12 East Coast Travel Resolutions for 2015

1) Kayak the world’s highest tidesNovaShores4-1024x682

Why look at the world’s highest tides when you can jump right in? Kayak the Bay of Fundy in Advocate Harbour this year. It’s an otherworldly experience – gazing up at the red, jagged, towering rocks, sea caves and eagles from the water. These cliffs were once connected to Morocco (before Pangea broke up into the continents we know today). But nothing can prepare you for the trip back – the tide goes out, dropping the sea level about 40 ft during a four hour tour, so on the return trip you’ll see whole new structures that have emerged from the water.

There’s more than just the tides to see in this idyllic corner of Nova Scotia. Walk the pebble and driftwood beach, wake to cows and bird-song at Driftwood Park Retreat, and dine at one of Nova Scotia’s best restaurants, Wild Carraway, where you’ll experience local, foraged, seasonal dishes that won’t break the bank.

Read more about Kayaking The Bay of Fundy HERE, or click on any of the thumbnails below to view photos of this adventure.

2)…or ride the tidal bore

Source: Nova Scotia Tourism. Photographed by Wally Hayes

Source: Nova Scotia Tourism. Photographed by Wally Hayes

If you want to get even further into the world’s highest tides, and are a bit of a thrill-seeker, tidal bore rafting is a must. Start with a river cruise, play on a sand bank, then rush back to your zodiac when you see the tidal bore, a wall of water that races down the Shubenacadie River twice a day.  The rush of water over the natural sand bars creates a natural roller coaster, rapids that turn the zodiac almost vertical at times.

Read about our adventures in the Fundy tidal bore HERE.

3)Visit a century old resort town

St. Andrews by the Sea is a small year-round resort town and National Historic Site in New Brunswick, a little less than an hour from the Maine border. It was founded in 1783 and is considered one of the best preserved examples of colonial heritage in North America. St. Andrews has been hosting guests in East Coast style for more than 100 years. It is a quaint resort town, with the main street filled with small locally owned shops and cafes (Honeybeans cafe is a favourite of ours).

It is also home to The Algonquin Resort. The Algonquin was originally built in 1889 but was rebuilt in 1915 after a fire. After more than a century of hosting everyone from families to royals to heads of state, The Algonquin closed briefly in 2011 to undergo a 30 million dollar renovation. The result is a property that seamlessly blends history with modern amenities. We loved the little details like telescopes, a wrap-around veranda with cocktail service, and a stately games room filled with wood and marble Scrabble boards and chess sets.

Read about our most recent adventure in St Andrews by the Sea HERE.

4)Head to the French Shore
We fell in love with the French Shore this summer. This hour-long oceanside stretch of Acadian culture follows Route 1 along a string of 250 year old fishing communities. We recommend getting your bearings at Rendez-vous de la Baie.

La Baie Sainte Marie is the largest Acadian region in Nova Scotia, and Rende-vous de la Baie’s VIC and on-site interpretative centre discusses much of the modern Acadian lifestyle and industries in the area. The staff can help you put together a perfect Clare itinerary. For us, that was:

Clam digging in Belliveau Cove


Lobster sushi and rapure at Kizuana/Evelina’s

Kizuna Sushi Clare Nova Scotia

Then more lobster (this time creamed lobster and fishcakes) at La Cuisine Robicheau

creamed lobster CR

Exploring the caves where rum runners used to hide their stash during prohibition

Smugglers Cove Clare

Touring the largest wooden church in North America, Église Sainte-Marie

Eglise Sainte Marie Church Point Clare

Discovering what’s hiding in Le Petit Bois (the little woods)…

"Le Petite Bois"

And spending time relaxing and enjoying beautiful Mavillette Beach


Mavillette Beach Clare


5)Have high tea by the sea
Tea at Dalvay by the Sea

Dalvay by the Sea has a long tradition of hosting royalty and glamorous parties.  Built in 1895 by Scottish American oil tycoon Alexander MacDonald, Dalvay was once a family home known for hosting lavish events. Today it is a boutique resort and National Historic Site with just 25 guest rooms and a handful of chalet-style cottages.  The resort stays true to its grand, historic roots, with rooms furnished in period antiques, large fireplaces in the common areas and daily afternoon tea.  Relax in their plush highback dining chairs and choose from a range of teas and sweets like the ‘Afterschool Snack’, a roasted and sliced apple drizzled with a light caramel cream and served with a rich aged piece of cheese.

The 120 acre property skips common hotel facilities like gyms, pools and televisions for their natural equivalents – swim in the ocean (at the beautiful nearby beach), hike the trails or rent a bike, or snuggle up fireside with a book. Dalvay makes it so easy to do the things you should do on vacation – relax, breathe, take a nap, read a book, reconnect with nature, and have the peace, quiet and space to reconnect with family, friends or lovers.

Read about our adventures at Dalvay By The Sea HERE, or click on any of the thumbnails below to view photos of this adventure.

6)…then dine in paradise
Zen Elephant Fountain at The Dunes

Not far from Dalvay by the Sea, you’ll find The Dunes, a little piece of paradise in Brackley Beach. The restaurant is a celebration of food, nature and art. Handmade cutlery and glassware shares the table with wild flower bouquets, each one unique. The back wall is made of glass, allowing light to flood in and diners to gaze out at the zen garden bursting with every shade of green. It’s filled with lily-covered ponds, fountains, flowers, statues and benches carved of driftwood or made of stone.

