December is a wonderful time for a road trip in Nova Scotia. The mix of sea and seasonal decor is something not to be missed. We looked to Liverpool last week to attend a special holiday celebration, Christmas on the Mersey.
We hit the road right after work, watching the moon rise on the road as the sun set, arriving in Liverpool after dark.
Christmas on the Mersey kicks off with a gathering in front of the former town hall. More than 600 people crowded around the steps and listened to children from the town singing carols. The crowd was dotted with candles and lit balloons. At 7 pm, two trees on either side of the building were lit simultaneously, and then the crowd walked together to the bridge.
As the townspeople lit the streets of Liverpool with candle light, members of the Acadia First Nation cast light on the historic Mersey River with the light of torch fire as they paddled together by canoe.
The excitement and sense of community was palpable.
The groups converged, and the torch bearers carried their flames to the centre of the crowd to light a ceremonial fire, as the community gathered to witness a grass dance. The celebration concluded with surprise fireworks that cast colourful light on the Mersey, and the sharing of hot chocolate and cookies.
It was a breathtaking evening. A truly special coming together of community that I felt honoured to witness.
We headed back to White Point Beach to warm up in the lodge, and share a meal in the dining hall. The staff at White Point go all-out this time of year. Thousands of lights, and hundreds of decorations that, in many cases, were hand made by staff.
Each year White Point comes up with a new theme, and this year the theme was “Tis’ The SEAson”. These hand-cut and crafted buoys and seascapes were hand painted by staff members.
And these were made using vintage bait bags from one staff member’s grandfather. They are meant to look like floats that fishers use in the water.
Staff collected moonsnail shells and dried them. Some went on the tree as-is, and guests helped out with other moonshells, painting them in “evening wear” for the main dining hall.
Shells were included throughout the decor, many collected from nearby beaches or saved and dried from some of the fresh local seafood served at the lodge.
This piece was create by the late, wonderfully talented Joe Winters. We met Joe on one of our first trips to Liverpool, one of my favourite encounters from the road.
And, of course, the Jackalope sleigh was back. The White Point bunnies LOVE this sleigh. You can take a peek at the Jackalope cam (and the bunnies and the beach) on Nova Scotia Webcams.
We walked back to our rooms led by thousands of lights set up to depict sail boats, starfish, jelly fish and sea urchins, then fell asleep to the sound of the sea.
In the morning, we took our time enjoying the views (and the breakfast buffet), and stopped into the White Point Beach gift shop. You don’t have to be a guest to visit the gift shop, and it’s a great place to pick up some local gifts – almost everything in-store was made on the South Shore!
After check-out, we made our way back into Liverpool. Christmas on the Mersey features a number of festive events, including an artisan craft sale, family skate, Kiwanis Christmas Concert, and the very popular Holiday Homes Tour.
It was my first Holiday Homes Tour, something I’ve learned is quite popular across the province. Essentially, it is an opportunity to visit and explore select homes in a community that have been decorated for the holidays.
We visited seven homes, each one unique in architecture and style. There were some truly stunning spaces, and it was a very fun way to get in the festive spirit (and get ideas for our own decorations).
The egg ornaments in this home were all hand-painted by the owner!
We made it to seven of the eight houses, rushing to take as much in as we could before the road called us home.
While Christmas on the Mersey festivities are over for this year, it’s still a great time to visit Liverpool. See the lights, shop the downtown, and celebrate the holidays on the sea at beautiful White Point Beach. The lodge has events running all through the holidays, including a special event to kick off Canada’s 150th on January 1st.
We’ll be sure to share the dates for the 2017 Christmas on the Mersey. This truly is a special event, one you won’t want to miss next year.
We’re proud to partner with White Point Beach as one of our category partners for the 5th Annual Local Wishlist. Find great gifts made here in Nova Scotia and help keep more money at home this holiday at www.localwishlist.ca
The Local Wishlist is made possible by our Presenting Partner:
And a fantastic group of local partners:
And Our Friends of the Wishlist: