New England to Nova Scotia // Unconventional Spring Break - Part 3
Driving Itinerary: Lunenburg - Oak Island - Halifax - Hirtle Beach, Kingsburg NS - Connecticut, USA
To See: Oak Island, Hirtle Beach
Hopefully you've had a chance to checkout photos from our adventure to Peggy's Cove in my last post, because I'm confident it'll only take one photo to convince you to add it to your list when you visit Nova Scotia.
That brings us to our final full day in NS, also known as the day we crammed every possible thing into 12 hours. To start, we made the decision to make the trip from Lunenburg to Halifax in the morning to explore some of the urban scene. After doing some googling the night before while drinking a beer and playing cards, I found Norbert's Restaurant for breakfast. Their website states, "First and only farm to table restaurant in Halifax." The added benefit of this location is that it's located in the Halifax Farmer's Market, and it's no ordinary Farmer's Market. On our way to Halifax we took a quick detour to see if we could see any of Oak Island, a supposed mystery that dates back about 220 years and around which an entire history channel series was made. If you're interested, read a little about the mystery, but we made it as far as to see the causeway to the island - the point of the mystery of a buried treasure is of course that there really isn't actually anything to see, so just seeing the island was good enough for us.
Anyway, we made it to Norbert's, I ordered food, went to stand waiting to find a table when a gentleman walked up to me striking up a conversation about my camera. A couple minutes into the discussion and I realized I was standing chatting with Norbert himself - farmer and owner of the restaurant. After talking with him and hearing a little bit of his story he gave me the privilege of taking his photo. I can't say enough good things about the quality of the food. It wasn't until we were eating and soaking in the experience that I realized how Norbert's truly embodies farm to table. The family grows the food and then, in combination with sourcing from other local businesses, they cook with what they have in season on their farm and create menu items based on what's available. Generally in the States I've seen restaurants boasting farm to table to mean that it was someone's farm to someone else's restaurant table; in this case the farmer and the restaurant can't be separated. Consider me impressed.
Besides the great breakfast place we found we also walked around to checkout the other local vendors. From baked goods, flowers, produce, beauty products, cutting boards to clothing, the Halifax market has it all. Plus, it's all indoors which is a huge bonus as it's reliable and protected from winds from the water. Straight from the website for the market: "The Halifax Farmers’ Market, now known as the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, is the oldest, continuously operating farmers’ market in North America. It was established by royal decree in 1750, just one year after the establishment of Halifax itself." SO. COOL.
After a walk down the boardwalk we arrived at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. This museum is affordable and well worth making the time when you're in Halifax. The two major exhibits are for the Halifax Explosion and the Titanic. The explosion occurred in 1917 when a Norwegian vessel suffered a catastrophic collision with a French cargo boat carrying destructive explosives, I'm unsure of ever having learned about this in a history class but it's a well thought out exhibit and also really impacted the way I viewed and appreciated Halifax as we were walking around after. Additionally, the Titanic exhibit was tastefully done, well laid out, and full of information that helped to put Halifax's part in this marine disaster in perspective. Three major ships responsible for recovering bodies were from the Halifax port; however, Halifax was the port that received the victims, not the survivors. The artifact on display that stuck with me the most was the banner used to advertise for the return journey on the Titanic from Halifax. A journey that never happened.
We left the city early in the afternoon to make it back to Lunenburg in time for our scheduled Ironworks distillery tour. This was the first distillery tour any of us had been on and we were all really impressed with the history of the building and the processes used to create Ironworks product. Two of the most unique products this distillery makes are the pear in the bottle (think ship in a bottle, but substitute the boat for a pear) and the rum which goes through a lengthy aging process where the barrels are actually loaded in a boat in the harbor in Lunenburg. They have discovered the aging of the rum on a ship gives it the perfect combination of heating, cooling and sloshing to achieve the right flavor. Afterwards we grabbed lunch/dinner at Grand Banker Bar & Grill, because we were hungry and it soaked up some of the alcohol.
Did you think 16 samples of liquor would be the end of our Nova Scotian adventure?! Well, maybe you weren't paying attention when I said we crammed everything into our last day. Basically we have the best friends and they agreed to put on a wedding gown and suit, take a trip to Hirtle Beach, and allow me to take some bridal portraits (a dream of mine from the moment I knew we were going to Nova Scotia, as I'd love to have the opportunity to photograph more elopements and destination weddings in the future). This post includes another sneak peek, but once I started editing these photos I realized it was going to have to be it's own post. And after all of the day's adventures and returning to our Airbnb after sunset, we decided to return to the Salt Shaker Deli for dessert. Because, well, why not?
We woke up on Sunday and drove from Lunenburg to Connecticut. It was for sure a long drive to do in one straight shot. But the entire car agreed unanimously upon arriving back in CT that we'd do it again in a heartbeat. Best "spring" break. Ever.