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Scotia Sessions Wakeboarding – Nine Mile River

7 Jul

A few years ago, I hitched across Canada and ended up at a bachelor party at a cottage in Muskoka.  The fellas there were wakeboarding, so being a good sport I gave it a go.  I was a dismal failure (i.e. I couldn’t even stand on the board).  Naturally, I haven’t been too keen to get back on a wakeboard since then.  But when Gillian told me that Nova Scotia was home to a Cable WakeBoard park, I couldn’t resist trying a second go.

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Bus Route #6 – Quinpool

27 Jun

Or: The Route of Bests

So far we’ve covered four routes, the #15, the #60, the #21 and the #80 that will take you in four completely different directions in HRM.  So, for our fifth #LocalTravelHRM post on @hfxtransit bus routes, we decided to cover one of the urban core routes, the #6.

For us, this route isn’t so much the best route, as it’s the route of many things that we consider to be the best.  From beer to diners to sushi to movies, this route has so much greatness packed into such a short distance that you’re almost better off walking to see everything.  However, if you ever want to come back to your favourites, the #6 will get you there.

We begin this route at the Ferry Terminal by Stayner’s Wharf.  If you’re coming from Dartmouth, you can check the ferry schedule here, and the schedule for the #6.  Cyclists, the distances indicated follow the route up Cogswell until it turns into Quinpool.  There are no bike lanes and a lot of traffic along this route, with a couple crazy intersections so be aware of drivers.

Propeller BreweryPropeller Brewery  (0.9km)

Get off either just before or after the Staples and head for the giant Propeller and the “Cold Beer” sign.  Propeller Beer (@propellerbeer) is the darling of North End craft beer lovers, and with good reason.  Their Pilsner is one of my favourite summer beers and their Bitter is good for all seasons.  If you like it hoppy, go for the IPA.  They do $9 refillable Growlers (just shy of a 6-pack!).

Centennial Swimming PoolCentennial Swimming Pool (0.9km)

My wife spent most of her adolescent life at Centennial Pool, first as a competitive synchornized swimmer, and later as a coach.  While she will tell you it isn’t the best pool in the city, it is her favourite.  Not only is it one of only two 50 meter pools in the city, it is the only 10 meter diving tower complex in Nova Scotia.  It is also home to some great groups: Halifax Aqua Nova Synchro, Cygnus Diving Club, The Halifax Trojans, and many more. The best part?  During recent renovations, Centennial decided to add solar panels to the roof to provide part of the building’s electrical needs.

The Halifax CommonsThe Halifax Common & The Pavilion  (1.5km)

In the middle of Halifax’s urban core is a big (mostly) green space called the Halifax Common (thanks to @christinacopp for the correction: singular, not plural, and for the link: Halifax Common).  Here’s the thing about having a space for the common use, you can’t please everyone all the time.  But in my opinion, HRM really isn’t doing too bad a job here (now that we’re done with the concerts).  Whether you’re coming here to play baseball, tennis or Ultimate, skating the skate park or skating the Oval, playing on the playground, lounging on the grass or chilling in the pool, there really is something here that could appeal to everyone.

Commons Skate Park

Halifax Commons Playground

Also in the middle of the Commons is the Pavilion (@halifaxpavilion), Halifax’s famed all-ages club that succeeded the legendary Café Olé.  If you’re a punk band in Halifax, this is where you prove yourself.

Video Difference  (2.0km)

Given how easy it is to stream movies online, there’s a reason why Video Difference (@videodifference) has survived.  Video Difference has an incredible selection of films.  In fact, they even have an incredible selection of selections of films.  The store is well marked throughout its three levels, documentary lovers will be in heaven.  Open 24 hours and they have drop-off locations throughout the city.

Freemans Little New YorkFreeman’s Little New York  (2.0km)

Freeman’s (@freemanspizza) tops several “Best ” lists.  It is the best place to do some people watching while being the best place for late night snacks on Quinpool while enjoying a sampler tray of the best selection of Propeller draft outside of Propeller Brewery itself.  They have gluten-free pizza options and are now doing all local weekly specials!

Freemans Halifax Local Menu

Sweet Hereafter Cheesecake

Sweet Hereafter Cheescakery  (2.1km)

This sweet addition to the Halifax dining scene offers over 60 kinds of cheesecake, including gluten free and dairy free selections.  You can opt for take-out, or relax in their lounge, which is decked out with pink high back velvet chairs, chandeliers, and a photo booth complete with long gloves and cat-eye glasses.  We went with Sweet Hereafter (@sweet_hereafter) for our wedding cake and people are still talking about it.

