This has been the Summer of short but sweet escapes. Sometimes all you need is a week or an extra long weekend to take a break from the every day and soak up a bit of Summer. After a crazy and somewhat stressful trip to New York City for work I was really, really, really looking forward to spending a long weekend relaxing in Nova Scotia with my blogger pal, Renee.Â My friends at Expedia.ca so graciously asked me if I was up for exploring our own beautiful country and share some hidden gems I may find along the way.Â NowÂ that’s a challenge I just couldn’t turn down. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling in Canada but Nova Scotia was still on my hit list so a sweet escape to Nova Scotia it was!
The best part about traveling within Canada for me is that it’s just less complicated and in this economy also much more affordable. Both elements I happily welcomed after almost a week in NYC. Â Obviously I’m not alone because over 50% of Canadians booking with Expedia.ca have also chosen to stay North of the border this season. First step to make everything easier was booking everything – our flight, accommodations and car using Expedia.ca so all our booking info was in the same place plus we saved a few bills doing it as a combo. We flew Porter Airlines which is the best because it’s just a $8 cab ride away downtown Toronto, you only have to be there 30min before for a domestic flight AND you get to catch this amazing sunrise if you’re lucky.Â
By far the highlight of our trip was the Star of the Sea B&B we stayed at just outside of Halifax. It was perfection. We scored big time finding this hidden gem on Expedia.ca. You don’t often think of using Expedia.ca for B&B’s but I’m telling you, you need to start looking because they’re out there and they’re adorable.Â
The day we arrived it was raining and we didn’t even mind because it gave us the perfect reason to cozy up with some magazines and just enjoy the place and the view. The owners, Eva & Tom were so lovely and made the space feel so warm and welcoming. Look at this? I mean, who ever wants toÂ leave this place?!
Something you’ll never get with a standard hotel is Eva’s amazing breakfasts! Wow, they were such a treat. Renee and I tried something new each morning. You can pick from waffles, pancakes, apple german pancakes, bacon & eggs, yogurt parfait or a smoothie. Not only was every dish delicious but the view somehow made everything taste even better.Â Obviously I was busy chowing down my german apple pancakes (my personal fave) but stopped long enough to snap this photo of Renee’s yogurt so you can see what I’m saying (and be jealous).Â
Renting a car for this trip was the best decision. It gave us freedom to explore and really do the trip our way. Here’s a travel tip – book your car in combo with your flight on Expedia.caÂ for a better price. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or shuttle from the airport that goes to the city centre, try one of those car rental locations. Renting from the airport is definitely the most convenient but can get a bit pricey.Â Some people instead decide to rent from places similar to e-mietwagenkreta especially if they are going to Crete because their rates are fair and packages comprehensive.
Taking a few weeks and driving all around Nova Scotia and neighbouring P.E.I and New Brunswick would be a dream but we had 3 days and really wanted to fit in some relaxing so we opted for taking the Lighthouse Route along the SouthÂ shore of N.S and making a few stops along way.Â
First up was Peggy’s Cove of course. What a gorgeous view on a gorgeous day. You don’t need a lot of time at this stop and it’s an easy exit off the road. There’s lots of small fisher town charm and great photo opps. If you don’t have a car rental then try this half day tour from Expedia.ca.
We spent the rest of the afternoon driving and enjoying the scenery with a stop in Chester for our first seafood stop. My only rule for this trip was that I had to have seafood at least 2 meals a day while I was in N.S. I’m happy to say that I succeeded and it was all amazing. We stopped at a at the Rope Loft Pub for some much needed and deserved cold crisp ciders along with some musselsÂ and shrimp. We *may* have ordered a second helpingÂ of shrimp because they were so damn good. They had a really big outdoor patio with a picture perfect view of the harbour. We kinda lucked out with these seats. We made ourselves comfortable and stayed awhile obviously.Â
Oh yes, and this happened. When in Nova Scotia….
We spent Saturday evening catching up with some of Renee’s friends that happen to live in Halifax and went for the most amazing dinner at The Barrington in Downtown Halifax followed by a good old fashioned deck party at someone’s house in Dartmouth. I love adding a local touch to any trip. Have you tried a donair yet? That was all everyone could talk about.Â
After a big egg & bacon breakfast (strategically chosen after a night of fun), Â we headed off to spend the day at the beach with the colourful and historicÂ Lunenburg as our final destination. There’s plenty of great beaches around Halifax – we decided to stop at the Queensland beach because it was on the way to Lunenburg but if you’re on a beach mission you may want to check out Crystal Crescent BeachÂ which is just a short hop from Halifax.Â
Yes I got a sunburn. Thanks beautiful breezy day.Â
After obliviouslyÂ frying in the sun for a chunk of the day we headed to Lunenburg. TheÂ town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with so much history and colour. I wish more towns would use such a colourful palette. It can make any place look more cheerful don’t you think?Â
My main mission in Lunenburg was to eat lobster. Mission accomplished. With a recommendation from a local we went to the South Shore Fish Shack. It’s a casual little spot right on the water with a great view of the harbour and the famous Bluenose II and all the other boats coming in and out. The lobster was delish! Just don’t order it on a first date if you’re trying to look cool and lady-like.Â
Well that took us to Monday which was another rainy day that was perfect for taking our time to pack up and squeeze in a little last minute R&R at The Star of the Sea before we took off to the airport.Â
Honestly there’s so many reasons to travel within Canada – you’re supporting local businesses & economy, it’s easier on the wallet, it’s less hassle to travel (no mean border patrols or passports needed), and most of all this country is absolutely filled with great places and hidden gems to discover. Next time you’re looking for a getaway, short or long, stop by Expedia.ca and check out their domestic flights and locations. I’ve already done some major leg work for you with these 11 Hidden Gems places to stay.Â
Stay local and happy travels!Â