Day 6, 2023 East Coast Voyage
Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Halifax is a great port for just walking the waterfront right from the ship. You can go along almost two miles of shops, pop-up and permanent restaurants, playgrounds, statues and museums. That’s just what I did two months ago and in 2019.
This time I decided I should see something beyond that narrow strip, and of course the place to go is Peggy’s Cove, a quintessentially picturesque coastal Canadian village. With a bajillion tourists.
OK, that is an exaggeration, although not too far off in the busy summer according to some reviews I read. Today we got in early and never saw big crowds. It was a hazy day, with little if any wind so the water of these many inlets and bays was like a mirror.
I hear it is easy to rent a car right by the dock in Halifax and drive to Peggy’s Cove on your own. But as I am traveling alone, it was just easier to take the ship’s excursion. Besides, I have shipboard credit to burn, what with credit for holding Carnival Corporation stock, for being a member of AARP and for booking this cruise while on another cruise. There were a few tour options that included Peggy’s Cove, and I picked the one that offered an extended visit.
We had two and half hours on our own, and it was just about the right amount of time for me. I enjoyed walking the few blocks to the lighthouse – the star of the show.
The best views are probably from the water, and at least one enterprise offered a short trip out for just such a photograph. I settled on a bench and sketched the simple white edifice, sitting on large boulders with the water behind it.
Our guide warned us not to climb on the rocks – especially the black ones that are slick with algae. As if sliding into the water wasn’t enough, she said rogue waves are not uncommon, and I heard there is at least one fatality on average a year. If the verbal warnings weren’t enough, a sign would get your attention.
After sketching, I stopped for an early lunch in the Sou’Wester, the combination gift shop and restaurant next to the lighthouse. I was disappointed in the lobster roll – not very big, a soft not toasted bun, and what might have been “fake” crabmeat as filler. Later walking by Tom’s Lobster Shack, I thought that might have been the better choice. Oh well – there’s always Bar Harbor tomorrow!
I found the little creek in town, with its stilted buildings and colorful boats reflected in the water to be more picturesque than the lighthouse. I wished I had brought watercolors to paint on site, but there probably wasn’t time. I made do by taking photographs I will use as references later.
I also ducked into a small art gallery and managed to purchase a small matted watercolor print. For now I will enjoy having it on display in my cabin as an inspiration.
On our way back, we passed by – according to our guide – homes owned by Sandra Bullock and Tom Selleck on nearby St. Margaret’s Bay.
Back in Halifax we took a short stroll through the public gardens, a delightful refuge in the center of town. It’s obvious that residents find it a relaxing place to pass the afternoon.
Yesterday we stopped in Sydney on Cape Breton Island. I enjoyed a ship day – which is what I have deemed port days when I stay on the ship. I was here in July and found there was very little to do in town, where the main street is under major construction. The island is beautiful, but I had explored it in 2019, So other than taking a brief walk through the pier shops, I spent the day on the ship reading, relaxing and playing with some new paints I brought.
Last night I had the first of my two complementary dinners in the Pinnacle Grill, a Mariner five-star perk. It’s always too much food, but the service is a treat. I missed the cranberry rolls they apparently have taken off the menu, but I did break my “no-dessert-at-night” rule for the key lime pie.