9 Reasons to Visit Liverpool, Nova Scotia

Just recently, the Region of Queen’s mayor, John Leefe, appealed to Paul McCartney to come to Liverpool, Nova Scotia for a quick trip and the former-Beatle could see his hometown’s namesake and sip beer overlooking a river named after Sir Paul’s famous Mersey. And although this never transpired maybe Paul will slip in at a later date when he has more time.

Here are my favorite reasons to visit Liverpool:

  1. Authentic Architecture: Many historic towns are restored to their former glory through excavating and following old plans. Liverpool doesn’t need to do this. The town has these old places in great abundance representing the 1700’s, 1800’s and prosperous early 1900’s when Liverpool was a prominent ship-building community.
  2. Beaches: Nowhere else in Nova Scotia can you find as many beaches within a 15 miles radius as around Liverpool.
  3. Fort Point Ligthhouse: One of the last great, working lighthouses in Nova Scotia the Fort Point light is also a museum.
  4. Simeon Perkins Museum: In the days of the privateers Simeon Perkins was a leader in outfitting privateer vessels and his original home along with artifacts is on display.
  5. Privateer Days: Usually around July 1st, this festival features pirates and a running gun battle with the King’s Orange Rangers and Liverpool privateers versus American privateers and pirates. Great action!
  6. Rossignol Cultural Centre: This is a celebration of history including aboriginal life, as well as having a very interesting outhouse museum.
  7. Sherman Hines Museum: View the photographs of one of the world’s finest photographers.
  8. White Point Beach Resort: One of eastern Canada’s top resorts with a full compliment of surfing, bike and kayak rentals.
  9. World Class Artists: Painter Roger Savage and folk artist Joe Winters lead a group of premier artists who sell their art all over the world.

In addition, Liverpool was the home of Thomas Raddall, one of Canada’s greatest fiction authors with books like “His Majesty’s Yankees”and “Hangman’s Beach.”

Halifax: The Best in Budget Accommodation

Nova Scotia is the land of watersports, puffins and seals, is the perfect place for a summer getaway far from all those tourist-heavy destinations. One of the beauties of this province is that it has a vast selection of affordable lodgings that caters for all tastes and budgets.

If you’re planning on visiting Halifax this summer and need a place that will help maximise your budget, here are three accommodation options in the capital that will cost you no more than $50 a night.



Hostelling International (HI) members may want to stay at this super convenient heritage house hostel that’s doesn’t implement a curfew, has free Wi-Fi, and is just $26 a night. Located in the heart of the city centre, public transit is just a minute away from HI-Halifax. Note: Non-members will be required to pay an extra fee.

Saint Mary’s University Conference Services & Summer Accommodations

Saint Mary's
Saint Mary’s

Universities have great summer housing options that are easy on the wallet. Starting at $39 a night, guests at Saint Mary’s will have free daily breakfast buffets, Wi-Fi, and parking on top of their private kitchenette and bathroom. You’ll also get the conveniences of on-campus shops and facilities.

Halifax Backpackers

Halifax Backpackers
Halifax Backpackers

The cheapest place to stay in the city is Halifax Backpackers Hostel with rooms starting at $23. The hostel draws in the night owls that love to bar hop, as Halifax Backpackers is located in a neighbourhood filled with dive bars. This is one of the best options to meet and mingle with the locals.

Getting to Halifax

There are plenty of ways to get to Halifax. If flying is your transport of choice, you’ll most likely by flying into Halifax Stanfield International Airport, although you might find cheaper tickets going into JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney or Yarmouth International. Just be careful with time and expenditure associated with these cheaper flights, as Parking4Less explains that there will be additional costs for transportation to and from the airports that are much further away from tourist travel spots. Nova Scotia is also accessible by ferries and cruises, but if you’d like to take in the scenic views of the maritime province, a road trip will be your best bet.

Blue Forest Lane Bed & Breakfast: A Cut Above

In the heart of Bedford there is an amazing property called Blue Forest Lane Bed and Breakfast that goes against the bustle of this bedroom community of greater Halifax, Nova Scotia. Proprietors Brent and Wanda-Lee Kowalczyk have taken great pains to perfect their paradise.

The Rooms

There are three beautifully-decorated rooms, all located on the upper level, with Queen-sized beds, with lots of comfy pillows. Each spacious room is equipped with TV, period furniture, alarm clock, hair dryers, shampoo, internet connection, conditioner, body wash, hand soap and lots of thick towels. These rooms overlook a large wooded area and woodland garden.

The Cottage Suite is their newest addition and is a charming suite of rooms consisting of a bedroom and an ensuite bath with a claw foot tub and shower. The Cottage Suite has a Queen size bed and a twin day bed, perfect for a third person.

The Breakfast

Rather than the staid continental breakfasts of most B&B’s, Blue Forest Lane features classic breakfast dishes such as omelets, waffles, French toast, crepes, and scrabbled eggs on a toasted croissant.

How to Get There From the Airport

Take the Halifax exit to Halifax, highway 102.

From here follow the highway signs to Halifax: One thing to remember is the highway splits. The sign will say Halifax Dartmouth to the left and Halifax, Bedford, Sackville to the right, take the right.

Drive for about 10 minutes until you see an exit sign on the right that says Kearney Lake, Dunbrack Street. Take this exit, go down the ramp and then turn right onto Kearney Lake road.

Drive by the lakes for about 5 minutes until you see a street on the left called Blue Mountain Dr. From here drive down Blue Mountain drive and make your first right onto Blue Forest Lane. It is the fourth house on the left.

Cat Ferry Nipped at Yarmouth

Since 1998 the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia has welcomed the arrival of a ship with two hulls that runs on jet engines. An unusually fast ship the Cat Ferry cut in half the two-day trip from Bar Harbor, Maine to the southwest Nova Scotia town. This brought American tourists to Nova Scotia complete with cars, recreational vehicles or tour buses.

The Cat ferry began service 12 years ago and boasted between 100,000 and 150,000 passengers every year. However, in recent years that number has dropped to be low 76,000 and the service only servivied through government subsidies: $1.3 million in 2005; $2.5 million in 2007; and $4.4 million in 2008. In 2009 the service was given the astounduing sum of $12 million. This is a subsidy of around $158 a person.

Cat Ferry Nipped at Yarmouth
Cat Ferry Nipped at Yarmouth

This is not the first hit for Yarmouth. In the early 1990′s a series of industry closings hurt ther area so tourism played a big part in the economic well-being. A few years ago the venerable Prince of Fundystopped operations. This traditional ferry service brought people in from Maine on a more regular basis than the Cat and its demise hurt many accommodation operations including bed-and-breakfasts as well as hotels and restaurants.

It is not that the Cat was the “end-all-and-be-all” of tourism dollars coming to Nova Scotia. It is just one in a string of tourism losses for Yarmouth including a pullout by Starlink, an air carrier that started service from Yarmouth to Maine less than a year ago.

With the high Canadian dollar, American Homeland Security roadblocks and the economic hits in the U.S. tourists from the south as a dying breed. In addition, the improvement of roads in Maine and southern new Brunswick mean that trip from Halifax to Boston and vice versa is a lot quicker than it used to be and, even with high gas prices, a lot cheaper than taking the Cat.

The traditional gateway to the U.S. by water has now closed. But this does not mean that southwest Nova Scotia is doomed. The loss of the ferries just means that Nova Scotia has to change its campaign for drawing tourist dollars into the province. What worked in the 1990′s does not necessarily translate into revenue anymore.

And at $158 a visitor surely we can spend our money more wisely to get a bigger bang for southern Nova Scotia.

Yarmouth’s Ferry Tale

The decision this month by Nova Scotia’s government to end its subsidizing of the fast-ferry service from Bar Harbor, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia has left many tourism operators scrambling to reorganize their businesses.

For years a key tourism link between Atlantic Canada and New England has been the ferry. The “Scotia Prince” a  car-carrying cruise ship, was the mainstay of the ferry link until the Cat Ferry, a high-speed catamaran ferry, came into service. The “Scotia Prince” was pulled from service in 2004 and now the Cat has broken the link.

Today, the Canadian government announced today that it is looking into investing in a ferry service that will once again join Nova Scotia to the U.S. Peter MacKay, the Defence Minister and leading representative of the governing federal party for Nova Scotia, has commeced a study that is supposed to be ready by February.

What is evident is that there will be a seaborne link to Maine from here. And even though the new NDP government of Darrell Dexter announced that the province is pulling its support the key to the action was the line “in its present form. The Cat was a luxury, a functioning toy that could never replace the “work horse” function of the traditional, car-carrying “Scotia Prince.” It was expensive and its schedule messed up tour operators and accommodation businesses on the South Shore.

Whether he meant to or not, by pulling his government’s support for the expensive and highly-subsized Cat Ferry Darrell Dexter has succeeded in opening up the dialogue and forcing both the South Shore citizenry and the federal government to bring options to bear.

What I predict will follow is a better, most commercially-viable link that will revitalize tourism.

5 Reasons Why Atlantic Canada Needs the Ferry Service

The new NDP government has been saddled with many problems in its first few months in power: labour disputes, budget deficits and even traveling expenses. However, as troubling as these items are now nothing will come back to bite Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic problems like the termination of a ferry service between the U.S. and Nova Scotia.

For those who either think that a ferry service is a drain on Nova Scotia taxpayers, or who just couldn’t care less, ponder the following:

1.  The South Shore Economy

Without the ferry running people back and forth between the U.S. and Nova Scotia the businesses of the South Shore and lower Annapolis Valley will be directly affected. This includes every business from bed-and-breakfasts to convenient stores. These are enterprises that pay taxes (HST and income), money that goes into the tax and school system.  Without this influx of revenue both Canadian taxpayers and those from the towns in the county  of “I-Couldn’t-Really-Care, Nova Scotia” will have to pony up to keep schools and infrastructure up.

2.  Geography

Take a good look at a map of North America. Nova Scotia is stuck out into the Atlantic. Now look at the major centers and ask yourself, “If a person wanted to come here from the U.S.,  how would would they come in?” The airlines are expensive, and  driving here looks like The Great Trek. The ferry from Bar Harbor or Portland gave travelers more reason to come here.

3.  Gateway to Atlantic Canada

With the ferry to Yarmouth a family from Boston or other parts of the eastern U.S. who wanted to visit Atlantic Canada could take in 4 provinces in one trip. Landing in Yarmouth they made their way up to to Cape Breton and took another ferry to Newfoundland. On the way back they got on another ferry at Caribou and visited P.E.I., then took the Confederation bridge to New Brunswick – where they were on the highway back through new Brunswick and home. This routing makes it more attractive for Americans to visit Newfoundland, a choice that may not be a priority without the ferry.

4.  Foreign Tour Companies

I just mentioned that the routing is best for FIT (free independent travelers) travelers but what about the bus tours? Each year hundreds of buses come across on the ferry system. Without the ferry their plans would be altered and a “Canadian Tour” might miss out on staples like the Cabot Trail or Kejimkujik National Park.  Again, look at the map and see it as if you are a tour designer. The route is not as attractive without the ferry.

5.  Halifax Will be the Sole Entry Point

Although I live in HRM this area is just a part of Nova Scotia. Right now cruise ships have turned seeing Nova Scotia into a half-day trip from the Pier21. Without a ferry this phenomenon could grow so that that more and more tours will be designed using Halifax as the hub instead of part fo the entire tour.

