Well… I’ve been home from my trip to Nova Scotia for a whole week now, and it’s still on my mind, so I guess it’s high time I recap! (I apologize in advance for the length of this post – I thought about breaking it up into several posts, but decided to just dive in and share it all at once.)
This trip wouldn’t have been possible without my dear friend Lindsay and her family. Lindsay’s parents (family friends who also happen to be my bosses) bought a home on the Atlantic Ocean in St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia a few years ago (her mom grew up and still has many relatives there), and ever since, I’ve been dying to get down there to see it. When Linds suggested we go for a girls long weekend trip this year, I jumped at the opportunity. We booked our flight months ago for the week after Sue & Adam’s wedding, and then I kind of pushed it out of my mind. There was so much going on this summer that I didn’t really have time to think about the trip!
The months flew by quickly, though (crazy quickly, actually), and before I knew it, it was time to pack my bags and get outta Dodge! I realized somewhere during the packing process that I hadn’t been anywhere other than the camp in a really long time, and I couldn’t really remember the last time I’d gone on vacation without family members. I had a little anxiety about this, and then reminded myself that Lindsay was leaving her baby (ok, I guess he’s a toddler now, but I still think of him as Baby Sam!) for the first time for more than 24 hours, so if she could do it, I could too. haha!
Our flight out of Ottawa on Wednesday September 23 went smoothly, and aside from a little hiccup at the Park & Fly in Halifax, we made it to the absolutely beautiful cottage safe and sound, just as dusk was falling.
And there were treats to greet us! Lindsay’s bro & SIL had been vacationing at the cottage shortly before us, and had left a giant basket of treats for her as an early birthday gift. Her parents had also sent us flowers and chocolates! So nice!! Night one was spent acquainting myself with my new surroundings. We were both beat from our day of travel, so we ordered in yummy pizza, watched TV, and headed to bed early.
The next morning, I witnessed my first sunrise on St. Margaret’s day. It was stunning. I was in heaven.
We quickly settled into a wonderfully relaxing routine at the cottage. We were both usually up between 7-7:30 (just in time to catch the sun rising every morning, I never wanted to miss it!), and then spent our time lounging, reading, drinking coffee, going for morning walks, and having a breakfast shake. By late morning, we’d be ready to hit the road for our daily adventure. The cottage is in a location that is pretty wonderful, and central to so many places that are “must-sees” in Nova Scotia. We went sight-seeing literally every day!
Day 1 was Peggy’s Cove. This stop was a must on my list of things to do, because really, who goes to Nova Scotia and doesn’t visit Peggy’s Cove?! I loved it there. I loved the old-time fishing village vibe, the little shops and cafés, the breath-taking scenery… I loved every moment spent there, snapping photos, and just sitting on the rocks with my bestie, soaking it all up.
On our way home, we swung into the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial site. In 1998, the flight crashed there, not far from Peggy’s Cove, and over 200 lives were lost. The feeling at the memorial site was somber. It felt right to stop there to pay our respects.
We returned home late that afternoon for more reading on the deck and relaxing. I felt pretty dopey that afternoon, and even had a nap… Can you have jet lag with only a one-hour time difference? haha! I definitely felt outta sorts, so that nap and the quiet evening of snacks and Netflix was just what the doctor ordered.
For Day 2, Lindsay had a day planned at one of her favourite East Coast places: Lunenburg. What a fabulous town this was, with streets lined with shops and restaurants, brightly coloured houses, and the best part: the Bluenose II docked and waiting for us to check it out! The Bluenose is kind of a famous piece of Canadian history (it’s pictured on our dime), so it was fun to board the schooner and see it up close before it had to depart on a tour.
After visiting the Bluenose II, we explored the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, which was very interesting. It featured displays of different marine life, an opportunity to board a real fishing boat to see what it was like, and all kinds of historical exhibits and artifacts. One in particular caught my attention – the story of the August Gales, which happened in the late 1920’s. Two Augusts in a row, terrible storms whipped up on the ocean and many boats and fishermen were lost to the sea. They came to refer to those two terrible months as the August Gales.
