North to Nova Scotia :: Rices’ Radical Sabbatical


Candy and I decided to head north of the border to visit the Atlantic Provinces of Canada this past week. We drove on Tuesday north through the “downeast coast” of Maine to enter the Canadian border from Calais, Maine, at Saint Stephen, New Brunswick.

We drove through towns with names like Saint John, Saint George, Quispamsis, Sussex, Petitcodiac, and Moncton on our way through New Brunswick. We headed south from Moncton toward Nova Scotia and arrived at a KOA Campground just outside of Halifax late on Tuesday evening.

It was interesting to drive into a new time zone (Atlantic Time Zone) when we entered Canada. We realized that we have been in every time zone in North America in our time together (in the past year, even!) except Newfoundland Time Zone. We will not be heading that far north, so that will have to wait, I guess.

We woke up on Wednesday and drove into Halifax, Nova Scotia. This city was a pleasant surprise for us. It is a really neat city that has a ton of British influence, history, and many colleges and universities. It was a pleasant day in town (sunny and low 70s) so there were a ton of people out walking, sitting in parks, or sunning on the Citadel grass hills. Apparently, we were here on the first sunny day in nearly a month.

We found out that this town was the closet North American port to the Titanic tragedy (only 700 nautical miles) and that three cemeteries in town are the final resting place of 150 of the victims. I am not a huge fan of Wikipedia but you can read more about this here.

We spent about an hour taking an educational and informative tour of Halifax aboard a Harbour Hopper boat. These boats are refitted Lark V vehicles capable of traveling on land and water. The Lark V was originally a military vehicle built for the U.S. during the Vietnam War era (1963-1970). They were used to transport cargo and soldiers from supply ships onto the beaches and jungles of Vietnam, a distance of up to 1.5 miles from ship to shore. In total the U.S government spent about $900 million to produce approximately 900 vehicles, and today about 100 of them are privately owned.

We drove around the city and saw historical points of interest, like Citadel Hill, the star-shaped fort built in 1856 overlooking the city (this was built for the War of 1812…I guess they were a tad bit late, huh?). One of the most enduring and recognized symbols of Citadel Hill’s role in shaping Halifax is the daily ceremonial firing of the noon gun. We were not there when this happened but it has been occurring since the fort was originally based here in the late 1700’s.

We also saw the Public Gardens, drove down the main business street of Halifax, Spring Garden Road, which is home to a number of pubs, coffee shops and boutiques, and learned more facts and stories about the town. Next, we went into the harbor in the boat and had a short harbor tour seeing Halifax’s naval fleet and spectacular waterfront. We had a great guide who was very entertaining and informative. We had a great conversation with Collin the driver before the tour began. Turns out he got tired of working 80 hours a week in his own business several years ago, so he and his wife sold everything they owned in Halifax and moved to New Zealand. They now spend half the year in New Zealand and half the year in Halifax. Sounds like our kind of couple! To see some of what we saw and heard during the Harbour Hopper tour, check out the newest videos on our Facebook page!

After the tour, we decided to drive 45 minutes southwest of Halifax to the famed village of Peggy’s Cove, one of the most iconic coastal areas on the Atlantic coastline of North America. It has a famous lighthouse that is still operated by the Canadian Coast Guard and, at one time, was home of the post office for the town. This lighthouse is one of the most-photographed structures in Canada and one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world. This area was a long-time fishing community but now is mostly made of a few families who fish for lobster.

After some time photographing in Peggy’s Cove, we drove north to Truro, Nova Scotia, where we spent the night and enjoyed some hotel time. We had hoped to catch the tidal bore, one of the wonders of the Fundy Bay tides,  before departing Nova Scotia for Prince Edward Island, where we spent the night at the Cavendish KOA. However, we weren’t able to be in the right position at the right time to see it, though we did realize we saw a different tidal bore during our time in Alaska last year.

Enjoy the photos below and don’t forget to check out the videos on Facebook!

by tim

show hide 2 comments

06.11.2011 - 8:19 pm

Mom Thanks for the photo trip – I especially liked the “reflection” pix!

06.11.2011 - 8:40 pm

Tim Atlantic Canada is really a special place…worth the trip!

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