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Nova Scotia - Guide for Visitors
Early settlers called this area Nova Scotia, Latin for "New Scotland", and it bears more than a passing resemblance to its namesake across the sea. Not only does it woo visitors with the sound of bagpipes and the swirl of a kilt, but you'll see similarities in dramatic highlands, winding blue rivers, flower-filled valleys, and sea-swept villages. The whole province, the second smallest in Canada, is only 350 miles long with no part more than 35 miles from the sea. Fishing is a major industry, as are forestry, agriculture, and tourism. This province abounds in historic homes, building sites that have been maintained or restored by the federal government. Each season here brings its own pleasures. In summer (June, July, August), there's fun in the sun. But even the hottest summer day is cooled in the evenings by soft ocean breezes.

Yarmouth: The Scotia Prince arrives in Yarmouth. It's a busy Nova Scotia port and where we'll go through the simple Canadian customs.

Shoreland Drive: Depart Yarmouth on the scenic Shoreland Drive. Along the way, stop to visit St. Mary's Church, the largest wooden church in North America. Also visit Fort Anne, where a ranger will give a fascinating account of the French-English struggle for North America. And then another stop at Port Royal Habitation which was founded in 1605 and is the earliest permanent settlement north of the state of Florida.

Digby: One of the Atlantic Provinces' most popular summer resorts located on the Bay of Fundy.

Lighthouse Route: We cut across the peninsula to Nova Scotia's rugged Atlantic Coast and pick up the famous Lighthouse Route between Yarmouth and Halifax. See intriguing fishing villages and small towns nestled in a rugged coastline and loaded with seafaring tradition.

Lunenburg: This town was founded by 18th century German and Swiss immigrants and is pretty much the Canadian capital of the fishing tradition. It is a major fishing port and home to the excellent Fisheries Museum.

Peggy's Cove: This is Nova Scotia's charming showpiece fishing village, which hugs the craggy and winding shoreline. Perched on a massive granite ledge at the coast, is a famous lighthouse.

Halifax: Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and the largest city in the Atlantic Provinces. It's one of the oldest cities in Canada and was originally a military and naval base designed to defend the British colonies. The city enjoys one of the finest harbors in the world. It is joined to the city of Dartmouth to the northeast by two suspension bridges. The combination of old and new in Halifax is nowhere more apparent than in and around the area known as historic properties. Between June and October, you can hear the town crier in this area and there are the cannon firings each day at noon. Most visitors to Halifax take one of the excellent water tours. The best view of the city is from the ring road around the top of the Citadel. This is a city to explore. Visit the Citadel, a star-shaped fort and military museum. There's a commanding view of the city. In addition to the Citadel, you can explore numerous parks such as Point Pleasant Park and Fleming Park, as well as the beautiful Halifax Public Gardens. These gardens are among the oldest on the continent. There's also the Wales Martelo Tower, which was used throughout the 19th century as part of the harbor defense. Plus, Province House, on Hollis Street, a gem of Georgian architecture. This building is still used as the legislature. And most visitors today want to see Fairlawn Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 100 people who perished on the voyage of The Titanic. If time permits: Marine Museum of The Atlantic, Maritime Command Museum, Dartmouth Heritage Museum and Art Gallery.

Marine Drive: A scenic drive north along the Atlantic shoreline traveling by picturesque fishing villages.

Sherbrooke Village: This was once a thriving gold-mining town. Today the whole center of the village has been restored as a living museum.

Cape Breton Island: This island is reached by the Canso Causeway. It's one of the first footholds of European settlement in the New World. With dramatic seascapes, rugged highlands, and lovely, old fishing villages, Cape Breton is the provinces most popular tourist area.

Baddeck: Located on the Bras d'Or Lakes, which are a large inland salt lake. Here the Scottish tradition is very strong. Many people still speak Gaelic and practice piping and highland dancing.

Alexander Graham Bell Museum: The great inventor spent the last years of his life on Cape Breton. Visit his home-museum.

Cabot Trail: Some 172 miles of mountain and sea around the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This circular loop is one of the most spectacular day-drives in North America.

North East Margaree: A stop to see local fishermen prepare their lobster traps.

Cheticamp: Stop at the Acadian village to see the famous hand-hooked rugs.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park: Continue the Cabot Trail drive into Cape Breton Highlands National Park at the northern tip of the island

Caribou: Take a ferry from here across the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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