Tobeatic Wilderness & Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve. The largest protected wilderness area in Atlantic Canada. The Tobeatic is a large natural area that spans five counties and more than 104,000 hectares of central southwestern Nova Scotia. Nine major rivers flow from the Tobeatic and over 120 lakes are found within the wilderness area. The wilderness area is available to the public for canoeing, birding, and other outdoor pursuits for the enjoyment of nature. The Tobeatic features numerous species of interest including the last native population of moose, black bear, southern flying squirrel, Blanding's turtle, Eastern ribbon snake, Bald Eagle, brook trout, Lady Slipper orchids, and various carnivorous and non-chlorophytic flowering plants.
Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy. Brier Island is a unique destination situated off the end of ancient basalt formation (Digby Neck) jutting out into the world famous Bay of Fundy. This area is rich in marine life (Whale Watching, Atlantic flyway for migrating birds and has a resident seal colony) The area has been long visited by naturalists who regularly spot rare and endangered plants. Rock hounds will be impressed with the many types of rock formations and can find quartz, agate jasper, amethyst and even zeolite. An area truly unspoiled, off the beaten track and deeply steeped in maritime tradition. (Home of the famous Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail solo around the world in 1895 on the Spay a 37’ sloop.) Brier Island offers many trails to explore both easy and challenging for hikers on short or extended visits. The island is accessible by two short ferry rides from the end of Digby Neck.
For a population just under a million Nova Scotia is remarkably diverse, Mi'kmaq, Scots descendants, black Nova Scotians, French Acadians, Annapolis Valley farmers, Cape Bretoners and Haligonians all forming distinct groups with their own unique quirks, culture and language. The novel "Rockbound" is written entirely in the South Shore dialect of the fishermen of that region, a fusion of Shakespearean English, German and unique local idioms.
Champlain named Nova Scotia "Acadie" and claimed it for France in 1604. French immigrants settled the area and became prosperous farmers and fisherman until officially expelled by the British in the mid 18th century - their lands especially on the South Shore to be repopulated with "foreign Protestants" meaning mostly Dutch and German. Many areas still retain a strong Acadian French culture, including the largest francophone municipality, Clare in Digby County and Argyle, in Yarmouth County. Nova Scotia hosted the World Acadian Congress in 2005. The Louisiana "cajun" is a slang adaptation of "Acadien" in the French. Longfellow's poem "Evangeline" celebrates the victims of the Expulsion, as does Zachary Richard's drum and voice song "Reveille". Because of the expulsion, French is far more commonly heard in New Brunswick.
Halifax, the capital, is one of the oldest cities in North America and was a critical sea link during World Wars I and II. The infamous "Halifax explosion" caused by collision of two ships in Halifax Harbour in 1917 was the worst man-made explosion on Earth until Hiroshima in 1945. Halifax today is an education and high technology center with over a dozen post-secondary institutions including Dalhousie University and substantial operations by major high-technology firms. Academics have unusual influence in Nova Scotia perhaps because of the concentration of them in the capital. Many have even written legislation.
Unless you are a winter surfer, or like to snowshoe, then it is probably best to visit Nova Scotia sometime June-Oct when the weather is warm, the skies are blue and the water may be less frigid. The main byways are along the coast, and a lot of small shops and restaurants are open around the coast during the summer months. Watch out for mosquitoes and horseflies in the summer, however, especially after a storm.
Locals of many desirable areas exaggerate the cold, storms, pests, etc., in order to discourage tourists from moving in permanently. This tendency has declined in recent years as the population has aged. Nova Scotia's South Shore is one of the rare "Blue Zones" in the world where an unusually high percentage of people lives to over 100 years old. The province highlights this fact in some of its immigration ads.
Halifax has the main international airport in the province. Flights can also be made to Sydney in Cape Breton from Halifax, or periodically from Boston, Toronto, or other Maritime cities. Ferry service is available from Prince Edward Island to Pictou, and Newfoundland to North Sydney.
Ferry service from Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine to Yarmouth ceased on December 15, 2009. There is no replacement ferry service at this time.
The Highway system in Nova Scotia is very simple. Starting at Yarmouth, The 101 and 103 Provincial highways (Notable by the flag on the top of the white sign) go around the shore, the 101 going along the Western shore through Digby and Windsor, while the 103 goes along the eastern shore. Both lead to Halifax/Dartmouth. Following out, the Provincial 102 goes to Truro. At Truro, one can opt to go to Ahmerst (To New Brunswick) or to New Glasgow via the Trans Canada 104. A ferry to Prince Edward Island can be found at Pictou. The Trans Canada leads all the way to the Canso Causeway, the one way to get to Cape Breton. The Trans Canada also leads to Sydney, and the Newfoundland Ferry at North Sydney. Be aware of road conditions in the winter, especially away from major areas. Special scenic routes are labeled by specific signs, (Cabot Trail, Sunrise Trail, etc.).
