This has been one of our favorite places to visit on our trip. Lunenburg is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its status of having “the best preserved North American example of an eighteenth century British colonial town plan.” The city was founded in 1753. It is located on a beautiful harbor with many sailboats anchored throughout.
Unlike the Bay of Fundy, which has dramatic water level changes due to the tides, the tidal change in Lunenburg is only about 6 feet. Therefore, boats can remain in the harbor at all times, making for a beautiful picture.
Just up the street from city center, within walking distance, is a city owned campground. It is a very small CG, with very small sites. But you can’t beat the location. We stayed there for 5 nights.
We arrived early afternoon on Sep. 11th, parked the RV, and then took a stroll through the city and along the harbor. The buildings and homes are covered in bright paint, giving a very cheery and welcoming feel.
Near the harbor they have an impressive memorial to fishermen lost at sea.
They also have other impressive memorials throughout the city recognizing those lost in various wars.
Fishing and boating are integral parts of Nova Scotia, as depicted in this artwork, attached to a street post in Lunenburg.
Parked in the harbor is the Bluenose II schooner. This is a ship adored by many. The original Bluenose was built in Lunenburg, back in 1921, as a fishing and racing schooner. It won its first Fishermen’s Trophy in October 1921 and held onto it for 17 years. The schooner symbolized Nova Scotia’s prominence in the fishing and shipbuilding industries. It met its demise in Haiti in 1946 when it struck a reef. In 1963 the Bluenose II was built. Many of the same people who had worked on the original vessel assisted with the Bluenose II build. Their goal was to replicate the Bluenose as closely as possible. In 1971 the Bluenose II was gifted to the Government of Nova Scotia. Although we did not take a sail on the schooner we were able to get on-board and walk around it.
The location of the Lunenburg Campground is great for day trips. Everywhere you look there is beauty along the coastline, interior lakes surrounded by lush trees, quaint fishing villages, beaches, lighthouses and great people.
During one of our days we drove South to the Kejimkujik Seaside National Park. It was about an hour and a half drive, but it was worth it. As we started walking down the trail we were reminded of a hike we had taken in Inverness, CA. For the first 15 minutes on the trail we couldn’t see much past the high vegetation, but we could hear the water in the distance. Finally, we were able to see the ocean that awaited us.
Once we arrived at the ocean we felt like we were in Hawaii and the Caribbean at the same time. The water was crystal clear, then vibrant blue, then shades of emerald green. The rocks became large boulders as we continued our walk. The sand was white and soft, similar to the Gulf side of Florida.
We enjoyed lunch while sitting on the National Park Red Chairs, looking out over the Ocean.
After a full day at Keji we decided to take a break from sightseeing the next day and went golfing. It was the first time in months we had swung the clubs. Neither of us played very well. However, we loved just being out on the course. It was a beautiful day in Nova Scotia!
We were blessed again with another nice day and decided to take a drive along the coast. We traveled along Rt 332 to Riverport where we hopped on a ferry for a short ride over to LaHave. We had lunch at the bakery there. The interior design was very old fashion. We loved it.
We found that you can purchase seaweed throughout Nova Scotia. They sold it here as well. Charlie was willing to try it. I was not. He didn’t care for it too much.
After lunch we continued along the coast on Rt 331, to a lighthouse and then we crossed over to Bush and LaHave Islands. The islands were fairly desolate, with the exception of a small number of houses and fishing boats. The views, and ambience, were spectacular though.
On our last day in the Lunenburg area we were contemplating what to do. I wanted to visit the nearby village of Blue Rocks for some photography opportunities and then I wanted to stroll through the Mahone Bay shops. Charlie wanted a little more adventure and suggested that we visit Big Tancook Island later in the afternoon, after shopping in Mahone Bay. It seemed like a great plan for our day.
We began with Blue Rocks. There is not much in the village of Blue Rocks, with the exception of great scenery, which of course we loved.
Next, it was onto Mahone Bay. Mahone Bay is a vibrant small town with a beautiful harbor. Across the harbor is a view of three prominent churches that have existed for nearly a century. A picture of the three churches together is iconic for Nova Scotia, and Mahone Bay in particular.
After Mahone Bay we drove onward to Chester to catch the ferry to Big Tancook. It also stops by Little Tancook, which is really little! The ferry ride to Big Tancook is about an hour long. The Island is 6 miles off the shore of Chester. Only about 120 people live on the island full time. There is one elementary school. We learned that there are currently 4 students attending. Once you reach sixth grade you need to take the 6am ferry each day over to Chester and then catch the bus to school. You then return on the 4:30pm ferry. That’s a long day for the kids. You can click on the link below for a map of the island.
The ferry transports everything one needs to live on the island. The ferry is not designed to transport vehicles so visitors walk or bike ride around the island. Residents of the island typically have a vehicle on the island and then another on the main land. In the pictures below you can see everything from groceries, to fuel, to building materials being delivered.
Charlie looked up the ferry schedule and determined that the 4:30pm departure out of Chester would work for us. This would get us on the island around 5:30pm. He advised that our return ferry options were 6:30pm or 9:30pm. He suggested we take the 6:30pm return ferry, as it would give us sunset on the water and allow us to walk around the main portion of the island for an hour. That seemed like a good plan.
It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride. Shortly after we departed we began chatting with a wonderful group of folks on the upper deck. We learned about life on the island and how Norm and Dave had visited the area one day not long ago, fell in love with it, bought a place, and moved to Big Tancook. I was excited about exploring the island. However, once we were on our way to the island we discovered that Charlie had misread the ferry schedule. The later ferries only depart on Friday and Saturday, and this day was Thursday. We had to return on the same ferry we were currently on.
Our newly acquired friends offered to find us a place to crash for the night if we chose to stay on the island. We would have jumped at the offer for such a great adventure had we not been leaving very early the next morning to Cape Breton. So, all I was able to get were pictures from the deck of the ferry, LOL.
On the way back I kept laughing and thinking about how we would have looked, standing on the dock waiting for the 6:30 pm ferry only to find out that there wasn’t one. We would have been knocking on David and Norm’s front door, as there are no hotels, motels or B&Bs on the island. In the end, $12 for the two of us to have a two hour boat ride across Mahone Bay on a beautiful evening wasn’t too bad.
Once we returned to the RV we were blessed with an absolutely beautiful moonrise. The skies were pink and blue and the moon was large and bright. It was the evening before the Harvest Moon. It was a great way to end our visit to Lunenburg.
The following morning we made the long trek up to Cape Breton for another adventure.