Photo: Peggy’s Cove, NS.
Photo: We entered southern Nova Scotia from the east, after visiting Newfoundland.
We arrived back in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, from Newfoundland at about 6:00 pm. While I was setting up camp Janice was secretly arranging a jam session with a fiddle player who was visiting from Inverness, Nova Scotia. A guitar player from Sydney was also in camp. The young fiddler turned out to be monstrously talented. Her name is Kristan Shaw. She’s only seventeen but she’s very pretty and dresses like Daisy Mae – I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing her on TV one of these days. It was a little different for me playing that Cape Breton style of music but a lot of fun. It turned out the guitar player couldn’t keep up with Kristan and so mostly tapped the top of his guitar. She had a gig the next night in another town otherwise we would have hung around for another day.
Photo: Kristan Shaw and me having some fun in a little hall at the Arm of Gold Campsite in North Sydney where they regularly feature live music.
Heading towards Halifax we decided to tour Louisberg, a World UNESCO Heritage Sight where they’ve uncovered and recreated a complete 18th century fortress and village. Authentically dressed soldiers, blacksmiths, merchants, restaurant waiters, cooks and miscellaneous other servants shoot cannons, cook meals, wait on customers, tend the animals and gardens, serve grog and stay very much in character – definitely worth the price of admission.
Photo: Louisberg, from the tour bus.
Photo: Stepping back in time at Louisberg, NS.
Photo: Inside Fort Louisberg.
Photo: A sparrow in a time warp at Louisberg.
That night we set up at the Port Hawkesbury Walmart but, following the advice of a local, drove up to Point Michaud for a swim and dinner on the beach. As the sign proclaims, Point Michaud is ‘A World Class Beach.’ It was too. Fine, firm sand and warm, clear water.
Photo: Point Michaud beach.
We arrived in Halifax the next day and tried in vain to squeeze our trailer into my cousin’s downtown driveway. There was no way we could get the unit to fit though so we took it to the Walmart parking lot and left it there for the weekend.
Martin Kalmokoff is my cousin on my Mom’s side but he and I haven’t seen each other in about thirty-five years. Besides being ten years my junior, Martin was always a bit of a Brainiac. While I was jerking around playing in bands and painting pictures, he was off to university right after high school. By the time he was finally done with all of his schooling he had his doctorate in micro-biology and was living in eastern Canada. He and his partner, Camilla, who is also a scientist, work for the federal government. Martin is involved withCanada’s food supply and is self-described as the country’s “Poo Doctor.” Camilla oversees Canada’s Air Quality Index.
Martin had me eating raw oysters for the first time in about thirty years, accompanied by a respectable amount of his homemade wine. The next day they took us to the obligatory Peggy’s Cove tour and then to Mahone Bay, where we had some very tasty lobster sandwiches at a seaside café. From there we continued on to historic and picturesque Lunenburg, where we watched some dory races and then walked the historic town, marveling at the many architecturally unique buildings.
Photo: Peggy’s Cove.
Photo: Peggy’s Cove.
Photo: Martin, Canada’s ‘Poo Doctor’ and Camilla at the restaurant in Mahone Bay.
Photo: Colourful buildings at Mahone Bay.
Photo: Stopping for a beer in downtown Halifax.
Photo: Halifax Harbour.
Photo: The still waters of Halifax harbour.
Photo: Downtown Halifax from the Citadel.
Photo: Civic garden in downtown Halifax.
Photo: Janice with a whole cooked lobster at Martin and Camilla’s.
That night, back at their place, we ate whole lobsters. Janice had been a little worried beforehand about keeping up conversationally with two highly educated scientists but we had some really interesting discourse, and laughed a lot. The next day we all walked to the Halifax waterfront before Janice and I hit the road for Liverpool and other points west. Thanks Martin and Camilla for being so welcoming and showing us a great time.
We left Halifax and drove to Liverpool, Nova Scotia, the home of both the Hank Snow Museum and the Sherman Hines Photography Museum. We stayed at an RV Park called Fisherman’s Cove at the little fishing village of Hunt’s Point, about six kilometers up the road fromLiverpool. Like a lot of communities around Nova Scotia, Hunt’s Point has been around since the late 1700‘s.
That night we drank some wine with two couples from Duncan, BC and Athabasca, Alberta, as well as the owner of the park, a little guy with a big bottle of 151-proof rum. We narrowly managed to avoid the rum.
Photo: Hunt’s Cove.
Photo: The Atlantic ocean slams up against the breakwater at Hunt’s Cove.
Photo: Family owned fishing boats at Hunt’s Cove.
The next day we rode our bikes around the nearby town of Liverpool and then drove to Summerville where we had lunch at a great little restaurant called The Quarterdeck, that hung right out over the mile-long Summerville Beach. It poured rain outside but we were warm and dry inside and the food was excellent.
Photo: The Quarterdeck Restaurant at Summerville hangs out over the ocean.
Photo: Janice with her pound of mussels at the Quarterdeck Restaurant in Summerville. Note the kids’ plastic bucket provided for the shells.
After it cleared a little we drove to Kejimkujik Seaside National Park and rode our bikes around trails that led to some very blusteryAtlantic Ocean locations. That night, with the weather still soggy, we watched the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie that the people from Duncan had lent us. That Ron White guy is funny.
Photo: Kejimkujik Park.
Leaving the Atlantic side of Nova Scotia, we headed for Digby on The Bay of Fundy, where the tides are the highest in the world. Digby is also the ‘Scallop Capital of the World’. We drove to Sandy Cove where the beautiful but steep sandy beach gave way to an ocean that looked a little too ferocious for swimming. Instead we elected to spend the afternoon swimming, lolling around and having dinner at warm and clear Lake Midway. Later we headed for the Digby Walmart for the night.
Photo: The harbour at Digby.
Photo: The main wharf at Digby.
We toured Digby on foot in the morning, bought some seafood at the dockside market, and then drove to Annapolis Royal, one of the first settlements in Canada. I believe 1602 was the year it was first settled so, needless to say, there’re lots of very interesting, mostly wooden, architecture.
From there we continued on to Wolfville, the home of Acadia University, and to one of my first idols; Alex Colville. His painting of the horse running down the tracks toward an oncoming locomotive was one of the first images I ever saw that made me want to paint. Our campsite, Evangeline, was actually at Grand-Pré on the Minas Basin. At low tide Minas Basinis the largest expanse of mud flat on the continent, and a very important stop-over for millions of migrating birds.
We lingered around the campfire with a couple fromVermontand another from Prince George, BC. The guy fromVermont was a real history buff who actually knew more about Canadian history than either of us Canadian couples did. The next morning we toured the Cape Pres National Historic Exhibit which is dedicated to where the Acadians had been expelled from Canada- very compelling and a beautiful facility.
We drove up the Minas Basin, on a very humid day, stopping for lunch to watch the tide flow upriver, decidedly upriver – a very weird sensation. There are actually rafting tours that ride the tides. Later we found a campsite at Truro that had a big swimming pool, which we had all to ourselves.
Photo: Fishermen at The Minas Basin, where we watched the tide run up the river.
We struck out in the morning, taking Highway 4 north to pick up Highway 6, which follows the coast along Northumberland Strait. We stopped for a picnic at Northport and, later, crossed the Tidnish Bridge into New Brunswick.
Photo: Lifeguards at Northport, Nova Scotia.