As the old saying goes, don't blink or you'll miss it, but slow
down a bit and you'll discover that some of your best vacation
memories await you along this stretch of Atlantic coastal highway.
You only need to travel the roads leading to the sea to find adventure
and to experience 'old Nova Scotia' in one of the many fishing
villages that dot the Shore.
The West Jeddore Road for example, you could visit Pleasant Point
and the lighthouse on the property of Ivan and Mildred
Kent. Many visitors become addicted to the flavour of this seaside
place and to Ivan Kent's old sailor and ghost stories.
Down each road, you'll find your own stories to tell. Take your
time. Talk to locals and explore! Pick roads named 'point' or
'head' and you'll be sure to find some spectacular Atlantic Ocean
vistas. Chances are, you'll be the only tourists around, but the
'natives are friendly'!
Salmon River Bridge
Watch for the turn at Pleasant Point - a little side trip - there's
a lighthouse with a beautiful view over the ocean. Natural beauty
envelopes you in spots like Pleasant Point. You'll feel the city
Ostrea Lake, East Jeddore, & The
The drive to Ostrea Lake and East Jeddore should be a leisurely
one. Here one can find two wonderful treats. The Fisherman's Museum
features a walk into the past , the life and work of the eastern
shore's inshore fisherman. The museum is only open from May to
Mid October and 'the Oyster Pond Walk' covers an area of approximately
two kilometers between Oyster Pond and Navy Pool.
The location was once host to a lucrative saw mill, carpentry
shop and general store and still is home to two century old churches.
Many "haunting"stories have originated from Navy Pool
from vessels that have anchored there and mysterious spirits are
sometimes seen. People still congregate in these areas and talk
about days gone by.
Upper Lakeville Just a few
kilometers up the road from Salmon River Bridge you can find the
sign to Upper Lakeville Road. Take a left off the Marine Drive
and travel along Lake Charlotte, a large inland lake and prime
recreational area. Come an camp here at Webbers campground Lake
Enie's Loft: Antiques and Collectables
Mrs.Joan Ryan is the owner of this beautiful antique and
collectors shop where you just might lose track of time. The little
shop, designed in honour of Mrs. Ryan's grandmother has an open
loft where she proudly displays the old couch from her grandmother's
original loft. Fine china, wooden tables, crystal plates, paintings,
books, and so much more can keep the visitor there for hours.
Don't miss it.
Webbers - the Original Log Store.
Webbers store, further along the Marine Drive in Lake Charlotte
is still owned by members of the original Webber family. Built
in 1932, Webbers Store was originally a dance hall and canteen
and ever since then, the Webber family has saved bits of history
- light fixtures from the1940's, gas pumps from their original
Imperial Esso Garage, signs, posters, telephones, stamps, tools,
a working ball mill, mineralogy and surveying equipment, mining
machines and maps...now, all of thes saved "things"
have turned Lake Charlotte's history into a "living museum"
called Memory Lane.
is a project that combines economic initiative with community
preservation. This "living museum" is located on the
land surrounding the pond behind Webber's Store. It consists of
12 small buildings, each housing artifacts with a certain theme
from Lake Charlotte's past. The buildings include a cook house,
wagon shed, barn, Imperial Esso garage, dock house, ball mill
and water tower, assay office and the Webber family home.
Each building contains information and artifacts that can be
"worked" or experienced by visitors. For instance the
cook house replicates a 1940's lumber camp kitchen, complete with
woodstove, where visitors can eat traditional food and experience
the atmosphere of that time.
In short; "Memory
Lane" has become a community run and owned tourist attraction,
providing a stopping place for tour buses and travellers who normally
pass by Lake Charlotte. The project is managed by a not-for-profit
society called the Lake Charlotte Heritage Society.
Clam Harbour Beach
When you have some of the best beaches in Nova Scotia, it's
inevitable that you would want to build a sandcastle. Clam Harbour
Beach is well known for the Sandcastle Contest, held every summer
in August, but you can walk along these beaches even in winter!
