A postcard from Lunenburg

I‘ve told you about the drive to and from Nova Scotia, and the ferry ride, and our visit to Halifax. I still haven’t had a chance yet to tell you much about our breathtaking little cottage on the ocean, or the amazing little town of Lunenburg just across the harbour.

We chose Lunenburg by sheer flukey luck. I spoke to a couple of people who had visited or lived in Nova Scotia and collected potential places, then trolled the cottage listings until something with the right combination of affordable, available and interesting caught my fancy. The house we stayed in was beyond amazing — three out of four sides of the house managed to have windows that looked out over the ocean. One bedroom upstairs had a king-size bed and the other a double, both (to the massive delight of the boys) with TVs in them and a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi tub that also had an ocean view. It was probably close to the same size as our town house, but decorated with taste and money instead of random impulse buys from Ikea and Pier One.

The view from here

There was a huge deck with a BBQ in the back, and you only had to walk off the porch and cross the lawn and a very un-busy road that dead-ended a few hundred meters later to be at the ocean, looking out across the bay toward Lunenburg. Amazing! And once the fog lifted, every morning the sunrise looked like this:

Sunrise over the ocean, Lunenburg Harbour

(It’s 6:15 in the morning and I’m in my pajamas, standing in the middle of the road as I take this picture!)

Because we had to drive the long way around, it took us about 15 minutes to drive into Lunenburg, and every day we were in Nova Scotia we drove through or stopped by at least once. It’s big enough to have two small grocery stores and a Tim Hortons and a hardware store and a small commercial area downtown, but not much else. It’s so gorgeous that in 1995 it was designated a UNESCO world heritage site:

Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Established in 1753, it has retained its original layout and overall appearance, based on a rectangular grid pattern drawn up in the home country. The inhabitants have managed to safeguard the city’s identity throughout the centuries by preserving the wooden architecture of the houses, some of which date from the 18th century.

Boats + harbour + houses = Riot of colour

Aside from the shops and the simple joy of the colourful houses, though, I was afraid there wouldn’t be a whole lot for a family to *do* in Lunenburg. Luckily, we stumbled upon Captain Fred and his Lunenburg boat charters for a fun morning of fishing in the harbour. But the most fun we had in Lunenburg was definitely at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

Happy Canada Day from the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg!

It seemed from reading their website that it was a pretty small museum, but we spent half the day there and saw only about half of the exhibits. They have aquarium tanks filled with the kinds of fish and other sea life that are native to the area, like lobsters and scallops, halibut and of course, cod. We spent quite a bit of time playing with this board with the international signal flag alphabet, where each boy spelled out his name:




The Bluenose II, the successor to the schooner you see on the Canadian dime, is supposed to be in dry dock for a two-year retrofit and upgrade, but she’s currently moored outside the museum, so we spent a while wandering around on her. The big boys in particular were enamoured with her.

On top of the world -- well, at least, on top of the Bluenose II.

Okay, I admit it, I was tickled by the idea of being on the schooner that’s on the dime, too. And she’s truly gorgeous, with mahogany fixtures on the deck.

Bluenose II wheel and mast.

The Bluenose II isn’t always in port, but they have another schooner, the Theresa E. Connor, and trawler named Cape Sable that you can also board and explore above and below decks. This would have been the captain’s quarters.

Shipboard crew's quarters

They also had a “touch tank” where the boys could stick their hands in a tank and touch or hold sea stars, anemone and scallops. And the big boys were lucky enough to be two of the four kids chosen from the crowd to help launch a scale model schooner into a pool — a wonderfully engaging and educational display.

The boys launched a schooner!

Each day we passed through Lunenburg, Simon asked if we could go back to the Fisheries museum. It was that good! And it cost us all of $22 for a family of five.

Did I mention how much I loved Lunenburg? I’m spoiled for any other destination now — no other place could be as perfect as this for us.

I’m not quite done with the travel blogging — still have to tell you about our most excellent bloggy playdate on the way home, and our absolute favourite part of our Nova Scotia oceanside holiday.

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

8 thoughts on “A postcard from Lunenburg”

  1. Thank you for the fantastic posts (and vibrant photographs) of your family roadtrip to Nova Scotia! I am enjoying all of the recaps, and the visuals are making my heart sing.

  2. We loved that museum, though it was pouring rain that day. We did lunch at the Salt Shaker Cafe or something delicious. Then walked around until we found ice cream. Great day all around… wonderful place. Starting to think we should have gone east again this year.

  3. You make me want to pack my bags and head there now!! 😉
    Gorgeous photos and I’m tucking all of this information away for future use!

  4. Hi. I came across your blog while looking for waterfront cottages in Nova Scotia. When I read about the cottage you stayed in close to Lunenburg I thought it was perfect. Just wondering if you could also email me the info on the place you stayed that would help me contact the renters? If you have the free time please email augustgirl_13@hotmail.com. Thanks

  5. Hi this was an interesting article given that I bought and renovated an old cape cod just down the road from the house featured in your blog which incidentally now belongs to friends of mine.

    If you are ever back to Feltzen Soith my beach house can be found by googling Fish Peddler Beach House, see you on the shore


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *