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Nova Scotia/Newfoundland Trip

When did we go….

  • Aug 13-21, 2019


Why did we go…

  • to visit friends in Chester NS during the International Sailing week and to go to Newfoundland for the first time


How did we get there…

  • flew five hours from Calgary to Halifax
  • our friends picked us up at the airport and drove us an hour to their place in Chester
  • for the second leg of the trip, we flew two hours from Halifax to St. John’s
  • on the return voyages, we flew six hours from St. John’s to Calgary



Where did we stay…

  • five nights at our friend’s place in Chester (they remodeled an early 1900’s colonial-style house and did a beautiful job)
  • three nights at the Blue on Water boutique hotel in downtown St. John’s (central location, nice restaurant and bar, bit noisy on the main downtown street)


Where did we eat…

Nova Scotia:

  • Millstone Pub (dinner at a sports pub on the outskirts of Halifax with some cool sporting memorabilia, they were challenged to come up with shellfish free food for Dave)
  • The Knot Pub (lunch, Lunenburg, East Coast-style pub with nautical decor, very good food and service)
  • The Rope Loft (lunch and dinner, Chester, good food, fun location on the front harbor)
  • Avondale Sky Winery (lunch, owned by friends of our friends from Chester, the wine shop was formerly the St. Matthew Church in Walton that they floated 42 km down the Bay of Fundy)
  • Chester Golf Course (lunch, beautiful views of the first hole, the ocean and one of the regatta races, first time having a scallop burger which was very good)
  • White Gate (dinner, Chester, excellent chow, great service)
  • dined at our host’s house where we enjoyed Diane’s wonderful cooking

St. John’s:

  • Adelaide Oyster House (dinner, fabulous food, exceptional service, bought the house a round of shooters)
  • Bagel Café (lunch, great service, went for lobster but not many choices are offered until the dinner menu, gave our leftover fish and chips to a friendly homeless chap named Jack who sits near the restaurant)
  • Raymond’s (dinner, upscale, nice views of the harbor, very pricey for average food and service)
  • Mallards Cottage (lunch, cool setting in the Quidi Vidi village, great food and service)
  • St. John’s Fish Exchange Kitchen & Wet Bar (dinner, nice view of the harbor, good selection of seafood)
  • ate breakfast at our hotel restaurant which was convenient with good food and service



What did we do…

Nova Scotia:

  • drove the coastline south of Chester thru Mahone Bay (had coffee at Barn Coffee & Social House and bought a Christmas ornament at Amos Pewterers), and Lunenburg (cruised the shops that had some interesting local artifacts)
  • enjoyed drinks at The Rope on the Chester Harbor with our Canmore friend Joey, who is originally from Antigonish
  • drove across the province past Martock ski hill (formerly owned for 27 years by our pal Joey O’Brien) thru Windsor (birthplace of hockey) to the Wolfville area where we visited the Luckett Winery (beautiful flower garden, nice bistro with great views of the Annapolis Valley, cool old phone in the vineyard), had lunch at the Avondale Sky Winery, and strolled the main street of Wolfville (home to Acadia University, we bought a wood charcuterie board at Larch Wood and some beer from The Church Brewing Co.)
  • kayaked and swam in the Chester Harbor (ocean was quite warm)
  • walked around Chester with our friend’s canine kids Bentley and Bea (beautiful small community with colonial style houses prevailing)
  • visited our friend’s daughter KJ, and her partner Peter, along with their pups Finn and Odie at their beautiful property in Terrence Bay (KJ just started her own law practice, and Peter is a world-renowned architect)
  • went for a boat ride in our buddy Joey’s Boston Whaler from Chester down to Long Cove (saw a pod of seals, watched the races, viewed some amazing properties, saw where Oak Island is filmed, check out various yachts and other watercraft)
  • attended the evening band performances at the Yacht Club (outstanding performances by local bands)
  • had numerous discussions with Dave to figure out what is wrong with the Calgary Flames and how to solve these issues (I wonder if they will hire us…ha ha)



