While we didn’t spend a lot of time in Halifax, we did get to see some great sites including a side trip to Peggy’s Cove.
If you have never been to Halifax, it’s much like Seattle. And if you have never been to Seattle….? Well, think hills. We spend most of our first day in Halifax walking up, and down the hill, Halifax is built on. It’s a fairly steep climb but our kids tackled it without too much grumbling. Our goal was to reach the Citadel, the fortress overlooking the city. The hill has had a fortress in this location since 1749 and it is a very large fortress dominating the city.
Exploring the Citadel
We spent most of the morning into the early part of the afternoon exploring the fortress with our Aunt Judy who had joined us for the first part of the day. Being a National Park, the kids once again picked up their booklets to fill in as we explored. There are a number of costumed interpreters around, who were fun to talk to though they all looked very warm inside their costumes. The kids enjoyed dressing up in the regiment uniforms, talking to the schoolmaster and exploring a WWI trench which had been recreated between the walls of the Citadel. We also discovered that this site also had a spy game that the kids could complete that came with a shoulder bag, a magnifying glass, a compass and a ruler. Once we had completed the first booklet, we got our dog tags and started the next adventure. The little comic book described how spies were planning to attack the fortress and the kids had to find hidden numbers around the fortress to decipher the hidden message. The kids really enjoyed this activity as we scurried around attempting not to be seen by the guards.
The Maritime Museum
Following the Citadel, we rolled our way down to the bottom of the hill to the Maritime Museum. This museum had exhibits on two topics of great interest to the kids; the sinking of the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion. We got to see some salvaged pieces from the Titanic and some recreations of the rooms and various other objects from the Unsinkable Ship. The Halifax Explosion was another interesting exhibit with interesting stories told by the survivors and observers. While both exhibits had a lot of reading the kids had to do, there was enough there for the kids to get a good sense of what it was like.
A Hot Day on the Wharf
We ended our first day with a quick stroll on the waterfront. Ordinarily, the wharf area would be a great walk along the water with lots of little shops and things to see. However, it was so hot and muggy, we gave up after about a half hour and headed back to the dorm room we were staying in (which actually wasn’t much cooler as it didn’t have A/C).
The next day, we headed out to Peggy’s Cove. I have only been there once before, a long time ago, but as we have a picture of it hanging on the wall in our living room, we thought it would be fun to head out with the thousands of other tourists that flock to this unique site. After we fought for a parking spot, I took off to do some photos of the harbour while the kids ran out onto the rocks situated around the lighthouse. It’s a very pretty place. Deanne and I were saying that we would love to come back and do a B&B here in the fall to see the area without all the hordes of tourists, as we did in Mont. St. Michel.
A “Hoppy” End to the Day
Just before we headed to the airport to drop off the car, we stopped by the Alexander Keith’s Brewery. They have a tour of the original brewery (which is still in use). The area around the Brewery was all being gentrified and, with it’s proximity to the Universities, has lots of beautiful houses and buildings in the area. The Brewery itself has been redone as a covered market/living space alongside the Brewery, which looked very nice. They had covered over the little alleys where the wagons would come to get the barrels of beer and added interesting stores and restaurants. The tour itself was very unique with a costumed interpreter giving us the history of the Keith Family and the era, a brewmaster explaining the brewing process and ending with a little ceilidh. They served samples along the way, which I was happy about!
And that was it for the Maritimes!
Our top ten things we loved doing in the Maritimes were:
- Visiting friends and family and spending quality time with them.
- Tasting cider at the Annapolis Cider Company
- Visiting Green Gables and the Lighthouses
- Calling from a phone booth in a vineyard
- Visiting Peggy’s Cove
- Doing the explorer kits with the kids at the National Parks
- Looking for Worry Stones at Scot’s Bay
- The Anne of Green Gables musical
- Seeing the tides on the Bay of Fundy
- Seeing the fireworks on our first day.
Now it’s on to the Netherlands!