We recently made our way from our hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia (that's in Canada for those of you not from these parts) to Portland, Maine, via The CAT Ferry. Before departing, we decided to stay for a couple of nights in Yarmouth and Acadian Shores to see what was on offer. What we discovered, definitely surprised us, and we really hope you’ll take the opportunity to check it out for yourselves.
There is a very exciting event, soon to start, called From Sea to Stars. It’s going to highlight some of what the area has best to offer, mainly incredible dark night skies, perfect for stargazing, and really fantastic food and drinks, with a specialty in seafood. Given its important maritime history and location, seafood shouldn’t be a major shock to most. However, what might surprise some is the area’s great up and coming food scene with some really fantastic chefs. Currently, this seems to be slightly off the radar, but it’s definitely coming into its own—which means now is the time to check it out!
On making our way to the area, we first stopped in the small community of Pubnico. We had hoped to visit both the Musee Des Acadiens Des Pubnico as well as Le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Unfortunately, it was quite rainy and the Le Village is predominantly outdoors, so we chose to skip it. However, the Musee Des Acadiens was quite fascinating, as it shows a glimpse of the life of the Acadians in the early 1900s. We took about 20 minutes to explore the house, which included farming tools, and many household items, but also on display was an old printing press from the area. Our very favourite display was their huge collection of old cameras, taking up an entire wall, the oldest dated back to the mid-1800s.
Our first night in the area started with a stay at the Argyler Lodge, just outside of Yarmouth in the small community of Argyle. One thing we have seriously struggled finding in Nova Scotia are B&Bs and Inns with upscale or contemporary decor combined with a restaurant with great food. We’d actually never heard of it before staying and now we can’t wait to spread the word! We absolutely fell in love with this place and one night was not enough! We had a lovely room with big windows facing the water, a queen size bed, and private bath. It had loads of space and comfortable decor. This place is unpretentious, even though they could likely get away with it. Our meal there was fantastic with great food and attentive service. This lovely little spot, off the beaten path, is worth a visit.
The next day was spent in and around the town of Yarmouth. We discovered an amazing little coffee shop called Sip, which would fit in perfectly in a big, urban setting—and honestly, we were shocked to find it in this area.
We also made our way to the Cape Forchu Lightstation. We were able to take a tour of the caretaker’s home and learned a lot about how they would have lived. It was honestly fascinating to hear about the lives of the families that ran that lightstation. After our tour, we ate at the newly opened cafe, the Keeper’s Kitchen—a participant in the From Sea to Stars event. Absolutely do not miss this if visiting the lightstation, the food space and the food were truly a gem. The kitchen is co-owned by the chef at the Argyler, as well as the owners of the Red Shed in downtown Yarmouth. We didn’t get the opportunity to hit up the later, but if the food at the Keeper's Kitchen is any indication, it’s likely great!
We timed our visit perfectly with the Yarmouth Annual Wine and Seafood Extravaganza. This one was its 6th year and it was definitely a success. Unfortunately, neither of us are seafood fans, but if you are, you can’t go wrong! Although we did skip the food, we definitely tried the wine and beer. Many wineries and breweries from nearby were in attendance and we indulged in tasting many of the libations on offer.
We spent our second night at the Guest-Lovitt House B&B. It’s right in the centre of town and couldn't have a better location. Our room was very nicely furnished with a big king size bed, a desk and well-appointed bathroom which was stocked with everything you might have forgotten. This is such a simple gesture, yet so rare, but very appreciated! They owners also went above and beyond to make sure all of us getting up early the next day to take the ferry had a warm breakfast to take with us. Both of us were so impressed with this B&B and hope we can have another opportunity to stay there.
If you’re coming from the United States, absolutely take The CAT Ferry! It gives a break from driving, and meanwhile, you can relax, watch movies, have some drinks and delicious food while you make your way to Yarmouth and Acadian Shores! You can see our video below.
If you’re coming from Cape Breton or Halifax, you can take highway 103 through the South Shore or highway 101 through the Annapolis Valley. Both are great options with loads of fantastic places to stop along the way.
All in all, we were beyond surprised with our time spent in the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores and we hope to return soon! All the things we’ve listed were fantastic yet we still felt like we only managed the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more waiting for us to explore and we can’t wait to get back there!
We also took a ride on The CAT High Speed Ferry. Check it out below.
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