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The historic port city of Lunenburg, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded in 1753 in an initial effort by the British to establish Protestant settlements in Nova Scotia. Both Lunenburg and neighboring Mahone Bay were centers of fishing and shipbuilding; Ships built along this coastline have navigated the world’s waters for more than two centuries. These combined heritages make the area popular with tourists, with attractions and things to do that highlight both.
the famous sailboat blue nose II it is often in port, moored next to the excellent maritime museum. Other museums record the history of the railway and the life of the first settlers. Colorful clapboards, waterfront warehouses and elegant churches fill the steep slopes of Lunenburg, while the lower shoreline of Mahone Bay is filled with a postcard scene: a trio of stately churches and handsome Victorian-era homes.
Shopping is a popular activity in Mahone Bay, which is especially known for its studios and galleries featuring the work of local artists and artisans.
You won’t miss any of the highlights if you plan your visit to Nova Scotia using our list of things to do in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay.
Accommodation: Where to Stay Lünenburg
Note: Some businesses may temporarily close due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. blue nose II
Lunenburg’s claim to fame is the legendary blue nose, a fishing schooner built here in 1921. The ship was the best racing schooner in the world and the winner of many international races. Known as the “Queen of the North Atlantic”, blue nose it became the symbol of Nova Scotia and an icon for all of Canada. After the original schooner was wrecked in the 1940s, a replica, blue nose II, was built, and Lunenburg is its home port.
You’ll most likely see the ship here in June and September; the summer solstice is often spent touring or racing (the full schedule is on the website). When in port blue nose II welcomes passengers in two hours sailing cruises, and in 2020 visitors will be able to join the crew for a day of sailing, turning the helm, standing watch, manning sails and learning to sail a schooner.
Official site: https://bluenose.novascotia.ca/
2. Atlantic Fisheries Museum
Housed in a former waterfront fish factory, the Atlantic Fisheries Museum tells the story of shipping and fishing along Canada’s eastern shores from the time the Mi’kmaq fished these waters. Antique photographs and prints and examples of tools and equipment from the past bring the exhibits to life, as do frequent hands-on activities and real-life stories told by retired fishermen. The Marine Life Gallery explores the depths of the ocean and the creatures that live there.
For many, the highlights are the boats moored next to the museum, especially the Theresa E. Connor, Canada’s oldest salt bank cleaner, built here in 1938. Here and on the corporal saber trawler, the museum staff, some of whom once sailed similar vessels, demonstrate traditional cod fishing methods and tell what life was like on board.
Address: 68 Bluenose Drive, Lunenburg
Official site: http://fisheriesmuseum.novascotia.ca/
3. Lunenburg Old Town Heritage District
Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America, and Lunenburg’s Old Town Heritage Conservation District encompasses around 400 significant buildings, most of which date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The entire area retains the original geometric grid of streets, and as you walk along it, you’ll see colorfully painted houses and wood-trimmed shops, as well as warehouses and other maritime buildings on the waterfront. The district is cited by Canadian Register of Historic Places for its “dense concentration of historic architecture”.
One of the places to visit during the tour of the district is the House Knaut-Rhuland, a free museum that illuminates the lives of the first settlers and their descendants. As you walk, be sure to notice the unusual architectural feature known as the “Lunenburg Bump,” a large, protruding dormer window, usually in the center of the front façade. This feature is unique in the area; You’ll also see one at Begin House, the historical museum on Mahone Bay.
4. Blue rocks
About a 10-minute drive from Lunenburg along the picturesque south coast is the old fishing village of Blue Rocks. The quaint little harbor is almost entirely free of commercial inroads aside from a general store and an artist’s studio or two. Find a secluded place to park and walk along the shore to see the fantastically carved rocks. Thin layers of rock of varying density in shades of blue, gray and white have been unevenly eroded to form a three-dimensional banded surface. This is not a place to just drive in and take a few photos and then leave. You need to walk along the shore to appreciate the rock formations and the changing landscape.
