Pick up your RV at our Dartmouth location today. Leave Halifax behind you as you head south to Peggy's Cove. This is one of the most photographed places in Canada. The graceful lighthouse sitting high upon the smooth wave-worn granite of the coast now does duty in the Summer months as Canada's only post office in a lighthouse.
The South Shore journeys through a landscape of coastal beauty and historic charm. Follow shoreline roads past rugged wave-carved headlands and tranquil island-studded bays where legends of the sea come alive in historic towns and weathered fishing villages. Three members of the ECONOMUSEUM network are located on this route - Artifacts in Clay in Chester and Amos Pewter and Spruce Top Rug Hooking Studio in Mahone Bay.
In Mahone Bay, the narrow streets are lined with a unique collection of studios and galleries of some of Canada's finest artists and craftspeople. Drive to the other side of the inlet to view another very photographed scene - Mahone Bay's three churches standing in a row on the banks of the inlet.
Continue to Lunenburg, where the colourful waterfront, narrow streets and captivating architecture radiate the flavour of the town's seafaring heritage. Lunenburg is home to Nova Scotia's famous racing schooner, Bluenose, the ship on the Canadian ten-cent piece. Old town Lunenburg was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
Today's journey ends in Liverpool, the privateering capital of North America, located at the mouth of the beautiful Mersey River.
Before leaving Liverpool this morning, take a drive out to Fort Point Lighthouse Park. The lighthouse was built in 1855 and is the 4th oldest surviving lighthouse in Nova Scotia. No longer functioning as an aid to navigation, the lighthouse is surrounded by sea on three sides and provides great photo opportunities.
After leaving Fort Point Lighthouse, travel further south into the province's scenic countryside on Highway 103 and turn off at Port Joli. Here you will find one of the South Shore's premier outdoor experiences awaiting you at Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct which covers 22km of unspoiled Atlantic coastline on the Port Mouton Penninsula. The first trail passes through the forest, beside small pockets of bog, over coastal dunes to the beach at Harbour Rocks and on to the end of St. Catherine's River beach (5 km/3 mile return). Part of the beach is closed to public access from late April to early August, during the nesting season of the endangered piping plover. Harbour Rocks is well known as an excellent location to view seals. The second trail branches from the Harbour Rocks Trail, crosses an extensive bog by board walk, and follows the edge of the coast to Port Joli Head, looping back along the shoreline to Harbour Rocks (9 km/5.5 mi return).
Return to Highway 103 and continue south to Sable River where you can branch left on Highway 3 to Lockeport, renowned for its fine white sand beaches. There are five of them in and around the town, including Crescent Beach, a stunning scimitar of sand that was once featured on the back of the Canadian $50 bill. Crescent Beach, 1.5 km (1 mi) long, is just the right size for a stroll, and a perfect place to get reacquainted with the feeling of warm sand sliding between your toes. The attractive visitor centre at Crescent Beach is a good place to start; it offers parking, visitor information, a canteen, gift shop, scenic look-off, change rooms, and shower facilities.
Also worth investigating in Lockeport is Nova Scotia's first Registered Historic Streetscape, made up of five houses built by descendants of Jonathan Locke between 1836 and 1876. The houses offer an interesting cross section of historical architecture with excellent examples of Colonial, Georgian and Victorian styles. A walking-tour guide book is available at the Little School Museum, which displays artifacts from early settlers. From the town wharves, Carter's and Gull Rock lighthouses can be seen. This is also a great birding area, with ocean beach, salt marsh, freshwater pond and forest habitats.
Return to Highway 3 and complete the loop by heading through East Jordan and rejoining Highway 103 at Jordan Falls. The next stop on your route is at Shelburne, a town whose rich history and picturesque charm has captured the hearts of many and attracted the attention of the film industry.
Shelburne was settled in 1783 when 3,000 United Empire Loyalists, who had maintained allegiance to the British Crown during the American Revolution, arrived by ship from New York City, creating an instant boomtown in the wilderness. Their numbers quickly swelled to over 10,000, making Shelburne the fourth-largest community in North America, but declined again within a few years as the settlers moved on.
The town's history comes alive in a harbourside stroll along Dock Street, where 18th-century houses and more recent commercial buildings have been restored and revitalized. Many waterfront events feature re-enactments, and visitors can watch barrels being produced in the factory. This historic area also holds a fascinating complex of museums. The Ross-Thomson House contains the oldest restored store in North America. Nearby, the Shelburne County Museum presents displays and artifacts on the county's intriguing history and impressive shipbuilding heritage. The museum houses the oldest fire-pumper in North America. The Dory Shop, on the waterfront, produced about 350 of these sturdy work boats each year in the early 20th century, and museum visitors can still watch them being built by hand. Many visitors each year come to Shelburne to trace their family roots, and the Shelburne County Genealogical Society on Water Street has extensive records and research facilities. The Muir-Cox Shipyard, last of the wooden shipbuilding yards on the waterfront, is now an interpretive and boatbuilding centre.
At Clyde River, take the circular route 309 which follows the coastline throughThomasville and Reynoldscroft to Port la Tour. A left turn here leads to Smithville and Baccaro where the Baccaro Lighthouse offers a terrific vantage point for watching seabirds.
Your next stop is Barrington, an attractive village with several historic attractions. The replica of the Seal Island Light was built in 1979 as a lighthouse museum. Enjoy the panoramic view of Barrington Bay from the top. The massive Fresnel lens is the one that warned vessels away from the Seal Island shore.
