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Land of Evangeline Campsite – Wolfville

14 Jun

The Land of Evangeline Campsite is at the northern end of the Grand Pré Road, past the Grand Pre National Historic Site.  It’s a pretty typical campground with both serviced and non-serviced sites, bathroom and shower facilities, an on-site store and a mini-putt.

The lots are pretty open, but in exchange…

…you get a really amazing view!

The sites are open with nothing really dividing them.  It’s pretty clear that these grounds are more for campers than tents.  Not the sort of campground that appeals to us but the redeeming qualities included the view of the sunset over the Bay of Fundy and the campgrounds’ proximity to the Grand Pré Historic Site, Domaine de Grand Pré winery and the Just Us Coffeehouse and Museum.

Site: $29-$40

Bundle of wood: $4

Shower: 4 quarters minimum*

*We were told during check in that ‘4 quarters gets you about 10 minutes’. Being eco-minded, we typically opt for a 3-5 minute shower. With this in mind, the female half of this blog made the trek to the shower area with only 2 quarters. Hoping that others can avoid our mistake.

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Bus Route #60 – Eastern Passage

23 May

Welcome to our second installment of day-trips and vacation spots in HRM accessible by bus (and bike!). Today we’ll chronicle the #60 Bus Route to Eastern Passage.

Note for cyclists: We’ve added distances from the Bridge Terminal in brackets next to each location. The trip is pretty flat for the most part, with sparse bike lanes.  There are some great coastal views along this route.

Downtown Dartmouth: (0.9km)
From the Bridge terminal, the #60 route first takes a scenic tour of Downtown Dartmouth. If you aren’t up for a long day-trip, you can get off early and explore some of Downtown Dartmouth’s awesome offerings including Alderney Landing, Two if by Sea, and Celtic Corner.  These stops will be better covered on one of our upcoming bus routes, but are worth mentioning for any trek through Dartmouth.

If you haven’t tried their croissants, get to the Dartmouth or Halifax location right away. Its a must-try spot in HRM.


NSCC Centre for the Built Environment
: (3.2km)
A few more stops will take you to the NSCC’s Centre for the Built Environment. Why is a community college a worthwhile stop on a day-trip? The NSCC’s Built Environment Campus is no ordinary school.  As one of the greenest buildings in the province, the campus features the first Cold Climate Living Wall, two interior soil-less living walls, a living roof, and a number of other cool green features. Sign in at the visitors desk and take a quick peek at this unique space.

John’s Lunch: (3.7km)
From NSCC, take a short walk over to John’s Lunch. John’s might not look like much from the outside, but this little restaurant has gained a big name for itself with their fish and chips. It was recently named the Best of Fish and Chips in The Coast’s “Best of Food” guide for the second year in a row.  Stop in for lunch, you’ll be happy you did, and even happier for the short walk before this large indulgence. http://www.johnslunch.com/

Shearwater Aviation Museum: (7.6km)
Even if you think you have no interest in planes, we highly recommend stopping at the Shearwater Aviation Museum. The museum is home to 15 heritage aircrafts, including a rebuilt Fairey Swordfish Mk. II and a WWII vintage biplane. It also houses over 12,000 artifacts such as uniforms, aircraft tools and insignia, and a collection of aviation art.  While there, make sure you check out the flight simulator to get a feel of what it’s like to be in the cockpit. Entrance is by donation. The space is also available on a limited bases for event rentals, and would make a truly unique space depending on the event.

To find out more, or check out the hours of operation, click here.

Fisherman’s Cove: (10km)
I remember visiting Fisherman’s Cove when I was much younger and thinking it was a world away from the city. Today, I’m sad it took me so long to realize just how close this HRM gem is. The #60 drops you right at the entrance. Keep your eyes out for the fish mural.

Fish mark the spot for Fisherman’s Cove


From the mural, walk straight a few meters and you’ll soon find yourself in the middle of a mini-paradise. Start with a walk along the boardwalk, and check out the amazing views of Lawlor Island.  This is also a great spot for a leisurely Kayak trip.

There are a few small beaches in Fisherman’s Cove, not all are okay for swimming due to strong currents so pay careful attention to signs.

After building an appetite, check out some of the awesome eateries including Boondocks and Wharf Wraps, or grab a beer at the Fisherman’s Cove Alehouse.

You can also check out some of the boardwalk shops, including The Fisherman’s Cove Gallery, run by 10 local artists.  Stop in and browse, and talk to one of the artists.

There is so much to see in Fisherman’s Cove. It is everything you could hope for in a board walk; ice cream shops, novelty stores, lobster shacks, whale watching excursions and even a ferry to McNabs Island. We recommend spending at least half a day to take in the beauty.  If you really fall in love with the area, you can always spend the night at the ‘Inn on Fisherman’s Cove”.

