Day 2: Western Nova Scotia
I wake up with grandiose ideas of relaxing, kicking back at a cidery or winery, and soaking up the sites. I'm beginning to realize that that will never be me.
When it comes to travel, I'm the kind of person that wakes up at 6am and crawls into my hidey-hole at midnight, with little chill in between.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why it is very difficult to find adventure buddies. :P
OnTree Park Ropes Course
This is the most extensive, woodland ropes and zipline course I have ever experienced. Directly across from Martock Ski Hill, Ontree Park is designed with similar style of levels. Green means "easy" up to a double black diamond with a 98% fail rate (and you can't even attempt without first successfully completing two other black diamond courses).
I'm not sure how Ontree Park has flown under the radar in Nova Scotia; but it was sheer fluke that I found it in the first place. It's probably the best in the country, if not North America. (Yeah. I went there. It's that great.) Boasting over 180 obstacles, including some quirky ones like a bicycle on a tight rope, I easily killed 3 hours without doing 30% of the courses. Alas, I was tuckered out before a chance to attempt the black diamonds, but will definitely be back sooner rather than later.
Adults, or parents with kids, this is already taking the "gold star" sticker from me as the most undervalued attraction in Nova Scotia.
Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards
Wolfville is in Annapolis Valley, heart of Nova Scotia’s agriculture industry. I call it hipster Napa, as Acadia University keeps the demographic youthful and vibrant. Lightfoot is a newer winery on the block, with several bright sparkling wines, gorgeous branding, and fantastic (vegan-friendly) menu. A must-stop if you’re a fan of wood-fired pizzas and dreamy cocktails with views of vineyards as far as the eye can see.
Tidal Bay is a type of wine that many wineries in Nova Scotia carry. To be allowed to market a wine as a “Tidal Bay”, it must be approved by a board, and can only contain specific varieties of grapes. Most wineries in Annapolis Valley area have one approved, and it’s worth while to explore the different ones as you wine taste among the vineyards. That being said, I very strongly dislike the Tidal Bay wines, and have been told by the Luckett Vineyard owner (creator of Pete’s Boutique) that it’s because of my west coast wine palette. Maybe it’ll grow on me. 😊
Check out this website for a complete list of wineries in the valley, broken down by region!
Cape Split is a headland that juts out into the Bay of Fundy. It’s also just off that coastal area that the Battle of Blomidon (US Versus British) took place in 1781, during the American Revolutionary War. The Americans lost said battle, as well as several others, leaving Nova Scotia to the crown.
An easy 30 minute drive from Wolfville, it has a large parking lot (for this camper girl), picnic tables, and well-maintained outhouses. The majority of the hike is heavily forested with an array of coniferous and deciduous trees, including old growth and old Mi’kmaq trail-marking trees.
(If you live in an area that was known to be a common area for indigenous tribes, keep an eye out for trail-marking trees. They would bend and tie down saplings so that, as they would grow, they would bend in the direction of the trail or sacred spot. It’s a unique piece of North American living history!)
Roughly 13km of easy, rolling hills on well-packed trail, the end opens up to a meadow just in time to see the doom that would befall you should you take one step too many. At low tied, the ocean floor can be seen (and visited for brave travelers).
I arrived to dense fog, so I didn’t venture down. It was stunning and hauntingly ominous. I look forward to attempting Cape Split again on a less dreary afternoon.
With a quick stop at a cider brewery in Kentville, I am climbing into bed at, well, midnight.
Off to Brier Island in the morning for some endangered whale watching!