NOVA SCOTIA ~ Halifax, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay

October 12th

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

I like walking tours. I feel that I learn/see/experience a place better when I am more immersed and not just passing by in a bus. So when I spotted another walking tour option that mentioned a UNESCO site for our Halifax stop, I jumped right on it.

Silly me. 

I had not realized that to get to our walking tour, we would need to take a two-hour bus ride 😦 The end result was that we did not see any of Halifax, other than brief glimpses through the bus window as we drove through. One such moment was passing by Fairview Cemetery where over 100 of the casualties from the Titanic are buried.

Titanic casualties are buried here. (Blurry shot from the bus)


This waterfront town has been called the “Fishing Capitol of the World”. Established in 1753, it is the oldest colonial settlement outside of Halifax.

“Old Town Lunenburg is one of only two urban communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Considered to be the best surviving planned British colonial town in North America” ~

By the time we actually arrived in Lunenburg, I think most people were simply anxious to get off the bus and explore on their own as only a few of the 40ish passengers even stayed with our guide. The walking section of the tour lasted about 15 minutes.

The end result was that we had a couple of hours to wander around this well-preserved town on our own. This harbor specialized in ship building, fishing fleets, and home for the occasional pirate. It is also home port for the famous, Bluenose II schooner.

Bluenose II

The Bluenose II winters in her home port of Lunenburg

The Bluenose II is a “replica of her famous mother, the original Bluenose schooner that was launched in 1921 and raced undefeated in international competition for 17 years” ~

One can not help but by charmed by the flagrant colors of the buildings, waterfront reflections, and historical church architecture.

Vibrant colored paint brings the original buildings to life

Well preserved moments in time

Another bit of trivia we learned is what they call a “Bump” on a house. This cantilevered addition was often built above the entry door expanding the square footage on the upper floor, but not increasing the initial building footprint which was what the local taxation was based upon.

An example of a “bump”

The St. John’s Anglican Church was hard to miss. Being founded in 1753 and crafted in the Carpenter Gothic style, it is the second oldest Protestant church in Canada. It is both a Provincial Heritage Property and a National Historic Site.

St. John’s Anglican Church

Sadly, this church was burned to the ground in 2001 and has been lovingly and accurately restored. A couple of points I found quite interesting include the stars behind the altar and the Vinegar Bible.


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The 700 gold stars appear to be randomly placed in the chancel ceiling. However, Dr David Turner, Professor and Astronomer at Saint Mary’s University discovered that was not the case. It turns out that the placement depicts what would have been the Lunenburg sky back on December 24th, 1 BCE – the FIRST CHRISTMAS.

Note the stars on the ceiling, directly behind the cross

The beautiful King James “Vinegar Bible” was first printed in 1717. It got its name due to a printing error where it was supposed to state, “The Parable of the Vineyard”, but instead, is labeled “The Parable of the Vinegar”. I believe this is one of only seven copies known to still be in existence.

Note the heading, where it says “The parable of the vinegar”

We continued to walk the town and soak up the local ambiance.


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Does anyone know what this fruit/berry/seed is? ***

*** UPDATE: I am so sad and frustrated. One of our readers kindly sent me a comment identifying this as a Magnolia tree based on the leaf. I did a bit of research and found that the Caerhays Belle Magnolia seed seems to be a pretty good match. However, I hit something (still don’t know what I did), and the comment got marked as spam and disappeared. I can’t find it to properly say thank you and give credit to the right person. My sincere appreciation for your help and an even bigger “I’m sorry”.

***A most sincere thank you to Simple Things Adventures for coming forward and letting us know that they were the mystery person to identify the Magnolia seed for us.

Another highlight of Lunenburg was the beautiful harbor.

Red reflections in the water

Another view of the waterfront


Mahone Bay

Back on the bus, we headed back toward Halifax with a brief stop scheduled in Mahone Bay. We had just missed seeing their annual Scarecrow Festival, but evidence was still in plain view for us to see some examples of local works of art.

Scarecrow Festival


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The town’s setting, right on stunning Mahone Bay, made you want to have much more than 30 minutes here. Certainly one of the drawbacks to cruising, when you are rushed from place to place and can’t explore to your heart’s content. Some days one just has to give in and be thankful for what you do get to see.


