23038
Nova Scotia

The Best of Nova Scotia: Highlands, History and Halifax

Explore the seaside villages of Nova Scotia from Halifax to the Highlands to see whales, puffins and experience the Celtic and French roots of this spectacular region.
Rating (4.73)
Program No. 23038RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,699
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10 days
9 nights
22 meals
9 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Halifax, Nova Scotia
D
Hotel Halifax

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby, to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Buffet dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. You may also wish to explore what the city has to offer.

DAY
2
Nova Scotia History, Coach Exploration, Maritime Museum
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B,L
Hotel Halifax

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; riding approximately 2.5 hours throughout the day. Walking up to 2 miles; pavement, indoor surfaces, some standing.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local historian for a presentation on the history of Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax. We’ll then have a field trip by motorcoach to see highlights of Halifax, riding through the city with a local expert to learn the significance of important historic sites and landmarks. From Citadel Hill to Fort George and the “Titanic” cemetery, there is a vast history to learn about.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll head to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for a field trip with local experts including a presentation on the maritime history of Atlantic Canada. The museum is Canada’s oldest and largest maritime museum, first created by a group of Royal Canadian Navy officers who envisioned a place where the nation’s naval past could be preserved. We’ll learn about the age of steamships, local small craft, the Royal Canadian and Merchant Navies, and World War II convoys. The museum also tells the story of famous historical events such as the Battle of the Atlantic, the Halifax explosion of 1917, Nova Scotia’s role in the aftermath of the “Titanic” disaster, various shipwrecks, and more

Dinner: On your own in Halifax or join the Group Leader at a local restaurant. Suggestions will be provided.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
South Shore, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Peggy's Cove
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B,D
Hotel Halifax

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach, driving approximately 3.5 hours, about 170 miles. Walking up to 2 miles; pavement, some rocky/slippery terrain and hills.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will transfer to Lunenburg for a walking field trip with a local expert to explore Lunenburg’s narrow streets, visit historic churches, and examine the Victorian architecture of the Old Town. The picture-postcard harbor, colorful waterfront, and unique architecture reflect its seafaring heritage. Many of these beautifully maintained homes were on the original town plan, established in 1753 as the first British colonial settlement in Nova Scotia outside Halifax. Later, a vibrant economy was built on farming, fishing, shipbuilding and trade, particularly with the West Indies. The renowned fishing and racing schooner Bluenose was built here in 1921, as was the replica Bluenose II in 1963. This beloved symbol of Canadian maritime history is on the Canadian dime.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in one of the many harborside restaurants in Lunenburg. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: We’ll set out coach to explore some of the small towns that dot Nova Scotia’s south shore including Mahone Bay. Settled in 1754 and founded on the shipbuilding and logging industries, the town’s history is rich in tradition. We will explore its early days at the Settlers Museum. We’ll also find a spot along the historic harbourfront for one of the most photographed views in Canada: The Three Churches of Mahone Bay. The town’s Main Street runs along the bay, we will take in the 19th-century architecture, the spectacular vistas, and local galleries. br> Next, we will travel to Peggy’s Cove, one of the most picturesque, charming fishing villages on the East Coast with rustic, weathered wharves balanced on huge granite boulders. The best-known lighthouse in Canada, and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, was built here in 1914. Positioned on a granite ledge, it served as the local post office until November 2009.

Dinner: Lobster dinner at Peggy's Cove.

Evening: Transfer back to Halifax. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
4
Transfer to Digby, Kejimkujik NP, Annapolis Royal Gardens
Digby, Nova Scotia
B,L,D
Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach, driving approximately 3.5 hours, about 165 miles. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; pavement, sidewalks, pathways. Today the group will be split into two groups for the garden visit.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we’ll begin our transfer to Digby with stops along the way. First will be Kejimkujik National Park, where Spend time with a local Mi'kmaw interpreter and learn about the diverse and meaningful relationships that the Mi'kmaw people have with the Kejimkujik landscape.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we’ll visit the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. Named the 2015 Canadian Garden of the Year, the gardens tell the story of Nova Scotian history in this area through its plants. We’ll learn about historical and botanical aspects of horticulture complementing the rich tapestry of heritage in one of the oldest European settlements in North America. The site showcases gardening methods, designs and materials representing more than 400 years of local history — from forests that would have covered the areas in the age of the Mi’kmaw First Nations to the time of the Acadians to the time of British rule to the modern gardens reflecting today. Resuming our transfer, we’ll arrive in Digby and check in to our hotel with time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the resort.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on the Bay of Fundy.

DAY
5
Whale Watching Cruise, Beach Walk, Digby Scallops
Digby, Nova Scotia
B,L,D
Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach, driving approximately 2.5 hours, about 80 miles; ferry crossing to Brier Island is 24 minutes each way. Walking up to 2 miles; pavement, boardwalks, stairs, some uneven terrain.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll set off for Brier Island by coach and ferry. With the Fundy tides, this area is a wonderful place to spot seabirds of all kinds; including piping plover, gannets, warblers, nuthatches, hawks, and merlins. Digby Neck, known for its natural beauty, is a peninsula made of two ancient lava flows. Next, we’ll join our naturalist on an exploration in search of whales and seabirds in the Bay of Fundy. We’ll board a boat at Brier Island, composed of rugged Basalt shorelines and weathered forests. The local population, just over 200 people, is outnumbered by hundreds of seals along the coast and thousands of migrating birds who visit the island year after year. As the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy funnel sea life into the bay, the waters surrounding Brier Island become a haven for feeding Humpbacks, Right Whales and Minke, making for some of the best whale watching anywhere in North America.

Lunch: On board the boat, we’ll have box lunches that include sandwich/wrap, drink, and snack.

