Destination Bluenose Coast

first_imgA short scenic drive from Halifax takes you to a premier travel destination where you can experience just about everything Nova Scotia has to offer. And the folks involved with Destination Bluenose Coast would love to help you get the most out of your southwest Nova Scotia trip. Shelley Webb, owner of Havenside Bed and Breakfast in Hackett’s Cove, is director and past chair of Destination Bluenose Coast,. She says she enjoys pointing people in the right direction, whether they want to buy a handmade quilt or are looking for another place to stay along the way. “The quality of the experience has to be paramount,” Webb says, which is why she is thrilled Destination Bluenose Coast is such a collaborative organization. The not-for-profit organization brings together members of local chambers of commerce, boards of trade, tourism organizations and independent business owners and can best be described as “people helping people.” “We are working together to ensure that the Bluenose Coast is something people will absolutely rave about when they go back home,” Webb says. Sebelle Deese, co-owner of Atlantic Sojourn Bed and Breakfast in Lunenburg, calls Bluenose Coast a “symbiotic relationship” and describes others who work in the tourism industry, whether in Chester, Mahone Bay, or Bridgewater, as “dear, dear, dear friends.” “That’s what makes it so nice up here. All of us in the tourism business work together,” says Deese in her native Mississippi drawl. They work together to develop itineraries, a web presence and other projects to make visitors’ stays as action-filled and as pleasant as possible, whether they are day-tripping from Halifax, holidaying from the U.S. or even Europe. “It’s all about the experience. We know that our visitors want to have a memorable experience. They don’t want to just look anymore,” says Trudi Curley, Bluenose Coast’s Destination co-ordinator. “Our job is to make people aware of what it is we offer,” Curley says. To that end, they created the Bluenose Coast Boarding Pass, a chronological list of 100 festivals being held from the western end of the Halifax Regional Municipality to the western boundary of Lunenburg County and inland to New Ross and New Germany. There are farmers’ markets, lobster suppers, cycling, kayak and camping tours, music festivals, art festivals, boat races, parades and workshops in photography, quilt making and papermaking — all on a pocket-sized brochure. Curley says the organization is working on developing itineraries for visitors so that when they visit a popular destination such as Peggy’s Cove, they are offered information on local accommodation, restaurants and other places of interest in the area. Last fall, the organization held a contest and treated the winners to a weekend tour of the area, centred around Mahone Bay’s scarecrow festival. The trip started with an overnight stay and breakfast at Havenside Bed and Breakfast in Hacketts Cove. A short drive took them to the farmers’ market in Hubbards. With their shopping done, the winners took a drive around the breathtakingly beautiful Aspotogan Peninsula where they lunched on lobster sandwiches. After lunch they traveled to Mahone Bay to see the scarecrows and then continued on to Lunenburg where they spent the night. There are so many varied places and activities within the geographic area defined as the Bluenose Coast, it’s difficult to name them all. There are fabulous beaches along the Aspotogan Peninsula. There are also non-beach waterfronts worth visiting such as The Ovens with its tide-worn caves, the rugged coastline of Blue Rocks and the working waterfront of Lunenburg. To get away from it all, you can leave the mainland and take the ferry to Tancook Island or Little Tancook Island. “That’s a wonderful day trip,” says Curley, “a true Maritime experience.” “Visitors can purchase a picnic on shore and head out to Tancook for the day. The ferry ride is an inexpensive way to get out on the water and you can take your bike or walk the island roads,” Curley says. Another option is to sail around the many islands in Mahone Bay, one of which, Oak Island, is the site of one of the world’s longest-running treasure hunts. According to the Oak Island Tourism Society, the hunt began in 1795 with the accidental discovery of the “money pit.” The entire coast is filled with coves and inlets that make it perfect for exploring. There are many sea-kayaking businesses up and down the coast and a few places in Hubbards, Chester and Mahone Bay where you can take sailing lessons. If you’re not a water person, there’s still a lot to do. You can take in the beauty of the ocean and surrounding scenery from the comfort of your car. The races in Chester let you enjoy the majesty of sailing from a comfortable perch on land. There are art galleries and shops featuring the works of local craftspeople from Peggy’s Cove to Mahone Bay, Chester and Lunenburg. Becoming a UNESCO world heritage site has helped Lunenburg preserve its historic Colonial, Victorian and Georgian architecture. It’s also a fabulous place to walk whether you want to work out on the hills or take it easy on the waterfront. Whichever your choice, you’ll be steeped in the history of the area. Lunenburg is home to Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador Bluenose II. Curley takes pride in the fact that all the destinations within the Bluenose Coast are authentic. But the coast isn’t all about coastline. On a foggy or cool day, you might want to head inland to take advantage of hiking trails or travel back in time at the Ross Farm Museum in New Ross where you can try your hand at milking a cow, writing with a quill or even doing some woodworking or blacksmithing. And, of course, everyone loves the hayride. There is also the Parkdale-Maplewood Community Museum in Maplewood where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the colourful heritage gardens or head inside the museum to study exhibits on everything from handicrafts to tools of farming and industry to aboriginal artifacts. The wonder of the Bluenose Coast is that you can enjoy all this plus golf, theatre, art and opera and you won’t have to drive more than an hour in any direction. For those who live and work in the region, “everything that the visitor enjoys, we have 365 days a year,” says Webb adding, “If anyone had a choice, where else would they live except somewhere in this area. It is the perfect balance — to live in a small coastal community that is just a scoot from everything a capital, cultured city has to offer. “I wake up in the morning and look out over this beautiful cove where our boat is moored, and I say ‘Thank you, God.'” -30-last_img read more