Nova Scotia

Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
Trip End Aug 03, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Nova Scotia,
Saturday, August 2, 2008

We're back on the ferry today, coming home from Digby, Nova Scotia, and I thought I'd write an update blog on the rest of the trip. On Thursday we arrived in Digby, checked into our hotel, the Bayside B&B, and got some lunch at one of the restaurants on the main strip in Digby. After lunch, we drove to Annapolis Royal, the former capital of Nova Scotia, which is about half an hour from Digby.  There, we went to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.  After a stroll through the Gardens, we stopped at a German bakery for a soft pretzel and a cookie. From there, we thought we would go check out some of the historic sites in the area, but found that we had arrived a bit too late (they closed at 6), so we took a drive down the coast, and sat on a beautiful rocky beach and stuck our feet in the water for a bit. It was low tide, and we got to see some formerly floating ships that were now sitting on the ocean floor. If we had waited a few hours, they would be floating many feet higher up in the water. Although the tide difference is not as much as at Hopewell Rocks, it's quite substantial. After our drive, we headed back to Annapolis Royal to get some dinner. Most of the places in town were closed at that time (8pm!) but we managed to rustle up some grub at the (only) town pub before heading up to Fort Anne for a candlelight graveyard tour.

Fort Anne (or Port Royal, depending on whether you are English or France) exchanged hands between the French and the English about 7 times, and 13 battles took place there. It is one of the most contested pieces of land in Canada. The first Europeans to lay claim to Nova Scotia were the French. Then, England sent some Scottish settlers (hence the name, Nova Scotia), who only stayed for about 3 years before France was given back claim to the land. A group of French settlers eventually formed a large group of people called the Acadians. During the 1700s and 1800s, there was a lot of fighting between the English and French for the place because it was a key stop in the fur trade, etc. Eventually England got the place, and the Acadians were deported to the American colonies. Many of them headed from there to French-ruled Louisiana, and that is where we get the word "Cajun." Who knew I would learn so much Nova Scotian history?

The graveyard tour was of the oldest English graveyard in North America (with the oldest stone being from 1720). There were actually Acadians buried there even earlier, but for markers they used wooden crosses, that had since rotted away. The tour was lead by the head of the Annapolis Royal historical society, who was actually a wonderful tour guide, and we learned a lot about Annapolis Royal history, and gravestone art. We enjoyed the tour so much, we ended up heading back to Annapolis Royal the next day to explore the fort and the graveyard in the light of day. We also went to our tour guides Acadian tour, but I didn't feel like I learned that much new stuff after visiting the Fort. After lunch, we decided to head south of Digby to Yarmouth, and took another drive down the coast. We stopped to see the largest wooden church in North America, founded in 1799, Saint Marie's Parish. We found a nice swimming beach (I believe the town was called Saint Mary's Cape) with actual SAND on it, and spent some time there. This beach also had some interesting river type things that cut through the beach. Both of these stops were in the French speaking county of Clare. We made it down to Yarmouth by dark, although it was a bit disappointing. They did have a TACO BELL, which I was very excited about. But Gabe is on a mission to eat seafood at every meal, so we went to a Brewery restaurant called Rudders,  that was actually quite nice, and had live music as well. After dinner, we drove back to Digby, slept, ate breakfast, and boarded back on the ferry.

I think Gabe and I are both agreed that we had a better portion of our trip doing the adventurous type things over in New Brunswick than here in Nova Scotia. However, we were told that the East coast of the country is better to visit than the West. All in all, we are sorry to have to start the trek home and wish we could go on another week of vacation...somewhere warm .  Gabe claims that he can sit still for the long, but I'm not convinced. :-)
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