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Sherbrooke Village

The Place: Eastern Shore

The Treasure: Sherbrooke Village


Along the St Mary’s River on the Eastern Shore sits a museum town called Sherbrooke Village.


Named after Sir John Coape Sherbrooke (Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia) the village of about 80 houses is an example of pre-world war one township.


Although it was raining off and on the day we went it was still a great visit. The period dressed actors and actresses both on the streets and in the builders were a wealth of information and very personable.


We picked up our map at the Information Centre but since we don’t play by the rulllllesss maaaan we just wandered around. :)


Here are some of the buildings and things we saw:


The boat shop:

Boat shop  Boat in progress



Photo studio (where you can have your picture taken as well as learn about photography techniques of the time):


Photography store



The post office:

The post office


Indoor plumbing!


Indoor plumbing



I will never complain about my dentist again….


Dentist chair



PETA may have an issue with this.. (dog powered butter churn)


Dog power!


This carving was inside the jail, have to pass the time somehow I guess:


Ship carving


After then we were off to see the hookers…


Hook rug



Wait where… where’d Treasure Bear go?


Jailed Bear



Annnnd after explaining to Treasure Bear that hookers were RUG hookers and he’s not in any trouble and he’s free to leave the jail he checked himself in to we moved on… *shakes head at Treasure Bear*


People complain smart phones are getting to big?


Not smart phone



McDonald Brothers Steam Mill (fully operational)


McDonald Brothers steam mill Water wheel



Woodworker’s shop with item for sale:

Woodwork Pricelist



Living museums like this are, to us, very special. Like Fortress Louisbourg you get a chance to walk the streets and get a feel for ‘how it was’,  more so than a traditional museum where it’s a building housing a bunch of artifacts.


Museum towns like Sherbrooke Village are a piece of history frozen in time and give a more full sense and appreciation of what life was like and what folks did to get by and make a living.  Getting to learn how things were done and the tools they used, the creativity and inventiveness that was basically a necessity at the time is a real treat to watch.


Whether it’s a museum, park, zoo or what have you, be generous to to donation boxes you see. That dollar or five you put in there goes a long way and is greatly appreciated. :)


Sherbrooke Village’s hours are 9:30am to 5:00pm, 7 days a week, running from June 1st to October 4th.


Also be sure to check out their Packages page for some interesting get away ideas!


Keep an eye on our Facebook page (please like the page, too!) and our Google+ page for many more photos from our trip to Sherbrooke Village as well as other galleries. Follow us on Twitter for random thoughts and ‘where are we now’ tweets.




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Fortress of Louisbourg

The Place: Cape Breton

The Treasure: Fortress of Louisbourg


A little south of Sydney sits the Fortress of  Louisbourg – a fortification built from 1720 to 1740. The fortress changed hands between the British and French through several wars and treaties, eventually ending up under British control who later destroyed the fortification.

In the 1960′s and 1970′s work began to restore the fortress. Today approximately one quarter of the fortress has been restored.

We started our day with a bus ride from the visitor information centre down to the fortress, a couple of minutes that helps build anticipation as well as a provide great view of the fortification on the waterfront.

Which we completely neglected to get a picture of… I mean.. saving that so you can experience it yourself!

Once inside the gates we look at the map and then wandered around, more or less ignoring the map. That also allows us to put the pictures in any order we feel like, handy eh?

Grass Roof  Grass roof is all the rage now.. and 300 years ago.

Ice House Ice house – used for food storage, inside is a deep well that would be filled with ice.

Butt Rest Butt rest on the buttress. Treasure Bear got a little tired at this point, said he wanted to have a buttress. Tried to explain to him but he was already asleep.

And the band played on!  Music!

King's Bastion Barracks King’s Bastion Barracks (building also contains: Governor’s Apartments and Military Chapel)

Military Chapel Military Chapel

Out in the courtyard they held two demonstrations:

Muskets Firing of the muskets

Mortar Firing off a mortar

We were heading back to catch one of the last busses out when we noticed they were setting up to fire one of the canons.

Kaboom! Kaboom!


Our trip to the Fortress was phenomenal and won’t be our last. There’s an overwhelming amount of history to see and experience and all of the reenactors we met were top notch in look, attitude and knowledge.


Music on the way out



Be sure to look for more pictures on our FaceBook page (and follow us!) and on G+.

Also, visit the Fortress Louisbourg Association and learn about how much they do.

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150th Highland Games

The Place: Antigonish, Nova Scotia

The Treasure: 150th Highland Games


The 150th Highland Games have come and gone. Hopefully you’ve gotten a chance to take them in. If not, plan to be there next year.


