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Eastern Shore
Tour Guide

Jump Off Points
Jump Off Antigonish
Jump Off Guysborough

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Part 3
Liscombe, Sherbrooke,
Canso & Guysborough

At Ecum Secum Bridge in the Bay of Islands region, we leave Halifax and enter Guysborough County, one of the largest in the province. An Eastern Shore 'touring loop' divides just past Sherbrooke, with Marine Drive running along the coast to Canso and Guysborough and Highway #7 turning inland through the rich agricultural region along beautiful St. Mary's River and the glacier lake, Locheil.

Photo Courtesy Elizabeth Measure, Canso

Liscombe Lodge at Liscombe Mills is one of Nova Scotia's Signature hotels. The Lodge is the largest complex in the area, with fine accommodation, a good restaurant, a swimming pool, sauna, tennis court, canoe rentals, deep sea charters and a gift shop featuring local arts and crafts.

When we stopped to visit, we could smell the wonderful aroma of planked salmon and watched the cook turning the fish on the outdoor fire pit, next to the hotel entry. It smelled wonderful, but we moved on. The Lodge is open from May until Christmas each year.

Liscombe Mills offers a hiking trail to a salmon ladder and several other walking adventures along the Liscombe River Trail System, 3 km. long each way.

During fishing season, Liscombe is a paradise for people who like to fish in the lovely Liscombe River with it's bubbling rapids near the highway.

The St. Mary's River at Sherbrooke, only a short distance further east is rumoured to contain some large salmon. You can learn all about this magnificent sport fish at the Salmon Interpretive Center just east of Sherbrooke.

At Sherbrooke, you'll want to visit Sherbrooke Village, an impressive historical town restoration, dating back to the wild and wooly days of the 1860-80 gold rush. The town was restored in 1970 as a working museum, with demonstrations of nineteenth-century lumbering and ship building, and the everyday business and retail operations of a typical gold mining community.The original restored buildings are open to the public during the summer.

Sherbrooke Village is a "must stop" for anyone travelling Marine Drive. The Visitor Information Center is located in the center of town and there is a bank, service station with a good mechanic and a small supermarket with an attached hardware store. Sherbrooke offers several dining choices, including an open patio cafe and one of the Eastern Shore's two Chinese restaurants.

Before you continue along the Marine Drive, you might want to check that the ferry is operating near Country Harbour. If not, (probably in winter) there is an alternative route in Melrose , about 12 kilometers distant and here you will see the sign for Isaac's Harbour. Take the ferry if you can! It costs very little to cross over to the other side and it's a nice little trip across the open water. You will likely meet fellow travellers from the US, Europe, Quebec or other parts of Canada on the ferry. Often, you will meet again in Charlos Cove, or Desbarres Manor in Guysborough.

There are several campgrounds and two provincial parks in the area, including Boylston Park, Salsman Park, Riverside Campground, Sherbrooke, Nimrod's Rest Campground, Stillwater, Sea Breeze Campground, Fox Island near Canso.

Travel Tip
The Highway 7 -
Marine Drive Loop

Just past Stillwater, Highway # 7 leaves the Shore and turns inland towards Antigonish, while Marine Drive continues along the
coast to Canso.

Why not take the loop one direction 'on the way to Cape Breton' and the other direction 'on the way' back to Halifax?
Enjoy these small villages as you amble along - Jordanville, Mulgrave, Aulds Cove, Indian Harbour, Port Hilford, Harpellville, Port Bickerton - each has its own charm and special history, which you can usually find out about by simply asking! Most Eastern Shore folk (especially the older ones) love to regale visitors with stories about their own loved area of the Shore.

Port Bickerton is an interesting little fishing village that offers accommodations and several stores and gift shops. The Beach Park and Lighthouse Interpretive Center will be a special treat for all you lighthouse fans. Port Bickerton consists of two buildings housing lighthouse artifacts and pictures, interpretive panels of the flora in the park, marine related displays and directories containing information on all 160 lighthouses in the Province.

An observation tower has been erected on top of this building where the operational light once stood as a beacon for ships at sea. It offers a breath-taking view of the sandy beach and surrounding area. Guides are present at all times to answer questions and hiking trails and boardwalks allow you to explore on your own.

We stop on the road and have a look at the map - we can turn left and follow the # 316 to Salsman Park, Country Harbour and Goshen. The Country Harbour ferry, operational summers and 'sometimes' during the winter will transport us across the water. This is a short run, but enjoyable!

