The Other Shore

The Eastern Shore is not obvious. No World Heritage towns, no tours of vineyards in doubledecker buses.  For a couple of days we visited the shore and had more nuanced experiences –  here are some observations for the file.

Our destination was  the cottage of friends just beyond  Sheet Harbour, two hours plus drive from the peninsula.  When we visit them all our adventures are very coastal so we expect some fog and are enchanted by the natural habitats that thrive on the moisture.

I always walk down the dirt road to gaze at a beautiful bog, dotted with pitcher plants.



This exotic looking, carnivorous plant is digesting insects trapped in it’s “pitchers.” I hear we’ll all be eating insects soon. 

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Our friends guided us to a massive barrier beach of cobbles. I’ve never seen a cobble feature of this scale. You can imagine the clatter as retreating waves knock rocks together.


The beach defines a “pond” where Sober Island Oysters are being grown (as seen in the Saturday Herald).


Wildlife sightings for the trip included hare, porcupine, ruddy turnstones and this prehistoric looking snapping turtle.  She did not take direction well when we eased her off the highway. Snap judgement.

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The next day was sunny and perfect for a three hour hike at Taylor Head Provincial Park.  The landscape is very much  to our taste with a mixture of rugged wind sculpted coast and moist, moss rich bogs and woodland.

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Special treats included this little pink orchid and delicate pinstriped wood sorrel.

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And if you are more comfortable on the beach, beside the parking lot  there is a big sweep of sand for you to wander with your trousers rolled.


Our travels are not complete without a cultural component. Watch for a great collection of small churches along the shore (many Anglican).  The domestic architecture also offers some treats.  You’ll not find a better example of a small mansard roofed house than this one in Musquodoboit Harbour.  Very rare for cast iron cresting (over the porch and bay windows) to survive.  And the gable fronted house on the road to Taylor Head was particularly strong and crisp.

1-July 201495A classic summer road trip will include ice cream and the experience is improved if there is a bit of fantasy.   The stand in Sheet Harbour has colourful battens ( the back looks like a colour field painting from the 60s).  The Polar Express stand at the Railway Museum in Musquodoboit Harbour has this unsubtle bear. 

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It is a long (sometimes endless) coast that many people don’t know well.  Try some exploring.  Twitter introduced me to this blog – that models  touring in the fog at the far end of the shore.


About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.