Nearby, the Old Meeting House, built in 1765, was used by the early settlers for public meetings and as a place of worship. The oldest nonconformist church in Canada, it is now operated as a provincial museum.
The Barrington Woollen Mill, built in 1882, was in production until 1962, making it the last operating 19th-century mill in Nova Scotia. Now a provincial museum, it brings to life the days when small water-powered mills were a common part of life in rural Nova Scotia . The museum features displays of original machinery, exhibits on sheep-raising and wool-processing on the South Shore, and a large mural made up of hand-woven pieces, which includes the origin of the Nova Scotia Tartan.
Barrington is also home to two local museums. The Cape Sable Historical Society Centre has displays on local history, and the Western Counties Military Museum in the old courthouse features displays of historic military artifacts and uniforms.
The Lighthouse Route continues to the busy service centre of Barrington Passage, where it turns left on Route 330 to Cape Sable Island, a noted birding destination.
Cape Sable Island, the most southerly point in Atlantic Canada, is the home of the famous Cape Island boat, first built by Ephraim Atkinson at Clark's Harbour in 1907. Today the design is a standard for small boats that require high stability and efficiency in the North Atlantic. A typical Cape Islander is 11.5m (38 ft.) long, with a 3.5-m (12-ft.) beam. It draws little water, sitting right on top of the surface, and is used primarily in the lobster fishery.
The first village on the island is Centreville where the Archelaus Smith Museum features local history and displays on lobster fishing and shipbuilding.
Continuing back on the route, in Shag Harbour you can climb the tower in the Chapel Hill Museum for a panoramic view of the sea and outlying islands. At night the lights of five lighthouses - at Cape Sable, Bon Portage Island, Seal Island, Baccaro Point and Woods Harbour - are visible from this point. The post office in Shag Harbour has a special stamp cancellation commemorating the sighting of a UFO which crashed and sank here in 1967.
These lighthouses still perform a vital function that was even more critical in the days when virtually all traffic and commerce went by ship. The rocks around Seal Island, called the Sea Wolves by Champlain, wrecked hundreds of ships before the building of the first lighthouse in 1830.
The life of a lighthouse keeper was hard and sometimes lonely. Bon Portage Island was the home of noted author Evelyn Richards, whose book We Keep A Light described her life on the island when she and her husband tended the light in the 1930s and 40s. The island is now a research centre and bird sanctuary, and the Fresnel lens from the lighthouse is on display at the Seal Island Light Museum in Barrington.
Off Route 3 to the left, Route 335 leads to the French speaking communities of West Pubnico, Middle West Pubnico and Lower West Pubnico. Settled in 1653 by Acadians, these villages make up the oldest Acadian settlement in the province. In Middle West Pubnico, a monument displays millstones used here in 1699. At West Pubnico, there are two sites dedicated to preserving the area's rich heritage, and a cenotaph commemorating the founding of the village and the lives lost in the two world wars. Le Village Historique Acadien restoration features period homes and fish houses, artifacts, and plenty of Acadian joie-de-vivre. Le Musee Acadien, a homestead dating back to 1864, has costumed interpreters and offers various programs and demonstrations throughout the summer. Chez Nous a Pombcoup is an annual village festival held here in early August. Also in West Pubnico, the Abbott's Harbour Lighthouse offers a pleasant place for a picnic. The many islands in the area can be explored by sea kayak.
In nearby Middle East Pubnico, the Church of the Immaculate Conception was built in 1919. Its cemetery contains the grave of Simon d'Entremont who, in 1836, was the first Acadian elected to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.
Two complementary Acadian experiences await you in the Pubnico region: le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Ecosse and the Musee acadien et archives. The Village is a feast for the senses that resonates with the fascinating tale of Nova Scotia's Acadian people pre-1920. Feel their perservering spirit as you explore the site. Learn the old methods of fishing, catch a glimpse of a farmer tending his field or building a unique mushroom-shaped salt haystack. Farming was made possible here with the innovative wooden aboiteau dyke system, a living example of the ingenuity of this industrious people.
In the Musee acadien et archives, tour the gardens, overflowing with traditional ingredients for herbal remedies and nourishing meals that helped the original Pubnico residents survive in their new environment. Watch an early printing press create a page of the daily news from 1937, see an actual aboiteau, and learn to delicately stitch with traditional quilters as they create the same type of bed coverings that kept their ancestors warm in cold winter nights.
Acadian roots are here. Some local families can trace their lineage to France as far back as 1632 using the genealogy resources housed within the museum, proudly recognized as a UNESCO archive portal. Many of the small towns and villages along this coastline, like Wedgeport, West Pubnico and Woods Harbour, depend on the sea for their livelihood. Colourful fleets of longliners, trawlers and scallop draggers work the offshore fishing grounds, while smaller craft like lobster boats harvest the inshore areas. All along this shore, fishermen collect rockweed, a type of seaweed used as fertilizer, and Irish moss, a seaweed that is the source of a natural additive used in many foods, including ice cream and gelatin. You may see the small open rockweed boats, almost buried under their towering cargo, as they approach the wharves for unloading.
