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.
- At Sissiboo Landing, discover the story of New France and the Electric City.
- 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, 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.
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”.
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 northern red 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:
- Visit the kiosk in the village to learn about Bear River’s culture and history, including Bear River First Nations, shipbuilding and lumbering heritage, and the artists’ trail.
- Put local wine and food on your menu and visit Bear River Winery, Sissiboo Coffee Roaster and Myrtle and Rosie’s Café.
- 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 gallery. The owner won the “Atlantic Canada Outstanding Retailer” award in 2011 for good reason.
- Follow the signs to the Bear River Artists’ Studios. You will find some stunning and unique souvenirs and gifts.
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
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 Timpany 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 Brier Island Lodge, Petit Passage Café or Just Above Water Café.
- 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.
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.
Nestled on the west side of the Annapolis Basin is the Town of Digby. Settled in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists, the Digby Area contains diverse environments with inland rivers, lakes and coastal vistas. There are kilometres 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”.
Click to listen to “The Digby Song”