The Tall Ships Festival is returning to Nova Scotia this year, making this year a really great year to visit! I love the Tall Ships Festival for the excitement and majesty it brings. Here are my top 10 reasons why you'll love them too!
In halting steps, spring's progress across the province is marked by the unfurling of pretty petals. South West Nova can usually lay claim to the earliest blooms of all. This year the first crocus was spotted on Feb. 17. These were soon followed by swaths of pearly-white snowdrops. Now the daffys are nodding in the sun. And so the parade begins: forsythia and tulips, lilacs and poppies, peonies and iris.
Sometimes there is no greater feeling than getting in the car and just driving. Abandoning all chores and grocery stores and just being free. Opening the windows and letting the breeze blow through you hair. Even better if the breeze is from the ocean and the air is salty and fresh. Finding unexpected treasures along the way, a roadside fruit and vegetable stand, an antique store or a café with fresh made goodies for the road. Packing a picnic, stopping for a walk along a beach you've never seen before, to clear your mind and stretch your legs. These are all the things that make a seacoast drive a must-do, just for the pure joy of it.
We stopped at Cape d'Or for some exploration. We timed our visit well as the tides were in our favor. The lighthouse used to be manned until it was automatized in the 1980's. Today, the light keeper's house has been converted to a restaurant and guest house.
You have the potential to play a very important role in the communities you visit. With a bit of research and self-awareness you can expand beyond the limits of a "normal" vacation, create an experience that is fun and authentic not to mention, memorable. Follow my tips below and you can join the growing elites; the "Responsible Traveler" (this is someone that incorporates the elements of sustainability into their vacation)!
Last year, on the 99th anniversary of the Titanic disaster I stayed up half the night to witness a very interesting event on Twitter. At 11:55 p.m. AST on April 14, Nova Scotia Museums began to tweet out the distress signals sent from the Titanic in real time. Many of us stayed up until 2:30 p.m. AST tweeting about it. It was haunting, and eerie and unmistakably emotional. But it was also educational. All of us know about the tragedy, but I had never before seen how hard they worked to try and get help. Knowing what was happening in those last moments and while simultaneously watching those last tweets come in was an experience I will hold for a long time. Very impacting. This was wireless communication in 1912, being shared through wireless communication in 2011, nearly 100 years later. In some ways the method of communication has changed, but the way we communicate has not. And one thing will always remain constant - courage amongst tragedy and despair, and the human capacity to feel empathy and sympathy even 99 years after an event has passed.
Simply watching John Robert prepare the crepe you ordered is worth the price. He pours the buckwheat batter onto the hot griddle with a flourish, carefully folds it to the other side once it is toasted golden then brushes melted butter on top. Which did you choose? The honey garlic sausage and egg? Smoked salmon with caviar? Fruit with both chocolate and Canadian maple syrup, or perhaps the Lobster Newburg?
There is no question, Nova Scotia is the land of festivals and events, especially in the summer. What can we say, we are highly social people and we LOVE to get out and meet our visitors. From our seafood to our music to our seafaring history, you just have to be here to experience it all.
That being said, here are a few, in order of upcoming dates, that stand out due to their uniqueness and their propensity for offering up just plain old good times.
Just because it's winter doesn't mean you have to stay indoors. The best surfing conditions in Nova Scotia happen at the end of winter and late fall during hurricane season. Combined air and water temperature below 0C, Dave and I headed out to the eastern shore to catch some double-overhead monsters that were rolling in Friday afternoon.
The sight struck fear in those aboard a schooner sailing the Gut of Canso in 1787. One of the crew members cried out 'a shoal a-head.' To their great astonishment the shoal moved off. As it passed athwart the bow of their vessel, the men discovered it to be an enormous sea serpent, four times at least as long as the vessel. Its back was a dark green colour, forming above the water "a number of little hillocks, resembling a chain of hogsheads." Sightings of strange creatures off the coast of Nova Scotia have been documented for hundreds of years and continue to be so. Just ask any lobster fishermen if he's pulled something unusual out of his trap.