Begin your Acadian Adventure in the seaport town of Yarmouth where early prosperity brought on by it's proximity to the ports of New England and lucrative trade with the West Indies is still evident today in the town's splendid architecture.
Visit the Yarmouth County Museum which includes one of Canada's largest collections of ship paintings as well as exhibits on the early Acadian and English settlements of the area.
At the Firefighters' Museum, you can see an extensive collection of items dedicated to the history of firefighting and firefighters in the province including horse-drawn pumpers, steam pumpers and historic firefighting equipment.
Stroll along the waterfront which is an excellent place to enjoy views of the harbour and you can learn more about the coastal shipping business at the nearby Killam Bros. Shipping Office Museum.
Just a short scenic drive from the town is the magnificent lighthouse at Cape Forchu which features picnic facilities, gift shop, canteen and an interesting interpretive centre that highlights the region's colourful seafaring heritage. The park-like grounds offer impressive ocean views in every direction.
This evening, you might want to check out the Yarmouth Arts Centre (Th' YARC) which offers a variety of entertainment in its 350-seat theatre.
Overnight: Yarmouth area.
This morning, journey along the Acadian Shore, which hugs Baie Ste-Marie midway between Yarmouth and Digby and passes through twelve picturesque French-speaking villages between Beaver River and St. Bernard. Many of Nova Scotia's Acadians came to this area several years after the Deportation of 1755 to build new communities, turning from farming to the sea for their livelihood. Enjoy Acadian music and culture at the festivals and restaurants throughout this district during the summer months.
Take a turn off the main road in Mavillette and visit one of the region's most popular sand beaches at Mavillette Beach Provincial Park which provides interpretive panels, guided tours and a bird watching platform on the marsh.
The Acadians built magnificent churches and every visitor should make time for a stop in at least one.
The church in the village St. Alphonse, near Meteghan, is one of the most charming of the Acadian churches where the walls are covered with extensive murals and a trickle of spring water flows across a grotto of carved wooden "stones".
Stop in Pointe de l'Eglise (Church Point) to see one of the finest and most celebrated of the Acadian churches. St. Mary's Church, which is located on the campus of Université Sainte-Anne, was constructed between 1903 and 1905 in the form of a cross 58 m (190 ft.) long and 41 m (135 ft.) wide and the spire rises and impressive 56 m (185 ft.) above the surrounding countryside.
Visit Rendez-vous de la Baie, also located on the campus, an Acadian cultural and interpretive centre featuring panels and multimedia exhibits, art gallery, cinema, Internet cafe and more.
Continue along the Acadian Shore to St. Bernard to visit an awe-inspiring granite church which seats 1,000 and was constructed between 1910 and 1942 by local residents.
The town of Digby overlooks the magnificent Annapolis Basin and the Digby Gut, which opens out into the Bay of Fundy. Digby is home port of one of North America's largest scallop fleets and the colourful scallop-draggers can be viewed at the floating marina on the waterfront which is also lined with shops, cafés and restaurants.
Your final destination is the historic town of Annapolis Royal which offers a captivating blend of heritage and charm. Take some time this evening to stroll the broad tree-lined streets or the waterfront boardwalk.
Overnight: Annapolis Royal area
Spend some time this morning exploring Annapolis Royal which contains over 150 heritage buildings including the oldest wooden house in Canada. Take time to visit Fort Anne National Historic Site, and see the impressive Heritage Tapestry which depicts 400 years of the area’s history and the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens with theme gardens and displays reflecting the history of the area.
Visit Port Royal National Historic Site, one of the most historically important sites in North America. The Port Royal Habitation was the earliest European settlement in North America north of Florida, built in 1605 by Sieur de Monts as a colony and fur-trading post. Inside the "Habitation", costumed interpreters bring to life the hard daily existence of these early adventurers in the New World.
Your journey continues through the beautiful Annapolis Valley where the orchards and rolling farmlands comprise one of the most celebrated apple-growing regions in the world and a trip through this region during apple blossom time (late May / early June) is memorable.
Visit Grand Pré National Historic Site which is built on the site of the largest Acadian village at the time of the Deportation of 1755. The graceful stone church at Grand Pré stands as a memorial to the Acadians and contains an interesting exhibit about the Deportation. The site also features a statue of Evangeline, the fictional heroine of Longfellow's immortal epic poem, attractive formal gardens, ancient French willows and new multipurpose visitor reception centre.
End your day in Halifax, a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a rich seafaring past.
Overnight: Halifax area
Spend this morning exploring downtown Halifax. Be sure and take in the impressive displays and dockside historic ships at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic before heading to nearby Historic Properties, with its unique collection of speciality boutiques, restaurants and pubs. Visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Canada’s last remaining immigration shed with interactive displays, 4-D film and more, and Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, where period-costumed soldiers re-enact British Military life in the 1800s and the thunderous boom of the noon-day cannon is heard 365 days a year.
This afternoon's journey will take you along the Lighthouse Route of the South Shore region with your first stop at Peggy's Cove, one of the most photographed places in Canada. The graceful lighthouse sits high upon the smooth wave-worn granite of the coast and is a revered symbol of the sea-born spirit of Nova Scotia.