But today we put the map aside and enjoy the view of Isaacs Harbour and Goldboro - a town built on gold, according to the welcome sign. In recent years, however, Goldboro has been at the center of offshore oil exploration for the last decade and in 2007, a controversial LNG terminal is being planned for the Goldboro Industrial Park.

Seal Harbour, Coddle Harbour, New Harbour, Tor Bay - Tor Bay Atlantic Provincial Park. This beautiful Provincial Park offers boardwalks, a picnic area, swimming at two beaches andinformation about the first commercial trans-atlantic cable that transmitted messages from England to the North American Continent (1875).

Larry's River and Charlos Cove where you can overnight at Seawind Landing Inn, a first class year-round accommodation. The Inn includes the main house and restaurant. Within sight, a second accommodation building has several double rooms displaying the paintings of local artists. Painting and photo workshops are also offered. If you like, from here, you can row a short distance to Sugar Island to observe the many birds of the area.

Note: Please avoid activities that threaten wildlife or plant population.
Several endangered species reside or nest along the Eastern Shore.

Here is a 'birders' list of species you might expect to encounter during your sojourn.

Arctic Tern July to August, near New Harbour
Common Tern mid May to September, Tor Bay
Common Eider, Tor Bay, Canso Peninsula, Liscombe
Black Duck, all year, Marie Joseph to New Harbour
Red Breasted Merganser, all year, Marie Joseph to New Harbour
Canada Goose, mid December to April, Marie Joseph to New Harbour
Common Goldeneye, December to April, Marie Joseph to New Harbour
Whimbrei, August to September, Canso
Mourning Warbler, June to September, Larry's River
Wilson's Warbler, June to end of July, Larry's River
Loncol's Sparrow, June to early September, Larry's River
Grey cheeked Thrush, June and July, Larry's River
Blackpoll Warbler, June to September, Rocky Coast
Scoters. December to January, many inlets on the coast
Baird's Sandpiper, first weeks of September, New Harbour
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, end of summer, New Harbour
Hudsonian Godwit, August, New Harbour
Ducks, all year, New Harbour
Black Guillemot, end of November to March, coastal inlets and Liscombe Point

Fox Sparrow, June, Larry's River to Crossroads
Seabirds various, Island off Tor-Bay
Shorebirds, July and late summer, Chedabucto Bay, Beaches
Oldsquaw, end November to April, seen at Marie Joseph , New Harbour Cove, Coal Harbour, Port Felix, Whitehead, all long time fishing villages.

Canso, with its harbour front promenade is located at the beginning at the Chedabucto Bay. History buffs will want to check out the Whitman Museum which details the story of one of Canso's founding families and other interesting local pages from local history.

Cape Canso has been a fishing village for centuries. The name dates back to a Spanish word "ganso" which means duck. In the nearby areas of Hazel Hill in 1844 there was a telegraph relay station doing services as a link in trans Atlantic communications. After World War II satellites replaced the old systems.

Located on the water in Canso you will find a boat service and a small museum telling the history of Grassy Island.

Grassy Island National Historic Park - You get to Grassy Island National Park by motor boat in only seven minutes at a cost of $2.50 return. Walk in the park and read the historical facts from 250 years ago. Once a community of fishermen and merchants from New England, Grassy Island became a casualty of the English-French rivalry for North America. It was attacked, burned down by the French in 1744 and forgotten. In 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht gave the ownership of mainland Nova Scotia to the British, while the Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence remained French.

A conflicting interpretation of the Treaty of Utrecht left the ownership of the Canso Islands in dispute. In 1720, the Governor of Nova Scotia Richard Phillips, fearing the French retaliation from Fort Louisburg in Cape Breton, established a small British garrison, a fort on Grassy Island. The British government refused to pay for the defense of Canso. Even though they were threatened by the French, Canso prospered. In 1730 lots of people from New England came in summer to fish. Merchants and fishermen lived peacefully side by side. The fishermen used schooners which were bigger and faster than the French chaloupes. At their best time, the Canso fishery caught more than 8 million fish in a single season and sold the goods in Europe, America and the Caribbean in exchange for other goods.

Chedabucto Bay is the largest bay on the Atlantic Coast. It was formed by the drowning of an ancient river system. Marine erosion has created numerous small gravel beaches, often enclosing small lagoons and salt marshes. These areas provide wading bird habitat for shorebirds and herons. This protected coastal area also supports some southern marine fauna species because the water is warmer than in other coastal areas.

