July 7, 2022
These days, there is a buzz of excitement along Yarmouth & Acadian Shores, and not just because The CAT high-speed car ferry is back! From excellent new restaurants to iconic attractions, unique things to do, and even Mandi Rhenahans show, Trading UP, it seems like every day, there’s another reason to put a trip to Yarmouth on your must-do list. In fact, whether you’re making your way to Bar Harbor or landing in Nova Scotia for the start of your Maritime adventure, Yarmouth is the perfect place to spend the day. To get a taste of just how vibrant this neck of the woods is, we teamed up with @VisitYAS to put together two fun itineraries — one for the day before you set sail on The CAT, and one for the evening you arrive onThe CAT.
Driving from Nova Scotia’s capital city, Halifax, to Yarmouth takes a little over three hours. Because The CAT sets sail from Yarmouth at 9:30 am (with a check-in time of 8:30 am), it’s more convenient (and relaxing) to make your way to Yarmouth for some fun and adventure along the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores the day before you set sail. Here are a few awesome ways to spend your day in the region.
The first spot to stop on your way to the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores is Boatskeg Distilling Co.This new craft distillery is about 20 to 25 minutes outside of Yarmouth in West Pubnico and specializes in small-batch premium spirits and classic craft cocktails. Located in what was once a boat shop, Boatskeg sprang to life when two friends — one, the owner of said boat shop, the other, a descendant of local bootleggers — embraced their family histories to create something as special as it is tasty. Because of Boatskeg’s unique location, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the view of Pubnico Harbour and cheers your arrival to the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores along with a delicious signature drink and some snacks.
Not sure which drinks to try? The friendly staff has plenty of suggestions. You’re sure to leave here with a new favourite cocktail (and maybe even a bottle of their products to enjoy responsibly later!).
Once you arrive in town, you’ll probably be hungry for a little snack. Luckily, Yarmouth & Acadian Shores is home to all kinds of wonderful cafes and restaurants, including a local favourite, Sip Café. Located in the heart of downtown Yarmouth (just steps from The CAT ferry terminal!), Sip Café offers delicious coffees and teas, fresh soups, salads, sandwiches, and paninis made fresh everyday, and unforgettable Italian gelato for dessert (or just as a treat!).
And if you can’t get enough of Sip Café, you’re in luck! Not only will you find their cafes in Yarmouth and Meteghan, they’re also aboard The CAT serving all your favourites during your crossing.
Downtown Yarmouth is full of interesting shops, colourful spots, and striking art. Walk down Main Street, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the award-winning Lobster Cars art installation, which offers a touch of playfulness, as well as a look at an important local industry. Inside the Lobster Car installations, you’ll find kitchen party chairs — a nod to the region’s hospitable nature! So take a seat and watch the world go by, or simply rest your legs for a few minutes before continuing your exploration.<
It may surprise you to learn that Yarmouth is home to the only other branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (The AGNS, for short). Here in the Western Branch, you can take in a diverse collection of art, ranging from traditional paintings to woodwork, photography, sculpture, crafting, and more. This carefully curated gallery captivates while also providing opportunities to think and reflect.
Next, it’s time to visit one of the region’s most iconic landmarks, the Cape Forchu Lighthouse. Constructed in 1839, the original lighthouse stood 126 feet above sea level and 91 feet above the ground. This lighthouse was replaced in 1962 with the current structure, which is known for its unique “apple core” tower.
But when you visit the legendary structure, you can do more than just admire it — you can climb it! In fact, this is the only lighthouse in Nova Scotia open for public tours to its lantern room. The 77-steps on the spiral staircase leading up to the lantern room are certainly a thrilling experience, and the views from the top will take your breath away. Afterward, walk the nearby Leif Erikson Trail, grab a bite in The Keeper’s Kitchen, visit the Cape Forchu Museum upstairs in the historic lightkeeper’s residence building, and browse the gift shop for a special memento from your journey.