The Lighthouse Route journeys through a landscape of coastal beauty and historic charm. Follow shoreline roads past rugged wave-carved headlands and tranquil island-studded bays where legends of the sea come alive in historic towns and weathered fishing villages.
End your day in Lunenburg, where the colourful waterfront, narrow streets and captivating architecture radiate the flavour of the towns’ seafaring heritage. Lunenburg is home to Nova Scotia’s famous racing schooner, Bluenose, the ship on the Canadian ten-cent piece. Old Town Lunenburg was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.
Overnight: Lunenburg area
Continue your journey along the Lighthouse Route. Be sure and stop in Shelburne, a town whose history comes alive in a harbourside stroll along Dock Street, with restored and revitalized 18th-century houses and more recent commercial buildings. Many waterfront events feature re-enactments and there is also a fascinating complex of museums including the Ross-Thomson House containing the oldest restored store in North America and the Shelburne County Museum with displays and artifacts on the county's intriguing history and impressive shipbuilding heritage. At the Dory Shop, visitors can watch these sturdy work boats being built by hand.
Your next stop is the French-speaking communities of West Pubnico, Middle West Pubnico and Lower West Pubnico. Settled in 1653 by Acadians, these villages make up the oldest Acadian settlement in the province. Be sure and visit Le Village Historique Acadien which features period homes and fish houses, artifacts and plenty of Acadian joie-de-vivre. Learn the old methods of fishing, catch a glimpse of a farmer tending his field or building a unique mushroom-shaped salt haystack. Le Musée Acadien, is a homestead dating back to 1864 with costumed interpreters and an opportunity to learn to delicately stitch with traditional quilters.
Your Acadian Adventure ends in Yarmouth.
Overnight: Yarmouth area
On Day 4, you might wish to extend your stay with a trip to Cape Breton Island to visit the Acadian regions of Isle Madame and Cheticamp.
Travel through the mainland of Nova Scotia to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia's Masterpiece. After crossing the Canso Causeway, take the Fleur-de-lis Trail to Louisdale where you can sample authentic Acadian cuisine in the bakery and restaurants. From Louisdale, the Trail crosses lovely Lennox Passage Bridge to Isle Madame, a beautiful 42.5-km² (17-sq.-mi.) cluster of islands with captivating scenery and a strong Acadian heritage. In Arichat, one of the oldest communities in Nova Scotia, see Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, built in 1837, a church typical of the large wooden type built by the Acadians.
Continue along through the Acadian villages of Petit-de-Gras and Little Anse with their weathered piers, stacked lobster traps and nets and colourful houses facing the sea.
End your day in Louisbourg a full-service community with several attractions reflecting its long and interesting history. Perhaps the best known is the Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site, one of the largest historic reconstructions in North America. Mingle with soldiers, fishermen, merchants, servants, ladies and gentlemen going about their daily business in this unique 1700s settlement and enjoy a homemade period meal authentically prepared and served in one of the historical restaurants.
Overnight: Louisbourg area
Start your day with a visit to Glace Bay where you can experience life in a coal mine first-hand at the Miner’s Museum, one of the region’s most popular attractions or visit the Marconi National Historic Site which marks the place from which Guglielmo Marconi and his team of engineers and scientists sent the first wireless transatlantic signal in 1902.
Continue to Sydney, Nova Scotia’s second-largest city, which provides an extensive array of services and amenities for visitors. A focal point of the city is an extensive boardwalk with colonial lighting which winds along 3 km of harbourfront and in the summer months, is a popular centre of activities and entertainment
Your final destination today is Baddeck, located on the shores of the sparkling Bras d’Or Lakes and one of Canada's finest resort communities with activities ranging from walking and hiking to guided sea kayaking or cycling tours to golf and boat tours. Baddeck was the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. You can discover his many contributions to science at the National Historic Site named in his honour.
Overnight Baddeck area
Spend some time today exploring the world famous Cabot Trail – a coastal highway described as one of the most spectacular drives in North America. The Cabot Trail winds through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, a 950 km² (366 sq. mi.) wilderness area that is home to a variety of wildlife and landscape.
Stop in Ingonish, a popular resort destination where visitors can enjoy outdoor recreational activities that include hiking, deep-sea fishing, whale watching, bicycling and sea-kayaking and Pleasant Bay, a working fishing village where you find the fascinating Pleasant Bay Whale Interpretive Centre.
Your day ends in Cheticamp a busy fishing village with a thriving Acadian culture. Here you will often hear the lively sounds of Acadian French being spoken and in the restaurants, you can sample typical Acadian food. The women of Cheticamp are known for their rug-hooking skills and samples of their work along with many other fine crafts can be seen in craft shops, galleries and museums. Some feature demonstrations of rug hooking and other local crafts. The Acadian Museum, near St. Peter's Church, presents displays on the history of the early Acadian settlers.
Overnight: Cheticamp area
Today you will travel back to the mainland of Nova Scotia and Halifax to continue your Acadian Adventure on the Lighthouse Route.