At Roberts Island a 1.5 km (1 mi) interpretive trail leads through the Goose Creek Marsh wetlands management area. The wetlands include an area of dykelands constructed by Acadian settlers in the late 1800s. Here birdwatchers may glimpse herons, osprey, geese, kingfishers, and several species of ducks. Just beyond Roberts Island on Route 3 is the Glenwood Provincial Park, whose broad, shady picnic sites and tree-lined lake offer a choice resting spot.
The Lighthouse Route follows the picturesque shore to Tusket, settled in 1785 by Dutch United Empire Loyalists from New York and New Jersey. The Argyle Township Courthouse, built in 1805, is the oldest standing courthouse in Canada. The courthouse has been carefully restored and is open to the public, with interpretive guides in summer. Upstairs, the airy courtroom offers insight into the judicial processes of the 1800s, while the restored cells in the basement give a view of the hard life of those the judgments went against.
Just before Tusket, the Church of Ste. Anne in St Anne de Risseau is a magnificent structure with high, vaulted ceilings featuring beautiful paintings, and ornate stained glass windows. The church was built in 1900 near the site of the original parish chapel, built in 1784. It is open to the public, with interpretive guides in the summer.
Off Route 334, remnants of Acadian dykes can be found at Pinkney's Point, a thriving small Acadian fishing community on a peninsula. The waters off the coast teem with schools of sleek, powerful tuna, and the town of Wedgeport was once known as the Sport Tuna Fishing Capital of the World. It was the site of the World Tuna Cup Match from 1937 to 1976, and attracted such luminaries as President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart and Ernest Hemingway. Today, Wedgeport is home to the Sport Tuna Fishing Museum and Interpretive Centre. The museum is also the starting point for a 5.4-km (3.4 mi) interpretive nature trail that leads through coastal wood lands and along the Tusket River Estuary.
In Wedgeport, the Butte-de-la-Croix is an historic site commemorating the first mass held here in 1769 for the returning Acadians. Marked by a cross, the site remains a symbol of Acadian courage and perseverance. The site also features a salt marsh boardwalk and a magnificent view of the Tusket Islands . The Festival Acadien de Wedgeport is held at the end of June.
Many of the coastal areas in this region were settled by Acadians, some as early as 1653 and others after the expulsion of 1755. In 1767 the first of these Acadians settled in Wedgeport and other nearby areas. With most of the productive farmland already occupied, the returning Acadians turned to the sea for their livelihood.
The Lighthouse Route ends, appropriately, at one of Nova Scotia's most dramatic and historically significant lighthouses. The Yarmouth Light stands on the rocky point of Cape Forchu, named by Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Follow the Yarmouth waterfront north to Vancouver Street, then take scenic Route 304 to Cape Forchu . The original lighthouse, built in 1839, was replaced by the current structure in the 1960s. Rising 23 metres above the ground, the lighthouse's two-million-candlepower beam can be seen over 30 nautical miles out at sea. Today it's a great place to have a picnic or to walk the short shoreline trail, enjoying the views and crisp salty air of Yarmouth Harbour. In addition to a picnic area and trail, there is a canteen, gift shop and lighthouse interpretive centre.
The town of Yarmouth is an historic seaport whose proximity to New England and rich offshore fishing grounds contributed to the town's development and prosperity. Yarmouth was settled in 1761, and the town's proximity to the ports of New England and lucrative trade with the West Indies brought a prosperity that can still be seen in the town's splendid architecture. Yarmouth today has the salty romance of a working seaport.
Yarmouth 's great shipping heritage is reflected in the exhibits of the Yarmouth County Museum, which includes one of Canada's largest collections of ship paintings, as well as exhibits on the early Acadian and English settlements of the area.
Another of Yarmouth's delightful surprises is the Firefighters' Museum. Dedicated to the history of firefighting and firefighters in the province, the museum's extensive collection includes several horse-drawn pumpers, steam pumpers and historic firefighting equipment from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The town's waterfront park is a great place to enjoy views of the harbour. Nearby, the Killam Bros Shipping Office Museum offers a look at coastal shipping businesses of the type that were prevalent along this coast in the 1800s. Yarmouth is also home to the Yarmouth Arts Centre (Th' YARC), which offers a variety of entertainment in its 350-seat theatre on Parade Street .
Stop at the Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centre, 228 Main Street (up the hill from the ferry terminal), for information and travel literature about Nova Scotia. An excellent brochure describes a self-guided walking tour of 26 historic buildings and heritage sites, including the Collins Heritage Conservation District.
If you are looking for a campground close to downtown Yarmouth, we recommend you consider staying at Campers Haven Campground on Highway 3 east (Starrs Road). Or maybe you prefer a more lakeside location away from the city. In this case, we recommend Lake Breeze Campground on the shores of Darling Lake, about 20 minutes north of Yarmouth on the Evangeline Trail Route 1.
Another full day today as you continue along the Evangeline Trail towards Annapolis Royal. The Municipality of Clare, often referred to as the Acadian Shore hugs Baie Ste-Marie midway between Yarmouth and Digby. Route 1 passes through twelve picturesque French-speaking villages between Beaver River and St. Bernard.
The bilingual inhabitants along this shore are descendants of the first European settlers, who came from France in the early 1600s. Scattered over eastern North America by the Deportation of 1755, many of Nova Scotia 's Acadians came to this area several years later to build new communities, turning from farming to the sea for their livelihood. Acadian music and culture are presented at festivals and restaurants throughout the district during the summer months.
