Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Nova Scotia–Part 1


Wednesday (8/10):

We left our campground in Hopewell Cape, NB around 8:30 AM and headed towards Halifax, Nova Scotia. The skies were clear and the temperature got to about 80 degrees. We decided to take the toll way across Nova Scotia since it is the only major road that crosses the province. The toll for RV’s was $5.25 Canadian which is a bargain considering the time and fuel you saved from any other route. Nova Scotia is rolling hills covered with trees. There are very few farms in the central part of Nova Scotia and the towns/villages are scarce. We arrived at our campground, Woodhaven RV Park, which is located in Hammond Plains, NS. Hammond Plains is one of several towns located around Halifax that form the metropolitan area.

We got set up in our site which is a pull through with full hookups. It has a view of the southern sky from the end of the site so we are able to connect to DirecTV with our satellite dish. There is an Airstream Trailer rally in the park over the next few days so we saw lots of aluminum trailers in the sites behind us.


Thursday (8/11):

We decided to have a “down day” and not spend much time driving today. We got caught up on our laundry and did some grocery shopping. We did go to one of the local parks and hike for about a hour.

Friday (8/12):

We decided to visit Peggy’s Cove today. The day was overcast with some fog and never got out of the 60’s. We were not able to see into the bays very far because of the fog as we travelled along the coastline. Along the highway to Peggy’s Cove we stopped at the Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial. This was a plane crash that happened off the coast of Nova Scotia and the fishermen from this area were the first responders. All crew and passengers were lost in the crash. When the families of the victims came over for a memorial service, many of the locals opened their homes to these families. We were told that this was a disaster that did not have to occur. Swiss Air was one of the safest airlines in the world and when there was smoke in the plane the protocol was for the plane to dump the fuel before landing. If the plane had gone directly to the Halifax airport it could have landed there. However as it went out to sea to dump the fuel the plan filled with smoke and crashed into the ocean.

Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial

From there we proceeded along the coastline to Peggy’s Cove. The first recorded name of the cove was Eastern Point Harbour or Peggs Harbour in 1766. The village is likely named after Saint Margaret's Bay (Peggy being the nickname for Margaret), which Samuel de Champlain named after his mother Marguerite. There has been much folklore created to explain the name. One story suggests the village may have been named after the wife of an early settler. The popular legend claims that the name came from the sole survivor of a shipwreck at Halibut Rock near the cove. Artist and resident William deGarthe said she was a young woman while others claim she was a little girl too young to remember her name and the family who adopted her called her Peggy. The young shipwreck survivor married a resident of the cove in 1800 and became known as "Peggy of the Cove" attracting visitors from around the bay who eventually named the village, Peggy's Cove, after her nickname.

The town is a very small fishing village with an Anglican church and a lighthouse. This area of Nova Scotia was formed by the glaciers in the last ice age and there are lots of granite rocks along the shore.


We walked around town to see the sites and take lots of pictures. There were a lot of people visiting the town today and we were lucky to get a parking space in the Visitor’s Center parking lot. Here a few of the pictures we took during our visit.



William deGarthe was a local artist who had immigrated to Canada from Finland in the 1920’s. He became a well known artist who painted in oil and later in life became a sculptor. He started a craving in granite near his house in Peggys Cove late in life and finished about 80% of it before his death.


We ate lobster rolls for lunch from one of the local walkup restaurants and then visited the local church, St. John’s Anglican Church. The church holds services during the summer months every other Sunday and does not hold any during the winter. We had a nice conversation with a couple who were the “docents” at the church today. They spent their summers in Halifax and winters in Florida. His family was one of the original British settlers in the area so they knew a lot about this part of Nova Scotia.

After leaving Peggys Cove we headed towards Halifax. As we drove along the road we stopped at the Expo Center where one of the local RV dealers was having a show & sale. It was mostly travel trailers (Jayco & Forest River products) with a couple of 5th wheels & motorhomes. We drove down through Helifax until we reached the Cruise Terminal area where we visited the Garrison Brewery. We had a sampler of 5 of their beers which were OK but did not have the flavor we usually find in craft beers. There is an indoor Farmer’s Market located in one of the Terminal Buildings that we wondered through before we left the downtown area.


We returned back to the campground where Connie’s cooked a delicious dinner of Atlantic salmon, rice & salad. We enjoyed a bottle of Canadian wine we had purchased earlier in the week.

Saturday (8/13):

On Saturday we decided to spend the day in Halifax. Halifax was the first permanent European settlement in this region of Nova Scotia. The establishment of Halifax marked the beginning of Father Le Loutre’s War. The war began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports and a sloop of war on June 21, 1749. By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq, the Native American tribe in the region, which were signed after Father Rale’s War . Cornwallis brought along 1,176 settlers and their families. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian, and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax Citadel Hill overlooking the bay in 1749. The city is a mixture of old and new buildings with some building being a combination of the two.

We started out a The Citadel which is the fort overlooking the bay, harbor and city. There is an Old Clock Tower located on the grounds which is still in use. The Citadel is now a historic site and a museum. Halifax is a city set into a large hill so you spent a lot of time walking either up or down the hill depending on where you are going. It reminded us of San Francisco only on a much smaller scale. There are about a quarter of a million residents in Halifax and another 75,000 in the surrounding communities.


Halifax Citadel

In Halifax harbor during December 1917 one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history occurred, when the SS Mont-Blanc , a French cargo ship carrying munitions, collided with the Belgian Relief vessel SS IMO  in "The Narrows" between upper Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin. The resulting explosion devastated the Richmond District of Halifax, killing approximately 2,000 people and injuring nearly 9,000 others.The blast was the largest artificial explosion before the development of nuclear weapons.


We spent several hours walking around Halifax seeing the historical buildings and visiting a couple of old churches. There is a lot of construction going on in Halifax and it looks like they are building a lot of tall condominiums in the downtown.


We stopped and ate lunch at a local coffee shop. I had a bowl of chili while Connie had a sandwich and a mocha latte. Everything tasted good and the coffee was great.


From there we walked several blocks to the Halifax Public Gardens. This 16 acre park was originally two gardens who were combined into one a number of years ago. It is a beautiful oasis in the center of the city. We saw two weddings going on in the gardens during our visit.



We then walked down the hill to the Halifax Boardwalk. This several block area runs along the harbor and contains restaurants, pubs & bars, play areas for kids, shops, office buildings and a casino. Being a Saturday, the boardwalk was packed with people. The longest line we saw was for the Cow’s Ice Cream Shop.  I’ve never seen so many people that love to eat Ice Cream.  There are Ice Cream shops all over, like we have Starbucks.


After walking along the boardwalk for a while we visited the Alexander Keith’s Brewery located a block off the harbor. This is the oldest brewery in Canada started in 1820. We visited the rooftop patio and had a flight of beers. We tried a couple of their new products, Cornerstone Edinburgh Pale Ale and Lunenburg Coffee Cacao Stout (which we both really liked).



After finishing our beers at Keith’s we headed back to the campground to rest our feet. Connie fixed the rest of our Atlantic salmon for our dinner.

Sunday (8/14):

We woke up to rain this morning and it was predicted to continue most of the day. We decided to stay around the motorhome today. We did take a short trip over to Costco and Walmart where we picked up a few items. Sunday in not the day to visit Costco in Halifax as it was very crowded and you could hardly walk up and down the isles.