Destination: Nova Scotia

J&A Wanderlust

Mar 2, 2018

Nova Scotia Peggy's Cove

Best things to do in Nova Scotia // Travel & Wanderlust

Nova Scotia.

The destination that started as an after-thought and totally stole our hearts.

Every year, we choose a destination to explore for our personal vacation. We start with a specific city or country and expand out from there.

Prince Edward Island was our official destination last fall. {To get the whole story on why PEI became our destination of choice, you can get the scoop in Destination: Prince Edward Island}

With PEI came Maine, Acadia National Park, Boston, Rhode Island, New Brunswick…

And while we’re there? Let’s throw in Nova Scotia.

Best “Let’s throw that in” ever.

We saw some of the most incredible places on our trip to Atlantic Canada. Seriously, it was all incredible. But we both agree, hands down, that Nova Scotia is the place we’ll go back to someday.

The fishing villages, the food, the people, the culture, the land. There’s something about it that reaches into your soul.

Someday, I hope you get a chance to explore Nova Scotia for yourself. But until then, enjoy this little peek into its wonders and beauty!

Cabot Trail // Cape Breton Island

There were some really eccentric, colorful art galleries around the island. We planned to get some coffee here at Frog Pond Cafe, but ended up changing our minds and getting a blueberry muffin. It was a yummy muffin! Perfect for a rainy drive.

This view right here. This drive. All the heart eyes.

It took us past lots of little hamlets and fishing villages. Straight out of a storybook, for sure!

The rain stopped and the weather cleared up for the last part of the Cabot Trail. Watching the last little bit of haze disappear and the sun peek a few rays into this scene was such a surreal moment.

These fishing villages! I couldn’t get over all the beautiful bright colors.

Somebody transformed one of the lighthouses along Cabot Trail into an ice cream shop. It was cold and rainy, but we’re talking about ice cream served in a lighthouse. So…we stopped.

Post ice-cream smiles with clearing skies!

Halifax, Nova Scotia

We left Antigone the next morning and drove down to Halifax. It was like stepping into another world after all our fishing villages and coast-hugging roads.

This beautiful public garden was like the Nova Scotia version of Central Park.

You can’t really see it here, but they had all kinds of special gardens with labeled plants. You could explore cocoa trees, avocados, and all kinds of other really interesting plants.

We stopped to explore the Citadel National historic site. They had some really neat demonstrations and had costumed actors around to answer questions. You could go inside a lot of the little rooms around the wall. They had some realistic scenes set up, and some of them were hands-on. It was a really neat place to pop into and check out!

And off to explore downtown! The best coffee is almost always right smack in the middle of downtown everywhere we go, so we naturally gravitate toward downtown scenes now. It’s always a fascinating place of culture to explore!

The faces of wandering travelers about to check out a coffee shop that we just know is going to be epic.

Yep! Weird Harbor Coffee made our #jacoffeefavorites list. Winner!

And if you’re ever in downtown Halifax, please stop at The Old Apothecary Bakery! This place was incredible. We got an earl gray shortbread cookie sandwich, and it was perfect with that vanilla latte. And huge. And this girl was happy.

Would you believe that the star of the show was the Halifax Central Library?

Seriously. Best part of our time in the city, hands down. They asked Halifaxians (Halifaxers?) what their vision for a library would be. This vision resulted in a vibrant piece of culture where people can connect, work, and access resources that enhance professional and personal growth.

What that translates to:

Harry Potter worthy staircases, art galleries, tons of space to work personally or collaboratively, a full coffee shop, rooftop space, a performing arts studio, and all kinds of other things that made us want to live there forever.

I have a love for libraries already, but this takes the cake. It sounds kind of crazy to tell you that our absolute favorite place in this city was their public library.

But go.

P.S. The structural design is supposed to be a stack of books. I didn’t see it until I read that somewhere. 

There was a wall filled with these tiny hand painted book inspired blocks.

The rooftop terrace that overlooks the harbor.

One last goodbye to Halifax!

And…back to nature.

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

Our last stop of the day was Peggy’s Cove. This was most definitely worth the detour! It was also on the cover of one of our guidebooks, so we had been waiting for this moment since I started planning the trip.

The entire village of Peggy’s Cove was so picturesque. A perfect little spot!

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

We found our vanilla lattes at No 9 Coffee Bar the next morning before exploring Lunenburg, NS. It was a historic building converted into a shop, and character was abundant. So perfect for a Nova Scotian coffee adventure!

If you take a trip to Nova Scotia, put Lunenburg on your must-see list! It was our favorite spot on the entire island. When I dreamed about exploring Nova Scotia, this is exactly what I wanted to find. A picturesque historic fishing village with bright colors and tons of character.

I feel like we learned a lot about Canadian history on this trip. Like the Bluenose II! Did you know this is on the back of a Canadian dime? So neat!

We were super excited that it happened to be in harbor at Lunenburg during the exact same time we were there. Gorgeous ship! It has a fascinating history. If you’re interested, you can find out more here.

Our favorite across-the-river view of Lunenburg.

These windows are apparently a big deal here. They’re called the “Lunenburg Bump”.

It’s a dormer window with 5 angles that resulted from woodworkers and shipbuilders wanting to create elaborate designs on their houses – especially those who wanted to display their wealth.

There is some really elaborate decorative architecture in Old Town that’s beautiful to explore. Lunenburg has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995.

We can’t leave Lunenburg without a quick shout out to Salt Shaker Deli. It’s a super good little restaurant that we loved!

Don’t let the term “deli” throw you off. It’s a regular sit down restaurant with high quality food, and their scallop linguine is some of the best we’ve had!

I could have stayed in Lunenburg much longer, but it was officially time for Prince Edward Island!!

We grabbed a vanilla latte at Cortado Tasting Room on our way (and don’t miss Noggins Corner Farmer’s Market next door!) and headed off to make my Anne of Green Gables dreams come true!

{You don’t want to miss our Prince Edward Island and Anne of Green Gables adventures!}

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into some of our favorite places in Nova Scotia. See you soon for our next adventure!



A Quick Guide to our favorite recommendations from Nova Scotia:

Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island

Halifax Central Library

Weird Harbor Espresso Bar

The Old Apothecary Bakery

The town of Lunenburg

Salt Shaker Deli (Lunenburg)

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse 

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