Return to the Marine Drive and head toward Ship
Harbour and Tangier. Plan to pick up a feed of mussels, right
off the boats, then at Tangier, don't miss sampling Willy Krauch's
famous smoked salmon and head for a beach to boil the kettle enjoy
the special sea harvest this region produces.
If you are still hungry, try Family Fries on the right hand side
of the road. Maritime friendliness and 'down home' cooking will
be experienced when you meet owner & cook Pearl Newcombe.
Just past Pearl's, there's another another side trip down to a
beautiful harbour. Turn left off the Marine Drive just past Family
Fries and head for Lower Ship Harbour and DeBaies Cove.
- More Gold! Continue on the Marine Drive then turn
off at the Mooseland Road which is located about 5 km. east of
Tangier . Following the Mooseland Road inland, we arrive at the
Moose River Gold Mines, a provincial park. The park is closed
in winter. Moose River was one of Nova Scotia's earliest and richest
gold mining regions.
Moose River Mine Disaster
In 1936 the Moose River Mine disaster happened here.. Although
gold was already discovered about 1866, it was not until 1876
that prospecting began in earnest. Moose River Gold Mines reached
its great days between 1890 and 1909 when several gold mines were
in operation. In all, over 26,000 troy once of gold were taken
from this area. This gold mine was one of the more productive
gold districts in the province. By 1910, the industry was declining;
the gold mine at Moose River operated some years afterwards but
was finally abandoned.
But then in 1936 a gold mining syndicate brought renewed hopes
of prosperity to the Moose River Gold Mines. The team was headed
by Herman Magill and by Dr. David Robertson of Toronto. The mining
operations began again despite evidence that the mine was not
safe. All of the gold removed from this mine came from rock pillars
which had been left as roof supports. With the gradual removal
of these supports the mine became increasingly unstable, but no
one recognized the actual danger.
On April, 12, 1936, Magill and Robertson and Alf Scadding the
mine timekeeper, entered the Magill shafts to inspect the work.
Shortly afterwards, the weakened mine collapsed trapping the three
man at the 141-foot (43 m.) level. Within minutes, men arrived
from Moose River Gold Mines and immediately began rescue operations.
They were soon joined by miners from nearby Caribou Gold Mines
and within days several hundred man, some from as far away as
Ontario had answered the call for 'single men with guts'!
After six days of continuous rescue efforts there was still
no sign of survivors. Just when officials were about to abandon
the rescue work, a government diamond drill reached the 141 foot
level and contact was made with the entombed men. Tragically,
Herman Magill died hours later of pneumonia. Armed with the news
that Robertson and Scadding were still alive, the rescuers redoubled
their efforts. It was decided that the only hope of rescuing the
two survivors lay in re-opening the Reynolds shafts, which had
earlier been condemned by mine officials as too dangerous. Finally
after ten days of determined effort and incessant toll, the rescuers
reached the trapped men. On April 23, 1936 at 12:45 am, Dr. Robertson
was greeted with wild cheers of triumphant miners as he emerged
from the rescue tunnel. Alf Scadding followed shortly afterwards
and later the body of Herman Magill was brought out.
The daring rescue efforts, widely chronicled by the news media,
captured the hearts of millions across North America and Europe.
The broadcasts of J.Frank Willis of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting
Company, later CBC, were carried by over 700 Radio Stations in
Canada, the United States and England, establishing a record for
consecutive live broadcasts from one location. These broadcasts
represented North America's first major " media event "
and are claimed to have changed the course of radio in Canada.
How to get to the park? The Mooseland road starts on Highway
7, just 5 km. east of Tangier. Follow it inland to the community
of Moose River. Complementing the park is a museum operated jointly
by the community of Moose River and the Musquodoboit Valley Tourism
Association. Here visitors can see an interesting collection of
gold mining artifacts and learn about the area's rich gold mining
history. The museum is only open during the summer months but
is worth the visit.
