Nova Scotia: Day Trip to Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg

A popular day trip from Halifax includes Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg. These three towns are cute Acadian villages that will leave you delighted with small town life.

Our intent was to turn this into an overnight in Lunenburg, but travel plans don’t always turn out as intended and we needed to unexpectedly cut the trip short. Fortunately, we were still able to see about as much as expected.

Peggy’s Cove

Peggy’s Cove is a tiny fishing village that has a beautiful lighthouse.

Guidebooks list it as a top day trip, and given the beauty, we can see why. While we definitely saw the appeal, it was quite full of tourists, and we didn’t stop a ton of time. I think it may have been better to leave Halifax a little earlier in the morning and arrive here before the tour buses.

In any case, we parked by the visitor’s center and the person behind the counter told us to just walk down the road to the lighthouse and we would see everything there was to see. This was pretty accurate.

We had some nice views of the brightly colored houses, then quickly came to the rocks that the lighthouse was built on. Our kids would have loved scrambling over them, but we had left the boys in New Hampshire where they could have fun with camp and other activities.

So we took a few pictures, then debated about trying to get lunch in Peggy’s Cove, or at our next stop. Given how many tourists were out and about, and the limited supply of food options, we decided to get a very early lunch at Tom’s Lobster Shack. What a great lobster roll! Very generous on the lobster and great flavor!

Chester

From here, we were thinking about stopping in Chester (guide book mildly recommended it), but we mostly did a quick drive through town. If we were spending a couple of days in this area, it could have been some time on the waterfront, but as a day trip, it might be worth skipping.

Mahone Bay

Our next stop, Mahone Bay, is known for the three churches that you can see as you approach this beautiful town.

We easily found a parking spot by the churches and then wandered through the town.

I thought it was cute and worth a short wander. That said, it wasn’t super big; it was appropriate that we had opted to spend the night in Lunenburg.

Lunenburg

Lunenburg was the highlight of our day! While we were glad we made our other two stops, we were also happy that we kept them not too long.

Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to the belief that it is “the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America.” Founded in 1753, it will give you a glamorized picture of what it may have been like to live in a fishing and shipbuilding village in colonial times.

While the town was also full of tourists, it was large enough to absorb most of them and still leave a pleasant atmosphere.

After resting in our hotel a bit, we decided to go wander, starting with a stop at St. John’s Anglican Church. Make sure you go inside to admire the stained glass!

Next was a visit to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

While it is a reasonable museum for a small town, the admission price is a bit steep for what it is. The first floor aquarium was terrible – dark, dank, and few fish in the tanks. The second floor history of fishing was fairly interesting – well worth a visit. The third floor covered the history of the the Bluenose sailing races – great if you are into sailing, a little too detailed if you are not.

We also were able to board one of the fishing vessels, which I found fun.

Looking for an afternoon snack, we stopped at Sweet Treasures Confectionery for ice cream and fudge. Jeremy’s top scoop fell off the top of his cone as we walked, but he managed to catch it. Delicious, but his clothes definitely needed to be laundered…

From here, we decided to wander though a park/walking path by the water. Lovely!

We walked back through town found some Adirondack chairs by the water to sit and contemplate the end of our Maritime Province trip. We had a lovely time on Prince Edward Island, the Cabot Trail, and Halifax. We were deciding where to go for dinner and how we wanted to make our way back to Massachusetts (ferry from Yarmouth, ferry from Digby, or drive the long way around), and perhaps take a cruise on the harbor, when we got a text saying that one of our kids had close Covid exposure. 😦 Sigh.

Heading Home Early

Deciding that we didn’t want him to continue with potential exposure, we shifted gears to pick up our child. That said, it was 5pm, and an 11 hour drive to pick him up, with a large rainstorm on the horizon. And in this region, airports were sparse. We realized we could safely drive 3.5 hours to Moncton before the rain/night caught up to us, so we did that and picked him up the next afternoon. And he did recover from Covid (stay safe, everyone!) at home within 2 weeks.

Thus ended our Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island adventures. Not how we planned, but vacations don’t always end the way you hope. We were fortunate that we had seen almost everything we came to see and that we could take good memories home with us.

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