We got out to the games on the final day and got to see three heavy events.


The caber toss. Basically the goal of this event is to balance the 20 foot long (give or take) caber against the body, get a running start and then throw the caber high enough and forward enough that it lands on it’s end and falls forward. A perfect toss falls directly away from the thrower (12 o’clock).


DSC_7099 DSC_7075 DSC_0179 DSC_0166


Tug of war. This isn’t the tug of war you think. This is serious business, serious competition. The women’s event was 8 minutes with a 2 minute overtime if required. The men’s was 15 minutes with a 5 minute overtime if required. The first 85% or so of the tug of war is feeling out the other side, gaining slight advantage on the flag and trying to tire out the other team. The last 15% is where it gets interesting. One of the teams pull the trigger, they change stances and really go for it.



Tug of war Tug of war tug of war tug of war tug of war tug of war


The last even we got to see was the 56lb weight for height. A round weight with a ring attached is tossed in to the air and over a bar. The world record is 19′ 1”.


56lb weight toss 56lb weight toss 56lb weight toss


There was also pipe and drum competitions going on around us:


Pipe and drums Pipe and drums


The Highland Games are a great atmosphere. This is our second year going and will make it on our calendar for many years to come, put it on yours for next year.


Even if the forklift didn’t get stuck this year… ;)


Not stuck!



For more pictures follow us on facebook and G+ !

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Hall’s Harbour

The Place: Hall’s Harbour (link)

The Treasure: High tides. Very high tides.


Back in the saddle and we’re here to talk about Hall’s Harbour!

Sitting north west of Wolfville, Hall’s Harbour is a fantastic place to see the Fundy tides in action.

Hall’s Harbour is primarily a fishing community but tourism is also a strong factor and just driving through it’s easy to see why. With views of the Bay of Fundy and Annapolis Valley the drive along the shoreline is breathtaking.

The docks at Hall’s Harbour is where the show is. When the tide is in it appears to be like any other dock and wharf with boats moored to it.

But when the tide is out? Well, you can walk among the boats:

A few boats with tide out Single boat, tide out All this fills with water!

It’s when you get to the lighthouse and read the plaque that you get the full magnitude of what happens at Hall’s Harbour:

Sign on lighthouse

With the tide all the way out you can walk along the rock beach and out to what amounts to the ocean floor. Looking back you can really get a feel for how high the water gets by the water marks on the pier’s piles.

Treasure Bear next to piles

Keep in mind Treasure Bear on the rock there is a full sized bear!

Okay so not really but he thinks so and we just go with it.

The pictures, as usual, don’t really do it justice. It’s something you really have to go an experience at both high and low tide. To stand at the base of the pier and look up is fascinating. To think that, in a few hours, you’d be under 40 feet of water is nothing short of awe inspiring. And it happens twice a day, every day.

Hall’s Harbour is an amazing treasure and gives perhaps one of the best, hands on demonstration of exactly how much “the highest tides in the world” actually is.

If live here or vacation in Nova Scotia you really need to visit Hall’s Harbour and see this for yourself.

Happy to be here. :)

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Wild Mountain Farm

The Place: Long Beach, Nova Scotia

The Treasure: Wild Mountain Farm

Open farm day! This year we took a trip up to visit Wild Mountain Farm and farmer Lance Bishop in a little community called Long Beach – about a half hour north of Wolfville.

We’ve actually known Lance for quite some time back when he used to vendor at the Halifax Farmers’ Market and caught up with him again at Wolfville’s market. He had fantastic products then and has fantastic products now – by far some of the tastiest beef around.

Open farm day was a good excuse to go see his operation in person. We’d seen pictures and talked to him about how he raises his animals, but of course seeing is a different matter.

We arrived a little after lunch and were immediately taken by the view:

Kathleen (Lance’s significant other) greeted us and took us on a mini-tour while more people arrived. First up were the pigs! The sows were all pregnant and separated from each other for safety until they gave birth:

When not expecting little ones the pigs have a very generous pen, I’d guess at least a quarter acre.


After that we took a short walk to where the rams were. The rams were being kept seperate from the sheep because of the breeding timing. Lance likes to have the sheep pregnant for the winter and birth in the spring.

The rams also have a very generous area. It’s nice to see the animals have room to roam if they want – in no way cramped. People in the city would be jealous of the space these animals have!

Know what’s nice to follow up with after rams?

More pigs!

