Around Halifax

A great accompaniment to my trip to St. Pierre and Miquelon and the odd flight schedule was that I was able to get two nights in and around Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was my second time in Halifax. The first time I was here for work (when I had a real job) and didn’t get to tour around too much. This time I had nothing to do but tour and see Halifax and the gorgeous Maritime province surrounding it.

I woke up refreshed (after a really bumpy flight in from New York) at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel. It has a great location in town so you can walk pretty much anywhere downtown. It also has a rental car office in the lobby; so that is exactly what I did early in the morning. I headed south down the 103 Highway toward Lunenburg.

Lunenburg is a cute little town about 60 miles south of Halifax. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features a beautiful waterfront area, some very cool architecture and some very brightly painted houses, restaurants and stores. Lunenburg is also the home of the Bluenose boat. It is a pleasure to stroll around Lunenburg and there is no lack of places to have lunch-trust me.

A few miles north of Lunenburg is Mahone Bay. It is another adorable little town with typical New England style houses and a very quaint and cute little town center right on the water.

Towns like Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and others such as Chester are what makes Nova Scotia so charming and although it is in Canada, it has a distinctively New England feel.

I highly recommend taking the coast road, route 3, back to Halifax. It snakes in and out of some small towns and villages and also passes two very important places to visit in Nova Scotia.

First, on September 2, 1998 a Swissair flight bound from JFK airport in New York crashed not too far off the coast of Nova Scotia close to Peggy’s Cove. My father actually knew a guy on that flight so I remember it vividly. Today there is a very poignant memorial on the gorgeous coastal rocks a kilometer or so away from the site of Peggy’s Cove. It is well worth a visit to pay your respects but also for the amazing view and setting.

The aforementioned Peggy’s Cove is the highlight of the loop around Nova Scotia that I drove. It is simply a lighthouse perched atop a small village amidst some amazing rock formations. The rocks strangely reminded me a bit of Badlands National Park in South Dakota for their grandeur and unearthly look. They also had some orange color in them like you’d see at the Bay of Fire in Tasmania. It was gorgeous.

Being as though it’s early May and I am in Nova Scotia, the wind was howling at some 50-60 mph and even with a jacket on, the wind was bone chilling. I didn’t have gloves and could barely grip the camera after a while! It was a great place to see and if it’s warmer or at least less windy, it’d be a great place to have a picnic or eat at the little restaurant nearby and have a lobster roll.

Back in Halifax, it started to rain pretty hard. I drove around the city and reacquainted myself with it. The main thing in town I wanted to see was the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic; which featured an exhibit and some cool memorabilia from the Titanic.

Being as though the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic just occurred in mid April, I felt that it was quite appropriate to check it out. Ironically, on a side note, one of the passengers on my Pitcairn boat was actually one of the single largest collectors of Titanic memorabilia and artifacts in the world. He told me a lot about it on that boat ride so I had extra incentive as well.

The museum itself was very nice and right on the waterfront on Lower Water Street in Halifax. It featured several cool nautical exhibits including tons of wreck pictures from Nova Scotian boats that had been sunk. But for me, the highlight was definitely the Titanic exhibit.

It featured pictures, captions and some artifacts along with a very informative yet slightly morbid video of the Titanic’s sinking. Aside from the Titanic, the museum also had some amazing model ships including one of the Lusitania. This was of course the American boat that was sunk by the Germans and led to our involvement in World War 1. It’s very cool if you are into history.

Halifax is a very nice city. It features a ton of restaurants and pubs, a large University and has a few different burial sites for different Titanic victims. All bodies recovered were brought to Halifax. The people are exceptionally friendly and helpful as is typical Canadian fashion. You wonder why Americans can’t be this nice (at least all the time).

That aside, it was good to be back in Nova Scotia after a decade or so and I am looking forward to coming back again sometime soon. I am also very excited for my four-day trip up to St. Pierre and Miquelon; which is the only French overseas territory in North America. That means one thing-great food!

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    thanks for sharing beautiful, wonderful places of the world…

  2. looks awesome!

  3. I live in Halifax, I wish I could have met you while you were here. Thanks for coming!

    • Thanks Natalie, it’s always good to meet readers and locals…check my Facebook or Twitter as I will always post where I am traveling to and thanks for the comment, I really enjoyed my short time here.

  4. Peggy’s Cove is an amazing place but the winds can be stifling as I guess you found out. Thanks for coming to Nova Scotia, wish you could stay longer. Enjoy St. Pierre!

  5. Did you get to eat some good lobster?

    • You know, I had every intention of going out for good lobster last night but I ate a big late lunch then fell asleep when I got back to the room and ended up not going out for dinner last night-I just ate in the hotel which I hate doing although the fish I got was actually very good…but still from the hotel so it’s not the same.

  6. Nice article, the Maritimes are an amazing part of Canada. It’s nice to see an American visit a lesser known part of Canada besides a major city or ski resort.

    • I love the Maritimes, they were actually the first part of Canada I ever came to many years ago and I don’t ski although I admit I love the scenery of the big western Canadian resort towns

  7. Its nice to see someone from the US visiting some of our corners, since most Americans think only to visit Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Banff area. Not many like you come to the Maritimes. Have you also been up north — Nunavut or Labrador, really off the beaten path and not even many of us Canadiens get there. Its worth a summer trip up there. I haven’t even been.

    • Thanks Richard and yes I have been to each province and even Yukon and Northwest Territories. I love Canada and have been here probably 50 times all together. Aside from driving up to Montreal and Quebec from New York at least 10 times, I’ve taken numerous road trips around Canada. I used to fly here to the Maritimes for work in the early 2000’s a lot so I was able to cheaply (on the company dime), explore some of the lesser known areas of Eastern and Northern Canada but as you said, only in the summer!

  8. You love those “cute” towns…. Sweet gazebo pic!

    • Hahaha, I literally just laughed out loud on the plane reading that and yes you know me, I love cute little towns! First comment in a while Senor Bakster!

  9. Wow, most Canadiens haven’t been to Yukon, NW or Nunavut. I’d like to get to the north this summer or next. How did you get to Nunavut? and to NW Territories? And what did you do? Enjoy Saint Pierre — didn’t know anyone went there.

    • I flew and NW was part of a road trip back in 2001…I slept in an igloo and ate seal blubber! Just kidding but just hiked around and saw some great scenery…not much else going on!

  10. Looks picturesque, especially the sea shore! Reminds me a bit of Scotland

  11. I am Nova Scotian and haven’t ever been to Saint Pierre. Enjoy!

    • Help me out and make it stop raining, go up about 30 degrees and have the fog lift, that would be great! Haha, thanks Michele!

  12. Hi! Got here through our Travel Bloggers group. Wow! You’ve been to so many places. Will definitely spend time browsing your past entries. Looking forward to reading more about your travels 🙂

  13. Cool article Lee, but the Lusitania was a British ship! To my surprise, it only had 128 Americans onboard.

  14. Hi Lee,

    I’m so happy I landed on your page! I live in Toronto and I’m planning a trip to the Maritimes and heading to NB, PEI, and Nova Scotia in mid-September. I have 2 nights in NS and I’m debating if I should pass Halifax and see Cape Breton Island instead or stay around Halifax. It would be good to do both but not enough time. Which one would you suggest for someone visiting the Maritimes for the first time?

    Thank you!!

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