With the advent of autumn and the return of the sun after hurricane Teddy’s recent visit which fortunately did not bring the forecasted winds but did leave us a substantial amount of much needed rain, I was eager to take my car out for a run to do some exploring. With only a few hours to spare, I opted for a quick trip to the North Shore on the Bay of Fundy side of Nova Scotia.
My first stop was the small fishing village of Hampton where you will always find lobster boats tied up at the wharf ready to head out to sea. This scenic village is a favourite location for cottagers from all parts of our province, some from other provinces in Canada, and a handful of Americans who have brought the village to life every summer except for this year, thanks to COVID. Every Canada Day in early July, the Hampton Lighthouse and Historical Society has been hosting a successful lobster dinner as a fundraiser for their lighthouse maintenance. However, not wanting to accept defeat by the pandemic, they decided to offer the same dinner as a ‘take out’ instead.
Things were quiet when I arrived except for a few curious people walking the rocky beach most probably searching for stones and driftwood treasures offered in abundance by the Fundy. I didn’t want to take the time to walk the beach so headed in the other direction to see if there was any action on the cliff where the cottages are located. Unfortunately, they looked quite deserted. The only sign of any life was a car stopped in the middle of the road with a man and a woman appearing to be looking at what I thought was a map. I stopped and asked if they were lost and whether I could help them? Not at all: they were observing a bird…a huge black one with a brilliant red crest on his head. We quickly agreed that he was some kind of woodpecker but never had we seen one so large. After lots conversation about birds and other things that curious travellers discuss when out for drive, along came another youngish woman with a huge camera. We flagged her down to find out if she could tell us more about this handsome bird. Without hesitation, she confirmed for us that it was indeed a woodpecker and that he was a Piliated Woodpecker commonly found in the southernmost regions of Canada and throughout the eastern part of the US. Since that day, I have heard from others that more than usual have been sighted here in Nova Scotia this year. No doubt he is another gift left to us by climate change and COVID.
Lobster boats waiting to go out to sea.
Cottages on the cliff over looking the beach in Hampton
Inviting spot to rest and look to the sea
Does he remind you of Woody Woodpecker?
What is so special about Mavillette Beach one might wonder, especially when Nova Scotia has more than 7,500 km. of shoreline? That’s a lot of beaches! At least 40 or more are popular for their warm waters, their length, and their surf. In fact, our province is reported to have some of the warmest waters north of the Carolinas in the US.
One of my favourite beaches is Mavillette on the Acadian shore in the District of Clare. This summer, I made a promise to myself that I would pay a long overdue visit. For those readers who read my last post on Exploring Nova Scotia’s District of Clare, * you will know that I was so distracted by other Acadian sites and things to do on my way down in early July that I never got there. Continue reading
My travel bug to explore a new place or to revisit an old one will often surface on a Sunday. Wouldn’t you know the bug decided to make its appearance on a recent Sunday that didn’t hold much promise for any sun, but at least no threat of rain in the forecast as far as I could see from the latest weather report. We needed rain, but rather than wait around for some to come, I decided to chance it anyway. I needed to get out and about to explore. There would undoubtedly be cloud and fog since I decided to visit an old haunt I hadn’t seen for several years… the District of Clare. This is Acadian country where fog rules whenever the sun disappears…which is often.
Clare is the largest Acadian region in Nova Scotia on St. Mary’s Bay or Baie Sainte-Marie dating back to 1768. County Clare was the name adopted by the first English settlers who arrived there calling it after County Clare in Ireland. Today it’s officially called the Municipality of the District of Clare where both French and English descendents reside and conduct business. More than 60 per cent of the population today is descended from the Acadians who resettled here after their expulsion by the British from Grand Pre in 1755. Today Clare is one of the province’s most popular tourist destinations with its vibrant French culture featuring fantastic ocean views, Acadian cuisine, elegant churches, music and art. Second to their tourism is the prosperous ship building and fish processing industries all along this southwestern shore.
With the onset of a heat wave in late June and a gradual lift in the lockdown imposed upon us by COVID, many of us were more than ready to tentatively emerge beyond the four walls of our homes. When a dear friend called me to say she had to ‘get out of town’ and was thinking it it would be fun to head to the North Shore of beautiful Nova Scotia, I didn’t hesitate to say, ‘Yes, let’s go!’
After numerous phone calls, we found what looked like a nice place to stay in the Village of Tatamagouche. Tata, as it’s fondly called, has a population of approximately 2,000 people. It’s located on the Sunrise Trail on the shores of the Northumberland Strait separating Nova Scotia from Prince Edward Island.
“Nothing is good or bad for thinking that makes it so” – William Shakespeare
I marvel at how great minds have expressed truisms that have lasted for so long and yet go unnoticed by so many of us these days. I chose this one from Shakespeare’s ” Hamlet ” because it is one we need to keep in mind as we face the challenges facing us now and in the future.
As some of the lockdown restrictions imposed upon us by COVID-19 are lifted, we should be thankful for that, but still remain vigilant because this virus will in all probability hang around to haunt us again. For the present, we can now go outside and use our parks and trails to get a breath of fresh air and some much needed exercise. As our days slowly morphed into spring, we joyfully welcomed this small step forward to some kind of normality which will hopefully relieve some of the stress that many Canadians are feeling during this time.