Tag Archives: Bluenose Coast

Nova Scotia’s South Shore & Lighthouse Route

Gorgeous wee waterfall

Okay, so the plan had been to chat about Apron Falls, but that can come on another day. I was out on the weekend snapping shots of some of the amazing things that there are to be seen around this little corner of heaven, and it occured to me that some of my shots are bloody amazing (in my own humble opinion). I have a friend called Peter Zwicker, and his photos are .. well .. they are gobstopping. You look at his photo of a chilly day on the ocean, and despite the fact that it’s 30 degrees celsius outside you suddenly feel you need a sweater and a hot cuppa joe. It’s true: his photos are that .. imagination grabbing. He snaps it, you feel it.  So my photos aren’t remotely like that. But they are pretty darned cool, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to taking a photo.

So it occured to me as I was browsing though my photographs: you know, it’s really hard to take a bad photograph of this area. It can be done, of course, but not without effort and for the most part all of the photos I’ve seen are lovely (not Peter lovely, but lovely nonetheless). And I’ve seen a LOT of photos by a LOT of different people – running a backpacker hostel, we are often shown the photos people take as they are out and about in the area. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, foggy, snowy, windy, rainy, day, night, forest, ocean, buildings .. whatever the heck kinda weather there is, whatever the time of day, and whatever you can’t help yourself capturing on camera .. it turns out, well, pretty darned awesome.

Little House Boat

A view from Lunenburg's golf course

So I wondered a bit about why that was. Is it just that the ocean side is That Magical? I have a very special spot in my heart reserved for the ocean and all of its folklore (perhaps stemming from my Faroese heritage)… and the forest when it is lush and mossy it, too, seems to be hiding fairies under each leaf… I can easily get lost in my imagination while I’m walking through a quiet, green forest or strolling along a loud & crashing beach. So is it my love for the ocean and forest in general that make me thinks all these photos are brilliant?

No. No, I don’t think that’s the answer. Because I’ve been to other oceans and other forests in other cities and provinces and countries, and I’ve managed to take pretty darned ordinary photos there. I’ve been to some truly fantastic places where I’m practically drooling it’s so gorgeous, and yet my photos somehow make it look remarkably un-remarkable. So why are there so many fantastic photos of this part of Nova Scotia taken even by two-short-plank people like me?

Well, I think I’ve decided that it is because the area itself holds the magic. Not the ocean, not the forest — this very part of Nova Scotia. The history of this little niche is incredible! Pirates, werewolves, ghosts, witches … music, art, dance … and yes, ocean, forest, lakes & rivers. I think it’s the magic of this whole area, the magic in the air that we are ensconced in 24/7 that makes photos taken by the world’s worst photographer look good. Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, New Germany, Riverport, LaHave (that’s with a long A in ‘have’ … like the word haven, but you take off the n), BlueRocks, Aspotogan Peninsula .. oh my do I need to go on? Indian Falls, Gaff’s Point, Apron Falls, Green Bay, Indian Point .. it’s so beautiful here. It still takes my breath away every time I drive into Mahone Bay, and we’ve been living here now for 8 years …. I wonder if it will ever just get ordinary to me? I really can’t see that happening.

 

So really, you should come here. Come to Nova Scotia, and come to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. Test my theory. Your scrapbook will make your friends and family jealous …okay, maybe not, but your photos will be awesome, and it will plant a seed in all of those people who see them. Once that seed takes root, they’ll be here too. Because this place is just too magical to keep away from.

Books .. Ahhhhhh yes. Books.

No vacation, holiday or, indeed, life is complete without books … and a good powerful load of them at that. I am ridiculously addicted to books, and apparently am raising three like-minded children.. particularly the eldest.

So maybe you’re visiting this spectacular little area of Nova Scotia’s Bluenose Coast/Lighthouse Route and it’s a stunning day … the sun is shining so brightly it looks like we’ve paved our streets with diamonds, the ocean is sparkling like the stars at night (speaking of the night sky, have you seen the night sky here? Try it .. okay not just here, anywhere away from the city. In a word? Remarkable.) .. so, right. You’ve got the picture forming in your head. Lunenburg Town is wonderful .. everything you imagined and so much more, and you just wish you could just let it all absorb into your soul for a little bit … so that, mid-winter, you can open yourself up and relive the experience and escape the cold/snow/rain/whatever. What better way to do this than to walk up UNESCO Fresco (the banks are lined up on your right, and an array of beautifully coloured restaurants, shops and accommodations are on your left) until you get to the War Memorial. Pay your respects and then head off to your right past the bandstand. If you’re lucky, there’s live music, but if not ahhhhh .. a piece of heaven. Lay down on the grassy hill overlooking the busy-ness of town and read. What do you call a good read? There’s so much. At the moment I’m particularly enthralled with Nancy Farmer’s Sea of Trolls (ha – play on words there … en-thralled .. ha) – magical books, they are.

But what for the people who haven’t a book with them? I have an answer to that question, I do. Stand up, stretch your legs… your arms.. your back … deep breath in of fresh sea air, and then head back down the street you just walked up (it’s quite short, don’t worry). Turn left at the bottom, onto Montague Street, and just a few doors down you’ll find one of the most remarkable books shops you’ll ever be likely to find. Mixed in with all these modern, fancy schmancy, designed-to-attract-tourists shops is Elizabeth’s Books. It’s a small and unassuming shop run by Chris, who is always happy to have a chat. Don’t bother heading there in the morning, though – he’s an afternoon & evening sort of man and so is his shop. Romantically, he named the shop for his wife. I love that he did that. It’s … I don’t know.

When you walk into his shop it feels something like taking a step back into history. New books are there, yes. But the second hand books are all there, whispering to each other about the places they’ve been .. the people’s hands who have turned their pages. The shop is never completely quiet. Not that it’s noisy, because it simply isn’t. It’s just alive. And if you are overwhelmed at the sheer number of books you needn’t waste one bit of energy worrying about it. You simply walk up to Chris and say “I would like to have a book about [please insert subject]” and he’ll say “Oh yes, of course.” and get it. He knows where everything is, and he can probably tell you the books story too …. and by that I don’t mean the storyline, I mean the where and when and why: How that book ended up in his shop. I love visiting Chris and so do my kids. It feels like entering a magical place … there was only one time he didn’t have the specific book I wanted, and within a few days he had found it for me. Incredible. The first time I went he was so genuinely pleased to meet me, and the second time he remembered my name (something I find mind-boggling because I have such a hard time remembering names).

Right. So, suffice to say, if you are in Lunenburg .. or Mahone Bay .. or anywhere in Nova Scotia for that matter, and you like/love books of any sort, a trip to Elizabeth’s Books is ……. well, it isn’t really a suggestion .. not even a recommendation .. it’s quite simply a necessity. You can’t miss it.

The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television. ~Andrew Ross