Towns and Places

Weymouth

Sissiboo Landing information and interpretive center downtown Weymouth

Sissiboo Landing information and interpretive center downtown Weymouth

Since the settlement of United Empire Loyalists in 1783, Weymouth has been culturally and geographically diverse. The rolling country roads will take you along the Sissiboo River and through woodland where lumberjacks and shipwrights thrived in the 1800s. The Village of Weymouth celebrates life in a gentler time, the great outdoors and our cultural roots. What to see and do in Weymouth:

  • Visit the Cultural Interpretive Centre and meet the five distinct cultures (French, Acadian, Mi’Kmaq, African Canadian and Loyalists) shaping our heritage.
  • Walk the Storybook Trail along the waterfront to learn more about these cultures and their stories.
  • Be adventurous and go sea kayaking or take a canoe trip.
  • Relax at the spa, and remember those gentle times.
  • Go to New France and visit the Electric City, where electricity was used in 1892 (30 years before neighbouring communities).
  • Hike, bike, ski or snowshoe all or parts of the 45km trail from the Sissiboo River to Norwood Corner.
  • If you have a horse you can saddle-up for some riding lessons or a lakeside horseback ride in Southville at Vintage Farm.
  • Trace your ancestry through the genealogy sources available at Sissiboo Landing.
  • Celebrate Canadian Confederation at the Canada Day festivities.

Smith's Cove

Smith’s Cove, Nova Scotia is a favoured resort destination with many fine inns and cottage rentals. Breathtaking views of the Annapolis Basin and the Digby Gut can be seen almost everywhere. The scenic lookout provides a magnificent opportunity for photographers. The cobbled beach and hillsides let you indulge in seaside activities and enjoy the fresh air. Just minutes from Bear River, Smith’s Cove is easily accessed off Hwy. 101. What to see and do in Smith’s Cove:

  • Do some genealogical research or study local history at the Old Temperance Museum.
  • Comb the beach for driftwood, shells, beach-glass and other treasures.
  • Join in local celebrations during Good Times Days.
  • Enjoy a tennis match, play chess on a giant board, or relax by a campfire.

Bear River

Bear River, the village on stilts. Photo by Sledding Hill

Bear River, the village on stilts. Photo by Sledding Hill

Tides, wineries, native culture and artist studios: that is Bear river in a nutshell. Its unique location on a tidal river, nestled in a valley gives it an ‘out of this world’ feel. This little village offers a different pace of life. There are no traffic lights, no fast food restaurants, no box stores, and people have time for a chat. Historical and modern-day references to this village include “The most unique community in Nova Scotia”; “The Switzerland of Nova Scotia” and “Village on Stilts”. As far as I am concerned, all are spot on.

Located on a tidal river
Twenty-seven-foot Bay of Fundy tides rise and fall daily, swelling an otherwise shallow river. Low tides reveal miles of stunning marsh grasses. Natural slate-packed banks along the river’s edge support thirty- to forty-degree elevations. These glorious hills primarily consist of hardwood growth including white oak, maple and ash. Due to this hardwood growth, Bear River is also known for its breathtaking fall foliage. Bear River makes for a great day trip by bicycle as well, be prepared for a few hills though!

Things to do:

  • Native culture: The Bear River Heritage Museum right in town has a native section, while the native reserve can be found following the signs to “Beartown Baskets”.
  • Wineries: visit the Bear River Winery and/or the Annapolis Highland Vineyard – both wonderful and smaller, more personal wineries
  • Enjoy the views of downtown. Some of the best views can be found from just behind the fire department building
  • Visit the ‘Flight of Fancy’, highly regarded as an outstanding craft shop and
    The Digby area is home to some amazing art studios and galleries. The Flight of Fancy in Bear River is widely considered one of the best art galleries in the province.

    The Flight of Fancy in Bear River is widely considered one of the best art galleries in the province.

    gallery. The owner won the “Atlantic Canada Outstanding Retailer” award in 2011 for good reason.

  • Visit some of Bear River’s Artist Studios and find yourself some stunning and unique souvenirs or gifts.
  • Learn about Bear River’s history at the Bear River Heritage Museum

For more information about Bear River, visit their website at www.bearriver.ca

For more images, take a look at our Bear River image gallery.

Some interesting Facts:

  • Bear River has a rich ship building history
  • You will find no stop-lights in Bear River
  • The village is run by volunteers as there is no town government
  • There is no fast food to be found here!
  • The first reported vineyard in Bear River planted in the early 1600’s by Louis L’Hebert. Now this old tradition has been given a new life with the development of new wineries

Digby Neck Peninsula

Fishing boats heading past Peter Island lighthouse at Brier Island

Fishing boats heading past Peter Island lighthouse at Brier Island

Naturally spectacular! The scenic peninsula between the great tides of the Bay of Fundy and St. Mary’s Bay is rich with rare species of wildflowers, seabirds, shore birds, seals and whales. Now famous for excellent whale and seabird excursions, Digby Neck is a nature-lover’s paradise. This unique ecosystem sustains migrating birds traveling along the Atlantic Flyway. Rugged coastlines, dense marshland and striking basalt formations offer plenty of phenomenal views…and sunsets. Our marine heritage can be experienced in traditional fishing villages, and our environmental treasures explored on our many hiking/walking trails. Things to see and do on Digby Neck, Long Island and Brier Island: Hike along the Balancing Rock Trail (Long Island), or the scenic Old Road from Sandy Cove to Centreville; take a walk down Tympani Lane to see the red cliffs and have a swim in St. Mary’s Bay; hike to French Beach Point, in East Ferry to a seal colony, or up Mt. Shubel for a breath-taking view.

