This is part of a multi-part series on Canada’s beautiful province of Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia: Mahone Bay
We pull off the two-lane highway that rings much of Nova Scotia into the unexpected, lovely grounds of the Atlantica Hotel & Marina Oak Island, a great jumping off point for the many outdoor activities in the area like kayaking, hiking, and surfing. Here you can stay in a guestroom, an oceanfront chalet, or even escape to your own seaside villa. We were just here for a lunch break, but the bright La Vista dining room did not disappoint. We savor our fresh seafood while being regaled of tales of Oak Island just across the bay.
“When all the oak trees are cut and seven men are dead the treasure will be found” so says the legend of Oak Island, one of hundreds of islands here in Mahone Bay. And I am told you can buy one of the islands for cheap. Some are for sale for a reasonable $750,000. But this particular island is mysteriously the only one with oak trees and the burial ground for a possible boat-load of pirate booty in what is known as the ‘money pit.’ Or it could just be a big sinkhole. But either way, the Friends of Oak Island Society and other treasure hunters have been digging around and documenting the goings-on here for hundreds of years. Many theories abound of who possibly left their treasures here: the Knights Templar? The Free Masons? Or maybe Captain Kidd? The hunt continues…and so does our journey around Nova Scotia.
After a satisfying lunch at Atlantica, we push on down the coast to uncover my kind of treasure – the charming seaside village of Lunenburg, a place populated by wood houses proudly painted all the colors of a sherbet rainbow: periwinkle, magenta, and bright reds. Many of these peacock-colored homes literally push their chests out like proud birds in the form of what’s known and the Lunenburg Bump, an architectural feature supposedly only found here. It’s like a swollen bay window where folks can take a look out to sea from a ‘perch’ inside their homes.
We snack on our to-go boxes of dessert on top of a hill at the perfectly-located Bluenose Golf Club, across the bay from Lunenburg, taking in its classic, Scandinavian fishing-village look.
On a stroll through the tiny village, and UNESCO World Heritage site, we uncover some of the local entrepreneurial treasures.
The 14-month-old, Ironworks Distillery is housed in a former blacksmith shop from 1893, giving it the perfect artisan-feel. Pierre and Lynne distill their own line of vodkas and other spirits and ship them all over the world.
If you can’t see player, watch full HD video of Ironworks Distillery on YouTube.
Just a short stroll down the street sits the Lunenburg Shipyard where the reconstruction of the Bluenose II carries on. The huge wooden sailing ship is a replica of the original and when finished will carry on the efforts of the original ambassador ship by sailing around the world and bringing the good word of Nova Scotia to countries far and wide.
The daughter of one of the builders of the original Bluenose, has opened up a shop on the edge of town, aptly named, the Windbag. She recycles old sails and turns them into nifty bags and totes.
White Point Beach Resort
We spend the night in a lodge at the summer-camp-feeling White Point Beach Resort. Dozens of kids spend the summers here from abroad learning the language and enjoying the laid back natural beauty of the sea and surf. The most unexpected part? Bunnies and lots of ‘em. Wild rabbits hop all over the green lawns happily munching on grass and allowing visitors to come oddly close to them.
Note: Since my visit, White Point unfortunately suffered a fire, which destroyed their main lodge. Thankfully, no one was injured…and, I am told, every bunny survived. They immediately announced they would rebuild and have already planned the design and hope to break ground this spring. Their vacation homes and cottages are still available to guests during the rebuild. Here you can actually watch the re-birth on their construction cam.