We went on a short trip, 4 days, to the province next door to PEI, Nova Scotia. A long time ago prior to 1740 it was known as Acadie and populated by French settlers who developed a dyke system for farming on the Bay of Fundy.
We first travelled from our home going East towards Wood Island to catch the ferry which crosses over to Caribou in Nova Scotia a 90 minute trip. The ferry service accommodates both big trucks, buses and cars. Once in Caribou we drove towards Halifax, the capital of the province which is about 90 minutes away. We rented an Air B&B by the Citadel and the architectural wonder new Library on Morris street. A very nice apartment with a nautical theme in the original design, this being an older well preserved building. By walking down hill you arrive in the Port of Halifax where Pier 21, the Canadian Museum dedicated to immigration and many other attractions are located including a larger than life statue to Sir Samuel Cunard, a native son and founder of the famous Cunard Shipping Line.
Halifax has many beautiful colonial stone buildings, old churches and museums. Founded in 1749 and replacing the original capital of Port Royal on the Bay of Fundy. It has a population of half a million people, lots of very good restaurants and bars where drinks mixology is the craze with very good barmen competing on who is the best. I often wonder how they remember all the complex drink recipes and it is great to watch them in action.
We had great weather and being in September the tourists crowds were less numerous despite the fact that 3 cruise ships were in town, it is a big enough city you can find oasis of calm. Halifax has always been an important sea port and a busy one.
The 78th Highland Regiment of the Halifax Citadel. Their bonnets are made of bird feathers unlike the Grenadier guards whose Busby were made of black bear skins.
The famous Bluenose II featured on our 10 cent coin in Halifax harbour.
We saw the Bluenose II in port, a beautiful sight and you can sail on her with her crew twice a day. I don’t know if there is something more Canadian than this ship.
We also in Halifax had some great meals and cocktails, mixology is all the rage now. We went to a new bar called Kismet on Agricola street. The four of us ordered from their cocktails menus drinks and then watch the barman create them, it was fascinating. Kismet Bar also has a wonderful kitchen and the food was excellent.
Then we travelled by car to Annapolis Royal formerly Port-Royal under the French Regime and the original Capital of Acadie today Nova Scotia. The drive through the countryside is very nice, green and full of beautiful sights.
Port-Royal was founded by the French envoy and explorer Pierre Dugua, Sieur des Mons and Samuel de Champlain in 1604.
Champlain declared that the site was “the most suitable and pleasant for a settlement that we had seen.” They called the spot Port-Royal, in recognition of the French king Henri IV who had granted de Mons a monopoly on the area’s fur trade, and it became the first European settlement north of Florida.
Under the direction of Jean de Biencourt, who led the expedition after de Mons returned to France, Port-Royal was built in the summer of 1605, resembling the fortified farm hamlets that could be seen in 1600s France.
We visited Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal first established in 1629 by the British and Scots colonists. The region reverted to French control in the 1630s and Charles de Menou d’Aulnay began work on the first of four forts on the same site, then known as Port Royal. In 1702, the French began construction of the current Vauban fortifications that we see today. During Queen Anne’s War, the fort fell to British and New England troops after a week-long in 1710 which marked the British conquest of Acadia. A British governor and garrison replaced the French at the fort renaming the Port Royal settlement Annapolis Royal in honour of Queen Anne. With the Treaty of Utrecht three years later, the British gained full control of mainland Nova Scotia and kept Annapolis Royal as the capital until the founding of Halifax in 1749. We had a nice time visiting the area though the sky was cloudy and rainy. Upon leaving we stopped at a distillery named STILL FIRED on Highway 8, sampled some of the goods and it was delightful. The owners suggested we stop at Blomidon Wineries in Canning near Wolfville and so we did.
The weather was stormy but the clouds were moving fast and it rained intermittently, when we arrived at Blomidon https://blomidonwine.ca we visited the shop and had a great lunch of Charcuterie and cheeses with the wines on offer. It was great fun and we bought a few bottles.
The wines were very pleasing, a red, a rosé and a white.
We arrived in Wolfville on the Bay of Fundy and stayed at a wonderful Bed & Breakfast, the former home of a high society family of the area. Wolfville is a University town, Acadia University established in 1838 has about 4000 students, the town is quite pleasant surrounded by wineries and historical sites including Grand Pré, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wolfville is on the shores of the Bay of Fundy and you can see the dramatic tides coming and going, impressive. Grand Pré is the site of an Acadian (French) settlement and where a peaceful people were violently and forcibly removed by British troops in an act of ethnic cleansing in July 1755 ordered by British Governor Charles Lawrence. Some 10,000 people were deported and lost all their private property and belongings. Grand Pré is also the site of the romantic novel Evangeline by Longfellow, a beautiful park, a memorial church and a museum helps visitors relive the life of the area. A cross marks the site where families were separated before being forced on board leaky boats, some 3000 died at sea.
Grand Pré is also an area where you can see the agricultural efforts of the Acadians to reclaim salty marshland from the sea for cultivation. A very ingenious system requiring a lot of work over a large area. It is well worth the visit.
Grand Pré, the park which was formerly the cemetery of the French settlement
High tide on the Bay of Fundy, at low tide the water disappears and a depression of 40 feet red mud is created.
Here is a map of the area where the Mi’ kmaq have lived for the last 15,000 years. Today the Maritime provinces, part of the Gaspé péninsula in Quebec and Newfoundland.
On the last day we made our way back to Caribou to catch the ferry back to PEI and we arrived back on the Island around 6pm and made our way to Point Prim to have dinner at the Chowder House which closes for the Season on 30 September. It is one of our favourite spot to have dinner facing the Strait of Northumberland, great food.
The view from the Chowder House at Point Prim with the setting sun.
Here is a cruise ship exiting the Harbour of Charlottetown and making its way into the Strait going to Cape Breton. Such a dramatic view.