We may not need the ferry in its present form, but we could definitely use the old-style, car-carrying ships that run on a dependable schedule. Because it’s easy to dismiss the ferry when its -10 Celsius but the real cost will hit us next fall when we read about the 2010 tourism statistics and business closures.

Hiking Tours in Nova Scotia

Here is a guest blog by popular travel blogger Rob Barham

If you want to hike in Nova Scotia, whether you are an experienced hiker or not, you can easily take a tour which starts and ends in Halifax, the capital of this ocean influenced Canadian province. Although the hike is primary, tours also include experiences that will give you insight into Canadian history and culture. It’s possible to get tours which transport your bags from point to point to save your back too if desired.

Accommodation on the trekking tours is typically at cozy Bed and Breakfast hotels where you will get a warm Nova Scotia welcome.

Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s maritime provinces and can easily be reached by a flight from the UK to Halifaxwhich only takes about 6 hours with a direct flight. Nova Scotia has a very diverse nature and is ideal for hiking adventures. Also recommended for active holidaymakers is cycling, kayaking, fishing and sailing.

It is easy to find your way around Halifax and most of the city’s attractions are within walking distance. The harbour area is pleasant with old restored warehouse buildings. It is also where the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has their home.

Local Highlights
Crystal Crescent Beach, about 40 km south of Halifax. From the beach you can see the lighthouse on Sambro Island, which is the oldest functioning in North America.

White Point Beach Resort, located by the sea. Our resort is full of history and was once (1928), a private hunting and fishing lodge. Today it is a well-functioning resort with many activities. Try the tasty lobster, which Nova Scotia is so famous for.

Kejimkujik National Park, enjoys a coastal landscape with tundra-like vegetation an dramatic rock formations along the beach. Look for seals and beautiful orchids. Go inland and explore the huge wilderness area with forests, many lakes and rich wildlife. You will walk in a in a relatively flat terrain between 300 years old trees.

Brier Island – Whale watching in the Bay of Fundy. An awe inspiring experience. There is no guarantee you will see them but there is a good chance you will see whales and dolphins.

If you have not bought any equipment for the hiking tour, you have a good opportunity here in Halifax. Canadians are good at “outdoor wear”, and you get great value for money on brands like The North Face and of course Canada Goose.

At night the city tour Ghost Walk of Historic Halifax is highly recommended. It need not be booked but the meeting place is to gather at the Old Town Clock, located halfway up the hill to the Halifax Citadel – an old British fort.

Rob Barham operates great travel sites such as voyage vietnam .co

Planning Your Nova Scotia Motorcycle Trip

Planning Your Nova Scotia Motorcycle Trip
Planning Your Nova Scotia Motorcycle Trip

Nova Scotia has some of the best planning sites in all of tourism, anywhere. The planners make it easy to put together a custom-made motorcycle trip of a lifetime.

It all starts out with the “Doers’ and Dreamers’” guide, a 384 book filled with pictures, descriptions and maps that divides the province in to seven sections:

Fundy Shore and Annapolis Valley

Northumberland Shore

Cape Breton Island

Eastern Shore

South Shore

Yarmouth and Acadian Shore


These even tourism regions highlight the diverse landscapes, roads and seaside vistas of Nova Scotia. In all, there are more than 7,600 km (4,750 mi) of coastline that encompasses the mountainous Cape Breton Highlands, the wide open landscape of the Annapolis Valley to the Bay of Fundy shores, the rugged “moonscape” of the Peggy’s Cove area and the coves and points of South Shore. There has never been a better test of motorcycling than the great roads that follow thsi incredible seascape.

The other great thing about Nova Scotia is that you can get off the highway anywhere and take a road that leads to the ocean in less than 30 minutes. And if you get tired of weaving around the bays and inlets a highway is always the same distance the other way.

It is also easy for New England riders to get here on the high-speed Cat Ferry or up and around on the New Brunswick highways. For Quebec and Ontario riders its it just over sixteen hours in the seat. In addition you can join a group tour with others in a customized tour package.

Here are some ideas:

*The 300 km (187 mi) Cabot Trail, especially in autumn when the trees are in full color.
* Whales Watching along the Digby Neck area of the Annapolis Valley
* The Eastern Shore up from Halifax to Cape Breton

Click on this link to order your >Doers’ and Dreamers’ Guide

Cruise Ship Stops Up in Halifax in 2015

When you think that cruise ships were almost non-existent twenty years ago having 261,216 passengers visit Halifax in 2010 is a great accomplishment. This equates to a 14.7% increase over 2009 and an abundance of revenue for Halifax businesses as well as employment.

Cornerstone of the Cruise Ship Business

Based on a collaborative marketing initiative by the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association, Destination Halifax and the Halifax Port Authority it was found that 95 -97% of the visitors coming to Halifax, and Cape Breton, were from American ports. In fact the report goes on to say that “Halifax has become the cornerstone of the Atlantic Canadian and New England cruise itinerary.

What Do Cruise Passengers Do Here?

1. Tours

Pre-booked tours are a mainstay in the cruise ship business. In this category Peggy’s Cove is atop the list as well as hop-on hop-off city bus tours where cruise passengers can decide on their own pace.  Some tours go to the Annapolis Valley and others gos as far south as Lunenburg.

2. Rides and City Tours

Horse and wagon rides are popular as well as city tours. There is even a Harbour Hopper, an amphibious vehicle that tours the city from the water.

3. Walking

Pier 21, where the cruise ships dock, is only about a mile from the major attractions and restaurants on the waterfront. For someone of average physical ability this is easily accomplished and there are tourism booths to hand maps and brochures detailing attractions.