A mix of local foods and preserves at The Dunes

And the food is just as divine as the view – local mussels in a broth of shredded ginger, fresh cilantro, onion and garlic, platters filled with thick sliced fresh cucumber, ripe juicy cherry tomatoes, chunks of sharp cheese, fat green olives, almonds encrusted with parsley and garlic, spicy pieces of salami and rich spreads. Wash it all down with a Rhubarb-arita, a mix of fresh juiced rhubarb, PEI Straight Shine, triple sec, lime and soda water.

Read about our adventure at The Dunes (and see many more photos) HERE.

7) Have a little adventure on Big TancookSeaglass Nova Scotia Beach

Hop on the Tancook Ferry and take a mini-cruise to Big Tancook Island.  The $5.50 round trip passage is an adventure in itself, but the island is a darling spot for a daytrip. Rent a bike at the Brass Bell and cycle the small (3 km) island, stop in to say hello to Ruby the pot bellied pig and shop the hand-picked selections at Sea Myst, search for seaglass on the beach, then take your finds to Wishing Stones to have Hillary wind it into a take-home treasure.

Read about our adventure on Big Tancook (and start planning your own) HERE, or click on any of the thumbnails below to view photos of this adventure.

8)Meet a moose (and a few whales)
Moose Cabot Trail Highlands Nova Scotia

Including hiking the Cabot Trail in a “must-do” list is cliché for a reason. The Cabot Trail is a paved route that does a circuit through the Margaree Valley, Cheticamp, the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Ingonish and back down through Baddeck. But it’s not just any autoroute. It makes for some of the most spectacular driving, motorcycling, cycling and hiking you can imagine. There are a number of hiking trails, the most popular of which is the Skyline Trail. It is a pretty easy, relaxing 10km circuit that takes you out high above the water where you get a panoramic view of the ocean. The view is worth the trek. At the lookoff, it’s nearly impossible to tell where the sky meets the sea. It is also a great place to spot a moose.

From there, head to Captain Mark’s Whale Watching in Pleasant Bay and go whale watching in a zodiac in the Atlantic Ocean.  We saw humpback whales on our trip, but the most common sightings are pilot, finback, minke and humpback with the occasional Atlantic white-sided dolphins, basking sharks and shy harbour porpoises. Finish the day at The Rusty Anchor where you can get snow crab fresh from the sea paired with lobster and local beer.

Read about each of these three Cape Breton adventures in the links above, or click on any of the thumbnails below to view photos of these experiences.

9)Meet the Melanson brothers
Port Royal 7

Annapolis Royal is the oldest continuous European settlement in North America. There are no shortage of fascinating historic sites and stories to discover in this part of Nova Scotia. But if you go, you must meet the Melanson brothers. Wayne and Alain are both award-winning interpreters. Meet Wayne at Port Royal and let him take you on a journey back to 1608, to the establishment of the first European settlement in Nova Scotia and the origins of the Order of Good Cheer. Come dusk, meet Alain at Fort Anne for a Candlelight Graveyard Tour, a fantastic night walk through Nova Scotia’s oldest graveyard. More of a look at Annapolis Royal through the stories of the dead than a  ghost walk, Alain also highlights some of the changing notions of death by looking at grave artwork.

10)See the world’s longest covered bridge, the biggest axe, and make your own potato chips
Screen shot 2014-12-31 at 8.16.57 AM

Start in Nackawic, a small town in western New Brunswick. Follow the signs to find the world’s biggest axe and stop for a photo. From there, head just down the road to Big Axe Brewery and B&B and grab a growler of chanterelle cream ale or one of their other unique craft offerings for later.

Head north (about 30 minutes by car) to find the worlds longest covered bridge. It is still in use today. Around the corner there is a chip factory named after the famed bridge. Take a tour of Covered Bridge Chips and try your hand at making your own flavour. You’ll want to bring some pocket change along to pick up a few bags for the road – Covered Bridge make truly exceptional chips in more than 30 flavours.

Read about our adventures at Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic HERE.

11)Do (maple) brunch
Best Brunch Nova Scotia

Each spring, Sugar Moon brings a rush of locals and tourists to Earltown to experience sugaring season at the lodge.  But Sugar Moon is a fun and truly unique Nova Scotia experience year round. Dine on maple everything (pancakes, bacon, baked beans, coffee) fireside, then take a snowshoe (or hike – depending on season) through the on-site trail until you reach the waterfall. Sugar Moon also organizes chef nights a few times a year, where talented local chefs take over the kitchen at the farm and host maple-inspired multi-course meals made with locally sourced ingredients.

While in Earltown, pop in down the road to see Jonathan Otter, a woodworker who makes hand-carved furniture designed to withstand the test of time, then continue to the Earltown General Store, where you can shop for food and handmade goodies by the wood stove.

Read about our adventure at Sugar Moon HERE, or click on any of the thumbnails below to view photos of this tasty experience.


12) Fall asleep in a dark sky preserve
Mactaquac Park Trails Fredericton

The East Coast is home to three National Parks that are also recognized dark sky preserves. It’s a rare designation bestowed by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada that recognizes an area free of light pollution, making it an ideal spot to stargaze. Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia is one of 19 sites. In addition to “seeing stars” at Keji, you can also explore the trails, lakes and rivers on foot or by water (canoe & kayak rentals & guided tours available though Whynot Adventures).

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About the author

The Local Traveler

Two travellers' tales of finding adventure on the East Coast. This blog is dedicated to the best parts of travel, and to discovering, celebrating and promoting things to do in our corner of the world, and sometimes beyond. We especially love craft beer, day trips, romantic escapes, local food & hidden gems. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share tips and photos of your favourite East Coast adventures.

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