  • Go birding at dozens of renowned sites all along the Neck, at the Nature Conservancy (Brier Island), on Marsh Road or the Red Head Cliffs.
  • Comb for agate and beach-glass along the beach of Gulliver’s Cove, see a dulsing enterprise and maybe even a whale or two in St. Mary’s Bay.
  • Visit the lighthouses and photograph the distinct land and rock formations at different points of Brier and Long Islands.
  • Picnic in one of our Provincial Parks, Lake Midway (Digby Neck) or Central Grove (Long Island).
  • Feast on local seafood at one of several fine restaurants (Brier Island Lodge, Lavina’s Catch, or Petite Passage Café, for example).
  • Visit the Joshua Slocum monument, paying tribute to the first man to sail around the world alone, and learn more about our local history and lore and the Islands Historical Society Museum in Freeport.
  • Shop for hand made quilts, crafts and artwork.
  • See a variety of architectural styles and unique heritage properties.
  • Don’t miss an opportunity to see Minke, Right, Humpback and possibly Finback whales, as well as an abundance of other marine life such as dolphins, porpoise, seals and seabirds (including puffins) on a whale watching cruise.

Practical information: when traveling to Long Island and Brier Island you will be taking two beautiful ferry rides (Petit Passage and Grand Passage). Please be aware that at this time only cash payment is accepted on either ferry, the current return fare is $7,- per car (you pay on the way there, no charge for the return trip). For scheduling details, please see the provincial ferries website.

New France

Unique, Innovative, Independent Community 1895 – 1914 The New France settlement, situated beside the Silver River, is a unique part of local history that was home to French, Acadian, African Canadian and Mi’kmaq cultures. They lived and relied on each other in this isolated wilderness community. The story of New France begins in France with the Stehelin family, an aristocratic and industrialist people caught between the French and German conflict in their homeland. After the Franco Prussian war of 1870, the Stehelin’s land was under the control of the Germans. The Germans forced the French inhabitants to speak German and adopt their customs. Concerned for their future, the Stehelin family moved to the outskirts of Paris, but a looming war with the Germans was inevitable. The oldest son, Jean Jacques, was sent to Canada to find a safer and better life for the family. Jean Jacques Stehelin came to the Weymouth area because the family had corresponded with a local priest who spoke of the honest and hard working people. Jean scouted out the area for a feasible site to establish a business. The nearby Acadian culture was also one of the reasons the Stehelins selected this location. The family purchased 4000 hectares of land 17 miles inland from the village of Weymouth. The land was rich in lumber and the river system provided the power to operate the mill and, as it turned out, generate electricity for the wilderness community. New France had electricity 25 years before the village of Weymouth and a railway system that used logs for rails. The lumber was transported to Weymouth for shipment abroad. New France had many inhabitants ( Stehelin family and mill employees) with all the conveniences of the day. The business was efficiently managed, but by the beginning of the First World War lumber prices had declined drastically and the younger generation of Stehelins did not wish to continue the business. The land was sold and some of the family moved back to France, others to the United States and one remained in Weymouth for a time. By the 1950’s New France had been forgotten by most residents in the area and the buildings that once witnessed the lives of their inhabitants were in ruin. The remains were torn down leaving the stone foundations and “forget me not” flowers, now growing wild from Mrs. Stehelin’s garden. Today the site is owned and maintained by the province, after having been owned by J.D. Irving. When the land was purchased by the Irvings, the New France Historical Society was also formed. Together they have opened New France to the public with groomed trails and interpretive signage that identifies the remains of the buildings on the site. Tours are available during the summer and school field trips are conducted every year. In August 2002, a memorial service was held on the site to commemorate all who lived and worked in New France. Music filled the air much like the wonderful parties the Stehelins would have hosted 100 years ago. New France receives over 1000 visitors a year. In 2004 the Acadian 400 Celebration will bring thousands of Acadian desendants to the area and New France will be a unique experience for them. sources; Electric City,New France Website,Press Release

Digby

The town of Digby, situated along the Annapolis Basin

The town of Digby, situated along the Annapolis Basin

Nestled on the west side of the Annapolis Basin is the community of Digby. Settled in 1783 by United Empire Loyalist the area contains diverse environments with inland rivers and lakes accessible via Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. There are miles of coastline along the Fundy Shore, by way of Digby Neck and Islands, providing some of the best whale watching tours around. Artists and crafts people are abundant throughout quaint villages that reflect a time gone by. The Town of Digby is known for its world famous Digby Scallops an eating experience that is a must while staying in the area. Like the Bay of Fundy itself, it is “phenomenal”.