After departing the Museum, we walked around the quaint streets of Lunenburg, popping into a few shops and enjoying some ice cream, before heading back to the cottage for another supper of snacks and watching Netflix.
Day 3 was Saturday, and that was the day we were heading for downtown Halifax. It was a busy day at the Harbour, as two massive cruise ships were docked there for the day. It added to the exciting hustle and bustle!
We started out at the legendary Pier 21 (a historical Canadian landmark, as it has long been considered the gateway for immigrants to enter our country), then visited the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market, and headed out for a tour down the Harbourwalk. As with the previous days, the weather was absolutely perfect, and I thoroughly enjoyed strolling along, snapping pics, taking in the sights and smells of life on the ocean!
Oh, and Theodore the Tugboat! A relic from my childhood, come to life, right there in front of me! I was probably a little more excited than a normal 32-year-old should be… (I didn’t even really like the Theodore TV show lol – but seeing him was definitely a highlight in Halifax!)
My only regret this day was grabbing a Beavertail instead of waiting – not far down the boardwalk was a Cow’s Ice Cream stand, which touts itself as the world’s best ice cream – and judging by the line-up of people waiting for it, it must live up to it’s tagline. Next time!!
After the Harbourwalk, we made a stop at the Alexander Keith’s Brewery and took the tour. It was lots of fun – actors who guide you along as though you’ve stepped back into the 1800’s, where they sing, entertain, share plenty of historical info, and, of course… offer you a mug of Mr. Keith’s finest! “Those who like it, like it a LOT!!”
This was the night we had originally talked about hanging out in Halifax to experience the “night life”. We had forgotten, though, that we are kind of old ladies, and we quickly ditched the pub-hopping plan, opting instead to pick up Chinese on our way back to the cottage. Comfy clothes, couches, Caesars, and more movies… I did say we had our routine down pat, didn’t I?? ;)
Sunday was the last full day we had, and we made the most of it. After a little visit with Lindsay’s mom’s cousins, we headed to beautiful Mahone Bay for a late lunch, and strolled around the main drag visiting more little shops. I loved it there, such a cozy little village with more gorgeous scenery and a familiar, welcoming vibe to it.
After several hours there, we headed back towards the cottage, and on the way, stopped in at Queensland Beach. Talk about stunning! Because it was the tail end of tourist season, and a cool late afternoon in September, we practically had the beach to ourselves. I savoured the feel of my toes sinking in the soft white sand, and squealed in delight at the cold ocean waves crashing against my legs. I definitely hope to return someday during warmer months… I can see myself spending a whole day there easily!!
For our last night in St. Margaret’s Bay, we popped in to visit a few more relatives (salt-of-the-earth people, I loved everyone I met down there, and felt like family by the time I left!) – then actually made supper (a first! haha!) and settled in for – you guessed it – more movies! This also happened to be the night of the Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse/Blood Moon, and I kept going out the deck to check on its progress. I couldn’t think of a better place than on the ocean to witness its beauty…I didn’t see it through to the end, but what I did see was spectacular!! (and I was forced to “live in the moment” and ditch the camera when it became clear I wasn’t able to capture it the way I wanted to!)
Our last morning at the cottage, we still had time to read and relax (while tidying up and putting things back in order), but I know my mind was definitely on going home.
This trip was just the right length for me. As much as I would miss the amazing location, the laid-back routine, the fun adventuring… I was ready to go home. Cousin Barb took us to the airport, and once again, our return home was pretty smooth and uninteresting – just the way I like my airport experiences to go. ;)
We had a blast. I’m so grateful to Lindsay for inviting me to go, being my tour guide and co-adventurer, and smiling for the camera even though I know there were times she’d have rather shoved it up my ass than posed politely! haha!! I’m also so thankful to her parents, Bill & Sue, for allowing us to use their cottage and vehicle while we down there, and for ensuring we felt right at home!
Now, I kind of lied when I said there would only be one Nova Scotia post. Those of you who know me well have probably noticed one major thing missing from this post… Like… what did we EAT?!?!?
That definitely gets a post of its own! Stay tuned!!