We moved on to another pasture which housed the younger pigs in tractors. Not tractors like vroom vroom, but movable holding pens. The pigs were being held in these until they grew big enough that the coyotes won’t bother them - in the mean time it’s for their own safety.

Once they’re old enough they’ll be turned lose in to, you guessed it, a very generous area. The sheep will eventually be moved up to this area also.

Sheep! After wondering where Lance was (touring with the previous group) we walked down in search of him and to view the sheep’s holding area (for the time being, they’ll be moved up to the other pasture for the winter).

The sheep are in an absolutely stunning spot.

Guarded by Andy the mule and a llama that I didn’t catch the name of, the sheep have several acres of land to roam and a natural spring to drink from.


After visiting with the sheep we were invited to see where some of the farm’s cows and yearlings were being pastured, about 7 minutes away.

July was a very dry month for all of the province and August wasn’t a whole lot better. The pasture rotation is usually pretty easy to do according to Lance, but this year the grass just didn’t grow so things were a little off. That being said there were about 30 or 40 cattle here and I’d guess 10 acres – in the one pasture. A second pasture was open but they hadn’t decided to move over there yet – even though the grass really did seem greener on that side. :)


The way Wild Mountain Farm raises their animals is the model for ‘free range’ and ‘natural’.

As I said at the start of the article, we’ve known Lance for quite some time know and this is the most relaxed I’ve seen him. In talking with him after the tour he said that farming brings it all together for him, it’s something he needs.

In giving the animals in his care the best life he can and the customer the best product he can I think Lance feels at peace with himself.

He’s farming the right way - with the best interests of his livestock, his family, the customer and the land in mind.

Wild Mountain Farm can be found every Saturday at the Wolfville Farmers Market and they have a monthly meat delivery to the Halifax area. Go to their web site for details and to order!

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Balmoral Grist Mill

The Place: Balmoral Mills, Nova Scotia

The Treasure: Balmoral Grist Mill


Say it out loud, where ever you are right now. Work, bank, backyard, dockyard, daycare… Try it.


What a great word. It conjures the image of two massive stones grinding something down doesn’t it?

Wow. Okay that was lucky!

Opened by Alexander McKay in 1874 the mill is powered via waterwheel. Due to extensive renovations of it’s foundation and repairs to the dam the mill was shut down last year and closed to visitors but reopened this year on August 11th, the day we happened by.

Now there’s a good and bad side to being there the first day it was reopened. The down side is the mill wasn’t ready to produce yet. There was still a lot of assembling of the stones, waterwheel and so on to do.

The plus side, which to us outweighed the down side, is that we go to see the mill in a disassembled state – something that is very rare. We can always go back and see it in operation and we plan to.

We offered to just lift them in place for them but turns out it wasn’t the right time. The flexing will have to wait…

There’s also a series of cogs and, depending on which grinding stones they want to use, a smaller cogs is slid in to place transferring the power to the selected stone for grinding.


On the top floor, among other things, are the hoppers to feed the grind stones:

Beside the granite grinding wheels is room with a cast iron plated floor. Why? Well to roast the oats of course! Oats are put on this floor and the kiln on the level below heats up the cast iron floor, thereby roasting the oats – this alone would be worth another visit, imagine the aroma!

Which gets emptied in to a hold for bagging in the basement which also produces the occasional Treasure Bear:

Normally the mill produces flour that you can purchase in their gift shop. We were told it was unlikely that they’ll produce any flour this year but they still had some baked goods. ;) We’d show you a picture but it’d just be an empty bag.. the baked goods didn’t last very long.

There’s a set of stairs down to the river side where you can get a good view of the dam and water wheel when it’s in place – for now use your imagination. :)

You will eventually be able to walk over the dam but the stairs on the other side are in need of repair.

The Balmoral Grist Mill is an important part of Nova Scotia and a place that everyone should visit.  It is a mechanical marvel and a glimpse at early industry that is still serviceable today thanks to the folks dedicated to preserving and running it.

Oh ya, if the Mill ever sold one of these in the gift shop we’d so buy it…

(look for more pictures soon on our facebook page: )

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Antigonish Highland Games – July 2012

The Place: Antigonish, Nova Scotia

The Treasure: 149th Highland Games

On Sunday we travelled to Antigonish to take in some of the Highland Games events – a first for either of us.

We had a rough idea where to go and the folks walking around in kilts confirmed we were on the right track. Parking was no problem even though there were loads of people going to the games.

The venue itself is much bigger than we’d anticipated. There were several stages for different levels of highland dance:

A large vendor area, a couple large areas for pipe and drums, with the last big area being for heavy events.

