We couldn’t have asked for a better trip to the South Shore of Nova Scotia! Our Airbnb apartment in Lunenburg was a great deal, and so perfect for us that we added some time to stay a total of five nights. It was wonderful to have that time to settle in and explore the area. Jon and I loved showing the girls all of the places we had enjoyed on our previous visits!
When we arrived at the South Shore on Friday afternoon, we decided to exit in Mahone Bay to take the windy, waterside route into Lunenburg. The girls were immediately charmed by the colorful houses and shops of Mahone Bay, so I knew they would adore Lunenburg. As we came into town, we skirted the waterfront and drove straight to our lodging. We were so excited to explore the cozy little apartment on the lower floor of the historic house. It had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a small living area, and a kitchen with a washer and dryer. The girls were thrilled that the host had set up a fold-away bed for Daisy, so that they each had their own bed. It was pure heaven to have these amenities after so many days of camping and motels, and we made the most of it!
We immediately started doing laundry and making our grocery list; it’s funny to be so excited about formerly normal activities like cooking on a stove, having a freezer that can be stocked with ice cream, and taking showers and doing laundry without spending a small fortune in coins!
Jon and I were excited to share our favorite spots and traditions with the girls, so after showering and settling in, we walked a few blocks to the edge of downtown to have dinner at The Knot Pub. This was always our “first night in town” dinner spot each summer. Of course, I ordered my “usual”- Knotwurst and Kraut, accompanied by my new favorite Canadian pub beverage, a hard cider. After 14 years away, it felt familiar and comforting to be there, in one of our favorite restaurants in one of our favorite towns.
After dinner, we strolled through the town. Though Daisy complained about being cold, I laughed at myself for marveling at how warm the evening was, then realizing it was 50 degrees out! Obviously I’ve been away from California for too long! Even in the dark, the Lunenburg waterfront was gorgeous and the girls loved the old, colorful buildings. I knew that Daisy would forget about being cold once we took her to the lit gazebo in the park, and the “princess stage” didn’t fail us. She absolutely loved it!
We made our way back to the house to enjoy some down time and make our plans for the next day. Our host, Susan, had left out some books and games for Daisy, so we discovered the card game “Dog Pound,” and, after our first introduction, many vigorous battles were fought in the evenings that followed.
The next day, we set out to explore with the girls. It was a bit chilly and wet, so we took the truck to drive around Lunenburg, showing the girls, in daylight, different spots we remembered. We finished off with a drive down Second Peninsula to show the girls the area where we had once spent our summers in a guest cottage on the water. We got out to explore a picnic park that led us to the waterfront.
After our late morning of exploration, we took a scenic drive to the nearest city to do our shopping for the week. The Atlantic Superstore provided all of our necessities except wine, which, apparently they do not sell at grocery stores in Canada. Fortunately, we found a liquor store nearby and we were then fully stocked for several days of exploration and relaxation!
Back at the house, we took advantage of the improved weather to enjoy an evening bike ride around the neighborhood, which was across the harbor from downtown. We got some beautiful views and a few thrilling rides over steep, scenic hills.
Back at the house, Jon prepared a delicious pasta meal and we enjoyed a relaxing evening. After a lazy morning, Sunday afternoon was spent biking in nearby Miller Point Peace Park. We explored the many wooded trails throughout the afternoon. After our ride, we drove a scenic, coastal route back to the house, which took us through several fishing towns and brought us to the surprisingly funky and well-appointed Rose Bay General Store, which contained all sorts of unique food items mixed with the usual snack foods. We picked up some of the locally grown and pressed apple juice, which came highly recommended by the young cashier. For dinner, Jon grilled us some amazing steaks and, at Daisy’s request, made mashed potatoes to accompany them. All of this was enjoyed with our new favorite apple juice. Delicious!
Monday started rainy, so I spent the day working from the house while Jon and the girls visited the Fisheries Museum and the Railway Museum in Lunenburg. When they returned, full of excited stories, we decided to enjoy the fresh air and clearing sky with an evening bike ride. We took the graveled Back Harbor Trail, a former rail line, through some woods around the back of Lunenburg. We then rode alongside the water and finished by cutting through Lunenburg in order to get back to the house. While in town, we rode up and down a few hilly streets, admiring the colorful historic buildings, many of which were built in the 1700s, earning the town a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. We stopped to sit at the end of a public dock and watch the sun set, then spent some time pondering the lives lost to the sea at the fisherman’s memorial. We finished with a twilight visit to the park to admire the gazebo and play on the playground before riding through town, back to the house, in the dark.
Tuesday, the forecasted sunny weather appeared, and we were greeted by a cloudless sky in the morning! It was the perfect day for our planned trip to Kejimkujik National Park. We had originally planned to camp there for the last two nights of the season before heading back to the States, but the many rainy days in the forecast, combined with our love for our little apartment, made an extra night in Lunenburg much more desirable. But, with one brilliantly sunny day, a day trip to Keji was just what we had hoped for. The drive was about 90 minutes, and we were able to spend the whole afternoon biking some of the best trails we’ve ever experienced! The Slapfoot Trail and the Mersey River Trail combined with some of the park roads to create a beautiful stretch of peaceful, challenging, and scenic riding.
We finished the day with a snack at Merrymakedge Beach. As with almost every other park we’ve visited, we were practically the only people there. So, we enjoyed having the beach to ourselves. The girls even braved wading in the lake water to look for fish!
The sun was setting as we left and the deer were out grazing. It was bittersweet having so thoroughly enjoyed the day but also knowing it was our last in Nova Scotia.
This morning, we took our time packing up. We were all disappointed to be leaving the adorable apartment. We stopped for one last view of Lunenburg from across the harbor and then headed out of town.
Our next stop is Cape Cod to stay with friends. It’s a 13-hour drive from Lunenburg so it’ll take us two days. We’re transitioning from our study of North American geography and Native American history to European exploration, colonization, and American revolution. While we’re eager to get to Cape Cod, we did want to make one final stop in Nova Scotia, which was only a little out of the way. Peggy’s Cove lighthouse happens to be the model used by my sister to draw the logo for Lighthouse Learning Solutions. Way back when, I thought that I would be establishing my business on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, hence my business name. Jon and I thought it would be great for the girls to get a look at the iconic lighthouse that had inspired our logo. We stopped at Peggy’s Cove to admire the lighthouse, climb on the rocks, buy some mochas and last minute souvenirs, and chat with some friendly Nova Scotians.
All in all, it was a great last stop and a good way to launch our two days of driving. Cape Cod, here we come!