nova Scotia’s top professional theatre companies at different stages of development, from workshops and play readings to full productions. Highlights include The West Woods by Mulgrave Road Theatre on May 16 to 19, and Treegirl by Forerunner Theatre on May 19 to 21.

Stages Theatre Festival

Stages Theatre Festival

GARDEN PARTY
Spanning six hectares in the middle of the city, the Halifax Public Gardens is one of North America’s finest formal Victorian gardens, with dramatic flower displays, weeping and flowering trees, fountains, and foliage plants. This year, it’s celebrating its 150th anniversary with events and activities happening daily during the season. This month, watch for the Victorian Tea Party at the Lord Nelson Hotel on May 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s an afternoon of English tea, with music by Symphony Nova Scotia and Hausmusik. On May 27, there’s a poetry reading in the gardens from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Each Sunday afternoon starting June 11, drop by the Victorian bandstand for free concerts featuring local musicians.

Halifax Public Gardens

Halifax Public Gardens

HISTORY BROUGHT TO LIFE
To celebrate Canada’s 150th year since confederation, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 presents Canada: Day 1, a travelling exhibition that showcases 150 years of immigrants’ “day one” experiences. View distinctive artworks and compelling objects, such as a Syrian welcome kit, a head-tax certificate, moving War Bride correspondence, and more.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

One of Canada’s most visited National Historic Sites, the Halifax Citadel was the fourth in a series of forts since 1749 to occupy the hill overlooking the harbour. Check out the Army Museum on-site for more military artefacts and history. In 2017, all National Historic Sites are offering free admission with a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, available online at pc.gc.ca.

CRAFTED FOR CANADA
Just in time for Canada 150, Novascotian Crystal has expanded its Canadian spirit line of handcrafted crystal, featuring a maple leaf design. It’s now available in whiskey tumblers, water glasses, brandy snifters, shot glasses, and more. Stop by the workshop at the foot of George Street on the Halifax waterfront and watch the craftspeople create these mouth-blown masterpieces using age-old techniques.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE
With warmer temperatures now the norm, there’s plenty of outdoor activities on offer across the city. On the tip of Halifax’s South End, Point Pleasant Park boasts 39 kilometres of roads and trails that wind through forest and past rocky hills, ravines, and military ruins, including the Prince of Wales Tower National Historic Site. The park also hosts alfresco theatre group, Shakespeare by the Sea, during the summer.

Heading west past the Armdale Rotary on Purcell’s Cove Road is Sir Sanford Fleming Park. This 38-hectare space has walking trails through forest, saltwater marsh, and a large pond (Frog Pond). Climb up Dingle Memorial Tower, the 10-storey Italianate landmark built in the early 1900s. Kids will love the new playground on-site, Halifax’s first all-natural play space made of hand-carved tree trunks. They can climb up the mesh and log tower that mirrors Dingle Tower.

Across the harbour in Dartmouth, Shubie Park is a 16-hectare greenway bounded by Lake Charles to the north and Lake Micmac to the south. Trails meander from deep forest to sunny lakeside along the historic route of the Shubenacadie Canal, offering beautiful scenery and quiet areas to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Shubie Park

Shubie Park

DAY TRIPPING
No trip to Halifax is complete without visiting Peggy’s Cove, the fishing village just a 45-minute drive west from Halifax. Its iconic lighthouse is the most photographed site in Nova Scotia. Fifty minutes east of Halifax is Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, a living history museum that recreates life in a 1940s Nova Scotian coastal village. Tour the 18 restored buildings and tuck into a lunch of baked beans and brown bread at the on-site cookhouse.

Memory Lane Heritage Village

Memory Lane Heritage Village

 

 

 

May Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

LOCALLY MADE

Made in the Maritimes

Made in the Maritimes

•For an eclectic mix of local, Canadian and international jewellery and accessories, visit Bedazzled in its new location in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Find unique and exquisite designers by artisans such as Earth Goddess, Arcane Angel, Myka and Tori XO.

Bedazzled

Bedazzled

Made in the Maritimes Artisan Boutique brings to its new location in Sunnyside Mall contemporary, high-quality products for its clientele. All of the products, which include woodwork, jewellery, glass art, toys and more, are made in the region.

 

SPRING SHOPPING

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Find the latest in spring styles at Halifax Shopping Centre, the largest shopping complex in Halifax. Retailers include Coach, Banana Republic, Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and Roots. Anchored by Sears, and the annex across the street is home to Winners and Wal-Mart.

FINE DESIGN

Art-Zone-2-web

•Art lovers will appreciate Art Zone Fine Arts Gallery on Barrington Street, which showcases some of the best of local talent by providing them a space to display their work. The gallery also hosts monthly shows, workshops and artist talks and more.