Sweet Hereafter interior

Bramoso Pizza Halifax

Bramoso Gourmet Pizza  (2.2km)

This family owned restaurant makes some of the healthiest, freshest slices in the city.  In addition to offering gluten and dairy free options, Bramoso (@bramosopizza) uses almost all local ingredients for their pizza.  They also have a wicked take-and-bake option.  While take and bake is always available, your best bet is to pick it up at the market on Saturdays ($15 for a large).  While you’re there, you can try their Saturday morning special – breakfast pizza made with veggies, bacon, and a free range egg.

The Trail Shop  (2.3km)

The Trail Shop (@trailshop) was another member of the Quinpool business community that played a big part in our wedding.  If you’re looking to do some camping, kayaking, hiking or slacklining, this is the place for you.  The staff are very knowledgeable and friendly and they have tons of information in the store for hiking and kayaking adventures throughout Nova Scotia.

Leicester’s Deli & Cheese Emporium (2.4km)

As much as Quinpool has to offer, it always felt like something was missing.  And then Leicester’s came along.  Every good neighbourhood needs a good deli and cheese emporium.  We’ll let our friend at ourhalifax.com tell you what’s good here.

The Oxford Theatre (2.6km)

2012 marks the 75th anniversary for this cinematic gem.  Transport yourself back to the 1960’s while taking in the newest independent flick.  In addition to offering some of the more unique screenings, The Oxford (@empiretheatres) also plays host to a number of midnight fundraiser showings, usually ones involving costumes.

Wasabi House & The Ikebana Shop (2.6km)

We’ve already covered the fact that Wasabi House (@wasabihouse) is our favourite sushi spot in Halifax.  You can see it here.  If you want some Japanese culture with your sushi, head down just a couple more doors to the Ikebana Shop (@theikebanashop).  Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement.  They are THE place to go for unique, beautiful vases.  You can learn to use these vases during one of their workshops, or, if you’d rather someone else do your floral arranging, they also offer arrangement services. They have an awesome gallery of past corporate arrangements that they have done.  Even if you aren’t into flowers, check out their shop for unique gifts and home goods.

King of Donairs (2.7km)

Argue if you want to, K.O.D. (@kingofdonair) on Quinpool has the best pizza deal in the city.  Note that I’m from New Glasgow and I don’t hold Halifax pizza to the same standard as Pictou County Pizza.  Where else can you get a large pizza with three toppings for $9?  Two things to know, this deal is for pick-up only, and is best if you get pepperoni, bacon and sausage.

The Ardmore Tearoom (2.8km)

The Ardmore (@ArdmoreTeaRoom) is something of an institution among greasy spoons in Halifax.  Rarely will you not find a line of hungover (or not yet hungover) university students leading to a packed house on a weekend morning here.  There’s good reason for that.  Though many say the breakfast aren’t what they used to be (are they ever?), their home fries are still pretty awesome (it’s the seasoning).

While I was doing this route, I got caught in a torrential downpour and sought refuge in the Ardmore.  I couldn’t resist warming up with a hot turkey sandwich ($8.49).  It was well worth it; a huge plate of turkey, bread, gravy, veggies, fries and cole slaw.  However, if you can hold out, you’re only a few stops from what we consider to be the best diner in the city.

Planet Organic & Taishan Asian Grocery (2.8km)

Quinpool is the kind of walkable, livable neighbourhood we love, one where you can find anything.  In case you doubt this, you should pop into Planet Organic and the Taishan Asian Grocery.  It doesn’t matter how obscure or exotic your culinary, domestic or personal hygiene needs are, you’ll be well looked after here.

Planet Organic (@planetorganic) has everything to satisfy your natural, organic, gluten-free or vegan needs.  They also have a wide range of vitamins, supplements and natural hygiene and beauty products.

The Taishan Asian Grocery is legit.  No prices on anything, I can’t read any of the labels and I don’t even know what most of these things are.  I don’t even know if this is the right website for it (based on the phone number I’m thinking it could be).  Simply buying something here is an adventure, let alone cooking it.  The dumplings are top notch.

Horseshoe Park (3.8km)

Ordinarily, Horseshoe Park at the bottom of Quinpool is a great place to lie out, reading a book or basking in the sun.  Not on the day I was out though.  It’s a small, well-kept park along the Northwest Arm with a great view of the passing sailboats.  Since I couldn’t really suntan, I contented myself with some duck-watching.