5. St. John’s Anglican Church
The second oldest Anglican church in North America, St. John’s is one of the most prominent examples of the Carpenter Gothic style in North America. What you see today is a meticulous reconstruction after the church was nearly destroyed by fire in 2001. Volunteers are often on hand to tell how local people collected the broken shards of stained glass after the fire, so that local artists they could include them. in the new windows.
The ceiling beams used in the original church, which was built in 1754, were shipped from the old King’s Chapel in Boston. Observe the stars on the chancel ceiling, which are aligned to show the sky over Lunenburg at the time of Christ’s birth, as investigated by an astronomer.
Address: 81 Cumberland Street, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
6. Sailboat rides, whale watching and kayaking
One of the most fun things to do in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay is to explore the many (claimed 365) islands and get a new perspective of Nova Scotia’s south coast from the sea. You have many options, including a whale watching boat, on a sailing ketch, or on your own in a kayak.
Guided kayak tours depart from Blue Rocks and Mahone Bay, where kayak rentals are also available to explore independently. The eastern star is a 48-foot ketch that does sailing tours from Lunenburg, sailing between islands. Whale watching tours from Lunenburg move to the Atlantic, where minke, pilot, finback and humpback whales they are commonly seen, as are seals, porpoises and dolphins. Puffins are also a common sight in the summer.
7. Mahone Bay Museum
Though small, the museum inside the former Begin family home in downtown Mahone Bay does a good job of depicting the early history when settlers arrived and spread through the area in the mid-1700s, and the later legacy of building city ship. There is information about the three iconic churches, the area in the First World War and the enigmatic Oak Island. Especially interesting is the map that shows where some of the more than 500 ships built in Mahone Bay set sail. There are exhibits of vintage kitchens and vintage toys, as well as the Begin family.
Address: 578 Main Street, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
Official site: http://mahonebaymuseum.com
8. Halifax and Southwestern Railway Museum
Train buffs won’t want to miss the museum dedicated to the former Halifax & Southwestern Railway, with exhibits on the route and history of the line that once connected this area to Halifax. There’s a replica of an old locker and memorabilia, from old timetables to bellboys and driver’s uniforms.
But the attraction that makes this a popular thing to do as a family is the railway scale model, complete with miniature buildings (children will immediately recognize some of them as the ones they’ve seen in Lunenburg) and geographical features. The scene with the speeding train is fascinating enough, but then night falls inside the museum and the scene lights up, with lights shining from the windows of the house, miniature streetlights, and the single headlight on the train’s engine. model.
Address: 11188 Highway 3, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Official site: http://www.hswmuseum.ednet.ns.ca/Home.html
Where to Stay in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay for Sightseeing
These hotels and bed and breakfasts are low to moderately priced in the off-season, but some rates are expected to skyrocket in July and August.
- Hotels in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay: Many of the hotel’s 24 rooms Arms of Lunenburg hotel overlook the port and, when in port, the schooner blue nose. Continental breakfast and parking are included, and the hotel offers extras like hypoallergenic robes and duvets. Rooms in the highly rated rum runner Hostal they also face the harbor, and some have balconies so you can enjoy the view. Refrigerators in the room are a plus. Also on the coast smugglers cove Hostal It has a variety of individually decorated rooms, with king or queen size beds, all with elevator access. There is also an apartment with a kitchenette.
- B&B in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay: Mahone Bay bed and Breakfast It occupies a beautifully preserved Victorian house in the center of town, close to the museum and galleries. The house, often photographed, also has beautiful gardens. Also on the main street of Mahone Bay, the Fairmont house bed and Breakfast It overlooks the bay and is known for its hearty hot breakfasts and homemade jams and jellies. In Lunenburg, the Boscawen Hostal it is an elegantly decorated victorian house on the hillside of the old town, overlooking the harbor and overlooking the sea. Cooked-to-order breakfast and parking are included. There is a terrace for guests and some rooms are family size.