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WebSideStory Pick of the Week! 3/16/98

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    Welcome to Nova Scotia


    Part 2
     
     
    Photo credit: Ivan Fraser

    By Barry Wood In fifteen minutes, a jet filled with excited American Baby Boomers who have come to Nova Scotia for fun will land at Halifax International Airport, in Eastern Canada. Passengers with window seats have already seen the province's steep, rocky shoreline with the Atlantic smashing against it, and the thick forests. Our license plates do not say Canada's Ocean Playground without reason. An alternative to flying here could be a ferry trip from Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. It does not matter how the tourist arrives--Nova Scotia means fun! It's autumn. The leaves are changing to radiant fall colors. The orchards are full of ripe red apples. Students have returned to school, and workers are back from vacations. The mornings are chilly, with the fragrance of chimney smoke in the air. The warmth of summer is gone for another year. People are wearing thick sweaters while out strolling. Homeowners are getting ready for the snow and bitter winds of winter. Maps and pamphlets are available at most traveller destinations. As well, check the the Internet for things to see and do while in Nova Scotia. A tourist whom I met in the Halifax Public Gardens was taking pictures of flowers. She said, "It's too bad that I can't record the smell of them." She sniffed the air and leaned her head back, allowing the bright sun to fall on her face. Taken off guard I nodded, smiled, and said, "You're right. It is too bad." In the very center of Halifax sits Citadel Hill, a national historic site that is open daily year round. It is the pride of the city, and has a bird's eye view of the harbor. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is on the waterfront. It is filled with displays of marine history of Nova Scotia. Many actual boats are on display inside, in addition to several large ships anchored outside which are open daily to the public. These ships are crowd pleasers as are the inside exhibits about the Halifax Explosion as well as the tragic sinking of the Titanic. A must-see is Peggy's Cove, less than an hour from Halifax. This tiny village is located in the center of a rock formation which stretches for miles along the coast. Here stands one of the world's most famous lighthouses which was built over eighty years ago to replace a wooden house that was used both as a lighthouse and the keeper's home. Peggy's Cove lighthouse is used in the summer as a post office. The tide sneaks in over the rocks like a snake. Quietly. Then suddenly it pounces. The powerful waves have grabbed several people who failed to heed the posted warnings against going too near the water. Click Ivan Fraser (http://www.peggyscove.net/studios/studio_frames.html) for more photographs and paintings. Lobster, clams, mussels, and scallops -- from five-star restaurants to places for the smaller budget -- Nova Scotia serves delicious seafood. Watercraft are common in Nova Scotia. Some for fun, some for livelihood. They range from canoes, to fishing vessels, to yachts. Museums throughout the province display our culture and history. In Springhill you can tour a coal mine where you get the feel of what it was like to earn your living as a miner and work in daily fear of cave-ins. Nova Scotia's history is filled with tragic stories of the hazards of mining. Coffee shops are great places to sit and watch the locals while you rest your weary feet and rejuvenate your spirits. Nova Scotia is a haven for birdwatchers, so pack your binoculars. The province has woodpeckers, sparrows, seabirds, crows, and many other species. A ferryboat runs between the cities of Dartmouth and Halifax across a mile-wide harbor. This is an excellent way to see the skyline of Dartmouth as well as Halifax, which is noted as one of the world's finest deep-water ports. Bus tours are popular year-round in the city as well as throughout the province. There are tours for everyone regardless of your interest. Autumn bus tours show the changing leaves in the beautiful Annapolis Valley. British double-decker bus tours are available in the old city of Halifax. Sport tours, such as skiing coupled with a weekend stay, are available at such places as Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton. Craft tours from Yarmouth and up through the east coast of Nova Scotia show paintings, and local crafts from needlepoint to hand-made wooden chairs. Maple syrup tours are perfect for the tourist who enjoys going into the woods and literally tapping into nature. Titanic graves tours are reminders of that horrific disaster. Tours around the Annapolis valley during the Apple Blossom Festival are a photographer's dream, and the fragrance from the millions of white-pink petals is free for the taking. Halifax's Neptune Theater has a new, impressive facility. There are live performances ranging from dramas to musicals. Cabaret opened September 22nd. Wit opens November 3rd, and Scrooge opens December 1st, 2000. For fishing, try our many freshwater rivers and lakes. For the more adventurous, deep-sea fishing is available. Manned by experienced crews, these boats sail out into the ocean. Take along your camera as whales are spotted regularly. Canada's most famous fishing schooner, "The Bluenose," built in the Town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is the pride of the province. The Bluenose is world famous for being undefeated in an 18-year racing career against US schooners. Tourists can visit the schooner in Halifax or in Lunenburg depending on the time of the year. The Cabot Trail is in Cape Breton, at the northern tip of Nova Scotia. This route has breathtaking scenery. Small, quaint unspoiled communities along the Cabot Trail are perfect places to take advantage of Nova Scotia's beauty at its best. Included in the trail is the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, providing camping and viewing sites. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is one of many along the trail. Mr. Bell invented the telephone. He was a teacher of the deaf; his mother was deaf. One can easily understand his fascination with sound. Try to imagine a world today without the telephone. Twenty miles south of Sydney, Cape Breton is the Fortress of Louisbourg, which is a large reconstruction of a town from 250 years ago. Fully informed tour guides, in period clothing, welcome visitors to the site. World famous Sable Island is 300 km southeast of Halifax. They call it "the Graveyard of the North Atlantic." Its history is full of tales of suspense and lost treasures. More than three hundred and fifty ships, which fell prey to the strong Atlantic winds, have succumbed to the sand dunes since 1583. Underwater reefs around the island trapped many vessels. These shipwrecks have resulted in the deaths of more than ten thousand men, including sailors, prisoners, and pirates. Today wild ponies originating from one of these shipwrecks run freely on Sable Island. The government has restricted access to the island to people with special permits such as weather watchers, and organized groups interested in the wild ponies or in shipwrecks. The jet's landing gear is down and locked; the tires give that familiar skidding sound as they scorch the runway. The eager passengers disembark the plane in great anticipation of the many things to see and do in Nova Scotia! THE END

    Barry Wood is an aspiring Canadian writer. Website: http://www.barrywood.net
    NOVA SCOTIA PART ONE
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