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Joggins Fossil Cliffs are an amazing place to visit, the cliffs are millions of years old and as our guide explained, walking a meter along the beach is like moving back or forward a million years in time!
Joggins is unique as the shore line is constantly altered by the Fundy Highest Tides in the world, and the Low Tides reveal the most complete fossil record of the “Coal Age,” 100 million years before the dinosaurs. I can’t grasp the science or such a huge span of history, but I was filled with awe being in this place.
There are numerous tours you can take with knowledgeable, personable guides who make it easy to walk the beach looking for fossils. They tell you a lot about the “Coal Age”, point out fossils in the cliff, on the beach and explain why this site is so unique. Due to the Fundy Tides, this site is not a place “set in stone” but dynamic and ever-changing making it an important living educational and scientific site.
There is a museum with interactive displays making it easy to digest the information. You can walk the beach for free,you can pay a nominal fee to get into the museum and a 30-minute beach walk with a guide. But we were glad we took the guided 2-hour tour as we got so much more out of the experience. We slowly walked along the beach and our guide told us history and made the cliffs living. We had time to look for fossils on our own. He pointed out imprints of trees and possibly trees themselves in the cliffs. I can’t possibly do any justice to this place as it is so awe-inspiring and so much information to take in.
There is also a 4-hour tour for the more committed visitors and if you are a student of this education, a once in a lifetime experience. In case you are wondering the 2-hour tour is physically easy as you walk along the beach slowly, it just requires a walk down some stairs to the beach.
A “World Heritage Site” as the Joggins website explains “is the designation given to special places in the world that are of outstanding universal value to humanity, and as such have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations”
View the website before you go for the tide times and information on the Coal Age, tours available: Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site
I can’t describe this memorial park; it is a park that needs to be experienced. If you find yourself along Highway #2 near Bass River, take the time to seek out the park (it is easy to find). To appreciate the meaning, you need to take the time to reflect on what the park is about. The designers of the living memorial have done a tremendous job with flowers, memorials and information to create a very poignant experience.
Upon entering, The Garden of Sorrows tells us about the horrors of war, The Garden of Remembrance proudly displays the names of Canadian soldiers who served or who are currently serving in military and peacekeeping. The Garden of Hope is beautifully laid out with plants from around the world showing diversity of color, texture and scent mingle together in peace.
Also, in various corners are three monuments: The Broken, soldiers who returned from the war changed, The Transformation, a creative structure symbolizing the transformation from war to peace and to The Forgotten Hero’s, the animals who also served and gave their lives in the war.
There is a lot more and reading the information adds greatly to the experience. I was extremely touched and moved to tears by the poem engraved on black stone with a simple memorial upon entering the Garden of Sorrows.
We were exceedingly affected and impressed, and I hope to go back for one of their numerous remembrances throughout the year.
For more information Veterans Memorial Park
As with many of the museums scattered around rural Nova Scotia, this village portrays the life of a village approximately as it would have been around 1867- Canada’s Confederation. Life is fairly settled with a lumber camp, sawmill and gold mining in the area to make some men rich while others worked the mine. They came together at the Sherbrooke Hotel, however, those with wealth enjoyed the rooms upstairs, the miners and lumberjacks slept in a room in the basement.
Greenwood Cottage, the home of James and Sarah Cumminger; he owned part of the goldmine, the lumber mill and ran Cumminger General Store with his brother; the style of their home reflects their social position and means. The day we visited, Mrs. Cumminger was serving tea to modern day guests who came along while she explained her husband was away at sea, likely acquiring goods for the General Store.
Lots to see in the General Store so ask lots of questions and you will get a rich history of the time. One interesting fact about McDonald Tailor & Clothier, another store in the village; he made clothes for the men only while the women of the village made their own clothes from bolts of cloth on display in the General Store.
I found the Jailers House very interesting; the jail cells were right in the family home with cells on both floors of the house. The jailer’s wife assured us she was safe and usually it was intoxication that brought the men to the jails and they were held overnight to attend the courthouse just down the street. Hence the Temperance House also in the village. Mrs. Cumminger had a guest from the village who was asking everyone to sign the Temperance Petition.
If you find your self visiting on a rainy day, the visitor center provides large umbrellas you can carry with you. Trying to juggle dogs and cameras we opted not to and got very wet which brings me to the small act of kindness. A healthy home cooked meal is sold at the Sherbrooke Hotel which is now a restaurant (we both had fisherman’s pie, like a cottage pie with fish instead) Seeing how wet we were the woman dried our coats in their dryer, very much appreciated. They also serve a Victoria Tea with the fancy cups.
The buildings of the Village, they are proud to tell you in the visitor center are the original buildings, they were not moved from other areas. There is a lot to see including the pharmacy, the Ambrotype Photography Studio - you can get your photo taken in the original style, the only photographer in Nova Scotia to still use that old style. The weaver’s cottage, the telephone exchange, and the Pottery so plan to spend the day. Don’t forget to ask Joe McLane the blacksmith to ride one of the penny-farthing bikes and ask him how much one cost back then-quite shocking.
Baile nan Gaidheal--Highland Village
Iona, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Cape Breton has a strong heritage of Scottish roots, with Gaelic language, music and dance an important part of the Cape Breton culture.
Iona, named after a community in Scotland, was settled by Gaelic speaking immigrants from the Isle of Barra in 1802. Highland Village tells the story of that settlement starting at the black house, a stone house in Scotland. Walk the village and see the economic and cultural development of Gaelic settlers on Cape Breton, covering the period starting 1770 to 1920’s.
The Village is located in a very peaceful and beautiful spot overlooking and surrounded by the Bras d’Or Lakes.
If you love history and museums, you will enjoy watching history unfold with the help of the interpreters, dressed in costume and proud of their Gaelic background. My favourite parts were the views, all the goods in the General Store, the way time and history unfolded as we wound our way along the paths of the Village.
Ross Farm Museum
New Ross, Nova Scotia
As many of the museums scattered across Nova Scotia, Ross Farm tells us the story of rural life and farming 100 to 175 years ago. Captain Ross was given 800 acres of land free for past military service in 1816 and after 5 generations of the family farmed here, some of the land was purchased by New Ross District Museum Society.
Ross Farm is a peaceful place with lots to see with interpreters dressed in the costume of the day working as the generations of Ross family would have worked. The blacksmith was shoeing an ox, a team of oxen were tilling the fields, the cooper was making barrels and the women were cooking and doing dishes in Rose Bank Cottage.
What makes this museum different is the heritage breeds of many animals who are around the property as you visit the buildings. See one of my favorite pictures of the roster and the hen by the barn door.
Take the day and enjoy the farm. I suspect the black lamb we saw is already growing up; however, the beautiful dishes of the period are still showing in Rose Bank Cottage dining-room. Activities occur throughout the day so check the website to see what is going on. A great way to see the farm is the horse and buggy ride. Take a quiet day and watch for all the animals as you tour the farm and ask questions of the friendly interpreters about this important part of Nova Scotia history.
Check out their website HERE
The Fundy Shore Ecotour, a scenic drive which encircles the Bay of Fundy, starting in Brooklyn Hants County to Amherst and follows the shores of Chegnecto Bay, Minas Basin and Cobequid Bay. We only covered a small portion but there was so much to see it took us the day! Any of the places we visited could have been a day themselves if we had more time to explore.
Our first stop was Fox Point Lookout. There is a short hike, but we didn’t take it but did find a spot for a great shot of the Digby Split across the water.
The Age of Sail Heritage Center Museum located along Highway 209, Port Greville, is a must see, operated by the Greville Bay Shipbuilding Museum Society. The society is a charitable organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the lumbering and shipbuilding history of the Parrsboro Shore.
The Museum building itself and the history of the non-profit organization is an interesting story. There is a lot to see, helpful and friendly volunteers and we didn’t give ourselves enough time to really do the museum justice. The site includes cafe/gift shop, a boat shed, a blacksmith shop and a band saw shed. Several walking trails lead from the museum to historic and natural features along the river and home to the Lighthouse. Inside the centre are artifacts, exhibits and photos of the era.
Further off the beaten path is Spencer’s Island, located at the western end of Greville Bay on the Bay of Fundy. With a history of important shipbuilding, the island now includes Old Shipyard Beach Campground, café, beautiful beach and a historic lighthouse dating to 1904 recently been granted permission by the Canadian Coast Guard to turn the light back on.
The Spencer’s Island Lighthouse had a central role in the sea-faring history of Cumberland County, and is an important community landmark. The rugged terrain in this part of Nova Scotia made land travel difficult. Communities in this are relied heavily on shipbuilding and shipping for its economic growth. The Spencer’s Island Lighthouse is a “secondary lighthouse:” its light beam was used in conjunction with the beam of another lighthouse to signal the proper route to incoming ships.
We ended our tour with Cape d’Or Scenic Area, a rugged coastline with sea and wind where Bay of Fundy runs into the Minas Channel. Another spot along the Fundy Shore Ecotour where you could easily spend the day with views of the sea and hiking.
Where you find treacherous seas and riptides, you find a lighthouse. Cape d’Or lighthouse built in 1922, was destaffed in 1989. The Advocate District Development Association preserved the site and its structures in 1995. This organization repaired and converted the lightkeeper’s houses into Lightkeeper's Kitchen Restaurant where you can watch the Bay of Fundy tides. Even spend the night at The Guesthouse, a converted lighthouse keeper's residence.