4. Shopping

Whether you take a cab or walk shopping on the prestigious Spring Garden Road or waterfront boutiques is close by

Acadien Bus Lines

One of the easiest ways to get around Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is Acadien Lines buses. For many years travel throughout Nova Scotia was hampered by inefficient sub-lines that rarely corresponded with the major carriers. This scared off bus travelers because the time and money spent did not equal the expectations of the sightseer.

Acadien Bus Lines
Acadien Bus Lines

For example, 10 years ago ferry travelers who took the bus to Yarmouth from Halifax were subject to a wild ride in an old coach. Upon their arrival they dumped off at a gas station almost a mile from the Prince of Fundy ferry terminal.

The bus service in Nova Scotia has been dramatically changed since then and Acadien Lines has played a big part. Th company dates back to 1937 when its buses were under the name SMT (Eastern) Ltd. In 1995, SMT acquired the trans-provincial Acadien Lines Ltd. and Nova Charter Services Ltd. which enabled the bus lines to offer its customers traditional shuttle transportation, package delivery, and charters for large groups.

In March 2004, Acadien Lines joined with Quebec-based Groupe Orléans Express, allowing complete coverage of eastern Canada. This means that travelers to Montreal can be connected to Halifax in a wide variety of routing including the townships and Gaspé regions of Quebec and rural New Brunswick.

Activity Sectors

The main activities of Acadien lines now includes:

  • Intercity passenger transportation throughout eastern Canada
  • Specific charter transportation including sightseeing tours
  • Intercity courier and baggage services
  • Bus station management
  • Coverage of New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia as well as Quebec
  • Passport program

So if you don’t want to rent a car take the bus!

Is Nova Scotia RV Unfriendly?

A few years back I was accosted by an awful little man who owned a campground down the road. The reason? I had allowed a friend to park his RV on my acreage while he drove around Nova Scotia in his small car. He was from the west and wanted a break from the confines of his vehicle. In addition to bothering me this overzealous campground nut went to the local grocery store and banged on the doors of two RV’s from the U.S. who had parked for the evening.

I’m not an RV’er but I used to work in tourism and anything to do with tourism in the province interests me. Since then I have been doing research into this man’s claim that RV’s have to park in a registered campground. Here’s what I found on a sign at a Walmart.

“Section three (3) Article three (3) of the Tourism Accommodations Act states: “no person shall use, maintain, operate or manage a camping establishment or permit the use of any lands for the overnight parking or RV for the traveling or vacationing public unless there is a licence which is in force. 1994-95, c.9, s.3.”

I remember phoning up Doug Mathews of Tourism Nova Scotia and asking him about this ban and he was unapologetic. He gave me the impression that RV’ers were not important to Nova Scotia tourism and that they should camp in authorized camping areas to avoid “dumping their toilets in the ditches,” as he explained. He also said that they never bought gas here and “just a few groceries.” What an attitude for a paid employee of ours.

I don’t know if this attitude has changed at all but the law is supposed to be repealed in the spring. (Andrew Cornwall, the one who gave me the picture and wrote a study on the RV situation in Nova Scotia, has since informed me that the signs came down last fall and the law is supposed to be changed any time now)

It’s evident that he either has buddies in the Campground Association or they saw him robbing a bank.Because my RVing friends told me that in RV magazines and websites Nova Scotia has been chastised for this behavior toward RVers. And in the tourism economy we are going through right now (dismal) you would think that every RV coming here was sacred.

For Andrew Cornwall’s study, The Economic Effects in Nova Scotia
of the RV Overnight Parking Ban and Aspects of Campground Minimum Standards
, Click Here

The Silver Dart Flies Again

When the average person is asked about the accomplishments of Alexander Graham Bell he or she will probably lift up a cell phone. However in Canada he is known for his accomplishments with voice transmissin and providing the very first heavier-than-air air machine to ever fly in this country.  For over thirty years Bell spent his  summers in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, with his wife and family but he brought his work with him. This included the world’s first hydrofoil and an airplane built under his direction by the Aerial experimental Association in Hammondsport, New York.

In 1909, after successful tests in the U.S., Bell had his craft, dubbed The Silver Dart, disassembeld, crated and shipped to Nova Scotia for trials here. When assembeld the aircraft had a wingspan of 14.9 meters and weighed in at 390 kilograms including the pilot, who had to be careful about his weight.

On February 28th, the aircraft was dragged to the ice of Bras D’Or Lake by a team of horses. The plane was constructed of wood with a silk fabric covering over the wings and powered by a Curtiss, water-cooled engine that developed 40 horsepower. This engine sat on the back of the plane and the propellorwas desgned to push the craft.

The next day,  February 23rd, J.A.D. McCurdy, an engineer who worked with Bell, made history by piloting the first powered airplane a British subject within the British Empire.

If you fast-forward 100 years there is a former-Canadian astronaut, Bjarni Tryggvason, who just finsihed the trials of a modern Silver Dart.  Closely modeled after the original airplane Tryggvason got his version a few meters off the ground at a test run in Hamilton, Ontario. Now the “pilot to the stars” is packing up his craft and shipping it to Baddeck, Nova Scotia, to fly this crude machine into the very airspace where McCurdy thrilled Bell and a host of Canadian and foreign onlookers.

TIANS Against Halifax Historic Properties Redevelopment

The (Halifax) Historic Property core region is one of the most defining elements on the Halifax Waterfront. Any development that mitigates the authentic experience and preservation of this area would be very short-sighted and detrimental to tourism over the long term.

– Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia

It is now standard practice in big business to develop for the sake of development. In other words, ripping down the old and building the new seems to be the ultimate way to drive the economic engines. And if this isn’t happening then the economy is in recession.

