New England to Nova Scotia | Unconventional Spring Break Part 2
Driving Itinerary: Moncton, New Brunswick - Victoria Park, Nova Scotia - Lunenburg, NS - Mahone Bay, NS - Peggy's Cove, NS
To Do: Victoria Park, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Peggy's Cove
I left off at our night spent in Moncton, New Brunswick. Remember the bathroom the size of a bedroom, sleeping in a warm cloud-like embrace, and waking up to eat croissants? If not, be sure to check out the first part of our road trip north, here.
Thursday morning after drinking *all* the coffee we checked out of the hotel with our sights set on Victoria Park on our way to our somewhat final destination of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. I had happened to find Victoria Park while searching for hiking trails on Instagram, no joke, if you don't already use this social media platform to explore places to visit I highly recommend it. Anyway, on our way to the town of Truro we decided to take a detour and try to see the Bay of Fundy. Long story short, I was sitting in the passenger seat when Andrew turned and asked me if I'd just seen that sign. By this time the Canadian road signs had been a real source of conversation as we found them to utilize drawings and caricatures much more than I've seen in the States. Regardless, I had missed the sign and my husband said, "The sign just said that the road/pavement is ending." At this point we're committed, with only one of us in the car having cell service. We convinced ourselves - It'll just be a short dirt road. 20 minutes later, an unbelievable amount of laughter, and who knows how many kilometers in, we were still on the dirt road. I turned to look out the window and see pretty much an entire forest linked by sap-lines which of course I'm excited about because, if you've read my about me page, you know if there's one thing I'll get excited about it's maple. Several minutes later we pass the sign for the Hidden Mountain Maple Farm - location: middle of nowhere (the sign didn't say that location, I added it in for dramatic effect in case that needed clarifying). Now, by this point some of you are thinking, "why on earth is she sharing this detail with us? I'm not ever going to want to drive down this somewhat sketchy dirt road in the middle of nowhere." I promise I'll come back to it in a little bit.
We made it to Victoria Park, if you visit it may throw you when you see the parking lot and playground area. By this I mean, it's a very nice park. But, you really won't know just how cool and unique this park is until you start walking back into the woods and exploring. Jacob's ladder = coolest staircase in the woods. This was the main attraction for me when I found this location on IG, but I had no idea the number of staircases in addition to the famous Jacob's Ladder. We were all grateful to stretch our legs, climb the 175 steps of Jacob's Ladder (plus another 200ish steps throughout the park), enjoy another picnic lunch, and snap a few photos of the waterfalls - from talking to one of the locals we learned the water in the summer is typically only a trickle, and instead of raging waters you would find the stream teeming with kids swimming!
From Truro we drove straight to Lunenburg (ooops, correction: there may have been a stop for gas....and Tim Horton's, because coffee). Regardless, we arrived at our AirBnb, met our wonderful host Leanne, and walked into the most adorably updated house we got to call home for a few days. The space was complete with a basket full of goodies from local businesses, a chalkboard with thoughts from previous guests, and a notebook filled with helpful tips for the local area. With Leanne's suggestion in mind we made our way into town and were able to snag a table at the Salt Shaker Deli. (yes. yes. just YES). I don't think any of us have ever had such a hard time deciding on what to order for dinner. And every dish was good till the last bite.
After a beautiful night's rest I woke up and walked downstairs, opened my laptop and found a sweet message from the homeowner with all kinds of suggestions about great things to do and see in the area despite the rain. We started with breakfast as Kate's Cafe, moved on to antique shops and book stores, and before heading back to the house went into the Fisherman's Picnic General Store. This store is stocked full of locally sourced products and as we started to talk to the shop owner I pointed out the maple sugar, and said, "Yeah, we've driven by that maple farm." She seemed surprised and noted how out of the way, in the middle of nowhere it was, and that she'd never actually been there herself. We all began to laugh and explained the brief story of the dirt road. I told you'd I'd come back to it, didn't I? All this to say, back roads are always 100% worth it. Unless we actually end up having to take our faithful Subaru in for re-alignment - in which case it'll only be 95% worth it ;-D
On to our Mahone Bay adventure, just a short 20 minute drive from where we were staying. We started at Saltbox Brewing Co. Now, I'm about to tell you something, but you have to promise not to tell my dog. I fell in LOVE with the dog, Gracie, at Saltbox. I know, you were expecting me to talk about the beer, but I was the designated driver for the afternoon. And also... PUPPY! Gracie is the owner's dog and she walked over to me when we entered. When I got down on the ground she just snuggled up to me, and well, the rest is history. I told our pup, Archie, when I got home and he could smell the traitor on me that the only reason I had fallen in love with another dog was because I was missing him. Well played, right? As for the brewery it's super cool. Great vibe, a ton of artist's work on the walls. I only tried a couple sips of beer, but the rest of the group enjoyed the beer and Andrew and I bought a glass, which is our souvenir of choice from any trip (the reason behind why we made pint glasses and gave them out as wedding favors - it was the start of our best adventure).
Following the brewery was lunch at Rebecca's Restaurant, a great local restaurant with fresh ingredients. Several of their menu items featured some kind of pickled item, and the shelves around the tables were lined with jars full of vegetables we spent the time waiting for our meals guessing what was in them. With growing a garden and trying to find new ways to use our harvest, Andrew and I have been talking about how we should pickle more often after visiting Rebecca's. I ordered a falafel wrap and have seldom found a place that adequately seasons falafel, but they have it perfected. After lunch we walked around downtown. If you're looking for a cozy book shop, I recommend A Novel Idea Bookstore, the owner Lisa is friendly and knowledgable. We started chatting as I asked her about the legend of Oak Island (Andrew and I had started watching a few of the episodes on the History Channel before leaving on our trip), and she also gave us great suggestions for books for our nephews. Get the Scoop is a quality ice cream shop. Lisa, the owner, attended ice cream college (for sure not it's technical name, but it conveys the seriousness of her knowledge of the craft and the reality of the level of ice cream). She is a bubbly conversationalist with a dose of comedy. At one point she described the apple pie ice cream to us expressing that she puts an entire apple pie in the machine. Turns out she really wasn't kidding. If you're to visit the shop you're sure to try unique flavors as it sounds like she changes what she offers frequently. Basically, she's an ice cream magician. The name of her store is quite fitting as you are sure to get the scoop at Get the Scoop.
We got back to the AirBnb, sat for a few minutes and made the last minute decision to visit Peggy's Cove that night. I don't have much to say about this stop because I think the pictures below will speak for themselves. It was definitely cold, but the experience was incredible. Watching the waves pound on the rocks was magnificent and also an important visual reminder of the power water. We watched the sunset and I think there was only one other person there. Probably because it was extremely cold, but also, it's not peak season yet - huge plus! On the ride home we found one of my new favorite fast food chains called Mezza. Think Chipotle but instead of Mexican it's Lebanese inspired dishes. We looked up the restaurant chain and I'm sorry to report there are none in the States. Another reason to road trip to Nova Scotia!
Next post will be a look at our trip to explore Halifax, a distillery, and a wedding inspired sunset beach session!