Dateline July 5, 2012 Nova Scotia… Pictou to Peggy’s Cove

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Map of Novia Scotia we start in the orange

The weather was beautiful for the ferry trip from PEI to Nova Scotia. The lighthouse came into view as we entered the harbor. Stopping at the info center, they even made reservations for a campsite for us near Halifax  when we arrive in Halifax for the Tattoo. We drove down to Truro which is at the beginning of the Bay of Fundy.

We missed the bore  (when the tide pushes back into the river and can create waves up stream, some reported as high as 14 feet)  but may catch it on the way back from Newfoundland.

We drove along the southern side of the Bay of Fundy to Grand Pré where we stayed at the Land Of Evangeline Family Camping Resort.

The highlight of the camp was the beach and seeing the tide way out, the Bay of Fundy is all about tides.

Tide out, Bay of Fundy

We took off in the morning with a destination of Parker’s Cove. The roadway primarily runs through the Annapolis Valley and is mostly agriculture.

Our first stop, big surprise, was Domaine De Grand Pré for a taste of their local wines. Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley has become an excellent source of wines for Canada over the last ten years, winning many awards. Wine making in Nova Scotia has only been going on less than 30 years. The growing season is only about four months, so the reds do not have the full body that are normal in California wines. The grapes for the most part are hybrids that can handle colder winters. We tried their champagne since a bottle was in order for our anniversary, it was very good. We picked out another white and a red then moved on down the road about one mile and came upon another winery! We pulled into Muir Murray Estates and sampled some great wines. They had a rosé that they call Tickled Pink. It was fun as a summer wine. The owner Jon Muir Murray came into the tasting room and introduced himself. Jon was new to the wine business, having bought the property and developed the vineyards over the last ten years. An interesting person, a Scottish ex-pat, he had spent a number of years in South Africa, leaving after apartheid ended and moved to Bermuda. He was an ear nose and throat surgeon. He said because of his outspokenness after a change in government from conservative to liberal in 2002, the government would not renew his medical license and was asked to leave. We then purchased a few bottles and headed for Halls Harbor on the Bay of Fundy. It was about 15 miles off the main road and we were told a “must see”. We parked and got out, took some pictures and decided to have lunch on the deck overlooking the harbor. The tide was out, so it had the assortment of boats laying on the bottom of the empty harbor.

Halls Cove low tide

Lunch was an ordeal, wait for the table and then get in line to order your food. Two buses of tourist had just arrived. John waited in line for 20 minutes and came back to the table to say he hadn’t moved forward, so we left. We believe they call it a TOURIST TRAP!! Sandwiches in the RV mad sense and we continued down the Annapolis Valley, occasionally veering off to see the shoreline just to end up on small dirt roads that seemed to go nowhere. We decided to just stay on the main road and finally turned and took the road to Parkers Cove.

Parkers Cove is a working fishing cove off the Bay of Fundy. The tides, as they went out left the boats on the cove bottom,

Boats in low tide

some leaning on their sides and others actually supported on both sides by wooden braces

Boat braces

that are put in the water when they dock the boats and are tied in place to make sure the boat stays upright when the tide is out. The only “store” in town is really a wholesale fish market that sells a few things retail, surprise no t-shirts! Lobster was $4.50 a pound and Haddock was $6.00 a pound. We told the owner that we wanted a 2 pound lobster and a half pound of haddock the next day. He told us they would be in fresh in the morning,  literally “today’s catch”. It doesn’t get any better than that. Several days later we stopped at a chain grocery store and the haddock was $16.00/pound! Guess the price goes up with aging, oh, that’s scotch!

We stayed at Cove Oceanfront Campground. The site is fantastic overlooking the beach and Parkers Cove. It is 3 tiers of sites, all with great views. We decided to stay two nights and use it as our base for the next few days. July 3rdwas our anniversary so we decided to play golf. The owner of the fish store in Parkers Cove was a member of Annapolis Royal Golf Club, so we drove over to it in the morning. The course was short, about 5,500 yards, but up and down with small greens and narrow fairways. The views were just grand, looking out over the water to the village of Annapolis Royal with several churches and an the old Fort Anne.

Annapolis Royal Golf Club

It was a delight. The owner bought it 7 years ago when he moved from England where he had been in the hotel business. He laughed and said it certainly is a slower pace of life. After golf we visited the town and then went back to Parkers Cove to pick up the lobster and haddock for dinner. We prepared part of the lobster for an appetizer, sauteed in butter with an onion, just wonderful! We then had the haddock for dinner with the champagne we bought the day before. It made for a great 13th anniversary.

Morning took us on our travels around the far western port of Yarmouth where we saw a sign for the lighthouse. Since we thought it was time for lunch we thought that would be a fun place to have it. Little did we know it was a 30 minute drive out to the lighthouse! You need to remember that seeing lighthouses in the Maritimes is like churches in Europe! We made it to the lighthouse and laughed on our way back to town. Not reading the map we then went south for about 10 miles before we looked and saw we were headed nowhere, turned around and finally got back on the road to Shelbourne. Shelburne was another “must see”. The old town was used for two old Hollywood movies. The buildings were interesting, but

“My” little boy!

Janice loved the seat that made John look like a little boy!! On the road to something more exciting.

The village of Lunenburg is a great town with a lot of historical buildings. The highlight was the restoration of Bluenose II.

In 1920, the Halifax Herald newspaper established a formal racing series. The races would be between real sail carriers that were bona-fide working ships. The winning trophy was the International Fisherman’s Trophy. Two factors created the series; the friendly rivalry between the U.S. and Canadian Fishing schooners as well as the view held by schooner-men had for the America’s Cup. They were
“yachts” being sailed by “yachtsmen”, forever being towed in from races for repairs or “adjustments” of one kind or another. In 1919 the New York Yacht Club cancelled a race because of 23 knot winds being too high, schooner-men could take no more! The first year race was won by the schooner Esperanto out of Gloucester, MA, taking the trophy to New England.

Dismayed, Nova Scotia had a new ship designed and built in Lunenburg. Bluenose was launched in March, 1921. After a season of fishing on the Grand Banks, Bluenose defeated Gloucester’s Elise bring the trophy to Nova Scotia. In an 18 year racing career, Bluenose did not give up the trophy. Many American and Canadian vessels were built to beat her, but none could do it. The Second World War ended the era of the great fishing schooners. Replaced by modern steel trawlers, the fleets of sailing salt-bankers no longer set out to challenge the cruel North Atlantic to reap a harvest of cod for the markets of the world. With no money raised to make a museum of Bluenose, it was sold and became a transport in the Caribbean Islands where it eventually hit a reef in Haiti and sank.   Bluenose was an icon in Canada and featured on stamps and the ten cent coin.

In 1963 Bluenose II was built to the same plans as the original Bluenose and is kept in Lunenburg. It is currently under renovation in dry dock with completion scheduled for later this year. Seeing the ship and watching the video in the visitors center about the history of the original Bluenose was the highlight of visiting Lunenburg.

Our next stop was a visit to Peggy’s Cove. This is one of the most photographed locations in Nova Scotia. Up until two years ago they had a post office located in the lighthouse.

It was very beautiful and was the most recommended place for us to visit.

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