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GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the opportunity to visit and explore another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Seeing these beautiful old harbor towns, soaking up the colors, capturing a reflection, plus learning about the Parable of the Vinegar made for a winning day. And it was perfect weather…

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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60 Responses to NOVA SCOTIA ~ Halifax, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay

  1. paperpopups says:

    Thank you – love the photos, too!


  2. The photos are fabulous! And I so enjoyed the write up of all you saw tyvm


  3. Rebel Girl says:

    I want to go there soon. My sister took pictures of all those colourful houses and I fell in love with them.


  4. What stunning towns! I love all the history and architecture. It’s hard being on the West Coast, where everything is so much newer.


  5. lulu says:

    These are such interesting places. I know you enjoyed them.


  6. mareymercy says:

    I see places like this and always wonder what are the people like who live there? How can they stand to live in such an idyllic place without just bursting from contentedness? Lovely photos!


  7. Widdershins says:

    That berry looks almost poison mushroom-ish! … I’d love to live in one of those cottages, but I think the stairs might do me in. 😀


  8. Tim Harlow says:

    That was a really nice tour, and your photos are spectacular. It would be fun to explore the cemetery where some of the Titanic victims are buried. Thanks.


  9. jackandthebeanblog says:

    Absolutely gorgeous photos. I’ve never seen a berry like that before!


  10. Wow what a beautiful place! I have a friend who lives in Halifax and never knew it had such beautiful surroundings!


  11. Anabel Marsh says:

    We visited both Mahone Bay and Lunenburg on our Nova Scotia roadtrip a few years ago. Unfortunately, it was a pouring wet day so we didn’t explore as much as we wanted too. Couldn’t dim the colours of those houses though!


  12. Beautiful photo essay! We’re hoping for a long-awaited return trip to Nova Scotia (via Maine and other New England states) in a year or so. You’d made me wonder about doing a cruise, but I’m now convinced a road trip will be much more to our liking so we can stay long enough in one place to really get the feel of it. Enjoy the rest of your trip!


  13. Willow Croft says:

    Thanks for the vicarious experience…it’s on my list of places to relocate to, someday (soon!).


  14. I’ve never been to Maritime Canada, but this post makes me want to go. Lovely!


  15. Arati says:

    Thank you for the wonderful tour. I love all the colors in the buildings, the “Bump” on the houses and their “raison d’être”, the stars on the ceiling of the church that was so lovingly restored and the ‘Bluenose II’ is strikingly slick and beautiful. Your photographs so make me want to visit these places and walk around!


  16. joylennick says:

    More fascinating places and faces to add to your growing list. All most colourful and interesting and some beautifully captured on film. Onwards…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks so much for liking my blog personaljourneyswithgramma. Your journeys look fascinating. What a wonderful way to share the joys of discovery across the globe! Like you, my favorite part is coming to know new people.


    • Through our written word and photography we have the great honor of taking others to see/visit/experience places they might otherwise never get to see first hand. We regard that as both a challenge and a gift that we are humbled to share. The friendships made along the way become our rewards.


  18. Some lovely photos, Joanne. I always like the colorful houses found In Nova Scotia. –Curt


  19. Aunt Beulah says:

    The weather, the water, the houses, the church, and the scarecrow all seem perfect, indeed. As usual your photographs capture their beauty and your descriptions and interesting tidbits educate us. Thank you, Joanne.


  20. Amazing pictures. Thank you for sharing.


  21. Haha! It was me! I sent the Magnolia comment, I’m so glad you got it 😄 No problem at all and no apology needed, your photos and info are greatly appreciated, the light in Nova Scotia looks fantastic. Keep on enjoying!


  22. It was me! I put the comment about the Magnolia 😄 No apology necessary, just glad it helped. Your photos and words are lovely and the air in Nova Scotia appears so crystal clear I want to visit all the more 😃


  23. The picture of the red buildings set against the blue water and sky is stunning!


  24. Thank you for liking my blog post 🙂

    This was such a lovely read – I learned so much from your detailed notes. I am glad that they rebuilt and restored the church – that starry ceiling is fascinating!

    Shall stay in touch to do some more armchair travelling through your blog 🙂


  25. curvyroads says:

    Oh your post and beautiful photos bring back fond memories of both Lunenburg and Mahone Bay!


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