This is a region of handmade quilts, smoked fish and Stella Maris, the tri-coloured Acadian flag with a single star that proudly flies from many homes and public buildings. The architecture of Clare's older homes reflects the New England post-Deportation influence. The Acadians built magnificent churches and every visitor should make time to stop in at least one of these celebrated edifices.
One of the region's most popular sand beaches can be found by taking a turn off Route I in Mavillette Beach Provincial Park Mavillette Beach, a lovely 2 km (1.2 mi) expanse of sand and dunes, provides interpretive panels, guided tours, and a bird watching platform on the marsh.
In the village of St Alphonse, I'Eglise St. Alphonse is one of the most charming of the Acadian churches along this shore. Inside the church, the walls are covered with extensive murals and, in one corner, a trickle of springwater flows across a grotto of "stones" that are actually carved from wood.
Further along the Evangeline Trail, Smugglers Cove Provincial Park affords a splendid place for a picnic lunch, with inspiring views of the coastal cliffs and St. Mary's Bay. A small path leads down to a pebble beach and a natural cave. Interpretive panels and guided tours tell about the rum-running past.
Meteghan, settled in 1785, is the Acadian Shore's busiest port. Scallop draggers, trawlers, cod and lobster boats anchor here. Ask for directions to the Bangor Sawmill Museum, a restored water-powered sawmill.
One of the finest and most celebrated of the Acadian churches is St. Mary's Church at Point de LÉglise (Church Point). An engineering marvel, St. Mary's was constructed between 1903 and 1905 in the form of a cross 58 m (190 ft.) long and 41 m (135 ft.) wide. The spire rises an impressive 56 m (185 ft.) above the surrounding countryside. From May to mid-October, a bilingual guide is available for tours of the church and its small museum.
St. Mary's Church is located on the campus of Universite SainteAnne, a centre of Acadian culture and Nova Scotia's only French language university. During the summer months the award-winning Evangeline, a musical drama based on the famous poem written by Longfellow 150 years ago, is performed both indoors and outdoors. The university is also the site of the oldest Acadian festival in the Atlantic Provinces, Festival Acadien de Clare, held here during the second week of July.
The village of Grosses Coques is named for the large clams found there, which are said to be the largest on the eastern seaboard. Just past the Grosses Coques River Bridge, a left turn leads to Major Point Beach, where a cairn and small chapel have been erected to mark the site of the first Acadian cemetery of the region. This is the starting point for an interpretive seaside walking trail, a 5 km (3 mi) loop trail along the rocky shore and past freshwater wetlands to the well-protected harbour at Belliveau Cove (L'Anse-desBelliveau). This former lumbering and shipbuilding community features a picturesque lighthouse and wharf, a park with guided tours, and a beach that is a popular clamming location when the tide is out.
At St Bernard, an awe-inspiring granite church, which seats 1,000, was constructed between 1910 and 1942 by local residents. Guided tours are available, and classical music concerts are held here.
Weymouth, settled in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists, is a quiet town on the Sissiboo River with its roots in lumbering. The Weymouth Historical Society has restored St. Thomas Anglican Church for use as a museum and cultural centre. An interpretive centre tells the story of New France, the first community in the area to have dynamo-powered lights. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the area by canoe or kayak on a wilderness excursion.
At Gilbert Cove, there is a restored lighthouse which provides picnic facilities and excellent views of the bay in every direction. Another place to enjoy the beauty of the area's seashore is Savary Park, a provincial picnic park on the left near Plympton. This is a fine beachcombing area, and groves of white birches and evergreens overlooking a tidal pool make it a pleasant setting.
Digby is home port of one of North America's largest scallop fleets, harvesters of the world-famous Digby scallop. For a great view of the colourful scallop-draggers go to Digby's floating marina, which rises and falls almost 9 metres (3 storeys) every few hours. The stairs are steep at low tide! This historic waterfront is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, and in summer there is live entertainment at the bandstand next to the marina. Visitors can stroll past the fishing boats tied up to the fishermen's wharf, take a harbour cruise, wander through the marina, or observe an active boatyard.
At the end of the boardwalk a restored 28-m (92-ft) scallop dragger, the Lady Vanessa, has been made into a private museum highlighting the local fishery and scallop-dragging. Along the street, one block from the municipal visitor information centre, visitors can enjoy a wealth of history on the area and on the scallop industry at the Admiral Digby Museum. The museum also has an extensive genealogy research facility. Two blocks uphill from the museum, the Trinity Anglican Church highlights the town's shipbuilding heritage. Built in 1878, the church is thought to be the only one in Canada built entirely by shipwrights. Their unique handiwork shows in the laminated arches, braces and handwrought ironwork common to sailing ships built a century ago.
On the way to enjoy a round of golf at a classic Stanley Thompson designed golf course, turn on Lighthouse Road for a side trip to Point Prim Lighthouse, on the Bay of Fundy. This rocky shore is an excellent vantage point for viewing splendid sunsets.
North on Route 303, there is a visitor information centre near the terminal of the MVPrincess of Acadia ferry, which carries vehicles between Digby and Saint John, New Brunswick.
