Or: The ‘Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover’ Route
Similar to the #80 bus route, the #20 is a heavily used commuter route for people going to work on the peninsula, but maybe not so well used for heading in the opposite direction to do some exploring. We even live along the route, and were surprised by some of the great finds we hadn’t known about.
The #20 starts at Scotia Square during the week, but turns around at Mumford back out Herring Cove Road on the weekends, so we’re focusing on the attractions along Herring Cove Road.
Note for cyclists: Distances are from Mumford Terminal. Herring Cove Road does not have bike lanes until you get to Herring Cove. There is a long incline at the beginning and a lot of traffic as you go through Spryfield. Bike racks are also rare so you’ll have to get creative with locking up your bikes. Once you get to Herring Cove, there are painted bike lanes in both directions. Overall, it’s not too difficult a route for beginner cyclists, just be aware of traffic.
Chocolate Lake/Heppy’s/Halifax Yoga (1.7km)
We previously covered Chocolate Lake, Heppy’s and Halifax Yoga in our #15 post. We don’t want to repeat ourselves, but if you are looking for great food, easy access to a swimming spot, or some hot yoga, the #20 will also do the trick.
There is quite the stigma associated with Spryfield. Many people will dismiss it without getting to know what an incredible sense of community there is in the area. The media often doesn’t portray Spryfield in the best light, and Herring Cove Road could, and should, be much more attractive than it is. The residents know it, too. See their vision for Spryfield in the Healthy Places Toolkit here. They have a wonderful vision for mixed-use space, storefronts before parking lots and a walkable community, and incorporating Spryfield’s agricultural heritage in its burgeoning urban setting. By getting of the bus, you’ll be able to see that in many ways they are already well on their way.
Blooming Café is a cute little café at the corner of Herring Cove Road and Dentith Road. The biggest draw here is their homestyle cooking. Expect a menu full of well cooked comfort foods for a great price. We stopped in for the fishcakes. Fr only $2.50 they were not only huge, but they accommodated us by making one without bread crumbs.
For dessert, head across the street to Mrs. P’s Bakery. You’ll probably be able to follow your nose and your taste buds will thank you for it. Bring friends to help you eat one of the huge pack of macaroons, oatcakes, or shortbread.
The Captain Spry Centre is hidden just off the Herring Cove Road, but it is, without a doubt, the community epicenter. Home to the popular wave pool, the town library, fitness centre, community meeting space and a skate park, the Captain Spry Centre is a vibrant hub of activity where people of all ages come together.
When you stroll over to check out the skate park, continue up the trail to find Spryfield’s hidden treasure, the Kidston Urban Farm. The farm is run by The Urban Farm Museum Society of Spryfield. You can buy veggies, plant your own plot, gather with the community, or take part in one of the garden programs and special events. Check out the farm on Tuesday between 6 – 7:30pm for a free gardening program.
There is no shortage of swimming spots in Nova Scotia so we are never surprised (but always pleased) to discover a new one. As you near the end of Route 20, you’ll find Long Pond Beach. As suggested in the name, there is a small sandy area to picnic and suntan. The beach is equipped with lifeguards and though it’s small, there is plenty of room to swim in the lake. It is also wheelchair-accessible.
Herring Cove Gardens (10.5km)
Just past Long Pond you’ll find a new shop filled with artwork and jewelry by local artists. You can also pick up some fresh jam, potted herbs, and other knick knacks. We spoke with the owners about this new edition to Herring Cove Road. They plan to turn the store into a hub for artists during the winter months, and a garden shop during the summer. They are currently looking for more artist submissions.
If you plan to do only one thing on this route, Pavia Gallery (@PaviaGallery) is your best bet. Located at the very end of the #20, Pavia is an Italian-inspired café and gallery. The inside is clean and inviting, with lots of light, and a small, eclectic gallery. The menu is small – an assortment of paninis, Mokaflor Coffee, Italian wines, Dee Dee’s ice cream, and an variety of sweets. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but the beauty of Pavia is in its simplicity. Everything is fresh and prepared with care (we even saw fresh herbs being picked from the garden to go directly onto a sandwich while there). They even sent one of their barristas to Italy to learn how to make a perfect espresso.
We discussed the look off during our #15 Bus Route post, but as it turns out it is actually easier to access it from the #20. From Pavia, go across the street and stroll through the idyllic village. Turn left when you see the ocean. The Look-off is only a very scenic 1.8km walk away.
To see the schedule for the #20, click 20. Have a great trip!