Suggest interesting things to do in Nova Scotia in September?
August 3, 2016 8:40 AM   Subscribe

We'll be wandering around Nova Scotia for a couple weeks in September. We've got accommodations and some activities figured out. But can you recommend some things we might not have thought of for activities, as well as great places to eat (as in interesting and not touristy)? Our time will concentrate on spending several days in each of these areas: Digby to Wolfville; Halifax to Lunenburg; Cape Breton (Ceilidh trail, Cabot Trail, Louisbourg); Eastern Shore drive; day or two in Maitland area for tidal bore rafting and recovery. Thanks in advance!
posted by aught to Travel & Transportation around Nova Scotia (3 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if it's on your itinerary, but I recomend The Anne Murray Centre in Springhill (her birthplace).
posted by Carol Anne at 11:49 AM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: On the Digby-Wolfville part of your trip:

If you're into hiking, Blomidon Provincial Park and the nearby Cape Split have nice day hikes close to Wolfville.

Digby is kind of short on restaurants, but our friend is opening Roof Hound Brewing Company ... tomorrow! It's a micro-brewery and a pizza place.

My favourite restaurant in Wolfville is Troy, and I stop there every time I drive through.

Wolfville also has a great farmers' market.

If you're looking for a place to go for coffee, consider the Just Us Coffee museum just outside of Wolfville. (It's a tiny museum - allow about 10 minutes to see it all - but free and kind of interesting.) They also have a regular coffee shop in Wolfville.

Other interesting places to drive include:
- Bear River, which people call "the Switzerland of Nova Scotia" - a cute little village inland
- Digby Neck down to Brier Island for more outdoorsiness (includes two ferries; stop at the Balancing Rock on the way down for a short hike to a ... balancing rock)
- Annapolis Royal, which is a cute little village and has a nice market on Saturdays

Digby (and all of Digby Neck) has lots of whale watching companies. I haven't been, but I've heard good things.
posted by MangoNews at 6:49 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Post vacation highlights recap. Recommended activities and restaurants.

- Halifax: lots of great breweries and brewpubs, including Propeller Brewing, Good Robot (interesting brews), Garrison, Rockbottom, Stubborn Goat Gastropub; Seaport Market, Public Gardens, Public Library building; very good meal at Chives
- Peggys Bay (scenic point with lighthouse and small village of shops) is recommended by everyone but it totally overrun with busloads of tourists after 9 AM and before 6 PM, so go early or late
- Mahone Bay - great sandwiches at Joanne's Deli, lots of cute shops to spend your tourist money in, Amos Pewter has people doing their artisan work you can watch and talk to which is cool
- Lunenburg: Ironworks Distilling (great rum), Salt Shaker Deli (not really a deli, has great seafood), check out the sailing ship Bluenose II if it's docked; somewhat nearby Petit Riviere winery; nice drive out the peninsula to Blue Rocks
- Kejimkujik Seaside park (south of Liverpool) - worth the drive and the unpaved road to the remote location for a level several mile hike to a really gorgeous and isolated beach
- Digby: scallops at the Shoreline Restaurant
- Brier Island: whale watch via Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises was great, saw many many humpback whales, some very close
- Annapolis Valley: Grand Pre Winery, Planters Ridge winery, Barreling Tide distillery, Annapolis Cider
- If you eat lobster, go up to Halls Harbor Lobster Pound
- Maitland: tidal bore rafting via River Runners (crazy at extreme tide time, but fun); Bings Eatery is great, eat there if it's open next year (there is some possibility they might take a year off)
- Glenora distillery: good whisky, too bad the make I liked best was $240 a bottle
- Mabou: Red Shoe pub for food and music
- Anti-recommendation: someone in a previous AskMe thread raved about Le Gabriel restaurant in Cheticamp - I thought it was mediocre and overpriced, just terrible. Maybe has gone downhill? Based on my experience, save your money and get a sandwich and a pastry at the Aucoin bakery a few miles up the road
- Baddeck: ceilidhs at the parish house nightly through September, ignore the elderly bused-in tourists dozing, and enjoy the music; also near Baddeck the Alexander Graham Bell museum was surprisingly good
- Near Baddeck, get reservations a couple months in advance for The Bite House restaurant - 5 small course, locally sourced, detailed cuisine meal, just amazing
- Inverness beach: we went on a misty rainy day so it was nearly deserted and atmospheric
- In the Cape Breton highlands park, Skyline trail hike and a few others definitely recommended
- Pleasant Bay: Poplar B&B was small but nice; great mussels at The Rusty Anchor
- near Pleasant Bay, check out the Buddhist stupa on the dirt road a little past the entrance to the monastery
- drive out to Meat Cove (northernmost on Cape Breton) worth the bumping along the dirt road
- In Bay Saint Lawrence, Oshan Whale Watch also recommended, in addition to the amazingly scenic coast, saw close up pilot whales
- Near Dingwall, great meal at Markland Coastal Beach Cottages
- Chowder and mussels at Chowder House in Neils Harbor recommended; strangely we ran into people from our home town here, and then saw them again in Sydney a couple days later
- Middlehead Point hike near Ingonish Beach (starts a little past the Keltic Lodge resort) was great
- Guysborough: anti-recommendation for Rare Bird brewpub, beer was okay but food (such as it was) was inedible and service was indifferent
- Nice stay at Seawind Landing Inn, out in the middle of nowhere on the south coast, great breakfast
- Very good meal at Henley House restaurant in Sheet Harbor
- Fun watching surfers on a blustery day on Martinique beach south of Musquodobit (would be a doable excursion from Halifax)
- In Tatamagouche area: Jost Winery is a giant operation, has a couple good wines worth tasting; Tatamagouche Bewery is very good; Caldera Distillery in John River is worth the scenic drive, right now has one whisky but cool spot and really nice folks

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but hope this helps others. The people of Nova Scotia were almost universally friendly and the land is beautiful.
posted by aught at 1:24 PM on October 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

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