Hello From Nova Scotia The Lighthouse Trail From Shelburne To Lunenburg

May 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Top Vacation Destinations

This morning I had left Yarmouth, and after a minor accident with my rental vehicle, I had explored the Lighthouse Trail and made a stop in the historic Loyalist town of Shelburne. By about 4 pm I still had quite a drive left to Lunenburg, and I wanted to make sure I would get into town before 6:30 so I would still have some daylight left for my first impressions of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Shelburne I went straight east on Highway 103. Had I had more time I would have explored the coastal peninsula south of Shelburne which features small villages such as Sandy Point, Jordan Bay and Jordan Ferry. On the other side of Jordan Bay, a long inlet, I continued past East Jordon on to Sable River. Lockeport, a small village on the waterfront, dates back to the 1760s.

The Seaside Adjunct of the Kejimkujik National Park used to provide pasture land for sheep and cattle. Some families actually lived on the land all year while others brought their cattle to summer pasture here. Overgrown rock foundations, old clearings, broken fences and cattle trails remain from that era.

The Kejimkujik Scenic Drive a little further east is a major connector between Liverpool and Annaopolis Royal on Novascotia’s northwestern shore and features a drive right through Kejimkujik Park.

Port Mouton, a little town located inlands just off Summerville Beach is actually named after a sheep that fell overboard in 1604 from Samuel de Champlain’s ship. This entire area features many scenic islands and beaches. The town of Summerville was founded in 1784 by Captain John Grant, a United Empire Loyalist, and was one of the major shipbuilding centres in the area. Just south of Summerville Centre on the coast is Summerville Beach Provincial Park whose highlights include a white sand beach with sand dunes. The park is wheelchair accessible and features picnic areas, washrooms and changerooms.

Liverpool further east was founded in 1759 and is steeped in history. It was a centre of the privateering area between 1749 and 1812, when privateers (licensed pirates) were permitted to seize enemy ships and valuable cargo. Liverpool features seven museums including the Sherman Hines Museum of Photography, the largest museum of its kind east of Montreal.

Medway Harbour is punctuated by a number of interesting attractions: the Port Medway Lighthouse Park features interpretive panels that depict the rich maritime history of this area. The lighthouse was built in 1899 and was decommissioned in 1987. Some of the other lighthouses along this stretch of shoreline include Coffin Island, Medway Head, Spectacle Island and Western Head.

Several major beaches can be found along this southern stretch of Nova Scotia: from Summerville Beach and White Point Beach west of Liverpool, to Rissers Beach and Crescent Beach, located close to the mouth of the La Have River. This beach is the most famous one in the area and even used to be featured on the Can$50 bill. Crescent Beach also features the Lost at Sea Quilt, designed by renowned Canadian fabric artist Laurie Swim. It pays tribute to seventeen fishermen who lost their lives in one storm, which left a devastating impact on this community. One example that fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations on the planet.

I then stopped off at the La Have River Lighthouse which was actually relocated to this location from another place. And then five minutes later I got ready to cross the La Have River on the car ferry so I would not have to drive all the way up to Upper La Have and come down again on the east side of the river. It took about five minutes as well as $5 to cross the river. Lunenburg was not far any more and I was on the home stretch now.

Finally, just as it was getting dark, I arrived in Lunenburg. I came over the top of a hill and saw the town spread out in front of me. Several main streets run east and west parallel to the shoreline with a few fairly steep north-south streets providing connectors. To get the lay of the land, I drove through all the major streets and got a good orientation of this unique town, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being the best example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America.

Lunenburg was officially established in 1753 as the First British Colonial settlement in Nova Scotia outside Halifax. The original inhabitants of Lunenburg were “Foreign Protestants”, immigrants from Germany, Swiss and France which came to North America at the same time as Pennsylvania Dutch. The economy was mainly based on farming, fishing, ship-building and ocean-based commerce. Many of the descendents of these original settlers still live in town.

Today’s main industry is tourism and I could see a wide range of restaurants, B&Bs and inns ready to serve tourists in need. On the highest elevation of town, on Gallow’s Hill, I saw a stunning building: the Lunenburg Academy, still an elementary school, teaching children from grade 1 to 5. In town, and one of the squares in town features St. John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg’s most famous church.

After a very brief introduction to the town I finally checked into my abode for the night: the Lunenburg Inn where I was welcome by owner Don Wallace. Since I had had nothing to eat since breakfast this morning at the MacKinnon-Cann Inn in Yarmouth, my stomach was absolutely growling, and I was extremely exhausted. It had been a very long day and I was ready for a nice relaxing dinner. Thankfully, the Lunenburg Inn had provided a basket of home-made cookies for the guest, a sweet treat I could not resist.

Don was so kind as to give me a few dining suggestions in town and provided me with a few menus from various local establishments. I decided to head down to the Rumrunner Inn right along the waterfront and left my car in the parking lot. About five minutes later I had arrived at my destination and settled in for a satisfying meal. After a delicious house salad I continued with absolutely scrumptious Linguine A La Gorgonzola which satisfied my overwhelming craving for carbs. But Nova Scotia is obviously the domain of the seafood eaters and all the restaurants in this area feature extensive seafood menus. The Rumrunner Inn, for example, offers a Lobster Bisque Napoleon, a Lobster Dinner with rice and fresh vegetables, Surf and Turf including a sirloin steak and a Lobster Thermidor, featuring chunks of lobster in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and a touch of cognac. Nova Scotia is a paradise for seafood lovers, and many travellers buy entire boxes of Nova Scotia lobster during their vacations.

After a very satisfying meal I dragged my tired body back to my cozy room the Lunenburg Inn, downloaded my photos and dropped into the comfortable bed like a bag of potatoes. It had been a really eventful day and tomorrow I would get a better chance to get to know this scenic town of Lunenburg before heading over to Halifax via Peggy’s Cove.

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