•For hand-crafted local treasures, visit The Bogside Gallery in the Hydrostone Market on Young Street. The elegant and whimsical art, made by artisans from Nova Scotia and around Atlantic Canada, make for great gifts or décor for your own home.

BEST OF THE EAST

Drala-web

Drala on Grafton Street is the city’s home to supplies for a contemplative lifestyle. Find Asian-inspired décor items and gifts, as well as meditation cushions and supplies, beeswax candles, Japanese teas and buckwheat hull pillows.

MEMENTO

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•For fun and casual custom clothing, visit Cool as a Moose in the Historic Properties on Upper Water Street. Outfit the whole family with hoodies, sweats, pajamas and t-shirts, all of which are emblazoned with the store’s logo.

•Located on the rocks of Peggy’s Cove next to Nova Scotia’s most famous lighthouse, the Sou’wester carries a large mix of souvenirs for anyone visiting the province. Finds include kilts, postcards, sweatshirts, and giftware made my local artisans. You can also find books that explore local history and folklore. Visit the restaurant for a treat like lobster or gingerbread.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

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For one-of-a-kind shopping, visit The Piazza at Bishop’s Landing on Lower Water Street. Find a dinner wine at Bishop’s Cellar and dessert at Sugah or Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory. Pick up a new outfit at Unicorn and accessories at Frida Custom Jewellery Design or Pearl City.

Ultimate Halifax

By Trevor J. Adams

Theodore Too

Theodore Too

GO PLAY OUTSIDE

At the south end of the peninsula, Point Pleasant Park is a popular year-round destination with native Haligonians and visitors alike. Coastal and woodland trails draw people year-round, but the park really comes to life in summer when it hosts theatre al fresco with Shakespeare by the Sea throughout the summer. In the midst of the downtown on Barrington Street, the Old Burying Ground is a secluded historic cemetery and a green oasis amongst the buildings. It’s also the grave of British Major General Robert Ross, who burned Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812. Uptown on Spring Garden Road, the Halifax Public Gardens are one of the finest Victorian gardens in North America. In the summer, its bandstand hosts Sunday afternoon concerts. Across the harbour, the Dartmouth Common features a lovely flower garden and panoramic views of the Halifax skyline.

CENTRE STAGE

The region’s largest professional theatre company, Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street, wraps up another season, with Mary Poppins. With intricate sets, lively music and a heartwarming story, this is sure to be another blockbuster for Atlantic Canada’s largest theatre company.

OUT OF THE FIRE

At the foot of George Street on the Halifax waterfront, NovaScotian Crystal is one of the province’s most unique tourism attractions. In the workshop, you can watch craftsmen use Old World techniques to create functional art: mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal creations.

BACK IN TIME

•Still the geographic (and emotional) heart of the downtown, the Halifax Citadel is Canada’s most popular National Historic Site.

•In Halifax’s early days, citizens were notoriously tardy. The solution, courtesy of an exasperated early ruler, was the Old Town Clock on Sackville Street.

•You can shop and dine where privateers once stashed their booty in the Historic Properties.

•Halifax boasts a long line of sports heroes—most recently, Sidney Crosby. Learn more: Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame on Duke Street.

•Devastated in the Halifax Explosion almost a century ago, the area now called The Hydrostone has regrown as a stylish neighbourhood with unique architecture, quaint shops and world-class dining.

MARITIME GOTHIC

With centuries of history, a city gets its fair share of mysteries and folklore. Explore the city’s more sinister side with the Halifax Ghost Walk. Meet the group at 8:30 p.m. at the Old Town Clock on Citadel Hill (just up from Sackville Street). Narrators lead you through historic Halifax’s nooks and crannies, sharing tales of pirates, ghosts and haunted houses.

HIGHLIGHTS FOR KIDS

•Kids’ reactions are always priceless when they stroll down Cable Wharf and see the giant smiling tugboat in the big red hat. Theodore Too is a loving life-sized re-creation of the eponymous Theodore Tugboat of PBS fame. Hop on board for a tour that lets your kids live the Big Harbour adventures they’ve seen so many times on television.

•Nautical adventures continue at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street. With lots of hands-on exhibits and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, it’s a great spot for kids to explore and learn about the Titanic, swashbuckling pirates and the world wars. You can see shipbuilders at work and explore a retired hydrographic vessel moored dockside.

•Just up the hill on Barrington Street, the Discovery Centre is a hands-on science centre where kids can explore trippy optical illusions, stand inside a giant bubble and even freeze a banana in liquid nitrogen.

DAY TRIPPIN’

•Centrally located, Halifax is an ideal day-trip base. Take a 45-minute drive east, and you’ll find the Memory Lane Heritage Village, a living-history museum that re-creates life in rural Nova Scotia as it was 70 years ago.