If all that walking and climbing has you feeling hungry, we don’t blame you! Luckily, there’s a spot nearby to satisfy all of your cravings. Honey Bee’s Deli and Ice Cream Parlour is, in the words of founders Sonia Park and Troy Lawrence, an inclusive cultural food beehive. What does that mean? Well, it means the space is welcoming, and the food is delicious! Here, you’ll find menu items that might surprise you. For example, who knew you could enjoy unbelievable Korean fried chicken in the Town of Yarmouth? It’s true! There’s also sushi, bibimbap, udon, bubble tea, and more. Plus, with an assortment of ice creams and desserts, they have everything you need to cap off your day along the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores.
And just like that, the day is done! Time to get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow, you’ll be up bright and early to set sail aboard The CAT!
The CAT arrives in Yarmouth at 7:30 in the evening. After a full afternoon of travelling, the last thing you’ll probably want to do is travel some more. That’s why we also encourage you to spend the evening on the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores.
Start with a trip to Heritage Brewing, just steps from the ferry terminal. This pub serves locally crafted brews, beer cocktails, wine, and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages for you to enjoy. Pair your drink with regular live entertainment, and you’re sure to start your visit to Yarmouth off on the right foot. There’s even karaoke here, so you can be the star of the show! Heritage offers a small menu of snacks, but also welcomes you to grab take-out from any local restaurant and bring it to the brewery to eat. Order a pizza from Jake’s Diner, load up on Loaded Fries from Gaia, or visit the mobile churros stand behind the brewery and head to Heritage for good times, good food, and a good night!
As the sun begins to set, make your way to Deep Sky Eye Observatory for a night you’ll remember forever. Here, owner Tim Doucette will take you on a tour of the night sky through North America’s first Starlight Tourist Destination. The Deep Sky Eye Observatory is located about 30 minutes outside the Town of Yarmouth, far removed from street lights, headlights, and house lights. Instead, millions of stars in the sky light the evening, with Tim pointing out constellations, galaxies, and more.
But this adventure is about more than just seeing the stars, it’s also about sleeping underneath them! At Deep Sky Eye Observatory, you can stay the night in one of their cool and comfortable Sky Bubbles. Here, you can look up at the stars in the night sky from the comfort of your bed. The sky bubbles come in different sizes, with family-friendly options, and bubbles for two!
Of course, if you’re the type that prefers four walls and a roof, Deep Sky Eye also has the Sky Cabin, which is ideal for larger groups of people. Wherever you choose to say, one thing’s for sure, you’ll feel connected to nature in a whole new way.
The following day, you can start with a stretch and a paddle (Deep Sky Eye provides kayaks for those interested in getting out on the water). It’s just another incredible way to make memories during your time on the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores.
Before the next leg of your journey begins, you’ll need a bite to eat, and we recommend Wild Roots. Not far from Deep Sky Eye Observatory, Wild Roots has a delicious menu to get your mouth watering and your stomach growling! Bright and inviting, Wild Roots focuses on local ingredients and top-notch service. Tuesday through Friday, they serve breakfast from 8 am – 11 am if you’re getting an early start. If you’re dropping in on the weekend, you can enjoy a sensational Saturday brunch! Of course, lunch and dinner are also served daily.
Finally, we suggest you take a little trip over to the nearby village of Port Maitland, specifically to pay a visit to Hubert and Belle’s Art and Decor. This charming shop is full of Nova Scotian art that will bring a smile to your face and joy to your home. Store owner Patti Durkee named the business after her parents and offers plenty of personalized service and attention to everybody who stops by. From art to home decor, ornaments, and more, you’re sure to find a memento of an unforgettable journey at Hubert and Belle’s. Oh, and be sure to admire all the wood carvings outside the shop — they’ll definitely entertain and impress.
Whether you’re arriving in Nova Scotia or departing for Bar Harbor and beyond, the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores are not to be missed! Make plans to spend some time in this beautiful part of Nova Scotia when sailing aboard The CAT high-speed car ferry — it’s sure to be a highlight of your next great adventure.