For more information please contact the District Office, Dept.
of Natural Resources , Middle Musquodoboit, Halifax Co. Nova Scotia,
Thanks to Debbie MacDonald, Moose River for sending the information
Continuing on the Marine Drive beyond Tangier, visitors will
pass through a number of small interesting communities: Spry Bay,
Popes Harbour, Spry Harbour and Taylors Head Beach, a Provincial
Taylors Head Beach is a beautiful ocean side park with lots of
interesting and well marked hiking trails. Whales and seals are
often seen from this beach and its a bird watchers paradise with
many island nesting grounds just offshore.
Next stop is Sheet Harbour, a mere 20 minutes away!
Harbour Entering Sheet Harbour from the West, there's
a small rest area by West River with biffys and picnic tables.
Soon, you'll cross over West River with its rapids tumbling to
the sea. Just beyond, on the right is McPhee House & the Visitor
Information Center. Stop for a break and a chat. The girls, mostly
local summer students, are friendly and helpful.
Looking down towards the harbour mouth, you may see a huge conveyer
belt silhouetted against the sky in the distance. A ship is moving
into the harbour - a Transatlantico coming to pick up chips for
making wood pellets and particle board. You'll pass this on the
right as you head east.
The Port of Sheet Harbour is one of Nova Scotia's newer offshore
terminals with shipping facility. Completed in 1988, the Industrial
Park and 500 foot Common User Docks is the closest marine facility
to the Sable Island Offshore Oil Fields (150 miles). Sheet Harbour
has another advantage. It is only a fifty mile steam from the
great circle shipping route linking North America to Europe.
Sheet Harbour sits at the crossroads where visitors can go on
in any direction: Cape Breton, Stellarton, Truro, New Glasgow,
the Trans Canada Highway or Halifax. The community of Sheet Harbour
has always been the commercial centre of the Eastern Shore and
could accommodate a significant increase in population given its
present level of educational, medical and other community services.
At the moment there is lobster fishing, tourism, forestry and
an active business sector coupled with the Industrial Port and
the Industrial Park.
Sheet Harbour is a lovely coastal town offering gas, food, lodging,
a hospital and shops. Located approximately 90 minutes north-east
of Halifax/Dartmouth, the port was given its name by early sailors
to distiguish it from the multitude of other ports and inlets
along the shore. A rock formation at the entrance to the harbour
resembles a sheet drying in the wind.
one can find a place to wash or gas up the car with an Irving
Station at the western end of town and an Esso station on the
east. A number of food take-outs can be found along the highway,
but for a good sit-down meal, there are several choices with year
round restaurants at both motels and Dooneys, just under the East
River bridge. Ralph Leblanc's Fairwind Motel in the town centre
offers the better view with its location on the harbour and the
deck is a good place to be in summer. You'll find a mix of visitors
and local people who meet for lunch or dinner, or coffee and fresh
muffins. Everyone enjoys the view towards the harbour from the
outside terrace. There are a number of other shops & souvenir
places, a supermarket, florist, a post-office, library, a bank
and credit union, RCMP, a hospital and a liquour store.
Travelling east towards Cape Breton, just before you cross East
River bridge, you'll see a new bed and breakfast named "Back
in Thyme" and to the left, the road leads to East River Lodge
Campground & Trailer Park. Beautiful scenery and a nice spot right
on the East River awaits you.
(We are now 115 kilometers away from Greater Halifax.)
Up Highway 374 to Malay Falls and New Glasgow
Malay Falls is the site of an old Nova Scotia Power hydro station.
It's a fascinating walk about, but be careful! Further along the
374, ( the junction with Highway #7 is just on the eastern outskirts
of Sheet Harbour), you would eventually arrive at New Glasgow.
The Bay of Islands Region
Thousands of small islands dot the coastline between Sheet Harbour
and Sherbrooke. The islands that make up this long archipelago
are the exposed tips of 'Eastern Shore drumlins' formed during
the last Ice Age. Mariners gave the region its unique name in
the 1800's but the name had been lost over time and forgotten
Now resurrected by a local economic development group, the Bay
of Islands Center in Moser River has re-defined this area
by its natural attractions of forest, river, lakes and seacoast.
Port Dufferin 14 km. east of Sheet Harbour will bring
you to Port Dufferin. The Black Duck Seaside Inn, a new bed and
breakfast is open year around and offers a beautiful view of the
Atlantic Ocean from the observatory deck.
