Most visitors to Nova Scotia head to Halifax, the Cabot Trail or the South Shore. All of them are well worth a look, but being a native Nova Scotian I would highly recommend a diversion to the province’s northern coast. Travellers who enter and exit Nova Scotia via the TransCanada Highway are missing out. Highway 366 (also known as the Sunrise Trail) is a secondary driving route stretching from the New Brunswick border through to Cape Breton. In addition to my family’s ancestral cottage, the area is dotted with picture-perfect fishing villages, stunning vistas and a number of attractions along the way.
Some of the best beaches in Canada!
Most coastal areas of Nova Scotia offer a refreshingly chilly swim at best, whereas these waters – known as the Northumberland Strait – benefit from the warm flow of the Gulf Stream current. We always heard growing up that these were “the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.” Numerous beaches offer public access; Heather Beach located near Port Howe is a good choice for its extensive sandy beach and facilities.
Golfers will be delighted to discover a range of first class golf courses along the route, including the Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa. This stunning seaside resort (which has a private landing strip for planes and a luxury yacht) is the pride and joy of Ron Joyce, the co-founder of Canadian coffee and doughnut chain, Tim Hortons. A more budget-friendly option is the Northumberland Links course in the town of Pugwash. This challenging course is a favourite of Canadian singer and local cottager Anne Murray and offers fantastic views across the strait to Prince Edward Island.
Food & drink
Located in Malagash, Jost Vineyards is a leader in the burgeoning Nova Scotia wine industry. Stop by for a free tour and tasting. Sample the Ceilidh Marechal Foch for a taste of wine made with only Nova Scotia grapes. If suds are more your style, swing by the Tatamagouche Brewing Company for a swig of their organic beers. There are plenty of choices to grab a bite to eat; try the Sandpiper in Port Howe or the Train Station Inn in Tatamagouche where you eat in renovated rail cars. Skip the deep-fried options and order the seafood chowder. It’s a safe bet anywhere along this coastal route.
My favourite spot
The most charming spot along this coast has to be the Amherst Shore Country Inn. Located halfway between Amherst and Pugwash on a knoll overlooking the water, this inn has set a high standard in the area for more than twenty-five years. My sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner took place there many years ago. Book a room or one of the stand-alone cottages dotted along the shore for a truly special experience. A dinner in the Inn’s charming dining room is a summer tradition for many of the local cottagers so make sure you book a reservation in advance.
Did you know…?
Nova Scotia is part of Atlantic Canada, which also includes the scenic provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island. The region boasts Canada’s most spectacular coastline and every seaside activity imaginable: uncrowded beaches, nature viewing, and adventures galore. Atlantic Canada is the closest North American destination from the UK.
Experience Nova Scotia for yourself with Canadian Affair’s Bay of Fundy Explorer Package.
Follow Loren on his Canada Travels: Twitter @LorenChristie, Instagram loren.christie