Friday Five – Nova Scotia Must-Sees

First of all, I apologize for not having a new recipe this week! We’ve had out of town guests and I’ve been busy preparing and entertaining. I’ve got another theme week coming up though, with three new recipes, starting Sunday.

Since we’ve had family visiting, we’ve been playing tourist this week, taking them to see local attractions and suggesting places for them to visit. Thinking of places to see has inspired this Friday Five – five places not to miss in Nova Scotia!

This is by no means an exhaustive list (my preliminary list had 13 places and I could have come up with many more! It includes a few “classic” NS attractions and a few “hidden gems,” but they are all places that my family and I love.

  1. Halifax (Downtown and Waterfront)

The capital city is absolutely full of things to do. I love to walk along the boardwalk on the waterfront, watching the ships in the harbour and checking out the shops. If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (where you can see a deck chair from the Titanic) or Canada’s National Immigration Museum at Pier 21, where immigrants and war brides (including my husband’s grandmother) began their lives as Canadians. Pittsburgh Penguins fans will want to check out the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame at the Scotiabank Centre – you can see the dryer Sidney Crosby shot pucks at as a kid in his basement. The Harbour Hopper is a fun way to see a bit of the city and the harbour – all in a big green amphibious vehicle!

2. Stepping Back in Time

There are many places in Nova Scotia where you can catch a glimpse of life in another era. Port Royal is a reconstruction of one of the first permanent European settlements in North America. Fortress Louisbourg is the largest historical reconstruction in North America. It truly feels like you are walking the streets of a 1700s fort town, on the cusp of the battle between the French and the English over Nova Scotia. Sherbrooke Village is a bit off the beaten track, but is a fun trip back in time to a lumber town in the 1800s (with 25 original buildings.)

Edit: The Highland Village in Iona is another living history museum that’s tons of fun. I first visited on a grade six class trip and have always enjoyed going back. I knew I had another place to mention but couldn’t think of it when I originally posted!

3. Tidal Bore Rafting

You may have heard that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world (another Nova Scotia attraction that you really should see!) When those high tides rush in, they push water up into the Shubenacadie River, temporarily reversing the direction it flows and causing crazy waves. There are several companies that offer rafting tours, complete with mud sliding. You’ll be filthy but exhilarated when you’re done!

4. OnTree

Located at Ski Martock near Windsor, OnTree is an adventure high in the trees! It has 16 high ropes courses, complete with zip-lines and all sorts of creative obstacles. There are courses at all heights and difficulty levels, including 2 just for kids. My husband and I have been a couple of times and have tackled all but the most difficult of the courses!

5. The Beach

This may seem obvious, but no trip to Nova Scotia is complete without setting foot on a beach (summer shouldn’t be complete for a Bluenoser without a trip to the beach either!) We have multitude to choose from, whether you’re looking for calm waters and white sand or rocky shores and huge waves. If you’re looking for lifeguards and washrooms, stick with the supervised beaches or provincial parks. Two of my favourites are Caribou/Munroe’s Island near Pictou and Mavillette in Clare. There are also many quiet beaches known only to locals (I’m not divulging my favorites there!)  Build a sandcastle, search for shells and beach glass or simply float on the waves!

Bonus:

The Bluenose II

A list on the Bluenose Baker wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Bluenose! The Bluenose II, replica of the original schooner, has just completed an extensive reconstruction and is sailing again. You can see her in her home port of Lunenburg or at one of her port visits. We’ll be visiting when she stops in our neck of the woods!

What are your favourite spots in Nova Scotia? Did I miss any important places? Tell me in the comments!

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