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Road warriors

By Trevor J. Adams

IN THE CLOUDS

Photos: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Explore Nova Scotia as few do with a helicopter tour from Vision Air Services. Narrated tours will zoom you to the Bay of Fundy, Peggy’s Cove or the Eastern Shore. Custom itineraries available. Or you can waft along at a slower pace with East Coast Balloon Adventures, departing from the heart of the Annapolis Valley (usually near New Minas, a 75-minute drive northwest of Halifax on Highway 101). Flying daily (when conditions permit) at dawn and dusk, the hot-air balloon soars as high as 610 metres above the ground, usually travelling three to 20 kilometres, depending on winds. The ride costs $250 per passenger, with the balloon carrying four passengers plus the pilot. www.eastcoastballoonadventures.com

SEASIDE SIGHTS

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Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Drive about 45 minutes west of Halifax on Route 333, and you’ll find one of Nova Scotia’s most-photographed sites: the iconic lighthouse, perched on the rocks above the Atlantic in the fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. In fair or foul weather, this is a must-see destination. There’s lots of space to clamber around the shore and take in the ocean’s beauty, but stay well clear of waves and slippery rocks. After you putter around the working fishing village, visiting shops and galleries, enjoy a slice of the signature gingerbread at the Sou’wester restaurant.

GO WEST

LunenburgStreet2_SM

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Continuing west, the Lighthouse Route wends its way to the picturesque village of Lunenburg, an hour’s drive on Highway 103. This historic community with its lovingly maintained architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Great dining abounds, including the Old Fish Factory Restaurant, Magnolia’s Grill and the Knot Pub. See Nova Scotia’s world-class sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, being rebuilt in her homeport. On the waterfront, the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic tells how life on the sea shaped generations of Maritimers. museum.gov.ns.ca/fma

SMOKIN’ SUMMER SOUNDS

James Cotton

James Cotton

From August 8 to 10, music fans will be taking an hour’s drive north to the Truro Raceway and Exhibition Grounds in Bible Hill, home of the Dutch Mason Blues Festival. The festival is named for deceased Halifax blues legend Dutch Mason, the man B.B. King called “the Prime Minister of the Blues.” This year’s roster includes James Cotton, Royal Southern Brotherhood, David Wilcox, Wild T and the Spirit, and many more. Saturday’s late-night blues jam with Garrett Mason (Dutch’s über-talented son) will be worth the trip alone. In addition to the hot music, the festival features a barbecue competition, a custom motorcycle show, vendors galore and more. www.dutchmason.com

BACK IN TIME

The-Workshop-at-Memory-Lane
A 50-minute drive east of Halifax on Highway 7, the Memory Lane Heritage Village brings Nova Scotia’s past to life, re-creating a typical 1940s Nova Scotian fishing village. The 17 restored buildings include a mill, barn, mine, general store, church and homestead. History buffs will love the Archives Research Centre (but book an appointment in advance). The village hosts special events throughout the year; take in the sounds of the Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival on August 23. www.heritagevillage.ca

A RISING TIDE

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

With each cycle of the tides, the mighty waters of the Bay of Fundy surge back into the Shubenacadie River, offering a unique opportunity to go tidal-bore rafting. Few areas in the world are blessed with the high tides necessary to offer this unique adventure. Numerous companies take daily tours from the Shubenacadie and Maitland areas (a 45- to 60-minute drive north of Halifax). On high-powered Zodiac boats, you’ll race out to meet the rushing waves and crest over them, splash around and experience the power of nature firsthand. Pro tip: Plan your visit around the full moon for the highest tides and wildest ride. www.novascotia.com

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