Heavy events, in my opinion, is the main attraction.

We arrived just in time to see the Sheaf Toss. There was ample seating available and visibility was excellent. Sheaf toss is, basically, using a pitchfork to throw a burlap bag stuffed with hay weighing about 15 pounds over a bar. The field record was in the area of 34 feet high and several of the competators made attempts at it but the record wasn’t to be beaten today.


Next up was the quintessential Highland Games event, the caber toss!

Caber toss is where the contestant balances a tapered log against them, gets a running start and tries to flip it to land on the opposite end to the one their holding and fall away from them at as close to a 12 o’clock position. Scoring is based on how close to that 12 o’clock position the caber lands. A typical caber is 19 feet long or longer and around 150lbs or more.


It’s an amazing feat of balance, agility and of course strength and to see it in person makes it that much more impressive.

After the caber toss came farmer’s walk. The walk involves a 200lb (or 220 lb) weight in each hand and 100 feet of track. Fastest wins. This event the opened up to anyone that wanted to sign up and would sign a waiver. Only one person took them up on it and he turned in a very respectable time of about 16 seconds.

However the winner’s time was under 8 seconds.


The final heavy event we got to see was the tug of war. This isn’t the tug of war you remember where the teams pulled until someone fell in to a pit of mud. This is a serious competition, timed at up to 15 minutes with a 5 minute over time if necessary. The tug of war gathered a huge crowd.


The match lasted over 13 minutes, most of it in a holding pattern designed to tired out the other team with a few pulls to gain a slight advantage on where the flag was. This did an excellent job of building up to when a team ‘goes for it’. I don’t want to spoil what happens but when it switches the whole crowd gets in to it. It was a very entertaining event!

After the tug of war the awards and trophies were handed out. There was some after events but unfortunately for us it was time to go.

Whether you live in New Scotland or are just visiting taking in a Highland Games is a great time. Friendly, family atmosphere, good food, good vendors, great entertainment.

Can’t wait till next year, the 150th year should be an amazing event.

If you want to see one this year the New Glasgow Festival of the Tartans is this coming weekend, July 19th to 22nd. :)

Also, look for more event pictures on our facebook page in the coming days! Something new we’re trying so we can give a more full view of the experience without bogging down the article. :)

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The Ship Hector

The Place: Pictou, Nova Scotia

The Treasure: The Ship Hector

This weekend we took off for Pictou and went for a walk along waterfront after stopping in on their weekend market (but that’s another story ;) ).

We’ve been to Pictou a number of times but hadn’t had a chance to look in on the Hector or tour the building with it’s history and artifacts.

The story of the Hector and the people that came across from Scotland on it a tale of hardship, to say the least. In a nut shell you take 189 people and some crew and put them on a cargo ship:

 <– insert people here

Only you really don’t have that much space. You have about half of that and it’s below deck. Half of it is cargo, other half is people.

  <– this doesn’t look like the travel brochure (those are beds for 180+ people)

Then you are told by the captain, who was told the trip would be 6 weeks or so. Then it turns out to be 12ish, but hey that’s just.. not even close. After the first couple of weeks cargo.. err.. passengers basically had to stay below deck and out of the way of the crew - coming up to bathe in the rain and dump bedpans and bodies over the side.

Eventually you end up in Pictou, which is great, but the land you thought you were getting isn’t water side it’s in that forest over yonder *motions vaguely* and the provisions you were expecting aren’t actually here. But the Hector’s leaking carcass is going to go get them while you get to settling your land.

The people said heck no, pitched lean-to’s right on the water front and waited for supplies. Which did show up, but they weren’t allowed to have them until they fulfilled their contract and settled the land.

I’m pretty sure all this went down with a lot of smiling and good natured joking around. Or like, the opposite - either or.

The history is quite fascinating and well worth talking to the guides about.

Just outside the main building is a functional blacksmith and carpentry shop. Although there was no one working at the time we went there were a few blacksmithed items for sale.

The main building has a complete list of original passengers, plans for the ship, statues depicting the crew, captain, passengers and more. One section has some mastheads in progress, tools used to do some of the work on the Hector and during the settling. There’s also a  bell commemorating the launch of the Hector (replica) in Pictou:

The Heritage Hector Quay  is itself a beautiful building and well laid out museum. The ship gives you a good feel for the living conditions of the people on board, the staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. As with most museums and historical venues it basically requires you to go back a few times because there’s always something more to see and learn. If you’re of Scottish descent it may hold a special interest for you, but everyone should take the time to see what the settlers had to contend with because without their perseverance we may not have the Pictou we know now.