Hartlen Point Forces Golf Course:
Up for a game of golf? The #60 takes you within walking distance of the Hartlen Point Forces Golf Course. Take the bus to the tip where Shore road and Caldwell Road meet, then walk 10 minutes down Shore Road. The course is owned by the Canadian Armed Forces, but is open to the public. We don’t know much about golf, but we hear this is a challenging course.  Green fees start as low as $18. There are also rentals available on-site if you don’t want to drag your clubs on the bus. Check out the golf course here.

Silver Sands Beach Park: (15.1km)
The #60 bus route ends at Samuel Danial Road, but if you are a biker, we suggest packing your bike and making two extra stops. The first is Silver Sands Beach Park, a 3k journey from the end of the route.  This unique and quiet area is a great spot for a semi-private picnic with a view.

Not the best spot to lounge in the sand, but it does make an awesome picnic spot.

Rainbow Haven Beach: (18.2km)
A 7km trek from the end of the #60 route is one of the better beaches in Nova Scotia, Rainbow Haven Beach. Get off the #60 at Samuel Danial Road, and bike along Cow Bay Road then Bissett Road. Beach amenities include change houses, a canteen, showers, flush toilets, beach volleyball nets, and boardwalks. From bus to bike, you are looking at about an hours journey, a worthwhile trip to lounge on Rainbow Haven.  A note to first time visitors, this beach was slow on the day of our visit in May, but Rainbow Haven fills up fast on a hot summer’s day. Get there early to score a spot on the sand.

Click Route_60 to get the schedule.

Help us build our next route:
We’ve been inspired by the crowd-sourced Twitter account, @celebrateNS and would like to invite you to share your favourite places in HRM and the route you use to reach it.  Walking trails, community centres, watering holes, panoramic vistas, local shops are all welcome additions to preferred destinations.  Comment on this post, or email us at localtravelerns@gmail.com.

Bus Route #15 – Purcell’s Cove

20 May

Riding the Metro Transit one day, we noticed an HRM ad that pictured three walking trails that could be reached by bus.  We thought this was a brilliant idea (props to @hfxtransit) and have been inspired to take it one step further with a series of posts on all the cool HRM sites that can be seen by bus. With summer fast on the way, we hope you’ll use these posts to plan exciting, affordable local travel this summer.  Below you will find our first post with all of the wonderful sights and activities you can reach by taking Bus Route #15 to Purcell’s Cove.

From the Mumford Terminal on, almost every stop along the Purcell’s Cove Road has something to see or do.  All of it involves being outdoors so we suggest watching the weather reports and packing a picnic lunch. Prefer to bike? Distance from spot to spot is indicated in brackets for each location.

Regatta Point: (1.7km)
As soon as you turn off the Armdale Roundabout, your very first stop will take you to Regatta Point.  If the weather isn’t cooperating, you’re at the door to @HalifaxYoga (halifaxyoga.com) and across the street from the Chocolate Lake Community Centre (www.halifax.ca/rec/centreschocolatelake).

Chocolate Lake Beach. Once warm weather hits, this place is packed!

If you want to stay outside, you have a few options. If you veer right, you are only a 2 minute walk from Chocolate Lake (www.halifax.ca/rec/beachers.html) with its small, but very popular sand beach. Stay left and you’ll find some terrific walking trails along the Northwest Arm.  While in the area we recommend treating yourself to pie, for both supper and dessert, at Heppy’s (www.heppys.com).

Entrance to the trails along the North West Arm.

The North West Arm trails

Dead Man’s Island: (2.6km)
Just one more stop along the route will take you to Dead Man’s Island, a great spot for a picnic on the water.  It’s also a great spot for ghost stories after dark, considering the island’s history.  In the 1800’s, the island was a military training grounds, but later became the burial grounds for war prisoners.

View from Dead Man’s Island

The Dingle: (3.5 km)
A little further up the road, hop off the stop in front of J.W. MacLeod Elementary School.  Across the street is the entrance to Sandford Fleming Park (www.halifaxtrails.ca/index_files/FlemingPark), featuring the Dingle, picnic areas with tables, a children’s playground by the water and Pinky’s ice cream shop.  There is also a small beach. The water is very rocky in this area so if you plan to go in, bring water proof footwear.

The Dingle Tower has been closed for renovations but is set to re-open in August 2012.

Whimsical Lake: (3.8km)
One more stop and you’ll be at Whimsical Lake. This small beach is also home to a playground for the kids. In the winter, it is a great spot to go skating provided that the weather is cold enough.