St. John’s:

  • cruised George Street pubs which were a bit underwhelming from what I had expected (lots of pubs but pretty quiet on the days we were there)
  • went on a city, and area, tour with Legend Tours (Brian was our guide/driver) to see Cape Spear (WW2 military defense site and lighthouse), Petty Harbor (small fishing village where we chatted to some fisherman as they brought in their cod and had coffee at Water Shed), viewed the Jelly Bean Houses on King’s Road, walked around the Quidi Vidi area, visited Signal Hill & Cabot Tower (got our picture taken with a Newfie dog named Chief as well as Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea who is from Petty Harbor)
  • walked around the downtown area shops and galleries on Duckworth and Water Street (lots of nice boutique shops)
  • visited The Rooms which is a modern center with a gallery of local art and a museum dedicated to the natural and cultural history of Newfoundland and Labrador (very well done facility that is well worth the time)
  • stopped in to see the expansive Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (beautiful stained glass windows and was the largest church in North America when it was completed in 1855, is still the 2nd largest church in Canada)



Interesting facts:

  • Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland
  • Chester, founded in 1759, one of the wealthiest communities in the province and has a population of 2500 people
  • it is 45 minutes south of Halifax and is known for its holiday and resort atmosphere due to the waters and islands that are known for yachting
  • there are 365 islands and 200 beaches between Chester and Lunenburg
  • the Chester Race Week sailing regatta had 15 race categories with 121 teams competing
  • our friends are on a limited water well supply, so the rule ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow and if it’s brown flush it down’ applied for the toilets (I also managed to perfect the 30-second shower)
  • Newfoundland is Canada’s newest province as it joined confederation in 1949 and its name comes from being the new found land of 15th-century explorers
  • the province is on a half-hour time zone
  • in the small fishing villages, the north side of the channel is where the Protestant church is located, and the south side is where the Catholic church is located
  • the colorful, vibrant Jellybean houses in St. John’s add a spectacular touch to the city landscape (the folklore is that they were painted the multitude of vibrant colors for the fisherman to see as they returned to the city in foggy weather, and this may hold true for the modern day partiers returning to their houses, but the reality is that they were introduced in the late 1970’s as a way to inject new life into a declining downtown




What did we not do that is on the agenda for next time:

Nova Scotia:

  • hike at Cape Split (Bay of Fundy views)
  • ferry over to Tancook Islands (historical fishing community)
  • drive around Cape Breton (target the fall when the leaves are changing)
  • explore more of the Annapolis Valley (boutique farms, villages, wineries)
  • attend the Chester equestrian event (second half of August)
  • spend time touring around Halifax, and especially the waterfront area

St. John’s:

  • tour the Battery neighborhood where houses adorn the cliffside below Signal Hill at the entrance to the harbor
  • visit the Inn of Olde Pub in Quidi Vidi (eclectic bar with an equally eclectic owner by the name of Linda, she was not open the day we were in the area)
  • Crows Nest Officers Club (rich naval history and museum of artifacts)
  • Terry Fox Memorial (the site where his run began on April 12, 1980)
  • explore Gros Morne National Park (picturesque fjords)
  • visit Fogo Island
  • ocean tour to see the puffins, whales, and icebergs
  • explore more of the small fishing villages and communities around the Island and over in Labrador
  • hike the numerous beautiful trails around the province



Final thoughts:

  • a funny story is that we gave our friend Diane a ceramic vase that we bought in Halifax 19 years earlier than she has cherished and since bought two other pieces from the artist Jim Smith.  The funny part is that it turns out that Jim Smith (Nova Scotia Folk Pottery) only sells his pieces from his gallery in Chester, and her original piece was from Marc Egan.  We bought a serving bowl with a flounder on it from Jim Smith, who was very engaging to chat with.
  • the relaxed East Coast vibe is good for the soul (friendly people, laid back approach to life)
  • it was great to finally get to Newfoundland after having it on our bucket list for so many years