Nova Scotia – Annapolis Valley #1 – Sep. 1-6, 2016

Sep. 1: We arrived at our first Nova Scotia campground, Highbury Gardens in Wolfville, late afternoon. The campground is pretty small, especially when you compare it to where we stayed at on PEI. It is also fairly wooded so there will be no TV for the next 5 days. I’m quite happy, while Charlie is trying to cope.

We were originally going to spend the Labor Day Weekend over at King Neptune campground, near Peggy’s Cove. However, in speaking with some Nova Scotians while on PEI we learned that we probably wouldn’t care for that CG so we made a last minute change and went to Highbury. We were lucky to get in as it was packed for the holiday. We were given a nice site (#22) near the back of the campground. Our backyard was private and quiet. It was very nice.

Once we got the RV parked and hooked up we headed over to a nearby winery. I found a brochure for Gaspereau Vineyards in the campground office. Attached to the brochure was a coupon for 2 glasses of wine and a cheese platter. That sounded like a great deal, and it was just 10 minutes away. We tried their Gina’s Red Blend. It was pretty good. Their Tawny Port was also good so we purchased a bottle of that. Once we got back to the campground we put together a bonfire and cooked up some filet mignons for dinner. We then had a peaceful night outside playing card games. It was our first ‘Camping’ experience, LOL. I don’t recall having previously just chilled with card games by the campfire. We’ve had so much wind and rain on our trip.

Sep. 2: We awoke to gray skies and chilly weather. Apparently they’ve had a drought in Nova Scotia this summer, with blue skies every day. I think the gray skies are following us!

We grabbed our jackets and headed out to tour the area. Our first stop was at the Grand-Pre National Historic Site. We learned a great deal about the Acadians. In short, they were French settlers from the western part of central France who settled in this area between 1682 and 1755. In 1755 the local British authorities began forcibly deporting the Acadians, due to their French heritage and unwillingness to take allegiance with the British Military. The deportation went on for 7 years. Families were separated and many deaths occurred while they were in transit. It was quite tragic. Unfortunately, the story sounds a bit like what still happens today in some parts of the world.

Grand Pré was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012 for its beauty and Acadian heritage. The area is very pretty. The Canada Parks has designated a very nice lookout point where you can sit and enjoy the views of Grand Pré.

We are staying in the middle of Annapolis Valley, on the Bay of Fundy. This area is known for drastic changes in water levels between low and high tides. The highest rise at high tide has been noted as being 47.5 ft. At this time of the year the delta between low and high tide is around 30ft. We were told that a good place to see the tidal range was at Halls Harbour so we took an afternoon drive over there to see it at low tide. We then went back a couple days later during high tide. It is weird to see the boats resting on the earth at low tide. At high tide they are right back up where they belong.

 

While enjoying the tidal view, we had dinner at Hall’s Harbour Lobster Pound.

Nova Scotia_Halls Harbour-12

We also visited Baxters Harbour. It turned out not to be a harbor at all. However, there were some nice views from the road and with the low tide we could see some pretty interesting rock formations, along with another boat sitting on the ocean floor.

Sep.3: The next day we awoke to beautiful blue skies and temps in the 60s. We drove an hour, over to Halifax. Our first stop was to the Citadel. They have a spectacular museum inside which covers  war history very well. It was the best I have seen. We learned that on the morning of December 6, 1917 there was an explosion on the Halifax harbor. The SS Mont Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo. The explosion was so severe it killed 1,600 people instantly and injured another 9,000. All structures within a 2,600 ft radius were obliterated. It was the largest explosion recorded prior to the Atomic Bomb.

In front of the Citadel is this clock tower from 1803. Now, that’s a long time to be keeping time!

We had lunch down on the wharf and then visited the library. Yes, the library. I wanted to see it, as it was built to reflect books stacked upon each other. They also offer free wi-fi, which is important when you can rarely find a good connection. The inside of the library is just as spectacular as the outside. I’d spend lots of time at this library if it was near me. It is like a Barnes and Nobles on steroids.

Nova Scotia_Halifax Library

We then took a drive over to Peggy’s Cove. It was about an hours drive and on the way we passed many beautiful lakes set back in thick woods. Peggy’s Cove is infamous for its landscape and lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1915 and is believed to be Canada’s most photographed lighthouse. The landscape is comprised of granite rocks. Houses are perched along these rocks. It is quite a sight to see.

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I think only a few people live in Peggy’s Cove. Quite a contrast to the thousands and thousands of people that visit it. There are a few art shops along the narrow road that takes you to the lighthouse. One in particular was quite interesting. A resident artist sculpted a work of art in the granite wall beside his home. The artist, deGarthe, began in 1977 at the age of 70. Expand the picture below for more details.

Nova Scotia_Peggys Cove area-11

Nova Scotia_Peggys Cove area-10

Nova Scotia_Peggys Cove

The lighthouse was surrounded by hundreds of people when we were there. We took in the sights, climbed on some of the rocks and then got back on the road with hopes of finding colorful and quite fishing villages. Just as we left Peggy’s Cove we came upon a memorial for those who perished on SwissAir Flight 111 back in September, 1998.

Nova Scotia_Swiss Air 111

From this vantage point I was able to get a good shot of Peggy’s Cove and Lighthouse. As you can see, there isn’t much there except a lot of granite rocks, but it is a very popular tourist destination.

Nova Scotia_Peggys Cove

We arrived back at the campground in time for a bonfire and a game of Sequence.

Sep. 4: Another beautiful day! We decided to visit the local wineries. There are six within 10 miles of our campground. Our absolute favorite was Luckett Vineyards. The views were spectacular. The wine was great and I got to call the USA from the British Style Phone Booth in the middle of the vineyard. I guess having a working phone in the middle of the vineyard sets you apart from the competition. LOL. Everything at this winery was spectacular. I loved the selection of cheeses, olives, and meats that you could buy to go along with your wine.

The other vineyards were very nice as well. We had fun strolling through the vineyards and taking in the views. Here are pictures from some other wineries.

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And pictures of the fabulous grapes.

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And if you are interested in how they harvest the grapes for ice wine. A picture is worth a thousand words. Burrrrr!

Nova Scotia Wineries

Sep. 5: And yet, another beautiful day with temps in the low-mid 70s. We decided to take advantage of the nice weather and take a 6 mile hike in Blomidon Park. The Jodrey trail is a wooded trail that skirts the sea cliff. Elevation increases 600 ft. The sights were beautiful.

This is what the hiking range looks like from ground level.

The mountain peak in the background is where we hiked.

The mountain peak in the background is where we hiked.

On our drive to the park we passed a few trees that have leaves changing color. There weren’t too many, but enough to get me excited at the prospect of landscapes covered in deep red and orange colors! This particular tree has already changed completely.

Nova Scotia Blomidon Park

The hike was the end to our stay in the upper part of Annapolis Valley. Our next stop is at the lower end of the Valley, in Annapolis Royal.

 

1 Comment

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One Response to Nova Scotia – Annapolis Valley #1 – Sep. 1-6, 2016

  1. Janet Cosby

    Wow….I’ve been waiting until I could get on my “big” computer to really look at the blog and photography and it was so worth it! Such an incredibly amazing trip! The landscapes, history, wineries, shops, eateries…..you have us right there with your writing. Truly this blog is a gift. Thanks for sharing it! You guys were so destined to be together!!!
    We had another one go down on labor day with emergency gallbladder surgery. Here’s hoping October is less eventful!
    Safe travels and I can’t wait for the next blog post! 🙂

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