Chester (Nova Scotia)
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Chester is a village in Nova Scotia.
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 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 are some spectacular vistas as you wind along the south shore of Nova Scotia.
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 town 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.
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:
1. The Rope Loft: Found on Water Street, on a dock jutting out into the front harbour, this seasonal pub/restaurant is a great place to relax at night enjoying a pint of Keith's and a some local seafood. I recommend the fish and chips, clams and chips or the very generous seafood chowder.
2. The Fo'c'sle Tavern: The dining area has been renovated in the last few years, but this tavern still kept all it's charm. More popular with locals than the Rope Loft, this centrally located tavern on Queen st. offers many of the same options as the Rope loft with a more pub like feel.
3. The Kiwi cafe: If you are looking for a light lunch or a coffee and a snack, this bright and airy cafe is a great stop. It is found on Pleasant st. across from the Chester Playhouse.
4. Julien's Bakery: If you are dreaming of something a bit more European, stop into Julien's where they offer up freshly baked pastries, breads and deserts every day. Across from the Fo'c'sle on Queen st.
The Fo'c'sle Tavern, known locally as the "living room" of Chester.