July 2015 – After our truly magical evening at Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse, we continued exploring the southern coast of Nova Scotia. There is a lot to see along the fingers of land that jut out into the Atlantic ocean west of Halifax, and Lunenburg is one of the big highlights.
Photos of the iconic red buildings along the docks grace many pages of Nova Scotia tourist literature, including the cover of the 2015 edition of the free book the tourist board publishes about the province (available at the many visitors centers all around Nova Scotia). One look at that photo and we knew we just had to go there!
Lunenburg is a small tourist town that is picture postcard perfect in every way, a true delight for photography. Much like Peggy’s Cove, it is utterly quaint, almost to a fault! All the tourists were walking around with cameras held high as they snapped pic after pic. It’s impossible to stop taking photos here!
The town rests on a fairly steep hillside that comes down to the water’s edge. A slew of sailboats, many of antique design, bob on moorings out in the pretty harbor.
Schooners and other unique vessels of a bygone era fill every view.
There was even an old dory standing out in the grass with two old lobster pots propped up against it. This community, like much of coastal Nova Scotia, is all about boats and lobsters and fishing.
Many older ships lined up along the docks were offering tours and daysails in the bay.
We watched a group gathering for a daysail on the schooner Eastern Star. They all sat on the deck facing outwards, and the first mate put them through a life preserver drill before they took off. We were within easy earshot of her instructions, and I had to laugh when I turned around and saw there were more of us tourists on the dock watching them and taking photos of them than there were customers on the boat!
Then the captain picked up a conch shell and blew a long, loud blast. They were off.
For non-sailors, there were other kinds of rides available too. A horse drawn wagon made its rounds about town as a tour guide pointed out landmarks and explained the area’s history.
And for the truly junior set, there were rides on the docks that didn’t go anywhere but just stayed put on their own rockers.
What we enjoyed most was simply the beauty of the buildings. They were all different colors, and many were very old.
The red buildings nestled together at one end of town were our favorites.
We wanted to get a photo of the whole town from across the bay where there is a hillside and a golf course, so we began walking around the harbor to the spit of land on the other side. It’s an easy walk past all the old fishing buildings and boatyards, and the rich smell of ancient wooden planks evoked vivid images of the seaman’s life a century or so ago.
So it was a complete surprise when we passed a tall concrete block off to one side and saw it had writing on it that said it came from the Berlin Wall.
This cracked concrete block stands next to the Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Education (LIFE) building. It turns out that the Kinley family, which has owned this foundry since the 1800’s, had business ties to Germany dating back to the 1970’s. When the wall was torn down in 1989, they wanted to display a section of the wall in Lunenburg as a symbol of peace.
If your RV travels take you to Nova Scotia, a visit to scenic Lunenburg is a must. As a caveat, the roads in Nova Scotia are treacherous, and the small towns are not suitable for driving bigger RVs. But if you keep your rig on the main highways and venture to the scenic spots in your car or truck, a daytrip to Lunenburg will keep your camera humming!
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- Lunenburg, Nova Scotia – Tourism Website
- Berlin Wall in Lunenburg – Notes about how and why this chunk of concrete was shipped to a small tourist village
- Where is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia? – Google Maps
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