A little further along, you'll find the Marquis of Dufferin Seaside
Inn, under new ownership in 2005. Waterfront accommodation, set
in spacious grounds overlooking Beaver Harbour. All rooms have
private balconies with a superb ocean view. Complimentary continental
breakfast. Quiet, clean and comfortable. Visit their Facebook
East & West Quoddy, Quoddy Head,
Take a right, any right. Almost any road leading to the right
will end at the ocean with a beach or small fishing village and
always, islands as far as one can see. See someone walking? Chat
them up! Locals here are friendly for the most part and love to
tell stories about the old days!Chances are , you'll meet someone
from the U.S or Europe. Many have built large summer homes in
the area and headlands particularly have fallen prey to developers.
- Some say that the top of Moosehead Hill is the only cell
phone reception on this part of the Shore. At the bottom of the
hill is Moosehaead Beach. Here, a certain moss can be seen that
only can be found in one other part of the world - on the African
coast. Moosehead Moss, rich in nutrients has been used here for
centuries as a natural organic fertilizer. You'll often know you're
in Moosehead, even in the dark, by the strong aroma of this unique
moss. The island just off shore with the sheer cliff face on its
western end is Ship Island, once the location of a lumber mill
Moosehead is the location of another abandoned gold mine, where
walking can be treacherous. Watch for a old shafts in the small
quartz beach area at the end of Moosehead Road.
Moser River, Necum Teuch, Ecum Secum
Soon we arrive at Moser River, established in 1783 as a way station
and lumber town. Moser River once boasted several stores, three
service stations, even a hotel in the shipbuilding era when lumbering
employed many people, and not the huge destructive tree harvesters
Seaside Park on the right is featured on the Marine Drive Nature
Tour for its interesting river estuary and tidal pools. The park
offers a small playground and picnic tables. There's a credit
union, post office and school just across from the park. In the
back of the Post Office is the Moser River CAP Site where you
can check your email for free - if you're lucky enough to find
it open (usually in the mornings).
On the west side of the bridge, the 'town centre' houses two
community halls, an Esso service station and the Quickway Convenience
Store - the latter both unfortunately closed on Sundays, even
in summer! (Hint - If you're really stranded, the owners live
behind the store, so walk around back and they'll oblige you with
On the east side of the bridge, the Bay
of Islands Sustainable Living Center offers a warm welcome
to visitors, especially hikers and ecotourists. Stop at the Trail
Stop Country Market just east of the Moser River bridge for
some local pointers on where to hike the back country. The Center
offers some roofed accommodations (hostel style), good food, a
washroom, web access and loads of rough camping in field, woods
or by the ocean. Sometimes, you can barter a night's stay or two
by volunteering to help with various events, workshops and projects
at the Center. Ask at the Trail Stop.
A mile or so up the coast, you will enter Necum Teuch, (pronounced
"Neecum -Taw"). This village was once a busy ship-building
center with its deep water anchorage. Many residents here are
descended from the 'Foreign Protestants' from Germany who settled
originally on the South Shore near Lunenburg. Necum Teuch was
once home to Angella Geddes (the Scarecrow Lady), a childrens'
book author. Some of Angella's scarecrows can still be seen at
"Aunt Mary's House". If you stop by, ask for Ken. Maybe
he'll play you a tune on the antique organ!
Ecum Secum is an Indian
name that replaces an even earlier one -originally the Mi'kmaws
called it Megwasagun meaning "a red house" or "a
red river". The side roads here are home to many local lobster
and crab fishermen. The wharf is down the way a bit at Ecum Secum
West. If you're here at the right time, this wharf is a great
place to catch mackerel.
At the Ecum Secum Bridge we leave Halifax at its eastern-most
boundary. Yes, you've been in the City of Halifax all along!
Marie Joseph - Just before
the village of Marie Joseph, there is a small provincial park
overlooking the ocean - a place for a picnic with a amazing view.
And -- one of this area's few outdoor privys!
Wait, there's more!
Continue with Part 3
of our tour along the Marine Drive on the way to Cape Breton
or return to Part 1