•Take a 45-minute drive west, and you’ll find the historic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Its iconic lighthouse, perched on the rocks just above the wild Atlantic waves, is Nova Scotia’s most photographed site.

7 Unforgettable Day Trips From Halifax

When the tides send the waters of the Bay of Fundy surging back into the Shubenacadie River, hearty adventurers go tidal-bore rafting. Photo: Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

When the tides send the waters of the Bay of Fundy surging back into the Shubenacadie River, hearty adventurers go tidal-bore rafting. Photo: Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Fly high, get the blues or travel in time—Nova Scotia’s best, within a short drive of Halifax.

There is no shortage of things to do in Halifax this summer, but if wanderlust strikes you, you’ll also discover many fantastic finds within day-tripping distance of Halifax.

HAVE THE BLUES?

From August 9 to 11, the Truro Raceway and Exhibition Grounds in Bible Hill (a one-hour drive north of Halifax on Highway 102) hosts the Dutch Mason Blues Festival. The festival is named for deceased Halifax blues legend Dutch Mason, the man B.B. King calls “the Prime Minister of the Blues.” This year’s performers include the Blues Brothers, Guitar Shorty, Lucky Peterson, Shirley King, Powder Blues and James Cotton. In addition to the smokin’ music, the festival features a BBQ competition, a custom motorcycle show, vendors galore and more.

GET HIGH

You’ve never seen Nova Scotia like this. East Coast Balloon Adventures depart from the heart of the Annapolis Valley (usually near New Minas, a 75-minute drive northwest of Halifax on Highway 101). Flying daily, when conditions permit, at dawn and dusk, the hot-air balloon soars as high as 610 metres above the ground, usually travelling three to 20 kilometres, depending on winds. The ride costs $250 per passenger, with the balloon carrying four passengers plus the pilot.

TIME TRAVEL

A 50-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, the Memory Lane Heritage Village is a “living history” museum, re-creating life in a typical 1940s Nova Scotian fishing village. There are 17 restored buildings on site, including a mill, barn, mine, general store, church and homestead. Enjoy a hearty lunch at the traditional camp Cookhouse restaurant. History buffs will love the Archives Research Centre (but book an appointment in advance). The village hosts special events throughout the year; take in the sounds of the Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival on August 17.

GO WEST

You’ll know it when you see it: 45 minutes west of Halifax on Route 333 is the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Perched on the rocks above the crashing Atlantic waves, its iconic lighthouse is the province’s most-photographed site. There’s lots of space to clamber around the shore and take in the ocean’s beauty, just take care to avoid the waves and slippery rocks. After you putter around the working fishing village, visiting shops and galleries, enjoy a slice of the signature gingerbread at the Sou’wester  restaurant.

FOLLOW THE LIGHT

Continuing west, the Lighthouse Route wends its way to the picturesque village of Lunenburg, an hour’s drive on Highway 103. This historic community with its lovingly maintained architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Great dining abounds, including the Old Fish Factory Restaurant, Large Marge’s Diner and the Knot Pub. See Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, being rebuilt in her homeport. On the waterfront, the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic tells how life on the sea shaped generations of Maritimers.

RIDE THE WAVE

With each cycle of the tides, the mighty waters of the Bay of Fundy surge back into the Shubenacadie River, offering a unique opportunity to go tidal-bore rafting. Numerous companies offer daily tours from the Shubenacadie and Maitland areas (a 45- to 60-minute drive north of Halifax on Highway 102). On high-powered Zodiac boats, you’ll race out to meet the rushing waves, splash around and experience the power of nature firsthand. www.novascotia.com

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS

A 45- to 60-minute drive north of Halifax on Highway 101, you’ll find some of Nova Scotia’s most celebrated wineries. In the last decade, the province’s wine industry has exploded, with local wineries winning accolades worldwide. Here are two local favourites: on the Avon Peninsula, bracketed by the Avon and St. Croix rivers, the Avon Sky Winery has quickly emerged as one of the country’s best, winning multiple awards: most recently, two silvers and a bronze at the Finger Lakes International Wine Championship. At the western end of the Annapolis Valley in Grand Pré, Domaine de Grand Pré is the province’s oldest operating winery, and home to the elegant
La Caveau restaurant. winesofnovascotia.ca

Iconic Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse Could Be Demolished

By SHANNON KELLY

Photo: Lou Bueno

One of Nova Scotia’s most photographed sights and top tourist attractions (it receives 500,000 tourists per year) may be lost forever if a community group doesn’t step in to save it from demolition before the end of May. (more…)

3 Easy Fall Day Trips from Halifax

By Candice Walsh

One of the joys of travelling Nova Scotia is the ease of getting around the province by car. When Halifax starts feeling a little too close for comfort, you can hightail it out of there with a moment’s notice. You don’t even need to go overnight—just go.

(more…)