Last spring I was talking with a friend from Ottawa who now calls Nova Scotia her home. We were discussing fun things to do for afternoon and weekend trips in Nova Scotia. I shared some ideas with her, and I could not believe how many things she had not tried or experienced yet. She told me she was going to start a Nova Scotia bucket list! I thought what a great idea; from all of the festivals, beaches, historical sites, food, music, tours, national and provincial parks, wild rugged coasts to beautiful inland treasures of all kinds, I couldn't wait to start my own. After discussing this with my boyfriend, we both realized that we've already been doing this, we just hadn't labeled our actions. We've been busy, here are some favorites that we managed to check off the list this past spring, summer and early fall:
Hike Duncan's Cove- Check!
In late May 2012, I, two friends and my friend's little dog spent a beautiful Sunday morning at Duncan's Cove, about a 30 minute drive from the Armdale Rotary in Halifax. With several stops along the hike to take pictures of the gorgeous view it took us about 2.5 hours return. This hike was by far one of my favorites of the summer, beautiful beaches, coastline, boats, birds and sunshine. It was such a perfect day.
Hike the Jodrey Trail at Blomidon Provincial Park - Check!
In early June 2012 we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and to explore Blomidon Provincial Park. If you start at the first parking lot at the bottom, like we did - it's a bit of climb, but once you start witnessing the classic valley views, you don't mind. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and on our way up the tide was high and on the way back down it was out, which made for an amazing barefoot beach mud walk that could not be duplicated by any spa. It was the perfect end to yet another great hike in Nova Scotia.
Bike the Rails to Trails - Check!
Another best kept secret in Nova Scotia, if you ask me, are the old railroads that have been turned into multi-purpose trails. Living in the Annapolis Valley we had to try the one nearby. We parked in Kentville and biked to Coldbrook (Kentville Area Trail Brochure) stopping for coffee in Coldbrook and some photos along the way our return trip took us about 1.5-2 hours. We also biked the St Margaret's Bay Trail on the South Shore, which was closer to 2.5-3 hours return. We started and ended at the Train Station Bike & Bean, with our destination being Queensland Beach. The best bike rides include a dip in the ocean mid-way, ending with a yummy lunch and beverage on a patio.
Picnic & nap on an island - Check!
It's no wonder Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, the core of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve - the remote, untouched beauty is incredible. Known as "Keji" by locals and those who love it, Keji is approximately 2.5 hours by car from Halifax. This summer we camped with friends during the Canada Day weekend for 2 nights. We swam, biked, canoed the Mersey River and out to an island where we enjoyed a picnic and a nap on the beach. Make sure you book in advance, it books up quickly. We'll be back next summer for sure, and maybe we'll try back country camping.
Full Moon Paddle - Check!
On August 31st, East Coast Outfitters was hosting a Full Moon Paddle tour - this just had to go on the Nova Scotia bucket list! Equipped with headlamps, warm clothing, and nervous smiles, three friends and I were committed to try this adventure. The tour started at 8:30pm and ended around 11pm. The blue moon was beautiful over the dark waters in Lower Prospect, and the cold misty air was soon forgotten as our vision adapted to the darkness. Unfortunately I only have a few photos of that night, because my flash kept blinding my fellow paddlers. But I have amazing memories from this experience: the smell of the ocean air, the damp feeling of my wet sleeves from the salt water, the phosphorous as I put my paddle in the water, and hearing the rolling thunder off in the distance as we returned to the dock just before the rain started.
I hope I have inspired you to start your own list, I know checking off mine is making me fall in love with Nova Scotia all over again.
"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."
- Eleanor Roosevelt