The Armview  (4.4km)

Finally, you’ve reached our favourite diner and the closest thing we have to a neighbourhood local.  It’s really not fit how much time we spend at the Armview (@armview), but who can blame us?  They have the best smoked meat & rye sandwich east of Montreal and their breakfast burritos with guacamole are amazing.  You can enjoy the casual lounge atmosphere inside (Sunday nights are open mic) or enjoy the view of the Northwest Arm from their patio.

It’s really pretty overwhelming how many great places are packed into such a short distance.  It’s easy to understand why we think Quinpool is one of the best streets in the city.  We barely scratched the surface, especially when it comes to places to eat.  If you feel like we’re missing something that must be included, let us know!

@DrewMooreNS

Just Us Cafe and Coffee Museum – Wolfville

22 Jun

Once upon a time I was a pot-a-day coffee drinker.  My preferred brew was Just Us Colombian Blend.  Then in October I broke my collar bone.  Because caffeine causes calcium to pass right through the body, I quit all caffeinated beverages cold turkey (I was a grumpy bear) and have gone eight months without coffee, tea (except herbal) or cola.

That coffee-drinking hiatus was put on pause (possibly came to an end) when we visited the Just Us Cafe & Museum (@justuscoffee) during our honeymoon.  Because it was a special occasion, I decided to indulge with a large Mexican blend while my better half enjoyed a café au lait.

If you haven’t been to the Just Us flagship shop in Grand Pre, we strongly urge you to make the trip.  To be honest, we went because it was nearby when we were doing a local wineries tour.  We discovered that it far exceeded our expectations and could be a bit of a journey in itself.

“People and the Planet Before Profits”

If you go, make sure to start by getting your choice of a light, medium or dark roast.  Just Us was the first fair trade coffee retailer in Nova Scotia.  The flagship store features a coffee museum, where you can learn about the history of coffee and the importance of fair trade.  The museum is very well done, with the information artfully displayed throughout several rooms. The exhibits detail the benefits of fair trade to coffee producers, consumers, and the planet.  There is a video and some interactive pullouts on the walls for the kids, and you can even open the doors to watch the roasters in action.  We’ve been told that there are plans to add an audio tour.

Instructions on “Cupping”…Essentially a coffee tasting tactic similar to a wine tasting.

Once you’ve taken in all of the fascinating info in the museum, head out back to check out their new vegetable garden.  While this has nothing to do with coffee, it’s still cool to see that little of the fertile Annapolis soil is being wasted.

You can also sit and enjoy your coffee in their little slice of paradise garden area.  Plenty of greenery and flowers, and several tables made of recycled materials.  Read a book, chat with friends, or simply enjoy the fresh air while sipping on some great coffee.

@DrewMooreNS

The Local Wedding NS

12 Jun

Anyone who has been following our adventures for the past year and a half might know that we are not one local traveler but a couple of local travelers. *  In fact, we are a couple and we recently got married.  Although our wedding isn’t necessarily something random readers would travel to, it was still most definitely an adventure and we were pretty keen to stick with a local theme.  Plus, since it led to some really fantastic local travel adventures for our honeymoon in the Annapolis Valley, we felt like sharing the day here.

Long before the day itself (it was a lengthy engagement), we booked our ceremony and reception at the Atlantica Hotel (@atlanticahfx) at the corner of Quinpool and Robie in Halifax.  Some of you might know it as the old Holiday Inn.  The hotel has been completely overhauled, with beautiful suites, two spacious event spaces (we flip-flopped over which to use for our wedding) and one of the best pool areas among Halifax hotels.

We took to Twitter to find local registries.  @IlovelocalHFX, and many others, promptly recommended Cucina Moderna (@cucinamoderna) on Dresdon Row.  We spent a fun afternoon browsing through their chic kitchenware, and later added a second registry at The Trail Shop (@TrailShop) on Quinpool Road.  We had a blast at the Trail Shop, anticipating all of the camping we want to do this year.

For the rehearsal party and all of the other festivities during the weekend, we stocked up on growlers of Garrison (@GarrisonBrewing) and Propeller (@PropellerBeer), as well as some bottles of Benjamin Bridge (@Benjamin_Bridge) Nova 7.  Being of Scottish descent, my mother brought a bottle of Glen Breton (@GlenBreton) for me and my groomsmen.

The rehearsal party was catered by @Scanway, and Gillian’s second hand Vera Wang dress for the evening (and for all events leading up to the wedding) was from local high end consignment shop Crimson and Clover (@crimson_clover).

