Year-Round Activities on the Nova Scotia’s South Shore

April 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

While there always plenty of things to do in Summer, a lot of things close down around here during Winter. And that’s fine— believe me, I understand what it’s like to lose money every day of your life. I also understand the need for artistic types to recharge their creative batteries.

So what there aren’t as many restaurants to visit or museums to see? We can all still have a good time.

There are at least a few museum to visit — The Halifax & Southwestern Railway Museum in Lunenburg. Perfect for the Thomas-obsessed and people like me who eagerly await the return of passenger rail service to every community.

Also, the Wile Carding MIll Museum in Bridgewater, just about the most charming thing in that town, aside from Erica Poole herself.

Nobody brings the outdoors in, do they? Stamping across the icy grass towards a park bench with a thermos of hot mulled cider or (possibly alcoholic) cocoa on a weekday afternoon has to be one of the Northeast’s greatest pleasures. Wear a scarf, fingerless gloves, and a tweed cap and pretend you’re at Dartmouth. There are lots of parks and green space in every town lining the Atlantic Coast. In Lunenburg alone we have six in easy walking distance, and there are four more in Mahone Bay.

If you’ve got cross-country skis or snowshoes, you’re set; if just have a pair of warm, waterproof boots, you’re not badly off, either. And in summer, of course, all you need is a pair of comfy shoes. The Rails-to-Trails network spans the entire South Shore region and beyond…

Nova Scotia Trails Federation— South Shore
Shared Use Trails— Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, and Yarmouth Counties
Kejimkujik Trails

And, I repeat, there’s Rails-to-Trails in almost every community

Just bundle up against the wind, and a walk along the beach is a great way to spend an afternoon all year round. Hundreds of miles of nearly-deserted beaches line Nova Scotia’s coast in summertime, and they’re completely deserted in winter… you may as well be alone on the planet. Or, if you’re feeling sociable, get together a group of friends and a pot for mulling wine, build a bonfire and have a convivial evening.

As a bonus, winter brings in a dozen species of rarely-seen oceangoing ducks and other seabirds. Here are my favorites on the South Shore, listed in order of preference; please note Queensland Beach is nowhere to be found. I’m not familiar with beaches farther South, especially around Yarmouth, so if I missed your favorite, let me know in the comments.

Risser’s Beach*
Hirtle’s Beach*
Bayswater Beach
Beach Meadows

Crescent Beach (demoted because people park their cars on the beach)
Cleveland Beach
*denotes boardwalk

Year-Round Concert Series

Lunenburg Sessions doesn’t seem to have a website, I’m sorry to report. Every third Tuesday of the month, they present a $5 concert in the Lunenburg Academy auditorium.

The St. Cecilia Concert Series often makes stops at St. John’s Anglican Church in Lunenburg, though it’s mainly based in Halifax, They’ve announced their season to the end of the year, but there’s more to come in 2008.

Live Entertainment While you Sip
You can’t beat it when a pint is the price of admission. As you might have gathered, The Biscuit-Eater in Mahone Bay features concerts, prose and poetry readings year-round for the prices of a cup of chai. All the food and drinks are terrific (they’re listed in Where to Eat in Canada), and the place doubles (triples?) as a used-book store. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or evening any time.

The Mug & Anchor in Mahone Bay has live music on the third Thursday of every month from 8:00 till midnight, which attracts everyone who’s anyone in the music biz on the South Shore. There’s also a trivia night on Wednesdays. But seriously, just have the beer.

Boston Pizza in Bridgewater hosts an open mic night Thursdays.

Lane’s Privateer Inn also hosts a variety of shows all winter long. I believe last year there was a ukelele series (!!!).

In Yarmouth at Kelley’s Pub, every Saturday brings the Blues Band & Jam, and I understand there’s also a fellow called Simon Leblanc who performs there with his own one-man band machine.

The Knot Pub in Lunenburg also hosts live music, but they live in the stone age (no website) so I check their posters regularly and put the info in Upcoming Events. I can tell you that during the winter at The Knot, every Thursday Night is Trivial Pursuit Night.

Theatres and Playhouses
Of course, live theatre is alive and well all over Nova Scotia. On the South Shore alone, we have half a dozen options. The Chester Playhouse has a fabulous fall season lined up already— I really hope we can get to the Ron Sexsmith-Jill Barber concert on October 11.

And at The Pearl Theatre in Lunenburg has an upcoming Garnet Rogers show on October 6, and another with Matt Andersen on November 10.

The Unicorn Theatre in St. Margaret’s Bay features children’s theatre (nothing on right now), and Th’YARC always has something in the works.

I assume all the locals know about the Empire Theatre in Bridgewater that usually only carries cheesy Hollywood fare, but there are other— dare I say better— options. The Pearl Theatre runs a movie night twice monthly featuring current films (see Upcoming Events for upcoming shows), and there are plenty of places to rent movies.

Elizabeth’s Books on Montague has an excellent selection of just about everything, from recent comedies to classics to foreign (including impressive Marx Brothers and Japanese films), that you can take home for as long as you like at $3 a pop. There’s also a good selection at Blockbuster in Bridgewater, and some surprising choices to be had at the local SaveEasy. The South Shore Regional Library also has some movies, and the head librarian holds the sensible philosophy that fines are silly.

In Mahone Bay, the South Shore Branch of The Council of Canadians hosts an occasional film series, too.

The local Waldorf School in Blockhouse is an interesting collective. They’ve just instituted a coffeehouse (with baked goods and conversation) every Thursday from 3:00 till 5:00pm, and on every third Thursday of the month there will be a Farmers’ Market at the same time. I hope for fiddlers.

Anne Greer hosts a Anthroposophical Study Group every Thursday night— inquire here. They’re also offering classes in Mandarin this winter.

Last winter they hosted an international food & film series that seemed fascinating, but that we always seemed to miss. Camelia says she’ll probably do one again this year, but they haven’t ironed out the details yet. I hope, I hope, I hope….

Did I miss anything? Email me.

§ One Response to Year-Round Activities on the Nova Scotia’s South Shore

  • Richard M says:

    Very interesting article. If someone is thinking of relocating to Lunenburg to start a crafts/antiques business, is there a customer base to draw from in the off-peak months?

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