Nomadic Life – Week 15
On Saturday morning, the start of our Nomadic Life – Week 15, we finished the drive south along the eastern coast of Nova Scotia to the capital city of Halifax. This town is full of history but it feels very modern.
Fairview Lawn Cemetery
The first stop was the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, an odd tourist destination. This is the final resting place for 121 of the passengers of the RMS Titanic. The largest site in the world. Forty-two of whom have never been identified. The tragedy of the Titanic has captured the imagination of generations for the past century. Reading the tombstones I was left with a new appreciation for the youth of those brave men who went down with the ship. Twenty-year-olds who heroically helped others escape the fate they fell too. Elliott’s engraving really pushed this reality home: “Each man stood at his post while all the weaker ones went by, and showed once more to all the world how Englishmen should die.” He was 24 years old.
North America’s Longest Running Farmers Market
Our next stop was of a happier note. We stopped in at the longest running farmers market in North America. The city of Halifax was established in 1749 and the market started the following year. It has changed locations but has existed since that time. The market was full of local food, art, and jewelry vendors and packed with people ready to buy.
The Halifax Library
After a quick, pricey, and disappointing lunch at Murphy’s Restaurant (not recommended), we walked into town to check out the very modern library. It has some amazing views on the upper floors of the city. The building is very cool with its boxy outline floating above the city streets. It also has some cool texture with lettering that resembles tree leaves on the facade of the building.
Halifax Public Gardens
Next up was the city’s public gardens. Even this late in the season many of the flowers were in full bloom. This is an amazing and free respite for all the city dwellers.
Point Pleasant Park
Next up was a stop at the local brewery Alexander Keith to grab a six-pack before heading down to the Point Pleasant Park perched on the tip of the peninsula. This again is an amazing refuge for city life. It is a large park covered with trees and a few historic fortifications. It has nice views of the ocean and is covered by old carriage roads crisscrossing the park that is now dedicated to hiking, dog walking, and bike riding.
Sunday we drove south to the small town of Peggy’s Cove. The town is an old fishing village. There is a lighthouse here that is today a big tourist draw. It is thought that this is the most photographed lighthouse in Canada. We arrived early but by the time we went to leave the throngs of tour buses were pulling in and lining up in the small parking lot.
Our next stop was the infamous Oak Island. For those of you unfamiliar with the theoretical treasure located here that has consumed and alluded treasure hunters for almost 400 years, you can check out the Discovery Channel show to catch up. This island is an odd place. When we arrived at the causeway there was a sign saying you could enter by invitation only, but right below that the sign there was a sign for the interpretive center which said open and to drive on over.
We drove over and visited the interpretive center which is the only thing open on the island to the public without a tour. All tours were sold out and usually are so if you want to go book early. The interpretive center is small but has some good history available. It is mostly a written history with very few artifacts and nothing interactive. It is still cool to read about this centuries-long treasure hunt.
I found the part about Franklin D. Roosevelt investing in one of the treasure hunt expeditions to be of most interest. The entire history of the hunt for the pirate treasure is something of a quagmire. I was left wondering simultaneously how one could be foolish enough to think there was a treasure on this island and yet how no one had found it. A strange contradiction.
The Lundenburg Fish Shack
We had a much better seafood lunch of fish, clams, and fries at the Fish Shack in Lundenburg before exploring the town’s docks. The town is very picturesque but it was raining so we quickly moved on.
We decided to move on and explore the Blue Rocks located about 6 miles to the east. I thought this was a very cool spot. The seaweed was an orangish-yellow clinging to dark blue rocks. Even in the overcast and raining conditions, the contrast was stunning. We explored the colorful seaside town before heading west across Nova Scotia.
The 1st of Two Thanksgivings
The next day was Thanksgiving! Yep, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving a month and a half early. Two turkey days for us this year. Jennifer also had the day off because in the States it was Columbus Day.
Baxter Harbor Falls
We were up early as we wanted to explore Baxter Harbor Falls. This is a beautiful waterfall that plummets into the Bay of Fundy. At high tide it drops directly into the bay and visitors can see it from a distance. During low tide, however, visitors can walk right up to the falls. We wanted to see it during low tide but that was an hour before sunrise. Luckily the water stays low enough for about 2.5 hours before and after the low tide to visit the falls. So we were there at sunrise. This was our first opportunity to glimpse the extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy and it was a great spot to witness the world’s highest tides. Parts of me wanted to wait for the 6 hours to see the entire range, but we had other places to see.
Next up we hiked the 4-mile long Cape Split Trail. The Bay of Fundy has a small sliver of land that protrudes out from the main part of Nova Scotia. This is the Cape Split landmass and there is an amazing hiking trail here. It meanders through dense forest with small glimpses of the Bay beyond. At the very end of the 4-mile hike, the trees cease and a panoramic of high cliffs overlook the bay. It is a stunning location and a great place for watching the tide change. We arrived at the point near high tide and watched as the water speed its retreat around the point of Cape Split. We had a blast flying the drone here along with about 5 other drones. This is apparently a very popular place to fly. It was a national holiday so the trail was a bit crowded and the point looked like a giant family picnic with families clustered all over the grassy null.
The Maccan Tidal Bore
On Tuesday we finished our drive to the remote town of Maccan or rather the spot along the river where the Tidal Bore can be witnessed. A Tidal Bore is a wave that is created when the tidal surge of the ocean moves up a freshwater river and pushes the river backward. It is a very cool thing to witness. All the rivers where a Tidal Bore is witnessed are rivers of mud with high muddy walls. It is cool to see the bore come through, but witnessing the water continue to rise up the muddy river bank after the initial wave was what I found most mesmerizing.
The Moncton Tidal Bore
On Wednesday we left Nova Scotia and returned to the province of New Brunswick to take in another Tidal Bore in the city of Moncton. Here they have built an amphitheater for the hordes of onlookers who come for the bore. It was vastly different from the small country setting the day before. The highlight of this bore was two surfers who rode the wave. It added scale to the wave. Jennifer and I both committed that the event seemed bigger here. The rest of the day was spent at the Stonehurst Golf Course Campground. I think this was the only campground left open for the year near the city and technically it was closed. The owner was taking in strays like us.
Thursday we took in the natural illusion that is the Magnetic Hill. This has turned into a tourist trap, but it is an interesting natural illusion. The hill appears to go downhill. You drive your vehicle to a post at the bottom of the hill, put the vehicle in neutral and then the steer the vehicle backward back up the hill. It is of course that the hill you drive to the bottom of is actually uphill with a steeper hill beyond that creates the illusion. It looks like you are driving down. The illusion is worth a stop although not really worth the $6 CAD that they charge for admission. We got there before they opened and didn’t even realize that there was typically a charge until after we had finished. Early bird gets a free worm!
The Hopewell Rocks
On Friday we visited the Hopewell Rocks where the extreme tidal flows from the Bay of Fundy have carved out flower pot rocks that protrude out of the water during the high tides. During low tides, the bases of the rocks can be explored on foot with a good pair of boots that you don’t mind getting muddy. During high tide, a kayak is needed to explore the formations. I wanted to rent a kayak but sadly the rental place was closed down for the season—seems to be a trend here. We still had a great time walking around the rocks in the morning and then returned for the high tide. It is astonishing how drastic the landscape changes in just a few hours. The water level can rise nearly 46′ in less than 6 hours.