Marine Wildlife

Humpack Whales
Fin Whales
Pilot Whales in the Chedabucto Bay area
Sea Turtles
Porpoises in the Chedabucto Bay area
Atlantic Salmon in several rivers, St. Mary's, Salmon River, Isaac's Harbour
American Eel on the coast Larry's River and Tor Bay
American Shad in the St.Mary's River at Sherbrooke
Striped Bass and Mackerel, Tuna, Pollock, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout Smelt

Museums and Attractions in this area are usually seasonal, opening from May until September. Sherbrooke Village is the exception with events scheduled right up until Christmas, when tens of thousands of tiny white lights twinkle through the whole village.

Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke Village
Canso, Whiteman House Museum
Goshen, Goshen Leisure Park
Grassy Island, Grassy Island National Historic Park

Restaurants and Cafes

Canso, Scotia Restaurant
Bickerton West, Sea Mist Cafe
Rare Bird Pub and Eatery

We are driving on #16 and passing Phillips Harbour, Queensport and Halfway Cove to Guysborough with its Old Court House Museum, where you can learn about local history and search the genealogical records.

Guysborough is a wonderfully compact, historic coastal town at the western end of Chedabucto Bay that has recently been revitalized by the addition of the Osprey Shores Golf Resort.

Osprey Shores Golf Resort offers a 'authentic seacoast experience' and is located on a 60 acre peninsula at the western end of Chedabucto Bay with beautiful ocean views all the way around. There are 10 deluxe resort rooms which include a complimentary continental breakfast. Osprey Shores is a RCGA rated, 9 hole golf course with a licensed clubhouse and a post game snack menu.

The resort includes a proshop, swimming pool, lawn games, walking trails and canoe and kayak rentals in their private cove. Part of the Authentic Seacoast group of properties including DesBarres Manor Inn, the Rare Bird Pub & Eatery and Skipping Stone Crafts and Gallery.

If you stay a few days you can go out on harbour cruises or do some whale watching. Nearby is the Atlantic Beach Park where the shore is abundant with marine bird life.

Boylston, Port Shore Harbour, Middletown, St. Francis Harbour, Sand Point, Mellford.

Arriving in Boylston, you can fill up your car, do some shopping and stay over night at the campground. Here the Marine Drive #16 turns into # 344. We follow route 344 and drive all along the Chedabucto Bay towards Mulgrave.

The view over the Ocean is nothing short of spectacular and from here you can see Humpback and Fin Whales. Nearby is a small picnic park to sit and watch huge ocean tankers on the way to Port Hawkesbury where they unload their oil. Nearby also is Eddys Lighthouse offering a good view - your first view to the Janvrin Islands on the Cape Breton side.

Mulgrave - From Mulgrave, we can overlook the streets of Canso and see Port Hawkesbury on the other side of the Bay. Mulgrave serves as a Marine Center and has an industrial port. There is a little park at the entry of the town called the Venus Cove Park with a picnic area and playground and a hiking treck.

So ends our 'On the Way to Cape Breton' tour ... for now.

You can print out these pages to tuck away for your own 'real' tour of this wonderful region of Nova Scotia.

Some day soon, we will cross the Causeway and continue on Cape Breton Island. In the meantime, there is so much more to see on the Eastern Shore. Many delights along the Highway 7- Marine Drive Loop are not mentioned, but they are yours to discover!

This virtual tour is an ongoing process for Highway 7 Online staff. We live and work on the Shore because we really love the area and believe it's the 'last best place' in Nova Scotia for so many reasons! We hope you have enjoyed ambling along with us as much as we enjoyed having your company!

If you have information you would like to add to the tour, please don't hesitate to let us know. By the way, attractions, non-profits and business listings are free (without links).

See also:
Tour the Shore, Part 1 - Halifax to Musquodoboit
Tour the Shore, Part 2 - Jeddore to Sheet Harbour
Tour the Shore, Part 3 - Bay of Islands, Liscombe, Sherbrooke
Tour the Shore, Part 4 - Goldboro, Canso, Guysborough
- Next!
Tour the Shore, Part 5 - Cape Breton Island - Coming soon....

What does Frommer's have to say? It's brief - but nice!


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All contents © 1995 - 2017 unless otherwise attributed
Highway7 E-zine, a publication of Hatch Media, is an electronic journal with a focus on commercial, historical, cultural and ecological issues concerning the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia in Canada. Topics include a growing resource of currently more than 300 articles. More articles and image galleries are added frequently as new material is brought to our attention. With, our primary aim is to serve, inform and reflect the rural communities on the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, as well as to acquaint new residents, visitors, tourists, and investors with the special beauty and enormous potential of our region.
Last Change: 13-Feb-2017