Peggys Cove lighthouse
Peggys Cove Lighthouse, 35 km SW of Halifax on road 333 is a lighthouse on rounded rocks. The lighthouse is a post office, there is a restaurant and tourist information but otherwise it is just big rocks with a dozen small house and 60 people living there. Outside Peggys Cove on the 333 there are plenty of B&B's and restaurants.
Swissair Memorial, close to Peggys Cove on the 333.
The Southern Nova Scotia Biosphere, Tobeatic Wilderness Area, and Kejimikujik National Park in the southern half of the province--the largest protected wilderness area in Atlantic Canada
Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, the largest reconstructed 18th-century French fortified town in North America.
Pedal and Sea Adventures Bike tours along Cape Breton's The Cabot Trail, Lighthouse Route, and Evangeline Route, along with Best of Both Coasts tour, and a Lunenburg Adventure tour. Also offers one- and two-day biking and kayaking tours, and bike rentals in the HRM.
Scott's Walking Tours Walking and hiking tours throughout Nova Scotia, including Cape Breton, Nova Scotia's four shores, and the Atlantic seacoast.
Tidal Bore Rafting Experience the highest tides in the world by riding on the tidal bore wave in a raft. Exhilarating fun, even when the moon isn't full!
Rob's Rock Mineral & Rockhounding Shop, 677 West Main Street, Kentville (Take Hwy 101 West from Halifax), ☎ (902) 678-3194, . Nova Scotia has some of the best rocks and minerals in the world. Rob's Shop is an excellent place to discover these treasures.The Bay of Fundy is an excellent place to rockhound. From Parrsboro down to Brier Island. There is a great online catalog for folks who can't visit the area
Freewheeling Adventures, 2070 rte 329 (The Lodge, near Hubbards), ☎ 902-857-3600, . Bike, multisport, and seakayak tours, guided or self-guided, in the best corners of Nova Scotia. Van support, inns or camping, with best food possible. Rental equipment and delivery also available.
Donair, based on Turkish dish "Döner", a pile of roasted, spiced beef (known as donair meat) with tomatoes and onions covered in a sweet, white sauce and wrapped in a pita. This variation on the doner is unique to the area and is available at almost every corner diner and pizza place in Nova Scotia. Folks from New England (and perhaps many other areas of the US) will compare a donair to a gyro - biggest difference is a sauce that is much sweeter than the sauce found on a gyro.
Dulse, most of this seaweed is harvested in Nova Scotia. Locally it is dried and used as a snack.
Hala's Pizza and Doniar, 117 Kearney Lake Rd. Wedgewood Plaza, . A charming and cozy pizza restaurant - takes pride in its homemade dishes.
Shaws Landing 6958 Highway 333, West Dover, tel: +1 902-823-1843, email:Ian@ShawsLanding.ca, . Just a few km towards Halifax from Peggys Cove. The Scottish Swiss chef makes excellent seafood in a beautiful setting. Try the blueberry garlic shrimps. No liquor license.
Sutherland's Diner, 2808 Main St. Shubenacadie on the 102, Tel: +1 902-758-0114. Sandwiches, fish & chips, burgers at low prices.
The Chickenburger, Bedford Highway, . Drive up and eat in malt, chickenburger and burger shop since 1940.
Dining at Trout Point Lodge, 189 Trout Point Road (Off East Branch Road off Hwy. 203), ☎ 902-761-2142, . 7:30PM. The kitchen at Trout Point Lodge brings to fruition savoury creations by drawing from traditional cooking techniques combined with fresh local ingredients. The Dining Room's fare intertwines wild mushrooms & plants, produce from local growers as well as the on-site gardens, and the ethical selection of the North Atlantic's freshest seafood to create a unique dining experience in daily-changing prix-fixe menus. Trout Point cuisine reflects place and time without undue emphasis on food styling. The art is in the preparation of the food, with flavour given top priority. The chef-proprietors started as some of Louisiana's first organic farmers, and draw inspiration from substantial time living in places as diverse as Rome, Granada, Central America, and China. A hallmark of Trout Point's cuisine is the use of the Lodge's own in-house ingredients: --House cold-smoked salmon, scallops, trout, and swordfish; --Home-made cheeses like chevre, ricotta, and fresh mozzarella; --Vegetables, herbs, and salad greens from the Lodge's ever expanding gardens; --Desserts, ice creams, sorbets, and artisal breads made daily.
Nova Scotia produces some very good wines. Most wineries offer free tours. Of particular note is Jost Winery  along the Northumberland Strait north of Truro.
Try the local beers. Nova Scotia is best known for "Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale," known locally simply as "Keith's" : Natives tend to get a kick out of outsiders trying it. Also sample the Propeller