Stepped back in time and strolled down memory lane in Nova Scotia
Road Diary update from Nova Scotia. Click here to read the previous Road Diary update from this Maritime Canada road trip.
Guysborough is not a very big place on the map, but there are some cool things to do. For example, Chris (my videographer and sidekick on this trip) and I went on a short hike along a shoreline trail that winds around Chedabucto Bay. We saw trail signs describing the history of the area, which dates back to the 1600s, when the area was buzzing with ship building and other maritime activities.
The coastal road in and around Guysborough is quite scenic with many places that compelled us to pull over and shoot some video or take photos.
As we continued our road trip around Nova Scotia, we stepped back in time at Sherbrooke Village, a living history museum which depicts life back in the mid to late 1800s. There are a couple dozen original buildings along the St. Mary River in which visitors can enter (over 80 buildings in all) with many costumed interpreters playing the historic parts, such as blacksmith, woodworker and even a photographer using one of the original glass-plate cameras. I actually dressed up in period-attire and and had my picture taken. The entire process takes about 30 minutes to complete, 2 minutes of which was spent sitting still for the long exposure. We really had a fantastic time visiting Sherbrooke and actually filmed a pretty fun scene that will be shown in an upcoming video.
After a couple of hours at Sherbrooke, we took off for our next stop, which was at the Liscombe Lodge Marina for a boat tour of the river. Our captain and tour guide, Chester, has been employed by the lodge for over 40 years. It was so funny, we were talking with a few folks at Sherbrooke about the rest of our itinerary for the day and everyone seemed to know who Chester was. Come to find out, not only has Chester been employed at the lodge for decades, he has never traveled more than eight miles or so from the area. Chester was a wealth of knowledge, sharing many stories and historical interest of the area—a super nice guy to boot.
When we arrived back from our boat tour, we checked into the Liscombe Lodge Resort. The rooms we had right on the river offered some great views, but it reminded me a bit Pictou Lodge Resort. Both of these facilities were in fantastic locations, but they seemed really dated and tired. Both of these places also reminded me of a lodge I stayed at in California once, where the same people come back year-after-year for family reunions and other gatherings. There is a lot to do at the Liscombe Lodge, from nearby and back-country hiking trails, biking, canoeing to swimming. Unfortunately, the next day would be our last in Nova Scotia, so we didn’t have a lot of time to do much.
We back on the road early the next day and our first stop was to check out Memory Lane Heritage Village. This attraction was somewhat similar to Sherbrooke Village, but celebrated an era about a hundred years later, the 1940s. Memory Lane Village is also considerably smaller than Sherbrooke, but still a really cool place to explore. Visitors enter via the General Store to pay the admission fee, then you are release out into the village to explore the bike shop, the ship building area and much more. There are some beautiful 1940s vehicles on site as well as many other artifacts from the era. After perusing the grounds, we stopped by the cookhouse for some authentic buffet style chow. The food prepared features baked beans, fresh soups, homemade brown bread, gingerbread cookies and coffee, tea, or lemonade.
After our stroll down memory lane, we headed for our last activity of this Nova Scotia road trip…tidal bore rafting. Have you ever heard of this? While I was familiar with a tidal bore, I had no idea what it meant to raft it. I had heard of people surfing a tidal bore, but again, not rafting. This would end up being quite the adventure!
We drove to the Tidal Bore Rafting Park in Urbania, which apparently is the only place in the world you can do this activity. After meeting the rest of our group, getting suited up with a splash guard (which I would soon learn is really pointless) and walking down to the banks of the Shubie River (not kidding), it wouldn’t be long until our adrenaline got revved up.
There were about 10 passengers and our captain aboard a Zodiac raft. Once aboard we were soon cruising upstream, during which time our caption gave us the lowdown on what we were about to experience. The views were quite impressive as a huge sand bar soon divided the river. Our captain beached the raft on the sand bar to let us walk around and to give us some additional information about the experience.
It was about 30 minutes later that we saw the tidal bore coming for us, a wave that makes its way from the ocean down this narrow channel. Our captain sped up the Zodiac to get to the beginning of the sand bar, where the adventure would soon take place. It wasn’t long and the sand bar was completely covered in water. Moments later, the river before us became a raging river with waves as high as 6-7 feet. Our captain positioned the boat just right and the amusement-like ride began. Our Zodiac was soon full of water as we bobbed and weaved over these massive waves, many of which would crash upon us like a wall. The force and weight of the water would occasionally knock someone out of the boat. One time, we lost half the passengers. It was all in good fun and we would quickly get those overboard back in the boat for another ride.
The tidal bore rafting only lasts about 20-30 minutes because once the water is high enough over the sand bar, the water has nothing to create those massive waves with. Down river a bit the captain pulled over to an area where a mountain of mud invited those interested, to slide down. The water was surprisingly warm, but muddy beyond belief. I wore a shirt and shorts in which the dirty water would not matter, however there was no getting my underwear clean, those had to be thrown away.
I have to say, tidal bore rafting was something I had never heard of or considered before. It was absolutely one unique experience that I am happy to a have done. Not many people can say that they rafted a tidal bore before.
After getting back ashore and getting cleaned up in some nice warm showers, Chris and I headed toward the airport where we have an early flight in the morning. We are staying at a very cool hotel right at the airport called, Alt Hotel. It has been a fantastic time road tripping around Nova Scotia. In the coming months I will be developing a lot of content, from videos to road trip guides. I hope you will check back later, especially if you’re interested in doing a Nova Scotia road trip.
The past three weeks I have road tripped all over Maritime Canada, which has been one of those buck list road trips I have looked forward to doing for some time. It is a bit sad that it is already over, but at least I have some fantastic memories to draw from. If you’ve ever been to Nova Scotia or the Maritimes, please leave a comment below and share your experience.