During the past ten years Nova Scotia has lost dozens of historic buildings including two gas stations that date back to the 1920′s. But those are new compared to the buildings from the 1800′s that are suffering the wrecking ball. And why is this happening? Because the powers-that-be figure that tearing down historic buildings, ones that have been saved by previous administrations, is the only way to retain or gain a good tax base.

And what happens when the developers lose? They throw fits. This is because they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on architects and consultants so why wouldn’t they? The real problem is that there are no hard and fast rules about dealing with historical landmarks. The rules seem to change with each mayor:

1973: The city council formally supported the preservation of the Historic Properties ares north of Duke Street from Granville Street to the water. This recognition made Halifax a leader in preserving history.

2002: The Heritage Canad foundation, a national organization dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage and historic places of Canada, chose Halifax to host its conference. They found that vacationers want to visit historic areas and their preservation is vital.

2008: Armour Group wants to destroy the main buildings and keep the facades. This will take in the last original area of Halifax.

What TIANS is saying is that the Armour Group should not have been lead on to believe that they could destroy old properties for the sake of a new development. Armour Group and certain city councilors argue that there is not enough office space in Halifax. Actually, Halifax has over 1,000,000 square feet of vacant land in downtown Halifax.

There are a lot of stupid moves in Halifax planning. (The Cogswell exchange was one of them) Rather than destroy the heritage properties why not look at the available land? Because you know what happens to many buildings that are destroyed in Halifax? They become parking lots. And tourists can only park once.

Travel Media Association of Canada

In 1994 some journalists from Toronto thought that the media and the tourism industry should form a professional relationship and the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) was formed. Since then the ranks swelled to over 450 members with a breakdown of 4-% media and 60% industry partners.

Guided by a volunteer Board of Directors TMAC includes travel writers, authors, broadcasters, photographers and producers working in just about every form of mass media from newspapers to television and from CD-Rom to internet streaming.

From February 3-9, 2009 the Annual General Meeting and Conference of TMAC will be held at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, B.C. Click on to the site for infomrmation updates.

Kat Gurholt – The Best Photographer in Nova Scotia

Judging by the title you’d have to say I was stretching things a bit. I mean everyone thinks that they know the “best” photographer in Nova Scotia. And Sherman Hines would probably have a few things to say about my ravings.

Sherman Hines is about the best scenic photographer in the world. For years he has honed his craft so that almost every standard depiction of Peggy’s Cove and the Bluenose schooner is either Sherman’s or a knock-off of his shooting style.

In that regard Kat Gurholt does a great Sherman. Not only does she get the shot and the lighting in the Sherm style she adds a few of her own spins like “messin’ with the fog” and switching to black-and-white. Kat released a coffee table book earlier this year with some fabulous shots of Nova Scotia from Blomidon to Halifax harbour. And while Sherman may still hold the crown for scenic shots Kat can also shoot people.

Whether its the recent Blue Man Group concert or a local bar band Kat’s got it down. She doesn’t necessarily study the shot but takes a steady stream of pictures adjusting the lighting and composition as she goes. In fact you have probably seen her bopping around in front of the band. In fact the guys in Acoustic Soul consider her their “personal photographer” although she will hit as many as five clubs in a night.

My favorite subject of her recent photos was the Nova Scotia International Tattoo. Kat got close and personal with a few of the bands and it looks like she’s marching with them!

Lats Tuesday Kat presented local celebrity and Beatles performer, Hal Bruce, with a hardcover coffee table book of his three Martime Beatle Events. She had collected the shots and arranged them in a form that a publisher could bind into a beautiful book. So she is not only the best photographer she is a giver of the first kind. In fact, she has also given me permission to use her shots in my blog.

To contact Kat: Actually, she is working for many projects covering Asia and Europe, as Voyage Vietnam photo but you can contact by her Twitter or Google +

BESTT on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

“BESTT is an international coalition of businesses and trade associations from across the United States and Canada who share a common concern about the ramifications of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Our goal is to raise awareness of the important cultural and fiscal ties that exist across the 5,500 mile long border, and to help ensure public policies that promote these ties, while still addressing the legitimate security concerns of both countries.”

Well, June is fast approaching and this means that anyone entering the United States from Canada or elsewhere must present:

  • a passport;
  • a NEXUS card;
  • a FAST card; or
  • an EDL or EIC from a province or territory where a U.S.-approved EDL/EIC program has been implemented.

Closely watching the WHTI is a group called the Business for Better Economic Security for Tourism and Trade. Why because the Canada-U. S. border is like a membrane, a malleable and porous divide where billions of dollars in goods and services are transferred each year. In addition to the monetary value of the border millions of people pass across every year as well: tourists, business visitors, workers and many other foreign nationals who contribute to economy of both nations.

The meeting points of this vast transference:

  • Border crossings across the 49th parallel
  • Ferry systems on both coasts and inland waterways.
  • Airports

These ports-of-entry account for $1.2 billion dollars a day in trade and this supports 5.2 million jobs.

BESTT Position

The BESTT coalition supports secure border crossing document
solutions that:

•        Acknowledge and address the economic impact of any
proposed solution
•        Include a multi-lateral approach to border management
•        Fund extensive marketing and public awareness efforts
•        Provide a common implementation date for all types of
•        Describe a clear standard for crossing
•        Are inexpensive and easily accessible
•        Addresses the unique need for students and children, aged
sixteen and under, to be able to cross the border at a
nominal cost.

Is BESTT Being Heard?

BESTT means well and I think on a grass-roots level they are being heard. However, will a new administration in the Washington care about what they think now that the economy is the big issue? Well, BESTT is all about the economy and making it work faster with America’s trading partners, especially Canada. And any organization that keeps this lucrative and strategic relationship on the frontburner is worth an applause.

Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore

A tidal bore is a wall of water that moves up certain low-lying rivers due to an incoming tide. Tidal bores form when an incoming tide rushes up a river, developing a steep forward slope due to resistance to the tide’s advance by the river, which is flowing in the opposite direction. Thus we have the phenomenon of the river changing its flow before your very eyes, flowing in overtop the outgoing river water.

he height of the tidal bore increases with the range of the tide and may very in height from just a ripple to several feet.Bores occur in relatively few locations worldwide, usually in areas with a large tidal range (typically more than 20 feet between high and low water), and where incoming tides are funneled into a shallow, narrowing river via a broad bay. The funnel-like shape not only increases the height of the tide, but it can also decrease the duration of the flood tide down to a point where the flood appears as a sudden increase in the water level.

Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore
Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore

There are approximately two high tides and two low tides within a 24-hour period in the Bay of Fundy. The time between a low tide and a high tide is about 6 hours and 13 minutes. Therefore visitors to the Fundy coast can realistically expect to see at least one high and one low tide during daylight hours.

Tide times move ahead approximately one hour each day, and tide times vary for different locations around the Bay. One of the best ways to experience the full impression of the Bay of Fundy’s tides is to visit the same coastal location at high tide, then return about six hours later at low tide (or vice versa).

The Bay of Fundy tidal bore is a three hour drive from White Point Manor and White Point Beach Resort.


Did you know that birding is the number one sport in America? According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are currently 51.3 million birders in the United States alone, and this number continues to grow!

– Audubon Society

My short answer is, no I didn’t.

Like almost everyone I know, I like birds. I grew fond of ducks, geese and pheasants because I used to hunt them. Now, many years after I put away my shotgun, I like to watch snowbirds at the birdfeeder, and eagles and ospreys soar but I wouldn’t consider myself a true birder.


Birding in Nova Scotia

I guess the most famous attraction for birds in Nova Scotia is the annual eagles watch in Sheffield Mills. A few years ago we went for two Sundays in February and saw the great raptors tearing at chicken parts. Usually they just grabbed their lunch and ate it in the trees just out of camera range. But it was great all the same. One of the best parts of spending a February day in the Valley is going through the hall to see the display of stuffed birds and photographs.

However, this is by far not the only draw for birds in this area. Birders come at different times of the year to watch events that most of us would never notice. For example, the annual shorebird and warbler migration is an annual event for birders as far away as England and the southern United States. Books abound on the subject, many written by Nova Scotia birders like the late Robie Tufts.

Birds Important to Tourism

In fact the government of Nova Scotia has statistics which show that 9% of the travellers to the province in 2006 were birders, which puts the activity above golf, whale watching, cycling and sea kayaking. In all fairness to these other activities the bird watchers did not only come for avian events but our fowl friends did put a lot of money into the province. Here is the full report: Birding as a Tourism Product

So, tip your hat to a jay or chickadee.

*A few eagles have been sen at Sheffield Mills so they might be congregating early this year. For more updates:

Sheffield Mills Eagles Watch: Information and updates on the eagles in Sheffield Mills

Flying Like an Eagle in Eagle Country: author -Jodi DeLong, Editor of The Canning Gazette

Peggy’s Cove Celebrates 200 Years

Peggy’s Cove is about one of the best known images of Canada outside a mounted policeman, a beaver or Lake Louise. It’s lighthouse, although not very tall, is the standard by which people think of the seacoast beacons. It’s hard to believe that the area will be 200 years old this summer.

Two hundred years ago King George III issued land grants to six founding families who settled the boulder-strewn, rocky point later called Peggy’s Cove. Now, on the 200th anniversary of Nova Scotia’s Peggy’s Cove, there are 40 full-time residents of this community.

For the first hundred years life was simple: gardens, fishing and going inland to log and hunt. There was lots of fish: inshore pollock, cod fisheries and lobster as well as smelt and herring. Now it is lobster and mackerel that are fished by 5 full-time fishermen.

Of course Peggy’s Cove is best known for its tourism draw, bringing about 500,000 tourists each summer to visit the community.

Centennial Events

1. Geology Walk: Beginning on April 18 and every third Monday afterward visitors can attend geology walks that explain the giant boulders known as “erratics” that cover the glacially scoured granite landscape.

2. Tiptoe through the Tide Pool : A natural history walk will be held on June 11 and a Peggy’s Cove Road Arts Festival from July 1 to July 14.

2. Family Reunions: Peggy’s Cove has sent hundreds of its residents around the world. Many of them may come back for the big reunion.

For more events go to Peggy’s Cove

Nova Scotia Welcomes “Encyclopedia Titanica”

No other floating enterprise in the history of the world has attracted more attention than the R.M.S. “Titanic.” Although the ship only sailed for barely two weeks (from sea trials to her sinking) the attention garnered in recent times has spawned whole industries. For example, model kits of the “Titanic” out-sell any other models including cars and other modes of transportation. Tourists come to Halifax for the expressed purpose of seeing Fairview and Mount Olivet cemeteries where many of the victims were buried.

Now a Facebook site has a running commentary centered around the hundreds of thousands of bit of information that go far and above normal knowledge. It is called Encyclopedia Titanica and it is a feast for those seeking trivia about the disaster. Families of passengers have logged on to contribute information of their relatives’ experiences that never made the mainstream media or bookstores. Go to Encyclopedia Titanica and noodle around for a while. But be careful, it is habit-forming.

Rumrunner Suite at White Point Vacation Home is a Smuggler’s Delight!