Digby is the gateway to one of Nova Scotia's most spectacular natural regions. The Digby Neck and Islands Scenic Drive, Route 217, follows the narrow ribbon of land between the waters of the Bay of Fundy and St. Mary's Bay, along Digby Neck to Long Island and Brier Island. The Bay of Fundy's great tides have created a rich ecosystem that supports an abundance of wildlife, including great numbers of whales and seabirds. The area has become famous for its whale and seabird watching tours, and the land is an environmental treasure that offers spectacular panoramas of rocky headlands and tide-carved coastline. The road winds through timeless small fishing villages such as Sandy Cove, Mink Cove and Little River. Sandy Cove is a particularly charming village with a boat-filled bay, several historic buildings, and cliffs with volcanic ancestry. A right turn in Sandy Cove offers a short, scenic drive across the peninsula to a bay where a fishing weir can be seen just offshore. The weir takes advantage of the extraordinary high tides to trap fish as the tide goes out.
Long and Brier Islands, off the end of Digby Neck, are reached by short ferry crossings. Both ferries operate hourly, 24 hours a day, year-round. In September. sightings of finback, minke, and humpback whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are common. You may also see endangered North Atlantic right whales. The islands are located on the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration route for many species of sea birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, and in the spring and fall birdwatchers flock from all over North America and Europe. Both islands have restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.
The first ferry leaves East Ferry on the half-hour for Tiverton on Long Island. Tiverton, settled in 1785, is an unspoiled fishing village that is home to several whale-watching tours. Boar's Head lighthouse is a great place to gaze out over the Bay of Fundy. The Islands Museum and visitor information centre is located in the village. It provides local information and displays on island life, including the voyage of Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail around the world alone. Halfway along Long Island, a well-marked hiking trail with magnificent views along the spectacular rugged shoreline, leads to the much-photographed "Balancing Rock," a large column of basalt rock that balances delicately at the edge of the shore.
At the other end of the island is Freeport, founded in 1784. Freeport is a fishing village blessed with natural beauty. Wildflowers are profuse, there are shorebirds in the cove, and there are many areas for hiking. A breathtaking look-off over the Bay of Fundy is a great place to watch the whales from the shore. Dartmouth Point is a wonderful place for a hike, with its basalt columns and views of the surging tide. Whale-watching and deep-sea fishing cruises are available in Freeport .
Another ferry crosses on the hour from Freeport to Westport, on Brier Island .
Just 6.5 km (4 mi) long and 2.5 km (1.5 mi) wide, Brier Island is renowned as a sensitive ecological treasure, with rare wild orchids among the profusion of wildflowers on the island. Brier Island is a paradise for hikers and walkers, with easy-to-moderate trails that lead along the island's shore to places like Seal Cove, where you can sit and watch a seal colony. Walkers can also enjoy a visit to the island's lighthouses: the Western Light and the Northern Light. Westport, the only village on the island, is a major fishing port and a busy tourist centre. Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruises offer whale watching tours from the beginning of June to Thanksgiving and discounted tickets for these cruises are available through CanaDream.
The Evangeline Trail continues to Smith's Cove, a favourite resort area. The Smith's Cove Historical Museum is located in the centre of the village, in the Old Meeting House (1834) and Temperance Hall.
A scenic detour off the Evangeline Trail, at Highway 101, Exit 24, leads to Bear River "The Switzerland of Nova Scotia". Bear River is a wonderfully picturesque village nestled in a deep valley at the head of a tidal river. The town is best known for its many outstanding artists and craftspeople whose attractive shops line the main street. The town's unique architecture has a European flavour and waterfront buildings have been built on stilts to stay above the dramatic high tides. The visitor information & interpretive centre is located in a windmill in the Waterfront Park. The Bear River Heritage Museum offers a look at the town's rich history of shipbuilding and trading.
Bear River is also home to the award-winning Solar Aquatics Treatment Facility, an innovative waste treatment facility in a greenhouse environment where effluent is cleaned using a biologically balanced environment of aquatic plants and creatures. The facility has attracted international interest among environmentalists.
Continuing on Route 1 from Smith's Cove, the Evangeline Trail passes throughCornwallis where the military museum is worth a visit. Just off the Evangeline Trail at Clementsport the old church of St. Edward, consecrated in 1797, is now a museum. Surrounded by its historic cemetery, the church is situated on a high hill. From the tower there is a magnificent panorama of the Annapolis Basin.
Visitors with children may want to stop and enjoy Upper Clements Park in Upper Clements,where they'll find fun for kids of all ages. This is a bright, modern 10-hectare (25-acre) park, where the theme is Nova Scotia's heritage and music. In addition to exciting rides and activities, there are several historic buildings that house displays, entertainment, handcrafts, food outlets and other attractions. Across the highway, the Upper Clements Wildlife Park offers forested trails that allow visitors a close-up look at some of Nova Scotia's native animals. The park is trailhead for 10 km (6 mi) of hiking/skiing trails.
Your overnight stop is at Annapolis Royal, which offers a captivating blend of heritage and charm that has made it a favourite stopping place along the Evangeline Trail. The town contains over 150 heritage buildings, including the oldest wooden house in Canada, the deGannes-Cosby House, built in 1708. Two other houses of great historic value in the town are the Adams-Ritchie House (1712), and the Runciman House (1817).
Today, Annapolis Royal is a town of gracious large homes, colourful gardens and broad tree-lined streets. The town is also known for its unique shops, fine inns, artists' studios and galleries, and golf course.
At the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens visitors can enjoy 4 hectares (10 acres) of beautiful, tranquil gardens, including several theme gardens, collections, and displays spread along more than 1.5 km (1 mi) of winding pathways, most of which are wheelchair-accessible. The marshland adjacent to the garden is a popular bird watching area that can be accessed by paths along the top of the dykes.
