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Blomidon Provincial Park – Canning

19 Jul

On our last trip to the Annapolis Valley, we stumbled upon Blomidon Provincial Park while checking out the panoramic vista of the Bay of Fundy from Blomidon Ridge.

At the time, it was the first weekend of June, and the campground was packed.  We had to plead a little with the front gate just to get a peek inside.  When planning our recent trip, we made sure to book Blomidon early on.  This park seems to be consistently popular, and we can see why.

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Saint John Ale House

30 Jun

On a road trip to New York City, we planned to take a pit stop in Saint John.  Our friend Josh of @trinitygoldns is a master at researching must-try places, and found the Saint John spot featured on TV’s You Gotta Eat Here: the Saint John Ale House.  We figured we couldn’t go wrong and made our way there.

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Grand Pré National Historic Site

28 Jun

The Grand Pre National Historic Site is just off Exit 10 from Hwy 101, before you get to Wolfville.  For anyone familiar with Nova Scotian history (and if you attended school in Nova Scotia in grades 4-6 you better be or I’m going to have some serious words with your social studies teacher), this was the site of Le Grand Dérangement, or the Great Deportation, of the Acadiens in 1755.

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Evangeline Inn & Motel – Wolfville

23 Jun

The Evangeline Inn and Motel is located just off Exit 10 from Hwy 101 as you head in to Wolfville.  It is ideally located to be your base of operations as you explore the many attractions in the area.  Within a 10km radius you can reach the Just Us Coffeehouse and Museum, the Grand Pré National Historic Site (post coming soon) and five wineries, including Luckett Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards, Gaspereau Vineyards, Muir Murray Estate Winery and Domaine de Grand Pré Vineyards.

The rooms are comfortable and reasonably priced in the $100-$130 range.  The inn is a former home of Prime Minister Robert Borden and includes a bust of the former PM.  We stayed in the King-sized suite in the inn.  It’s a cozy room with antique furniture, a king-sized bed and claw-foot bathtub.  Basically, exactly what you’d want to find in an inn.

The pool area was on the small side but definitely decent for a motel.  One of the cool features is the fireplace next to the pool.  Note that it closes early at 9pm.  Your stay includes breakfast at the café.  We recommend the omelet.  It’s a good size and loaded with ham, peppers and mushrooms.

We also tried the café for dinner the night of our stay.  The selection is not huge, and it is mostly basic options such as sandwiches, but the food is good, the portions are big and the prices are low.  They also skip the flour in their fish cakes, making the female half of our duo one happy girl.


Mastodon Ridge – Stewiacke

19 Jun

I lived in Stewiacke East for almost two years, just down the road from Mastodon Ridge.  I passed by it regularly, and not once did I ever stop in to check it out.  I had always dismissed it as one of those silly roadside attractions that inspired the Tragically Hip tour.  I’m glad I stopped there to discover that there is so much more than a to-scale mastodon statue.

This is actually a pretty sweet road trip stop for the family.  They have a little something for everyone.  There’s an awesome mini-putt course, funny pictures cutout and ice cream for the kids (or for a date).  There’s even a replica Flintstones house and car for your inner kid.

A big emphasis has been placed on education. The outdoor exhibits have been set up to be something of a one-stop shop for things you’d want to learn about Nova Scotia.  Whether it’s info on Nova Scotian plant life, Bay of Fundy tides or Mi’kmaq creation stories, you’ll find some interesting tidbits here.  You’ll also be reminded, ad naseum, that you are standing at the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole.

Up close, the mastodon statue really is pretty cool. It is a life-size replica of a male Mastodon that was unearthed at the National Gypsum Quarry near Milford in 1991. The bones were studied by archeologists at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (@ns_museum), and is believed to be about 79,000 years old!

In addition to the Mastodon statue, they also have a (somewhat unrelated) mascot to once again remind you that you are halfway between the Equator and the North pole. Since we are huge fans of polar bears, the last photo goes to this guy.


Glooscap Heritage Centre

18 Jun

If you’ve ever driven on Hwy 104 between Truro and Halifax, you’ve probably seen him.  That tall, dark hunk of rippling back muscles, Glooscap.  Glooscap is the hero of Mi’kmaq creation stories, whose feats range from giving the Mi’kmaq the canoe and fire to creating Five Islands in the Bay of Fundy.  What you may not have seen is that Glooscap (the statue) stands guard of the Glooscap Heritage Centre.

The Glooscap Heritage Centre (@glooscapcentre) teaches visitors about Mi’kmaq culture, past and present.  It features exhibits with stone tools, weavings, and beadwork.  There are also some interactive displays such as the multimedia guided tour through Mi’kmaq history and an audio Mi’kmaw alphabet guide.  Other great features are the gift shop and free workshops on subjects such as hand drum making.  Teachers should note that the centre has created some terrific, educational tours for schools.

Once you’ve checked out the exhibits, step outside to see the statue of Glooscap up close.  We learned that the statue was built to be 40ft tall to represent the tides in the Bay of Fundy.  There is a garden around the courtyard where berries and medicinal herbs are grown to supply the Millbrook First Nation.  All of the trees and plants are edible and were part of the traditional diet of the Mi’kmaq.

Rates are $6/adults, $3.50/children and $5/seniors.  There are special rates for families ($15), school tours ($3/student) and adult tours ($4/adult) and Millbrook Band members (free).  Tax is exempted if you present a valid status card before entering.

If you’re planning to visit in the near future, we recommend heading there June 21 for National Aboriginal Day.  The centre has a large celebration each year. For 2012, the day will feature guest speakers, music entertainment, dancing, singing, and more.  To see the current line-up of speakers and musicians, click here.