Our Saturday morning ritual is to take the bus down to the Seaport Market (@HfxSeaportMrkt) to do our grocery shopping for the week and chat with the vendors and other regulars.  Gillian was a little busy getting her hair done, so I went with some of my groomsmen and my uncle for breakfast.  I went with the chicken curry Cornish pasty (delicious).  The others were afraid this might be too heavy for a wedding day so they got breakfast wraps from Wrap So D.

We washed these down with some Trinity Gold Lemonade, courtesy of our friend, Josh (@joshnordin) and then popped over to Garrison.  Trinity Gold also provided their tasty lemonade for our pre-reception cocktail.  You can now find their lemonade at Saege Bistro (@SaegeBistro).

While we were otherwise occupied, Gillian and the bridesmaids spent the morning getting pretty, with help from fantastic local makeup artist Kristen Scott (@Krisco_).  For jewels, the girls all donned sea urchin necklaces by local company RunFree RunWild, who adapted one of her popular items to custom fit the dress.

The flowers for the bouquets were all selected from a list of Avon Valley‘s ‘Local’ cuts and artfully arranged by Sandra of ‘I Do’ flowers.  The remaining flowers were almost entirely living plants, with all flower design done by Gillian’s Dad, Jay Wesley (@jaywesley4).   Jay has spent years working with the Public Gardens and totally transformed the space.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have so many talented friends.  We knew right away that people would remember our wedding for the music.  Luke Watters (@LukeLWatters) is something of a prodigy and wowed our friends and family with the processionals during the ceremony, featuring a sing-along cover of Justin Rutledge’s Don’t be So Mean Jellybean (Rutledge was the first concert we saw together at the In the Dead of Winter Festival in 2009).  Gillian’s sister, Brittany (@BrittanyWesley) is a very talented vocalist.  She treated us to her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in lieu of grace.  ECMA winner Steven Bowers (@Steven_Bowers) honoured us by performing his 50th wedding anniversary song, It Breaks You So, for our first dance.  It was hard to find a dry eye in the place after that one.  Steve and Luke backed each other for some of their originals and then we let them off the hook to party as Zulca Moon took over.  We discovered these guys at the Seaport Market and fell in love with their infectious grooves.  Seriously, crowds of grinning people form instantly when these guys play at the market and they were in top form for our wedding.  People have been and will be talking about the music for a long time!

Instead of clinking glasses during the dinner to get us to kiss, we asked our guests to make donations to Clean Nova Scotia (@CleanNS).  Also in lieu of favours, we will be making a further donation to Clean NS, specifically to their Adopt a Watershed program.  We live in an area where the Williams Lake watershed is in jeopardy so this program is close to our hearts.

Due to a wheat allergy, we had to avoid regular cake.  Luckily, this meant we could indulge in a variety of cheesecakes from Sweet Hereafter (@Sweet_Hereafter).  Also thanks to @HalifaxSalseros for teaching us to salsa so we could properly groove to Zulca Moon.

Clearly we are pretty big on documenting everything, and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better to document the day in photos than Tanya Shields (@TanyaShields).  She, Jimmy and Ebony did an incredible job of capturing all of the important moments and the vibe of our wedding, right down to the shot of us together with a Metro Transit bus passing behind us.  You can check out her online gallery of the day here.

We’d like to thank @BishopsLanding and @Ristoranteamano for letting us do our shoot in the same neighbourhood where we first lived and where I proposed to Gillian on the waterfront.  Also a big “thank you” to @BishopsCellar for lending us the champagne glasses.

If you’re interested in checking out the play by play of the day, look up #DnGWedFest2012 on Twitter.  Thanks to all of our friends for live-tweeting!

I know we’ve said it already, but one more HUGE thanks to Tanya Shields. She not only did a fantastic job on the day, when we told her about this blog post she went to work picking out some perfect shots to go with this article.  All photos in this post are her lovely images.

*We are always looking for guest bloggers to help us cover our fantastic region.  If you’re interested, please email localtravelerns@gmail.com or send us a message on twitter, @gillianwesleyns or @drewmoorens.

#21 Bus Route – Lakeside

30 May

For our third post on day-trips and vacation spots in HRM accessible by bus (and bike!), we’ll take you for a ride on the #21.  We were originally thinking of doing a post combining routes #21, #22 and #23 to cover all the lakes you can get to along St. Margaret’s Bay Road.  Then we discovered D & Jo’s Country Market and decided to give the #21 its own post.

Note for Cyclists: As always, we have included the cycling distances from the point of origin at a Metro Transit Terminal.  This time we began the route at the Lacewood Terminal, near the corner of Lacewood and Dunbrack.