Fort Anne National Historic Site overlooks the mouths of the Annapolis and Allain rivers. The fort features well-preserved earthwork fortifications, a museum in the officers' quarters and a gunpowder magazine. Built in 1708, the magazine is the oldest building in any Canadian National Historic Site. Vibrant colours and lively vignettes in the Fort Anne Heritage Tapestry illustrate four centuries of the history of the site and area. The present fort is the fifth built on this location and its park-like ambiance makes it a good place to stroll and contemplate what life was like for the young soldiers who defended it. In summer months, an entertaining candlelight graveyard tour is offered by the local Historical Society on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
After visiting Fort Anne, take time for a walk along lower St. George Street, the oldest town street in Canada. Here you will find the O'Dell Inn Museum (c. 1869), open daily during the summer, and ARTsPLACE where visitors can get a taste of the work of the area's artists.
Today you will travel into the province's scenic countryside to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site - 381 square kilometres of scenic inland wilderness country which abounds with wildlife. Nature walks can be enjoyed on one of the park's 14 hiking trails through woodlands and along waterways once used by the native Mi'kmaq.
Quiet lakes and gently-flowing rivers make Kejimkujik National Park the best canoeing country in Nova Scotia. Rent a canoe at Jakes Landing and explore an untouched wilderness and a peace we sometimes forget still exists. Guided canoe outings are also available throughout the summer by Park Interpreters.
Five cycling trails are open in the park ranging from easy to more demanding. If you don't have your own bike, you can rent one at Jakes Landing.
Kejimkujik is by far the most important national park for reptiles in Atlantic Canada. Eight reptile species live here; five snake species and three turtles. The abundance of slow-moving rivers, streams, shallow lakes, bogs and a few marshes, coupled with warm summers and moderate winters, are probably the main reasons Kejimkujik features such a variety of amphibians. Watch for signs along the way warning you to look out for turtles crossing the road!
There is a beautiful National Park Campground in the park. We recommend you make advance reservations for this campground during the busy holiday period (July and August and Weekends during that time).
Retrace your steps back to Annapolis Royal and rejoin the Evangeline Trail. Continue your journey through the delightful villages and orchards of the Annapolis Valley, Atlantic Canada's richest agricultural region.
Stop briefly in Wolfville, a charming university town with stately trees and beautiful heritage homes, before arriving at Grand-Pré National Historic Site, where a graceful stone church stands as a memorial to the Acadians. The Acadians were forcefully exiled from their homes and farms during the Deportation from 1755 to 1763.Continue on to the town of Windsor, where lovers of Canada's favourite sport will be delighted to find that this town is the birthplace of hockey. Visit the Hockey Heritage Centre with displays on the origins of hockey and unique articles from the game's early years. Other points of interest include the Haliburton House Museum and Mermaid Theatre.
Along your route today, be sure to check the tide schedule as you might have the opportunity to ride the world famous tidal bore at one of the tidal bore rafting companies that operate along the Shubenacadie River. Encounter the power of the advancing tide overtaking the natural flow of the river. Watch in awe as a small stream reverses into a turbulent river and the wet and wild adventure begins. For those who would rather watch than ride, a look-off and interpretation centre are located in South Maitland which gives viewers an outstanding view of the rafters battling the currents.
Your destination today is Truro. Colourful painted murals throughout the town depict its history and tree sculptures highlight important figures from the past.
Also located in Truro at the Truro Power Centre is the Glooscap Heritage Centre, showcasing and interpreting Mi'kmaq culture of the region, including an Aboriginal gallery, multimedia presentation, audio exhibit and visitor information centre.
Travel today along the Fundy Shore where the majestic power of the world's highest tides have shaped a landscape of unforgettable splendour. In Bass River, visit Raspberry Bay Stone. This attraction consists of an interesting little shop that sells unique art, one-of-a-kind crafts and jewellery. Next door, the working studio of stone mason Heather Lawson & Gardens are open to the public and showcase Heather's work.
Heather is possibly Canada's only professional female stone mason. One of her mediums is red sandstone that she has aptly named Raspberry Bay Stone.
Bass River is home to Dominion Chair Company & Old General Store. If you're looking for cheese, stop at That Dutchman's Farm in Upper Economy to see how Gouda is made. The farm has a cheese outlet and also operates a café that is open mid-June through August.
Stop in Economy, a great place to "walk on the bottom of the sea", where clam digging, rockhousing and bass fishing are popular activities.
Depending on your time schedule, check out Wild Marsh with its driftwood beach & mud flats, drive to the Soleytown Look-Off for a panoramic view of the Bay or hike up 700 foot Economy Mountain. Do drive into Five Islands Provincial Park for magnificent views of Pinnacle, Egg, Long, Diamond and Moose Islands.
Watch for Adrian's Lunch on Highway #2 a little west of Five Islands Provincial Park. This eatery serves the best lobster roll in Nova Scotia. Coffee's good too. If you're traveling shoulder or off-season, be aware that some restaurants and attractions open in June and close mid-to-end September.
Parrsboro is the largest community in this area and is the headquarters for rockhounds who come to the Minas Basin looking for zeolites and semi-precious stones such as agate and amethyst, which are found on the beaches and in the cliffs. One of your first stops should be at the Visitor Information Centre which is located at the Fundy Geological Museum. The Centre has Internet access for those who want to touch base with home. It's also the best place to learn about the minerals, fossils and fascinating geology of the region.
