When I told people I was going out east, I was surprised with how many people mentioned they’d always wanted to go.
What is it about eastern Canada that entices us? I don’t think you can call yourself a proud Canadian and not have the slightest desire to see the charm that lives on our easternmost shores.
I’ve been out this way twice before. Once, on a road trip with my grandparents at the age of 4. I came home having developed an expensive palate for all things lobster and crab. I went again at age 11, to Prince Edward Island. My grandma gave me a workbook to write about my trip and I remember writing in that book almost every single day. My first travel journal of sorts. I guess it was then that I learned my love of documenting new experiences (I could also recite all lyrics to Anne of Green Gables by the end of that trip).
But now, I was after a new experience. I wanted to see what gave east coasters their charm. Everyone I encountered from that side of our country always left an impression on me, and so I booked a flight and tried my best to pack as much as I could into 3 days.
Leave Toronto at 8am.
Landed in Halifax at 11, rented a car and headed straight to the wine region (a rather predictable move on my end). I was completely taken aback by the fall colours lining the highway. I have nothing to compare it to of course, but fall would have to be the best time to visit.
Our first stop was Luckett Vineyards, a winery which sits atop of the valley. We sat and took in the view while feasting on a cheese board which looked more like a work of art.
We then headed into Wolfville – it was charming. I stopped to get a coffee at T.A.N Coffee and walked to Waterfront Park to take in a bit of history about the small town.
Next stop was Lightfoot Vineyards. A beautiful, newly built winery which also had an incredible view and just happens to be farming biodynamically. We were greeted in the grand hallway by the loveliest women and given a tour of the barrel cellar. It was such a warm and inviting winery which you don’t often get when visiting a winery of that size. The wines were also great. Nova Scotia is becoming known for their sparkling but I was impressed with the quality of their still wines, particularly their Riesling.
The Lightfoot family has farmed this land for generations and you can sense that pride within the property. Every inch of this space speaks to it, there’s no detail left unnoticed.
(I loved their labels, which were done by a tattoo artist in NYC)
Last stop = Benjamin Bridge.
This winery is the main reason I wanted to come to Nova Scotia’s wine country. Word was growing about this sparkling producer and I was anxious to check it out. I can safely say it passed all expectations. We had an amazing experience here, thanks to our host Gillian who took us through our flight of wine. It wasn’t just the wine though it was the story, the setting, the breathtaking views and this modern winery sitting atop a historic site. If one word stands out from my time here, it’s quality. Quality above all else. We were told that when the owners started the winery, they said if the wine wasn’t good enough, they’d pack it all in and let the business go. Thank God they didn’t because what they’ve built out here is something special and truly Canadian.
That night we dined at Lot 6 a super hip place I recommend going to, at least for a drink. We followed that up with a stop at Little Oak. I feel like I could write an entire post about Little Oak. It was a magical place in the heart of downtown Halifax. It was like walking into a friend’s house, a friend who has a pretty cool wine cellar in their basement. We sat at the bar and by the end of our time there, had made friends with the group beside us, the staff and the owner! We were given the password to a speakeasy in the basement of a dessert bar and couldn’t resist checking it out. Not a bad way to finish up our first day in Halifax.
We headed straight to Peggy’s Cove (stopping for a few pics along the way) and arrived within the hour. It was here where we’d have the best clam chowder of the trip (at the only restaurant in the town of 35). From Peggy’s Cove, we set off for the rest of our road trip, which included stops at Sunshine Beach, Chester, and finally Lunenburg.
(wearing the Value Village jacket made for the east coast)
Lunenburg was charming (and apparently home to many bookstores). We walked around the waterfront, wondered in and out of quaint shops and finally grabbed a bite at the Salt Shaker Deli.
We headed back to the city around 5 pm and could have easily called it a day, but mustered up the energy to head to dinner at the one restaurant we were recommended the most; Bicycle Thief. The only table we could get was at 10 pm! but the meal was definitely worth the wait – amazing food full of east coast flavours and Italian flare.
Our last day to explore Halifax. We walked to brunch at EDNA (AH-may-zing) and followed it with a hike to the top of Citadel Hill.From there it was down to walk the waterfront boardwalk, and we finished our day with a truly authentic east coast experience – an Irish pub.
It wouldn’t be a trip out east if we didn’t sit at a pub and take in live music. But it wasn’t just live music we were treated to that day, but a full-on Irish dancing group (the average age of which was most likely 75) and boy, were they having fun. We sat, we smiled, we tapped our toes to the beat and I couldn’t help but feel my Grandpa (of Irish and Nova Scotian heritage) smiling down.
Later that afternoon we gathered our bags and headed to the airport. Three days in Halifax, and I was content. Sometimes there’s no better place to explore than your own backyard.