White Point Vacation Home is gearing up for the 2011 holiday season with the inauguration of the Rumrunner Suite, a single bedroom apartment built on a smuggler’s theme. This is because the home was built by a real, live liquor smuggler who operated out of Hunt’s Point wharf during the Prohibition era in the United States.

White Point Vacation Home
White Point Vacation Home

Old Ship Architecture Defines the Rumrunner Suite

This quaint spot was actually the first part of the home to be built. It included the old stove, an appliance that stayed hot for most of the year. The bedroom is the original old bedroom and includes the old winding staircase.

On the main floor the bathroom is the old storage pantry with the original bead board door, the same material as the door to the upstairs bedroom. For sleeping the bed is a converted king on a maple floor.  The Rumrunner Suite is decorated with artifacts from the sea and features pictures of old sailing ships.

The Rumrunner is Relaxing One of the best parts of the Rumrunner Suite is the deck on the main level. It overlooks the old orchard and gives privacy after a day at the beach – or beaches.

    • Wireless Internet
  • Fridge
  • Stove
  • Microwave
  • Kitchen and Dishware
  • Fold-Out Couch for Guests
  • King Bed
  • Private Deck

White Point Vacation Home Loves Beaches Travel to Nova Scotia » Rumrunner Suite at White Point Vacation Home is a Smuggler’s Delight!

The best part about White Point Vacation Home is that is in the center of “Beachland.” There are 4 beaches within a 15 kilometer radius and many more up and down the coast less than an hour away. The most popular is White Point Beach and the resort is just a stone’s throw away.

To find more information Click on White Point Vacation Home

Liverpool Privateer Days

During the late 1700’s an act of the Imperial Parliament in England sanctioned privateering along Nova Scotia’s south shore. This was an effort to protect the local towns and villages from attacks by American ships.

Liverpool Privateer Days
Liverpool Privateer Days

The new rules let the ordinary citizens to apply for a “Letter of Marque,” which allowed them to attack and capture the ‘enemy’ vessels. If the capture was deemed legal, then the privateers shared in the money generated when the ship and cargo were sold at auction. It was a way for the local people to defend their homes.

Events celebrating this history with food, music, historical tours and other fun and games take place all over the town of Liverpool. The festival runs for four days during the first weekend in July.

For more Information contact:
Owen Hamlin
Phone: 354-4500
Email: info@privateerdays.com
Website: http://www.privateerdays.com

“The Ocean” – VIA’s Train from Halifax to Montreal

When train travel is all but extinct compared to what it was 50 years ago the Montreal-Halifax route is a real crowd-pleaser. ”The Ocean” is a passenger train that runs 6 times a week each way between Montreal and Halifax.

“The Ocean” – VIA’s Train from Halifax to Montreal
“The Ocean” – VIA’s Train from Halifax to Montreal

On the Montreal-to-Halifax leg, “The Ocean” leaves Montreal in the evening and the traveler gets to see the townships along the St. Lawrence before drifting off to sleep. In the very early morning Chaleur Bay comes into view as the train heads south across New Brunswick. It stops in Moncton just before noon and arrives in the historic Halifax train station in mid-afternoon. Going back the “The Ocean” leaves Halifax in the afternoon and arrives in Montreal the next morning.

“The Ocean” – VIA’s Train from Halifax to Montreal

Economy Perks

Comfort Class: Economical. You can stretch out your legs, lean back into the headrest and at night, a service attendant will offer you a pillow and blanket.

Service Car: A service counter where all passengers can order refreshments, snacks and sweets. Also, there is a baggage compartment where extra or bulky items can be stored. In addition there is a special suite where persons with reduced mobility can travel in an environment specially designed to make their journey pleasant. As well, it serves as a lounge area.

Easterly Class

Passengers on Easterly Class have dinner in the evening and breakfast the next morning. Also included is entrance to the dome car for sparkling wine. Examples of the dining includes tasty Nova Scotia smoked salmon and crab appetizers as well as chicken breast with berry sauce, Prince Edward Island potatoes and Maritime vegetables. Dessert has been known to be scrumptious apple caramel cake topped with whipped cream. There is also a sleeper arrangement but it is rather spartan and this was the only part where we were disappointed.

VIA 1 Lounge: This is for 1st Class passengers. Dome Car: See the sights in a 360 degree view.

It is a great trip and many Americans can take it by first jumping the Amtrak from New York to Montreal.

The Unique Vista of Broad Cove

Broad Cove is a small, scenic, seaside village on the picturesque Lighthouse Route 331, an area that has all the best Nova Scotia has to offer. It is equidistant -21 miles (35 km) – from the towns of Lunenburg, Liverpool and Bridgewater and just 1 1/2 hours from Halifax, Dartmouth and the Airport. We are just 2 Hours from the Yarmouth and Digby Ferries and the Bay Ferries catamaran. And Kejimkujik Park is less than an hour away.
Situated just north of White Point Beach, Broad Cove Vacation Suites is a wonderful location for sightseeing the South Shore of Nova Scotia and for day trips to Halifax and the Annapolis Valley.

4 Deluxe House-Keeping Apartments on Nova Scotia’s Beautiful South Shore

4 Deluxe House-Keeping Apartments on Nova Scotia’s Beautiful South Shore
4 Deluxe House-Keeping Apartments on Nova Scotia’s Beautiful South Shore

Broad Cove Vacation Suites is a 2 minute walk to the ocean and nearest beach and close to four other beaches. Also take in canoeing, kayaking, wind-surfing, diving, cycling, hiking, walking, bird-watching, photography, painting, sailing, antiques, crafts, fishing, golf, horse-back riding, concerts, theater, festivals, museums, community suppers, genealogy, and history.

Festivals Abound in Nova Scotia in 2009

There are few places that top Nova Scotia in the summer and fall seasons. Unlike the west coast of Canada Nova Scotia has more sunny days and better beaches. But best of all, Nova Scotia has the festivals. But don’t wait for the summer to get started when there are some amazing events beginning this week.

