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.

Weekend Roundup

February 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

Part I of Return of the King: Extended Edition over peanutty noodles on Thursday night, continued skirmishes with the rats; a lively exchange of ideas with the boss and a few new library books on Friday, continued skirmishes with the rats; plans to see Coraline on Saturday, dashed by a non-starting car. Oh, then it snowed. It’s lucky we live on a hill so Richard could tuck it in a little closer to the curb for the plough. The rats were quiet.

An appreciation of what might have been.

Today I’d like to make a lasagna, but there’s no ricotta within walking distance. Boo.

My hodge podge brain

August 5, 2008 § Leave a comment

There’s certainly a touch of mania in my psychological makeup, and I’ve been having a week full of wild dreams, fantasies, ambitions, and have begun a number of new projects.. all of which will most likely be abandoned in due course. I wish all the mental energy would translate into physical energy (more hours in the day would mean more got done), but instead it translates into my body slipping into an exhausted sleep at the usual time, while my brain continues chattering endlessly.

As you might imagine, this makes for some pretty vivid dreams:

• Sunday night’s dream inspired me to buy a tiny island in Sebago Lake, upon which i should erect a small cottage and hang a hammock, and live from the beginning of June until August, observing a strict media fast. Weekly boat trips into Windham or Standish for food, then back out again. Think of all the novels that could be completed in such a place!

• Last night was an action-adventure set in a Disneyland gone awry (“Oh, I never allow guests into the Northwest parking lot alone after dark,” said the desk clerk), which evolved into an action adventure of this basic equation: Sims 2 + Barack and Michelle Obama as superheroes + Harry Potter-syle magic = awesome⁷


We just bought two tomato cages for our savage tomato plants… far too late, as we probably would have realized if we were anything but starry-eyed hipster poseur gardeners. So, between the two of us, we pretty much massacred the two tomato plants that had any chance of delivering fruits this year, although we had many straight sticks of bamboo readily available. Forethought is not my forte these days, apparently.

So then, of course, I tried to stuff our MONSTER pumpkin plant into the tomato cage so it won’t be massacred itself by our apathetic lawn tenders on Friday. That exercise didn’t go well, either, if you were wondering, but I still hold out hope for them. Howard Dill bred ’em hardy. I hope.

On our trip to procure tomato cages (actually it started as a pansy run), we decided to treat ourselves to ice creams, with disappointing results. Although it did prompt a baby (embryonic) Proustian meditation on whether every job requires skill. Conclusion: yes. It may seem that ice cream scoopery is a pretty basic, mindless job, but no. Proper cone construction doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it sure didn’t to this woman.

Picture your ideal cone. Now imagine its exact opposite. That’s what I got.

And let’s talk for just a second about sizing. What does “one small cone” mean to you? Does it mean 16 ounces of dairy perched off-centered on a cone whose structural rigidity wouldn’t have been able to support that mass even without being exposed to 550% humidity for three weeks? Well, that’s not what I meant by “one small cone” either.

Damned First World problems. If all those starving Ethiopian refugees found out about this kind of travesty it would be a real eye-opener.


February 24, 2008 § 3 Comments

Dick Cheney! I broke my keyboard! I was scraping around between the keys and producing quite a sizable dustclump when I got a little too aggressive with the left-side command button (equivalent of control on PC) and off it popped. And either I can’t figure out the plastic spring mechanism or digits lack the requisite delicacy for the job, because after about two hours of breathless surgery and trying many configurations, I’m still without the button. Of course, the reason the base of this particular key was so filthy is because it’s the key I use most, so there has been a VERY STEEP LEARNING CURVE this afternoon as I reacquainted myself with all those inefficient mouse movements that one uses while copying and pasting engineering specs from one document to another. And there’s a gaping wound where I’ve injured my faithful companion here. Sorry, Horatio.

Richard thinks our next door neighbor, an on-site, independent Apple technician could repair the damage, but while we were all wrapped up in our own misery and poverty in 2006-07, he was caring for his terminally ill wife— and we found out so late in the game we were too late to make many overtures, although we had both finished a long stint with palliative care ourselves, and might have offered an empathic ear. The wife was a kind, helpful, sparkly woman, and even seeing him shoveling out his car makes both of us so abashed and embarrassed about our selfishness and unneighborliness in their time of need, I can’t imagine knocking on his door to ask for rescue.

Sudden snowstorms raged on the November day when against token opposition he was elected President…

February 20, 2008 § Leave a comment

“…and scarcely abated thereafter. It could not have been always winter in those years, summer must have come around as duly as ever, yet universally people remembered winters: the longest, coldest, deepest winters ever known; one continuous winter. Every hardship the Tyrant regretfully imposed or his opponents willfully inflicted in their uprisings against him was made worse by winter, by months of frozen mud and sleety rain that continually mired every enterprise. Winter made ghastly and hopeless the movements of trucks, traffic, brown-clad troops; everywhere, deeply marking the memory, were the huddled clots and queues of refugees, rag-bound against the cold; the stalled trains, grounded planes,; the new frontiers at which lines of slush-bound cars tailpipes breathing cold clouds, waited to be examined by muffled guards; shortages of everything, the awful struggle, the difficulties and uncertainties made more awful by the isolating endless cold.”

John Crowley, Little, Big


Writing executive summaries for two newsletters doesn’t leave much room for creativity or joy, and then, of course, we live on the Atlantic coast where sunless days can be measured in weeks. A string of twenty gray days in a row ended Monday; three weeks during which the highlight was receiving a Seedsavers catalog of fantastical varieties of melon and tomato that laugh heartily in the carefully moistened soil; mocking my dream of just. one. Brandywine.

Further to my previous two posts, the body of Karissa Boudreau was found on February 9, as I said, and the police announced the following Thursday that she had been murdered. A twelve-year-old, abandoned in a dirty snowbank beside the river.

In the Bleak Midwinter

February 10, 2008 § 2 Comments

This winter has gotten a little wearing for all the usual dreary, gray reasons. It snows nearly every day— with little total accumulation— and the sky is always heavy, iron gray. I don’t mind the snow, though; every fall still seems miraculous after so many brown winters, it’s just that I never feel I have the excuse to play in it, nor the proper attire. And with every snowfall, the chances of a happy outcome were dampened.

The body of Karissa Boudreau has washed up on the shores of the LaHave River, just downstream from where she disappeared. No official confirmation yet, but the body is described as an adolescent female caucasian, and there’s only one missing. I do hope it’s not someone no one was looking for. The body was buried in snowdrifts, and the RCMP were out all night carefully preserving the snow around the body.

Like everyone else, I’m so sorry for the family; and I’m sorry for the employees at the Irvings and SaveEasys who will have to take down their posters and fliers. I’m sorry for all of us who searched the faces of girls along the side of the road, and watched the waters of the LaHave with dread, and hoped a little less each day.

Lunenburg Christmas

November 24, 2007 § 1 Comment

Under a Full Beaver Moon.



Next time with a tripod; I took about forty and only five or six turned out.

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