Days 12 – 20 (June 7th – June 15th): Nova Scotia, part 1

The ferry from St John docks in Digby, a small town consisting of low, colourful, timberboard buildings and named after the English admiral who saved them from the French. Digby also has the dubious honour of hosting the world’s largest scallop dredging fleet. We were staying in Annapolis Royal, at the Queen Anne Inn B&B. We had a great room in the attic 3 floors up with no elevator and we thought we were travelling light ! With original wooden floors and stairs plus some original 180 year old glass that we were told they have to board up in winter to stop it from breaking in the cold. A great place to stay as it was within walking distance of the thriving restaurants and bars, most of which closed by 8pm. Back to the Inn for coffee and Baileys, I may be a convert!

Annapolis Royal was so named after Queen Anne and is also the site of a massive fortress which overlooks the river. It has changed hands from French to English numerous times over the centuries. It was originally given by the British Government to the British supporters after the end of the American War of Independence as they were being persecuted in the newly formed US. Refugees or Asylum seekers?

Inland from Annapolis is the Kejimkujik National Park, a wonderful, if insect-ridden, area of lakes, creeks and forests originally the home of the Mi’kmaw people for thousands of years, but subsequently deforested by westerners before being designated a national park.

Along the west coast of Nova Scotia lies a long spit, consisting of 2 islands, Long Island and Brier Island, well-known for being the site of whale-watching tours of the Bay of Fundy. The season was too early when we arrived but we took a look anyway, driving as far as the ferry to Brier Island before returning to walk down to the balancing rock, a piece of 20,000 year old volcanic rock delicately balanced on the cliff face overlooking St Mary’s Bay and accessed along a walkway and 247 steps! through a nature reserve. The information boards at the car park and at the rock itself had some interesting information on the location of the rock, how it was formed and why the local fishing industry is now limited to lobster and scallop.

Our next move was across the island to the east coast, finding a hotel at a fantastic spot on what must be one of the best and quietest beaches in Nova Scotia called Summerville Beach. This was next to a harbour called Port Mouton, famous for and named after a sheep that jumped overboard.

The views from the Quarterdeck Hotel

Port Mouton is close to the other part of the Kejimkujik National Park, the seashore part. This preserves a unique part of the Nova Scotia coastline, with seals and breeding Piping Plover. On entering the park the first thing to see is the following warning:

Walking bravely on, armed only with bug spray, the reserve was a beautiful place to visit.

Also of interest, just north of Port Mouton, is the small town of Liverpool, situated on the river Mersey. The town has a number of very nice mansions, all paid for from the actions of privateers in the early 1800s but has declined ever since, the final blow being the closure of a paper mill which used to support many of the inhabitants.

It was time to move north, to the great metropolis of Halifax via two spots of interest to different members of the family.