Silver Dart Centennial

Going on right now until the 24th is the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight in the British Commonwealth that took place over the ice and in the skies above Bras D’Or Lakes. Backed by none other than Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, The Silver Dart flew in front of his summer home overlooking the lake and a replica will repeat the performance.

Festivals Abound in Nova Scotia in 2009
Festivals Abound in Nova Scotia in 2009

Events include:

The Flight of the Silver Dart Centennial Anniversary Week,
The Silver Dart Centennial Association’s Youth in Aviation Week
Silver Dart Air Show
Aviation Week takes place from August 16-22, 2009, at Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
Big Boats

The age of sail is revisited with the Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival on July 16-29, 2009. Over forty sail-laden ships from around the world will dock in Halifax, Nova Scotia to help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Canadian Navy. But it doesn’t end there. After the Parade of Sail in Halifax on July 20, 2009 many of the ships will stick around and sail in to ports around Nova Scotia from Cape Breton down to Lunenburg.

Tattoo You

Included in the 37 events that take place in the festival season is the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo in the first week of July. The International Busker Festival will follow in August.

But it doesn’t end with the summer. In the autumn the Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival kicks into gear as well as Celtic Colours in Cape Breton.

“New 7 Wonders of Nature” Picks Alberta Instead of the Bay of Fundy

Growing up I used to imagine what it would be like to the keeper of the Light of Alexandria. The lighthouse was built on the island of Pharos in the 3rd century B.C. , started by Ptolemy, Egypt’s first Macedonian ruler and favorite of Alexander the Great. He never lived to see it completed. For almost 1,000 years the great lighthouse was a beacon to seagoing travelers.

Bay of Fundy
Bay of Fundy

Locally, the Bay of Fundy was chosen as Nova Scotia’s entry into the New 7 Wonders of the World contest. The Bay of Fundy was put forward in a contest to declare it one of Canada’s picks for the New7Wonders of Nature since June of 2008. However, yesterday Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta s was chosen as the top Canadian site and the Bay of Fundy placed 2nd.

So why, may you ask, was a “puddle of water” chosen to compete against such icons as the Great Barrier Reef and other huge wonders? Well, it’s not so much the place itself as the people who got behind the project. They believe that the area of the highest tides in the world has unique natural monuments including huge areas of fossils.

Terri McCulloch, a Parrsboro resident, led a Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership effort to have this designation bestowed on the Bay of Fundy ever since the Swiss­-based New7Wonders Foundation launched the New7Wonders of Nature competition last year. Swiss­-born filmmaker, author and adventurer, Bernard Weber, came up with the idea to shine a light on the earth’s ecosystem and how we need to protect it

In all Fundy was competing against Dino­saur Provincial Park in Alberta, Long Point Sand Spit in Ontario, Rocher-Perce in Quebec and Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, the skinny was that it was the “Battle of the Dinosaurs” because Fundy’s Joggins Cliffs feature a rich belt of fossils and it was named a UNESCO World heritage site.

Here are some excepts from a Facebook site dedicated to this project:

Oct 1 – BIG NEWS – the folks at 7 Wonders have pumped up the stakes on the contest: they’ve decided to short list the contestants to ONE FROM EACH COUNTRY by Dec 31,2008. Since there are only 8 nominees in Canada – including Fundy – we stand an excellent chance of moving on to the next phase but we’ve GOT to GET THE VOTE out. Please keep emailing friends & family to get them to vote!
Dec 9 – Fundy surpassed Dinosaur Park as Canada’s #1 site BUT we hear through the grapevine that Dinosaur is planning a bit media blitz prior to Christmas!! keep the votes coming in for Fundy
Dec 31 – Fundy featured repeatedly on Canada AM – thanks to Erin at CTV!!
Well, Terri, you and the rest of the Fundy residents pulled hard to get the recognition its deserves but here’s the silver lining: Nominations from other sites have brought them increased tourism so look for your area to have a boost in a time when things have been grim.

Halifax’s Waterfront Winterfest

From February 26 to 28th the harbour-side of Halifax will erupt into a festival that will take the edge off the long winter. The Waterfront Winterfest will feature dozens of free events including snowboard competitions, ice skating, snow carvings and an indoor children’s winter playland.

The Waterfront Winterfest web site is being constantly updated and you can also follow them on Twitter.

Here are some of the updates:

If you’re interested in volunteering for Waterfront Winterfest visit www.waterfrontwinterfest.ca and touch base! http://bit.ly/cpElAF

Parent’s night off at Waterfront Winterfest?! You bet. It’s The Sailor’s Olympics Nightwatch adventure for kids.

Check out the Waterfront Winterfest launch last week – special thanks to Breakfast Television http://bit.ly/5h1ZJc

Take the Roof Off Winter

Take The Roof Off Winter (TTROW), is Nova Scotia’s new winter active campaign. It has been designed to point Nova Scotians of all ages in the direction of activities that will improve their health during the winter days by being outdoors and active.

On the  TTROW site you can find ideas for having fun in the outdoors this winter.  While you are on the web site make sure to sign up to be a TTROW Supporter, and use the great resources available: media materials, kids zone activities, posters, etc.

Nova Scotians can create your their own Take The Roof Off Winter event:

  • Build an outdoor rink;
  • Organize an outdoor game of ringette, broomball, curling or hockey
  • Host an ice fishing competition
  • Have a toboggan party
  • Join a bird watching club
  • Create a winter carnival
  • Snowshoe through the woods

Winter doesn’t have to be a dull affair. After the thrill of indoor activities wears off make that extra effort to get outside and get the lead out.