Exploring Halifax in One (Long) Weekend:
What a weekend! From flying in to surprise one of my best friends on her birthday, to eating my weight in seafood, to exploring the beautiful coastal region for hours on end, to cheers-ing and singing in local pubs, to getting lost and finding hidden gems, my first weekend trip out east to Nova Scotia could not have gone any better. Here’s my tips on how to make your Nova Scotian adventure absolutely amazing too!
Let’s start with THREE RULES:
RULE ONE:Don’t be afraid to get a little wet – the climate calls for lots of rain, expect it, embrace it, and if it happens to be a rainy time when you go, don’t let it dampen your spirit – throw on a hat and get exploring!
RULE TWO: It’s a town that tailors itself to walking. Stroll throughout the downtown area and along the pier – if you get lucky, you may spot some wildlife along the boardwalk like seals, dolphins, and starfish.Go on a walk through the Public Gardens and explore Point Pleasant Park and it’s beaches!
RULE THREE: Explore and get lost. Find those hidden gems. Wander into little shops, bakeries, cafes, bars, pubs, parks… anywhere! Be open, you never know what you’ll find.
WHAT TO DO?
Enjoy being in a coastal town and eat lots of fresh seafood (if you like seafood that is)! EAT LOBSTER!!!!!!!!! It was my first time trying lobster and yes, I LOVED it! I highly recommend Salty’s as it is right on the pier, overlooking the water, and is absolutely delicious. Although I will admit, when Derek asked me if I wanted to pick which lobster I was about to eat, it was a hard NO and I almost chickened out.
Explore the Halifax waterfront by grabbing a coffee to go or an ice cream cone and walk along the boardwalk. Keep your eyes open as you may get to see some wildlife – I spotted a seal perched on one of the boat docks just lounging about!
If you’re staying somewhere that permits you to cook or are just looking for something fresh to snack on, check out the Farmers Market on the weekend located along the boardwalk. They have a great assortment of fresh veggies, fruit, baked goodies, jams, ciders, and so much more. You can grab everything from samosas from the Indian food stand to delicious perogies from the Dutch booth. If you’re craving something sweet or something savory, enjoy a freshly made crepe. There’s something for everyone.
Make the drive out to Peggy’s Cove to explore the village and south shore. Chomp down on some fish and chips or fresh lobster overlooking the cove at The Sou’Wester – their clam chowder is delicious as well. Note: it will be windy so dress warm especially if you go later in the season/ during off-season. Avoid wandering onto the rocks that appear black in color as these are slippery and the sea is subject to surge at any given moment. Don’t “do it for the gram”… it isn’t worth it especially since Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is so picturesque from almost any angle.
Fun Fact: Who is Peggy? Legend has it that Margaret (Peggy) was the sole survivor of a schooner that was shipwrecked along the coast in the 1800s. She became renowned as “Peggy of the Cove” when she settled in the village and married a local man.
Continue your road trip and make a day out of it by driving out to Lunenburg. Walk along the boardwalk, through the tiny fisherman’s town, and check out the Lunenburg Academy, an abandoned haunted academy situated at the top of the town. Wander through the little stand-alone shops and check out the distillery for some boozy delights.
Enjoy other cool bars, lounges, and pubs while you’re in Nova Scotia like Halifax’s secret bar Noble… to be in the know and get your hands on the password visit: http://www.themiddlespoon.ca/noble/.
Memorize Barrett’s Privateers and sing along to all the great drunken carols played live by the band Signal Hill at Lower Deck every Sunday night – this is for everyone young and old *over the age of 19*. The sole reason I extended my trip from returning on Sunday to returning on Monday was because I heard how much fun Lower Deck is on Sundays and how it is the most Halifaxian experience. Do it. Just do it!
Alexander Keith is a legend in Nova Scotia, and I am serious when I say, they LOVE him there. He set sail across the Atlantic Ocean in the early 1800s emigrating from Scotland. Once he settled in Nova Scotia he established his brewery in downtown Halifax – he had learned the brewing and malting business from the teachings of his uncle in England when he was only 17. He was elected mayor of Halifax three times and was a member of the Legislative Council for 33 years appointed by the Queen herself. Every year on the deceased mayor’s birthday, October 5th, Halifax pays tribute to him with celebratory birthday bashes all around the city. This day is celebrated much like St. Paddy’s Day with a whole lot of beer. Make sure to check out his brewery on Lower Water Street and have a pint in his pub or take the brewery tour.
Explore the Dalhousie campus and if you’re able, wander inside the Life Science Center and find yourself at the Biology Touch Tanks. Read up on the biodiversity of the Halifax coast. Feel the starfish leech onto your hands as you hold the tiny delicate creatures. If you don’t know a Dalhousie student you may have some trouble gaining access into the building, however we were not asked for student ID when we ventured in (thankfully haha)
Halifax was honestly nothing like I expected and completely blew me away (not just from the heavy winds which literally almost did sweep me off my feet). This coastal city feels welcoming, safe, and there is always something to do and somewhere to explore.
Already planning on returning and doing the road trip out to Cape Breton!
Stay Caffeinated! Xo,