Chester (Nova Scotia)
Chester is a village in Nova Scotia founded in 1759 during the French and Indian War. It played host to several historically important instances during the American Revolution (see: Rouge Ruse) and the War of 1812. Today, because of its stunning location on the St.Margaret's Bay, the village is a vacation and resort destination and so has a large number of businesses which operate on a seasonal basis.
Chester is situated about 65 km southwest of Halifax in Nova Scotia's South Shore region. The most efficient way to reach Chester, and Chester Basin is by Car. Rental cars are available at the Halifax International Airport or from many locations in Halifax or Dartmouth. If you are driving to Chester, you can either take Highway 103 south from Halifax, which will mean about a 45 minute drive to reach Chester (Exit number 8). The alternative is to take the much more scenic St. Margaret's Bay Road, which follows the coastline and passes through beautiful seaside towns like Hubbards on it's winding route to Chester. As you can imagine, this route is a bit longer (plan for at least an hour and a half), but the payoff is some of the most spectacular vistas you can find in Nova Scotia as you wind along the south shore of the province.
If you don't have a car, another alternative is the Acadian lines bus service that leaves from Halifax along the South Shore of Nova Scotia Daily (Booking inquiries: 1-800-567-5151).
Without a car your options will be seriously limited in Chester. This small village does not have an existing form of public transport.
If you are really in a pinch to get somewhere and you don't have a car (or a friend to call), then there is a taxi service that operates a few cabs in the south shore of Nova Scotia (South Shore Taxi - 1 902 277 2727). Be aware that there are a limited number of available cars and book ahead.
The main draw in Chester is of course the views of the beautiful St. Margaret's Bay. This island dotted cove is a nautical dream, and when in the village of Chester, you will never be more then a short distance from a viewpoint overlooking the ocean.
Other than this obvious draw there are many other hidden gems to be found. In the center of town there is a very nice little theatre, the Chester Playhouse. Located on the aptly named Pleasant Street, the playhouse often runs local small budget productions by local artists throughout the summer. You can check the website for more information (Chester Playhouse). A short drive (10mins) outside Chester to the north, you can also find Graves Island. The island is connected to the mainland via a driving bridge. Once there you can wander freely and enjoy the calm serenity and scenery on this island park.
Finally, the ocean views may be what attract visitors to Chester, but it's the coastal charm that keeps them coming back. Take time to walk the streets and look at the beautiful Cape Cod style houses, many of which are protected historic properties dating to the 19th century.
This villiage is really made for relaxing strolls and lazy afternoons. But if you feel like you need to plan some activities, there are plenty of options:
There are of course plenty of other things to do in town, and with a little research you will be able to plan a relaxing, fun, and maybe even adventurous holiday.
You will find plenty of your standard nautical novelty souvenirs in Chester, as you will in any of the towns that dot the South Shore. However, if you have a little extra to spend, and want to get something special, look to some of the local artists making hand made crafts. Some of the more notable options are found along Pleasant and Duke Streets. The Valverde Studio Gallery, Chez Glass Lass, and Light my Fire studio have all become particular favorites of visiting tourists.
There are plenty of great places to eat in Chester, and if you were so inclined, you could certainly pass a vacation sampling the different restaurants, pubs, bakeries, and cafes the villiage has on offer. A few that should not be passed up are:
Like any small town in Nova Scotia, Chester has a few watering holes available to the weary traveller and friendly local alike.
There are plenty of options to stay in Chester, the best being at one of the plethora of B&Bs that dot the area. They are long on charm, and will not stretch your budget too badly. Some other options however, include:
The Chester and Area Visitor Information Center is located on 20 Smith Road in Chester, in a converted ralway station. The staff there can provide you with information on events and attractions in the area.
It is recommended that anyone visiting Chester plans to take a few drives and visit some of the other towns along the South Shore. Some of the higlights of any such trip would include the beautiful rocky coastlines of Peggys Cove, The UNESCO world heritage village of Lunenburg, or the quaint small town of Liverpool
If you are leaving by plane from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, then it is recommended that you budget an hour and a half for the drive from Chester to the airport. And although traffic is not generally much of a concern, the morning rush (from 7-9am on weekdays) can sometimes slow traffic on highway 103 between Tantallon and Halifax.