Visit Cape Chignecto, site of Nova Scotia's largest provincial park, with a hiking trail which circumnavigates the cape along rugged cliffs rising high above the Bay of Fundy. Stop in Joggins, where the Joggins Fossil Cliffs are renowned for extensive deposits of 300-million-year-old fossils. The Joggins Fossil Centre displays an extensive collection.
From Amherst, take Highway 6 towards Pugwash and Tatamagouche. Here the Northumberland Shore follows 450 km (280 mi) of shoreline along the Northumberland Strait with over thirty fine sand beaches which offer an irrestible invitation. If you love to eat, blueberries, fine wines and delicious seafood are plentiful.
At Tatamagouche, detour south towards Earltown on Highway 311 to visit Sugar Moon Farm, Nova Scotia's award-winning year-round maple syrup farm and dining experience. Sugar Moon Farm began in 1973 as Boondock Maple Products and continues the springtime tradition of making maple syrup over a wood-fired evaporator, fuelled with mountain hardwood. Free tours of their working sugar camp and maple interpretive area are offered, along with seasonal demonstrations and maple samples. Continue north on Highway 326 (Denmark Road) to Macbains Corner then turn right onto Scotsburn Road (Highway 256). This highway joins Highway 376 where you will again reach the sea. Turn left onto Highway 376 in the direction of Lyons Brook and Pictou.
Your journey today ends in the historic harbour town of Pictou, one of the largest communities on the Northumberland Shore. Pictou is home to the Hector Heritage Quay. The Quay's colourful displays and costumed guides bring to life the history of the Scottish immigrants who arrived on the ship Hector in 1773. The town's slogan is "The Birthplace of New Scotland" as the first wave of immigrants is acknowledged to have arrived in Pictou in 1773.
Take your time today as you begin your journey up Cape Breton Island, where historic villages and fashionable resorts combine to create a rhythm that is uniquely Cape Breton. Pass through the Scottish inspired towns of New Glasgow and Tracadie before crossing the Canso Canal Bridge, considered to be the official dividing line between Cape Breton Island and mainland Nova Scotia.
From the causeway, take Highway 19 which follows the sea coast to Port Hood, Mabou, Inverness and Dunvegan. Along the way, stop at Mabou Provincial Park, 1.5 km north of Mabou, where you will get a panoramic view of the Mabou Valley. Explore small bays, inlets and fishing villages and stop to view the work of artisans en route.
At Inverness, take a trip out to the Beach, actually the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and to Broad Cove Banks, to the south of Inverness, which takes you to a beautiful viewing spot above all of Inverness.
From Dunvegan you can follow the seacoast on Highway 219 to Margaree Harbour or continue on Highway 19 through the Margaree Valley to Southwest Margaree and then follow the Margaree River back to Margaree Harbour.
The Margaree Valley is a beautiful, pastoral valley in any season. There are lots of things to do here, from visiting the historic Fish Hatchery (Nova Scotia's oldest) to visiting an internationally known pottery gallery called Cape Breton Clay. From June to October, there's also a concert and dance at the Barn, on the grounds of the Normaway Inn, where you can see star fiddlers such as Natalie McMaster and newcomers alike. Enjoy a real general store at MacPherson's, beside the Baptist Church, which has been in the family for generations. You'll find groceries, meat and chainsaws, if you're in the mood. Poke around the valley on both sides of the river. Join the Cabot Trail at Margaree Harbour and continue on to Cheticamp. Cheticamp is a busy fishing village with a thriving Acadian culture. Visitors will often hear the lively sounds of Acadian being spoken and in restaurants, visitors will sample typical Acadian food. Cheticamp is the centre of rug hooking and many other fine crafts.
Stay overnight at Plage St-Pierre (St-Pierre Camping) which is located 3.5km off the Cabot Trail, just to the south of Cheticamp. This spectacular beach and campground offers a vacation for the whole family to enjoy while visiting and touring the Cabot Trail.
Spend today exploring the world famous Cabot Trail - a coastal highway described as one of the most spectacular drives in North America. The Cabot Trail winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, a 950 square metre (366 square mile) wilderness area that is home to a variety of wildlife.
Some places of interest to stop at include Pleasant Bay, a working fishing village where you find the fascinating Pleasant Bay Whale Interpretive Centre, and Dingwall, originally known as Youngs Cove after Walter Young, one of the first settlers in the area. Dingwall is situated just off the Cabot Trail. Fishing and tourism are the town's primary industries. If you fancy a short side trip, before reaching Dingwall, turn onto the minor road at Cape North which takes you to Bay St Lawrence and on to Meat Cove. While outside the boundaries of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, these small fishing villages are the northern most accessible places in Nova Scotia.
Back on the Cabot Trail, the road takes you to Ingonish, a popular resort destination, where visitors can enjoy outdoor recreational activites that include hiking, deep-sea fishing, whale watching and biking.
Just past Ingonish Ferry, the road takes you towards Cape Smokey Provincial Park. If you feel like a hike, a 10 km return trail in the park will take you to numerous coastal look-offs. Further south, between North Shore and Indian Brook, is Plaster Provincial Park where you may wish to stop for a picnic.