And a word from Treasure Bear:

The Heritage Hector Quay is staffed entirely by volunteers and students. That means they don’t get paid for what they do, they are there because the know and believe in the importance of history and the sacrifices people made to settle our province. When you see the donation boxes keep this in mind and drop a little something in there.


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Bluenose II

The Place: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

The Treasure: Bluenose II

A little while ago we found ourselves wandering the streets of historic Lunenburg when Treasure Bear said he wanted to see the Bluenose.

Silly bear! The Bluenose is in refit, everyone knows that. Treasure Bear assured us there was a tour and it was open today. Good enough for us and off we went.

Down at the end of Montague Street is a really big building. You could fit a ship in there, no joke.

We headed in to the information centre to ask about a tour. As it happens there was one, we got shiny white hats and headed down to the really big building that could fit a ship.

Believe it or not, had a ship in it!

It really is an impressive sight to see the schooner out of the water. Some 150 feet long and about 30 feet wide to get to stand beside it while it’s out of the water was a real treat. I can’t imagine being one of the people working on it, walking it’s history every day.

On the wall opposite the Bluenose II is information on the ship design and portaits of the people that worked on it - you’ll have to go see that for yourself (no pictures allowed! :) ). The tour guide on duty really knew his stuff, including why it’s still considered a refit even though so much of it was replaced, want to know why? Good! Go ask. ;)

The Bluenose is a true icon in Nova Scotian and Canadian history. Seeing the name beatifully done on it’s side and the smell of fresh paint made for a lot of excitement. It will be fantastic to see her sailing again.

You can follow the work on , but get there and see it for yourself! Just make sure it’s before the lauch – some time in July is the current estimate.

I’m thinking a few people will show up to see it slip back in to the water… we plan to!

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That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm

The place: Upper Economy, Nova Scotia
The Treasure: Gouda cheese and more

There are three things in this house we must never be without. In no particular order: Bacon, maple products, Dutchman Cheese.

Having scored bacon (and other meats) from Frank’s and maple syrup from Maplewood Maple Syrup Farm we set our eyes on That Dutchman’s cheese.

We arrived at the farm later than expected, but clung to the hope “always open” really meant always open. These were desperate times, delirium took hold, we wandered aimlesslessly trying to find our way. All we wanted was cheese.. we needed hope.. we needed a sign.. we… hey what’s that?

Oh.. okay, there we go! It was pointing us towards the storefront, gateway to the best cheese we’ve had in the province to date (if you know a good cheese place let us know! ;) ).

The toughest part was next. Deciding which to get. Fine herb was a natural choice, smoked, stinging nettle, and… ooo.. Hammer and chisel garlic. That’s dry cheese, closer to parmesan with a very intense flavour.

Now I can go on about how amazing the flavours are, how smooth the cheese is (aside from the hammer and chisel variety, of course). I can tell you in detail the aroma of each type.  I can tell you how the smeerkaas are perfect for spreading on crackers. I can tell you lots about Dutchman’s Cheese.

But here’s the swerve!

Let’s head outside and view a couple of the animals on the farm. See one thing we don’t think That Dutchman’s Cheese Farm talks enough about or gets enough press for is it’s walking trails.

There’s over 100 acres to the farm, I’m not sure how much of it has trails but it’s a nice hike. It took us probably an hour and we didn’t spend as much time as we would have liked – mostly because I think it’d be impossible to spend as much time as we’d like at the places we go. The good thing is that means there’s always something to see when we go back. :D

I couldn’t possibly list all the critters and we really aren’t in to spoiling the surprise. Going there and experiencing, discovering, for yourself is always best!

These cute little piggies came running over wagging their tails when we approached. Adorable. We felt like rock stars… “Oh wow! they’re here!” *squeel* *pigs come over*

Goats. Goats are awesome. This little one met us at the fences wherever we went in its area. Such a happy, friendly goat.

Scottish Highlanders. Digging the haircut, it’s also popular with the kids now a days I hear.

Emu! Ever had a flock of emu follow you? You’d think it’s intimidating but it’s not so bad.

Last one I’ll post about crossed the pond to meet us. Turns out it was after our feed. *sigh* It’s never about me…

I could post another 20 pictures easily on the livestock we saw but it wouldn’t do it justice. Please, go walk the trails and enjoy all the work they’ve put in.

When you’re done grab a bunch of cheese if you didn’t before the walk and enjoy the stunning view:

that… is a heck of a shoe.

-Steph and John

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