Afternoon: We’ll return to the resort with some free time this afternoon to explore the activities on-site. Options include swimming, bicycling/hiking trails, croquet field, shuffleboard; 18-hole Stanley Thompson Golf Course and a giant-sized outdoor chess board.

Dinner: At the hotel, try Digby’s world-famous scallops as part of a plated meal. We’ll enjoy a presentation by a local expert about the scallop industry before our meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Grand Pré Historic Site, Transfer to Cape Breton Island
Baddeck, Nova Scotia
B,D
Silver Dart Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach, driving 365 miles over 6 hours. Walking 1 mile over 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll check-out of the hotel and set out for Baddeck on Cape Breton Island. En route, we’ll stop at Grand Pré, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated at the north east end of the Annapolis Valley, it borders on the Minas Basin and the tidal lands of the Bay of Fundy. The area was settled in the 1600s by French settlers from Port Royal who reclaimed the lands from the tides and made a fertile land. We’ll be joined by a local expert and learn about this exceptional living agricultural landscape. We’ll also hear the story of the Acadian deportation during the wars between the English and French, and the many villages in the area that were destroyed. We continue by coach towards Cape Breton.

Lunch: On own, we will stop at a local market where you can pick up lunch.

Afternoon: We continue our journey to the town of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island. Baddeck lies on the shore of Bras d’Or Lake and the Cabot Trail. The natural beauty and distinctive local culture of this area have made Baddeck one of Canada’s finest resort communities. We will check in to our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Acadian Culture, Cape Breton Highlands Park, Chéticamp
Baddeck, Nova Scotia
B,L
Silver Dart Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Driving today is about 165 miles, approximately is 3.5 hours. Walking up to 2 miles; groomed trails, some uneven ground and stairs. Option for shorter walk.

Breakfast: At the hotel, plated breakfast.

Morning: During a field trip by motorcoach and on foot, a local expert will discuss the Acadians of Cape Breton and provide expert commentary as we explore Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and the Cabot Trail. Beyond the natural beauty to be seen here, the Cabot Trail will immerse us in the still vibrant Gaelic and Acadian cultures of Cape Breton. We’ll explore the park with our expert, looking out for wildlife along the way. The Trail makes a 185-mile loop around a sizeable chunk of the island, passing through Cape Breton Highlands National Park at its northernmost point. Mostly, the Cabot Trail skirts the edges of the park, at times clinging to steep oceanside cliffs with unforgettable ocean vistas. This dense wilderness is home to moose, black bears, and bald eagles, which we may be lucky enough to spot. We’ll go for a leisurely, expert led walk at on one of the trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, one of the most significant landscapes in Canada, covering nearly 367 square miles. The forested highlands end dramatically in cliffs on the ocean. With its salt-tanged fishing villages and mountainous interior cloaked in dense woods, Cape Breton is the prize of Nova Scotia.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: We’ll stop in Chéticamp, a coastal town famous for its rug-hooking tradition and observe a demonstration. On the island’s gulf side, French-speaking towns such as Chéticamp still celebrate their Acadian heritage. There we’ll visit Les Trois Pignons, the town’s cultural centre and museum featuring historical Acadian exhibits and hooked rugs for which local artisans are known. We’ll learn about these “talking” rugs that speak volumes about a pioneer art that was grown from seed and quietly discloses the trials and tribulations of the women who challenged the wilderness with their families and settled in new frontiers. Return to Baddeck.

Dinner: On own in Baddeck.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Gaelic College Demos
Baddeck, Nova Scotia
B,L,D
Silver Dart Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach, driving approximately 35 minutes, about 25 miles. Walking up to 2 miles; pavement, grass, hard surfaces, some standing.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We’ll set out on a field trip to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, a National Historic Site. Bell visited Baddeck in 1885, fell in love with it, and the next year built a vacation home where he and his wife spent as much time as they could until his death here. Most think of the telephone when they think of Bell, but the museum highlights his groundbreaking work in optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. He was also one of the founding members of the National Geographic Society and received numerous honorary degrees.

Lunch: At Gaelic College, we’ll enjoy a plated meal.

Afternoon: At Gaelic College, we’ll have a true Celtic experience. Celtic refers to a branch of the Indo-European family of languages, including Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Breton, but it also describes the culture. We’ll observe as skilled kilt-makers transform 26 feet of fabric it into a traditional Scottish garment right before our eyes. We’ll learn a bit of the Celtic language from a fluent Gaelic-speaker and take part in a community song session known as a “milling frolic” that features traditional Celtic song and dance. During a dance demonstration with one of the seasoned performers, we’ll be taught marches, strathspeys, jigs, and reels. Afterwards, we’ll have time independently to explore the Great Hall of the Clans Museum, also on campus, that features eight interactive displays, Gaelic films, and a history of the first Scottish settlers to this area. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Highland Village, Transfer to Halifax.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B,L,D
Hotel Halifax

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Driving today is about 250 miles, approximately 5 hours. Walking up to 2 miles, grass, gravel pathways, some uneven ground.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. Check-out and depart for Halifax after breakfast.

Morning: Today we will experience Scottish Gaelic culture first-hand at the Highland Village. Explore this 40-acre site dotted with historic buildings and gain an understanding of the daily lives of Scottish settlers from the mid 1700’s to the early 1900’s. Learn about their history, settlement and unique heritage. Hear Gaelic dialects and interact with costumed staff who will provide background on the site and the Gaels. Make a connection to our Gaelic ancestors through visits to some the many artisans specializing in weaving, quilting, blacksmithing and more.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our transfer back to Halifax with some stops along the way; arriving in time for dinner.

Dinner: Dinner buffet at the hotel, Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
10
Program Concludes
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet starts at 7:00 a.m. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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