Canada Games Centre (1km)

The Canada Games Centre is on Lacewood Avenue, halfway between the Lacewood Terminal and Hwy 102.  It is HRM’s newest recreational and fitness facility, built for the 2011 Canada Games.  It includes an Olympic-sized pool, state of the art workout facilities, basketball courts and an indoor track.  A big pro is that they do women-only swims on Sunday.  A big con is the membership fees (pricey).  (@cdagamescentre)

Keshen Goodman Public Library (1km)

At the same stop for the Canada Games Centre, you will also see the Keshen Goodman Public Library.  This is one of the best libraries in HRM, with floor to ceiling windows allowing plenty of natural light, a great selection of books, audio books, videos and comics.  It also features a café, free Internet access and a great meeting space.  (@hfxpublib)

Bayers Lake Business Park (2.4km)

To be honest, this isn’t the sort of thing we’d normally include in a local travel post, but, it is along this route and it is a place people might want to visit.  It has everything you’d expect to find in a business park, with the full range of retail, grocery, building supplies & discount stores mixed with fast food and franchise restaurants.  Ela Greek Taverna (formerly Opa) is something of a standout here.  (@BayersLakePark)

Chain of Lakes Trail (4km)

Formed in December 2009, this trail runs more than 7 km before linking with the Beechville Lakeside Timberlea Trail.  As suggested in its title, this trail hits most of the many lakes along the St. Margaret’s Bay Road, and is bike and foot friendly.  The trail takes about 2 hours to walk one way.  Once you get tired, make a beeline for the road and let your friendly bus driver do the rest of the work. To find out more on this trail, click here.

Lovett Lake (7.1km)

You are now approaching major lake activity. If you stayed on the #21, you have only a few more stops from Bayers Lake to get to Lovett Lake.  After spending some time at Lovett, you can also switch to the Chain of Lakes trail from this area. Walk up Lakeside Park Drive, then take the trail to get to the back side of Governor Lake.

Governor Lake (9.0km)

Whether you reach it by bus or by trail, we urge you to check out Governor Lake. This spot is said to be a great fishing spot for speckle trout.  There is also a farmers market here for lake supplies (see below), and a restaurant if you are looking for a larger meal. There are multiple entry points to this lake, some of them smaller than others. Either way it is a great spot for an afternoon of swimming.

There are a number of small entry points to Governors lake off of the neighborhoods that line the lake off of the St. Margaret’s Bay Road

D & Jo’s Country Market (9.0km)

This delightful country market really clinched this bus route for us.  It’s not huge, but it’s packed with many local food items we haven’t seen in too many other places, including Cavicchi’s Meats, Schoolhouse Bakery, Char’s Country Dips & Seasoning and Farmer John’s Herbs.  We’ll definitely be catching the #21 to come back out here.

Other Notable Swimming Spots

If you continue on from Governor Lake, you’ll come across Six Mile Lake (a bit of a trek from the road), Mill Pond, and Frasers Lake. All are great but a bit harder to access from the road.  Fraser Lake, the last lake along the #21 Bus Route, is a very large lake, but the spots accessible from this route are mostly occupied by private properties.

According to an article in The Coast, two of the lakes along this route are popular spots for swimming in your birthday suit. While naked dips are illegal in HRM, we thought we’d share this fun fact.

Did we miss something along this route? Snap some photos and send an email to localtravelerns@gmail.com to help us get a full picture of things to do on the #21. Looking for more bus-able adventures? Check out our past posts on the #15 Bus Route and the #60 Bus Route.

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 #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.

Song for Grown You

19 May

One of the things we love the most about Nova Scotia is it’s vibrant music scene.  There is nothing quite like visiting a pub on a Friday for a local beer and some great live music.

Steven Bowers (@Steven_Bowers) is one of our favourite local artists, but his new video, “Song For Grown You”, has taken our love to new heights.  The video was shot in multiple locations across our lovely province by the talented Michael Ray Fox (@MichaelRayFox).

The video also features Christina Martin (@xtinamartin), Dale Murray (@DaleCMurray), and Keith Mullins (@KeithMullins). Those two adorable kids are Alexander Beswick and Imogen Ash.  We’re told it’s their first time on the screen, but we have a feeling it won’t be the last.

Glasgow Square

21 Nov

As a more than occasional event planner, it is always exciting to experience a new venue. That excitement is tenfold when the reason for experiencing a new venue is due to a gathering of some top-notch local musicians. Such was the case Friday night when we headed to The Green Room in Glasgow Square for the intimate CD release of local musician Steven Bowers.

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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.