Friday, February 14, 2014

Yarmouth, Shelburne & Peggy's Cove

We saddled up and headed out from Yarmouth and the weather was picture perfect – it was another one of those days that every rider lives for, good company, sunshine and next to nothing for wind except the wind our machines create.

There was a toy run being held at Barrington and so we rode to the Tim Horton’s, which was the staging area for the local riders to gather. There had to be 70 bikes there all getting ready to ride out and meet the others who would be partaking that morning. It was fabulous to get the chance to meet so many that I have only, until now, known on the Internet.
Our little group was heading to Shelburne to take in some of the sights, we wished the Toy Run riders well and soon we were heading down some gorgeous highway through little places like Port Mouton and on into Shelburne.

Shelburne was amazing, utterly incredible and it is famous for a few reasons.

Number one, it was the 4th largest community in North America in 1783 and when 3,000 Empire Loyalists came to the region, the population swelled to over 10,000. Birchtown, not very far away became the first free Black settlement in Canada as a result of that immigration.

There is one other thing that Shelburne is famous for and that is being the set for the Scarlet Letter featuring Demi Moore and Robert Duvall. Because the filmmakers wanted the town to be exactly as it was in the 1,700’s, the movies producers paid to have the overhead power lines buried and left the rebuilt market square behind for the community and it’s visitors to enjoy.

With no overhead power lines, the views are unfettered and clean, making this, a photographer’s paradise.

The narrow little streets are reminiscent of the times when this place was built, and everyone is courteous and considerate of each other.

We took in the Shelburne County Museum, the JC Williams Dory Shop and the Ross-Thompson House and Store. The Dory shop is located on the waterfront and is the last of 7 shops of it’s kind to still stand. The dory is considered one of the most important of the small boats in Atlantic Canada and New England history and the JC Williams Dory Shop at it’s peak built 350 dory’s a year employing up to 7 craftsmen.
It was a trip to walk through the museum, see the tools of the day and see what the construction of a dory entailed. Dory making is still alive and well in Shelburne thanks to the craftsmanship of a gentleman named Milford Buchannan. He is a Master Dory Builder who possesses a Wooden Boat Building Certificate.
If you’d like a traditional Shelburne Dory – he’ll even build one for you!
The Shelburne County Museum is just across the road and offers a unique look into the history of ship building in the region along with many historical archives. The place is packed with amazing antiques that all play a role in telling about the history of the Loyalists of the American Revolution who settled here.

The Ross – George and Robert Ross, sons of a Scottish merchant, founded Ross - Thompson House and Store in 1784. 

They sold pine boards, cod and pickled herring in foreign ports and brought back salt, molasses and many other goods that were needed in the region. 

The store operated for over 100 years and closed for business in 1880. Today the store and house are an interactive museum with the staff dressed in the garb of the time. And the buildings have been restored to what they were in the 1820’s.

If walls could talk something tells me this building would have a lot to say. Every room is filled with goods, images and artifacts of what it was like to live in Shelburne during those times and the actors are superb at making you feel that you just stepped back in time.

The place is in magnificent shape as are all of the artifacts. 

I enjoyed my time in Shelburne and would love to go back to stay for a few days.

Our little group headed off for the meeting point with 2 CAV’s Battle of Atlantic Unit. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time jibber jabbering, as we had to get me to Halifax and the Chocolate Lake Best Western if I was going to be there on time for our ride to Peggy’s Cove.

I said my goodbyes to Joe and Doc and was left in the capable hands of Brenden – Big Mac and Chris – Red.

In all there were six bikes that headed for Mahone Bay.

We stopped in this gorgeous, gorgeous little community because I wanted to see the famous churches.

There are many things I would have loved to take in, in this most picturesque community, but alas, there was no time. I would have loved to see the DesBrisay Museum that had been founded in 1880. I would have also liked to take one of the 2 historical walking tours.

And I will, when I go back to Nova Scotia. I have to come back here; there is just no way around it. The riding is simply, absolutely stupendous. The people are so kind and warm, the food is fabulous and the scenery and history envelope you.

Pretty soon the group headed out, some of the group was going to have to leave us long the route to Chocolate Lake, other obligations had to be attended to and that would leave Brenden and Red to ride me into town.

I checked in at the Chocolate Lake Best Western, the staff in this place is something to be appreciated, efficient, friendly and fast. I appreciated the kick stand puck and wipe down cloth I was given at check in. (They came in handy more than once!)

Once my gear was unloaded and he knew I was taken care of, Brenden headed off to take care of a few things he had to do. He would not join us for the evening ride. Red and I went to a great fish and chip joint for a bit to eat and headed back to the hotel to meet up with those who were going to ride with us to Peggy’s Cove.

I had not been at Peggy’s Cove since 1986 when I had been to a Harley-Davidson Dealer’s Convention in Halifax and I was eager to go back. The place is glorious and I had heard that the ride in was spectacular.

Spectacular does not begin to cut it! There are no words to describe that ride or the views it takes you to.The visitor’s center was closed, but I still managed to learn a great deal about this place from Red who took the time to answer every one of my many questions.
The Lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove in St. Margaret’s Bay was built in 1915 and it had a post office in it on the ground floor until 2009!

The Swiss Air 111 Memorial sites are located here in the community of St Margaret’s Bay, along with the communities of Bayswater and Whales Back.

There are not enough hours in the day to take in everything one would like to but I was grateful to have gotten to see and do as much as I had on this day.

We stayed until the sun went down and I got some of the most amazing sunset shots.

We rode back to my hotel and Red promised to stop in with his lady in the morning to escort me downtown to the Halifax waterfront so that I could go explore.

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