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Boxwood Festival

Workshop at Boxwood Festival

The Boxwood Festival is a hugely popular musical festival (with a huge focus on flute) that takes place in three select areas worldwide: Waipu, New Zealand; Williamsburgs VA, USA; and (you guessed it) Lunenburg, NS, Canada!

As mentioned above, the large focus of the festival is on the flute (what a magical instrument … though I guess I’m a bit biased having played it myself while I was growing up in Halifax), but there are also many other musical things going on as well: loads of othe rinstruments, vocals, percussion and dancing. There are workshops, classes and shows headed up by world-reknown experts in their own demain, with the emphasis on traditional folk music.

To quote them directly: “Boxwood shares and explores of the roots and branches of musical traditions in a holistic approach that integrates music, dance, language and crafts in educational outreach programs for adults, kids and professionals.”

For a truly unique experience for people of all ages, Boxwood Festival is something to come along and take part in. There are workshops for children to adults, beginner to professional.

And what better place to take part in this amazing festival, than here in Lunenburg where New World History is everywhere you look. The folklore in Lunenburg is oozing from the buildings, drifting through the morning fog, and in the very air you breath.

With the Tall Ships visiting us on the 25th and 26th of July; the Lunenburg Wooden Boat Reunion on the 28th & 29th of July; and the Folk Festival only a few very short weeks away NOW is the time to come. Boxwood Festival in Lunenburg Nova Scotia starts on July 22 and runs until the 28th.

Come for Boxwood and you won’t be able to leave with all the festivals and events going on at the moment … you’ll need to book your accommodation right away and, of course, a backpacker hostel is always a great way to do it. The Kip & Kaboodle hostel can be rented like a cottage – have the whole building to yourself for the cheapest sleep in town. If you aren’t into hostels there are plenty of other accommodation choices in and around Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and Mahone Bay. Take advantage of long-stay discounts and book a few tours with the local tour company Kiwi Kaboodle, who offer hiking, cycling and sightseeing tours of Nova Scotia.

Brier Island … Something you Simply Should Not Miss

I know, I know. This was first meant to be a blog about why you should stay with us in our hostel. It then morphed into a blog about why you should stay in Lunenburg County … well, today I’m just going to go right ahead and smash down that final barrier and say you should visit Nova Scotia! Because today (well, yesterday) we spent the day in Brier Island, and I can’t even begin to explain what an incredible experience it was.

It was our intention to get up super-early and get going, however with garbage day and visitors in the hostel we didn’t end up getting away until nearly 9am. Still, we made it to the Island by noon, and even stopped a couple times on the way.

The drive through the middle of the province was winding and lovely — if we were going to take it easy we would have checked into Caledonia House Hostel for the night and spent the day in Kejimkujik National Park. Sharon & Dan run that backpackers hostel, and they are lovely hosts … and so close to Keji! It would have been perfect. Sadly, we are on a pretty tight budget for time, as there were people staying in the hostel, so we just plodded on passing through so many quaint little communities – I really would have loved to have stopped. We stopped briefly in Digby to grab some motion sickness pills for our 4 and 9 year olds, and a quick bite to eat from Timmies (yup – there’s a Tim Hortons pretty much everywhere) and then on to the first of two ferry rides.

The first took us to Long Island (… pity we couldn’t stop for an ice tea :) ). The boat ride was super quick, and Long Island was lovely. Little homes dotted here and there, the balancing rock (well worth the hike to see), shops, a school, cafe … a busy little island which we didn’t really have time to stop here though because our final destination was Brier Island, and we were hightailing it. The second ferry took a bit longer (like 7 minutes instead of 5) and we were there.

The first thing I saw was a local riding his lawn tractor down the road. Lawn tractors, 4-wheelers, golf carts … part of the regular flow of traffic on Brier Island. I was instantly in love. With the Island, not the local.

Our first stop was at Brier Island Backpackers to see Wally & Joyce. What an incredible hostel they have there. Colourful rooms, huge big kitchen & common room .. and the view? Absolutely breathtaking! Gorgeous!!

There was no time for chitchat, though, as Wally & Joyce bundled us up in the special wet-weather-flotation-gear and packed us into their zodiac. We practically flew out into the open ocean … and there? It happened.

Whoosh! A big spray of water up into the air and seconds later WOW the stinkiest smell … whale breath (glad I didn’t have to kiss one!). We found a whale who did some lovely dives for us. We sat and watched for a while and them zoom! We were off again and .. wonder of all wonders .. found a mother and her calf. Whale, not cow. We’re in the middle of the ocean, right? It was absolutely magnificent. They put on such a show for us – swimming along the top of the water for ages, blowing, rolling over, diving and showing us their massive great tails and, la pièce de résistance, the full breach. Two times. Seriously. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t breathed.

Our three hours on the water passed far too quickly and we headed back (mostly, I think, because our 4-year old had had enough). We visited the lighthouse and the stunning beach. Ah! There was so much unexplored but we were running out of time :( . We had a delicious dinner at the Cafe there next to the Hostel — truly delicious: fried and yet completely ungreasy fish & chips. We met a very cool little puppy named Seven and Wally gave some dog treats to the kids to feed the sweet little guy. We watched a man drive his lawn tractor to the gas station and fill up with $1.87 gas and then drive off back home again. We caught the 7:25pm ferry to Long Island and began the treck back home. We got home at around 11pm.

So yes, please, come to Lunenburg and stay with us at our hostel where we have campfires and marshmallows every night the stars are out, and we are as relaxed and comfy and friendly as can be. Do it, because you’ll love it here. And it’s cheap .. even better, right?

But if you’re coming to Nova Scotia you simply have to make the trip to Brier Island. And if you’re coming to Nova Scotia and planning to go whale watching? Don’t do it from anywhere else. Brier Island is right there .. right at the open ocean. The Atlantic is surrounding you — it’s only a quick drive. You get to spend all your time watching one of the greatest creatures on earth. And if you’re going to Brier Island, you’ve got to stay at the hostel there. I mean, there’s an “upper class” lodge you can stay at of course. Which, I am sure, is incredible. But seriously – why go to Brier Island and not spend the night? It isn’t a day trip — there’s too much to see and do. Me? I could live there quite happily. But it’s worth at LEAST one night, but more likely two or three. It’s heaven!

New Season 2011

Well, new season, new website! Even starting a blog, which is something else that is quite new. My intentions are to come on here every day and let you all know what’s happening in our little corner of Nova Scotia – Mahone Bay/Lunenburg. If the rain ever lets up I’ll regale you with stories of the utter beauty surrounding us at our backpackers hostel … but for now we’ll be content with gray skies and an abundant well. May has been fairly busy in the hostel – I hope that’s a sign of things to come for the year!! And how cool for Kim to show up and get a private room at a dorm-room rate just because I felt like she should!!