Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chapter 22 - A visit to Peggy's Landing, Nova Scotia

July 8th, Day 42: Today Kathy and I and Cabo (who travels with us reluctantly) and John and Anne are headed to one of Nova Scotia's most popular tourist attractions - the small village of Peggy's Cove, population 640.  John is driving so I get to relax in the backseat and just watch the scenery go by.

Peggy's Cove, which is a takeoff and a nickname of the adjacent bay, the St. Margaret's Bay, is by tradition named after the mother of the earliest explorer of the area, Samuel de Champlain who visited here around the year 1608.

Peggy's Cove is a fascinating city as it looks almost unreal, kind of like a movie set where everything is placed just right. Small homes sitting randomly around little saltwater bays filled with small docks cluttered with fishing boats and lobster traps scattered here and there. One of the main attractions in this small village is the Peggy's Cove Lighthouse which sits out on one end of the village on large weathered rocks facing the Atlantic Ocean.  While Peggy's Cove is still home to many fishermen, tourism has probably taken over as the main source of income for the local population. While the weather today is cool and overcast and we did arrive fairly early around 10 am, by the time that we left this charming little village at 11:30 or so, the crowds were starting to arrive by both car and bus. It is hard to imagine what this place will be like in the peak of the tourist season. Very crowded.
One of the more relaxing moments that we had here in Peggy's Cove was having espresso and coffees on the deck of a local crafts and arts shop along the harbor by the name of Beales' Bailiwick. The drinks followed a brief tour of the shop which naturally included a few purchases. We all understand that tourists are obligated by tradition to spend money in tourist attractions like Peggy's Cove.

The beauty of this area in addition to this quaint little fishing village are the wonderful views of the rocky coastline. What we found strangely interesting is that most of the area around Peggy's Cove was almost entirely void of trees.  Apparently the wind, the salt water, and all of the rocks must discourage trees from growing which gives this area the appearance of being much further north than it actually is. The mid 50 degree temperatures of today helped give us the illusion that we must be slightly below the north pole. I cannot imagine their winters.

Kathy and Cabo look kind of small and out of place along side this statue of a local fisherman and his days' catch.  We love this place and we are somewhat sadden that only our photos will record our memories of Peggy's Cove. No wonder this place is so popular with tourists.  We understand however, that there are other interesting towns to visit along the coast west of Halifax so we decided to continue to drive west over to the village of Mahone Bay. This village was first settled in the mid 1700s but is today along with so many other small villages along Nova Scotia's southern coast, another popular tourist attraction.

The village of Mahone Bay is now noted for its upscale shops and restaurants that are clearly designed to appeal to tourists. The village is on a harbor although the appeal of the village is not really the harbor as the water is more of a backdrop than the center of attention. For both Kathy and Anne the appeal was both the colorful and architectural styles of the many small shops but also what was inside the shops. Items that bring memories of Nova Scotia.

This orange colored building is a good example of the styles and colors of the numerous stores here in downtown Mahone Bay. Anything is fair game to draw the attention of the wondering tourist.

It is amazing that despite the fact that today is Friday and it is quite cool and overcast, there were many people walking the streets going in and out of the stores. Here is Kathy enjoying all of the fashions on display in the windows of the "My Home Bay" shop.  We all assumed and enjoyed that the name of the shop was a takeoff on the name of the village, Mahone Bay.  Anything is fair game to attract the attention of these innocent American tourists most of whom are carrying large purses hanging on straps from their shoulders containing among other necessities - credit cards.

We also stopped for a bit to eat at one of the local take-out shops. John ordered an excellent sandwich while Kathy and I enjoyed some very high calorie cookies. Anne enjoyed water and nibbles off of John's plate.

While Peggy's Cove and Mahone Bay are both villages located on Nova Scotia's southwestern coastline and both are widely popular as tourist attraction, they are both very much different in style and appearance. Peggy's Cove is much smaller and more rugged, fitting perfectly with one's image of an old English fishing village. Mahone Bay on the other hand is larger and more colorful with fancy gift stores and restaurants with lots of outdoor seating.  Visiting both of these villages made today a perfect day for all of us despite the cool temperatures and the overcast skies.

Tomorrow we are all headed to Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island where we hope to view some scenes of its world famous rugged rocky coastline along the Cabot Trail. Until then.

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