Parrsboro and the Historic Ottawa House By-The-Sea

By yogie, on Tue, 18 Oct 2011 | 0 Comments

Five Islands LighthouseI was really pumped for this trip.  I've been to Cape Split where I once remember standing on the spectacular cliffs and being told that across the Bay of Fundy was Parrsboro and the Parrsborough Shore.  The Parrsborough Shore is a historic term and is roughly the area from Five Islands to Advocate Harbour.  It's sometimes called the "mini Cabot Trail" because of the breathtaking coastal views.

Clam Digging at Five Islands I split from the Trans Canada onto Highway #2 at Truro.  Highway #2 was the ole Glooscap Route.  I drove until Brendan saw the sign for the Five Islands Lighthouse and yelled so I wouldn't miss it.  We parked, poured coffees and approached the edge of the cliff past the lighthouse.  It was low tide and we could make out dozens of people digging for clams.  They were just tiny specks, on the enormous expanse of exposed ocean floor.  It would be great place for a picnic or a photograph.

The Ottawa House By-The-Sea

The Ottawa House By-The-Sea Museum & Historic Site is located on Partridge Island in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.  It was far grander than I had imagined.  Built in 1765, this 21 room Georgian mansion has seen many owners and purposes.  Over the years, it has been used as a speakeasy, various hotels and perhaps most notably, as summer house to Sir Charles Tupper.  As we approach, we can see that the building has a long front porch lined with bright red geraniums.

Local Historian, Conrad Byers

We met the archivist, June Wagstaff and the "Local Historian", Conrad Byers.  The museum itself was made up of themed or period rooms.  There were rooms devoted to seafaring, lumbering and fashion of the Parrsborough Shore.  Conrad, a tall, older man, remarked about Brendan's last name, Sutcliffe.  Brendan's father had been a host of a regional CBC radio show that allowed him to travel around the Maritimes and talk with interesting people.  Conrad Byers had been one of those people he interviewed.  I was definitely intrigued by this "Local Historian".

June Wagstaff, Archivist at the Ottawa House By-The-Sea

June Wagstaff show us various resources from the archives before asking if we wanted any ice cream from the small shop in the museum.  After the ice cream, Brendan and I spent hours photographing and filming all the various items on display.  

The Ottawa House By-The-Sea from Partridge Island

We left the museum on foot, bound for the hiking trail through Partridge Island.  We walked along the coast before reaching a cavern-like entrance to the trail.  The island was densely covered with trees so we walked in the shade of the leaf canopy.  The ground rose steadily but offered an initial amazing view of the Ottawa House.  After that was an observation tower overlooking the rugged headlands and tidal waters of the Bay of Fundy.

Conrad Byers, Door Plaque, Parrsboro

After seeing the Island, Brendan and I decided to stop by Conrad's residence to see some of the photographs he had from his enormous collection.  His place was nice and we chatted for a while before heading out on our way.  I especially loved the plaque he had put out in front of his place.  

Sign at Reid's Farm in Advocate Harbour

It was after 7:00PM when we arrived at Reid's Tourist Home in Advocate Harbour.  It was starting to feel like rain, the moisture in the air was palpable.  The owner was apparently away picking blueberries for the harvest but she had left an amusing note.  We barbecued dinner, enjoyed a few cold Oland's and reviewed video footage with the last few hours of the day.