The Cabot Trail continues slightly inland to North River Bridge then on to St Ann's. If you have time to explore by sea, we recommend you check out North River Kayak Tours, situated just south of North River Bridge at 644 Cabot Trail. Designed for the traveller who wants a taste of sea kayaking, along with a cup of Cape Breton Culture, this company offers half and full day kayaking tours for all skill levels off the Cape Breton sea coast.
The Cabot Trail ends at South Haven where you join Highway 105 and head south to Baddeck for your overnight stop. We have two CanaDream Club partner campgrounds here - Baddeck Cabot Trail Campground just off the Trans Canada Highway approx. 8km from Baddeck and Bras d'Or Lakes Campground, a lakefront campground only a few mintues from the centre of Baddeck Village
The choices today are many. With all day to spend in Baddeck, there's an activity to suit everyone. Leisurely stroll on the boardwalks and government wharf with wonderful photo opportunities, including the lighthouse, eagles, sailboats, or browse the various arts and craft shops around the village. Enjoy a day at the beach on Kidston Island, a short ferry ride away or hike to the scenic Uisige Ban Falls.
Baddeck is the place where Alexander Graham Bell, famous as the inventor of the telephone, chose to build his Canadian residence. His estate, Beinn Breagh (Gaelic for "beautiful mountain") can be viewed from the rooftop gardens of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site Complex.
The complex, with its three exhibit halls, contains the largest collection of Bell's artifacts and inventions, including replicas of the first telephones and a full scale model of the HD-4 hydrofoil craft.
Located in the main street of Baddeck, the Bras d'Or Lakes Interpretive Centre has exhibits and background information about Canada's only inland sea.
Leave Baddeck behind as you retrace your steps on Highway 105 back to South Haven before continuing east on Bras d'Or Lakes Drive and through North Sydney to Sydney. Follow signs on Highway 22 to Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site. This historic site, about a one hour drive from downtown Sydney, is the crown jewel of the Canadian Park Service and the largest historical reconstruction in Canada.
Fortress of Louisbourg was built to protect France's interests in the new world and to serve as the centre of its massive seasonal fishing industry. The fortress offers a unique window into Canada's past and 18th century colonial history. Dozens of costumed animators become the town's residents of the summer of 1744. Visit Chapell St. Louise, Louisbourg's garrison chapel. See artifacts found during 20 years of archaeological excavation. Talk to a soldier. You'll find them happy to tell you about guard duty, living conditions, armaments, security, food and a soldier's life in general.
The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic site is open for self- guided visits from June 1 to September 30. Enjoy a home-made period meal authentically prepared and served in one of the historical restaurants. If you'd like to stay in a campground close to this site, we recommend Riverdale RV Park, only 5 minutes away. This park is a CanaDream Club partner campground and offers a discount to CanaDream guests. Return to Sydney via scenic Route 255 which becomes Marconi Trail as it nears the sea coast. At Glace Bay, visit the Marconi National Historic Site, which marks the place from which Guglielmo Marconi and his team of engineers and scientists sent the first wireless transatlantic signal in 1902.
Also at Glace Bay, visit the Cape Breton Miner's Museum, one of the region's most popular attractions. Here you can experience life in a coal mine first-hand. Take the underground tour of the Ocean Deeps Colliery, located beneath the Museum building. Retired coal miners are your guides for the excursion underground and promise to entertain and inform you in a custom that has become treasured by visitors all over the world.
Take highway 4 back to Sydney or, if you have time, take the scenic loop road 28 to New Waterford and return to Sydney along the coast, through South Bar and Whitney Pier.
From Sydney today, you will travel along the shores of Cape Breton Island's beautiful inland sea - the Bras d'Or Lakes. The Bras d'Or Lakes are a traditional home of Nova Scotia's native Mi'kmaq and the Mi'kmaq language and culture are still evident today in the four reserves along its shores: Saycobah, Eskasoni, Wagmatcook and Chapel Island in St. Peter's Inlet.
Stop in St Peter's, known at the "Gateway to the Bras d'Or Lakes", which is a full-service community situated on a narrow strip of land separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Bras d'Or Lakes. The St Peter's Canal, a National Historic Site, connects these two great bodies of water.
At the Canso Causeway, travel back to the mainland of Nova Scotia through Antigonishand inland to Sherbrooke. Spend the afternoon at Sherbrooke Village Museum, the former picturesque lumbering and shipbuilding community which looks like it did 100 years ago, before gold mining transformed it into a boom town.
Approximately 8 km (5 mi) further on is Liscomb Mills, a fishermen's and canoeists' paradise. The Liscomb River Trail follows the river's edge to a swinging bridge spanning a 20-metre waterfall and returns along the other side.
Your drive continues along the Eastern Shore. Stop at the Memory Lane Heritage Village in Lake Charlotte, which offers a nostalgic look at life in the 1940's, and at Fisherman's Life Museum in Jeddore, where guides in period costume recreate the simple yet powerful daily life of coastal fishing communities.
The dependable breezes and steady surf at Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park make it a favourite playground for surfers and windsurfers and it's a great place to take a walk on one of the province's most popular sand beaches.
End your day at Fisherman's Cove in Eastern Passage, a restored fishing village which is located at the mouth of Halifax Harbour, which offers an inviting collection of craft shops and restaurants along with an extensive seaside boardwalk.
Spend your last night on the road at the campground of your choice.
Sadly today you end your RV vacation