Whimsical Lake

Frog Pond: (3.7km)
Next stop, Frog Pond (www.halifax.ca/rec/TrailsHalifax.html).  It’s about a 25 minute walk along the trail, unless you’re a duck-lover and are easily distracted.  If so, you might spend an afternoon here looking at the ducks and squirrels, or interacting with the many other walkers.

A mid-trail view of the Frog Pond

Williams Lake: (4.5km)
Frog Pond probably wouldn’t make for the best place to cool off with a swim, but if you cross the street you’ll find the main entrance to Williams Lake. If you hold out a little longer on the bus you’ll also find a few less crowded spots to go for a dip.

The main entrance to Williams Lake. There is a small beach here, too!

There is another swimming hole along this route, but the locals like to keep it to themselves so we’re going to sew our lips shut on that one.  If you know it, you know, but please keep in mind that camping is prohibited there.

Pond Playhouse:
In this area you will also find the Pond Playhouse, one of two theaters owned by the Theater Arts Guild (@TAGTheater1). They hold shows from September to July. Check out their schedule here: http://www.tagtheatre.com/html/season2011-12.html


York Redoubt: (9.8km)

That brings us to the York Redoubt, which is at the end of route #15.  Before you get there you will see plenty of evidence of the damage caused by the Spryfield fire from 2009.  York Redoubt is a national historic site.  It was part of the same network of forts to guard the harbour as the Citadel and today features the World War II Command Centre.  It offers much of the same sense of visiting an historical site as Citadel Hill, but it’s free!

On the grounds of York Redoubt – a great spot for a picnic or a game of capture the flag.

The Look-Off: (13.1km)
This may be the end of the road for the #15, but it doesn’t have to be for you.  This route features bike racks so throw your bike on and get ready for a relaxing ride.  There are no bike lanes this far out but the road is lightly traveled so it is very cycle-friendly, unless you get distracted by the incredible view from the Look-off in Herring Cove.  We recommend getting off your bike and sitting down to enjoy this panoramic vista of the ocean, or walking the trails.

Views from the Look-Off

The trails at the Look-Off

Click Route #15 to get the schedule.

Note for cyclists: we’ve added distances from Mumford Terminal. There is an outbound bike lane as far as Purcell’s Cove and a partial inbound lane from there. No bike lanes past there but the road is less heavily traveled. Watch out for speeders though. Terrain is pretty hilly and a little windy, nothing to scare off casual riders but enough to make an enjoyable ride for serious cyclists

 

Help us build our next route:
We’ve been inspired by the crowd-sourced Twitter account, @celebrateNS and would like to invite you to share your favourite places in HRM and the route you use to reach it.  Walking trails, community centres, watering holes, panoramic vistas, local shops are all welcome additions to preferred destinations.  Comment or email us at localtravelerns@gmail.com.

Taylor Head Beach

12 Nov

This secluded little beach seemed like such a hidden treasure, we almost didn’t want to write about it. But, as it turns out, Taylor Head beach is no secret for many Nova Scotians. Arriving before 10, we had the whole beach to ourselves, and what a beach. A picturesque rocky cove, with fine white sand and sky for days. The tide was low, so we were able to climb up onto a large rock, a move that almost left us stranded due to fast raising tides.

Another nice feature are the sheltered picnic tables. Just off the beach, this area is well shaded without compromising the view of the water.

The whole beach is surrounded by a provincial park, filled with well kept path ways, fire pits, picnic tables and descriptive signs of the marine wildlife. As we were leaving around 11 am, the crowds were just starting to arrive. With lots of camping nearby, and breathtaking views of land and sea alike, Taylor Head Beach is a must-see, especially for all the early birds out there.

Chocolate Lake

3 Jul

This will be the first post in a series of summer beach reviews.

Chocolate Lake, or Chocolate Beach, is a small sand beach located just past the rotary off of the Herring Cove Road. The lake is easy to get to, with a small parking lot that can be entered from Melwood Ave. The # 20 bus will drop you off right in front of the lake if you prefer public transportation to cars. Chocolate lake is a popular spot during the summer months, so you will want to get there early to get a spot. The crowd varies in age range however it tends to attract a lot of families and High School students. The lake had to close a few years ago due to high bacteria levels, however it is now safe to swim in due to high levels of chlorine. It is a man-made lake, you will not find fish or other animals in its water.

Benefits: Convienient location for those who live in the city.

Drawbacks: WAY too crowded.

Life Guard: 11 am – 5 pm

All in all, not our favourite spot, although we might try this out again for a morning swim, before the crowds hit.