February 20, 2020
Rugged and beautiful, with character and culture to spare, the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores is one of Nova Scotia‘s best-kept secrets. Removed from the hustle and bustle, this is a place to relax, recharge, and see the Maritimes from a different perspective. It’s also a place where outdoor adventurers, history buffs, art aficionados, and everybody in between can find something exciting to experience. If you’re eager to fill your days with activities during your visit to Nova Scotia aboard The CAT, you’re in luck. We’ve put together a three-day itinerary that is sure to make your vacation memorable.
Before we get started, because The CAT arrives in Yarmouth from Bar Harbor at 7:30pm, we’re kicking this itinerary off on your first full day of vacation here. Get a good night’s sleep because your adventure is about to begin!
When you find yourself somewhere new, there’s no better way to learn about it than by taking a walk, which is why we love the Yarmouth Walking Tour. This tour takes you through centuries of Yarmouth’s fascinating history. You’ll see incredible architecture in the heritage district — including fully-restored Victorian houses and stunning granite churches. You’ll also discover the human stories that make this town unique — from the tale of a mother chasing a kidnapper through Europe, to the town’s connection to the dawn of the electrical age in Nova Scotia. Perhaps best of all, this is a self-guided tour, so even though we suggest it as the kickoff to your getaway, you can take it any time you’d like.
Art lovers will love making their way through the Western Branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia — Affectionately known as ‘The Agnes.” The gallery is home to a beautifully curated collection of works by iconic Nova Scotian folk artist Maud Lewis. During your time here, you’ll also find pieces with strong connections to the Atlantic Provinces, as well as works by Canadian and international artists — both historical and contemporary.
Looking for a fun night out to cap off your first full day on the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores? Stop by Th’YARC (The Yarmouth Arts Regional Council Playhouse and Arts Centre) for a wonderful performance put on by talented locals. Th’YARC showcases plays and theatre performances, music and dance recitals, as well as a variety of other events in their art gallery and studios. Operating year-round, Th’YARC uses the arts to educate and entertain locals and visitors alike, and is a beloved local institution.
And just like that, your first day on the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores has come to an end. Head back to your accommodations for some relaxation. Tomorrow, we’re hitting the road!
It should come as no surprise that the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores is home to the largest Acadian community in all of Nova Scotia. Around here, you never have to look very hard to find a colourful Acadian flag blowing in the breeze — and there’s a mountain of culture waiting for you to discover. If you’re interested in the Acadian experience, hop in your vehicle and take a quick road trip to Historic Acadian Village of Nova Scotia in West Pubnico. An authentic living museum, the Village will take you on a journey back in time to discover what life was like for Acadians in the early years of the 20th century. You’ll see fishermen preparing for a season on the water, blacksmiths crafting new tools, and learn how to make dried salted fish in the Augustin d’Eon Fish Shed. And while you’re here, be sure to stop in the village post office to mail a letter to your loved ones back home. Don’t worry, it may look and feel like the early 1900s, but it won’t take them long to receive it!
Not far from the Village, you’ll find the Musée des Acadiens des Pubnicos, where a deeper dive into this fascinating culture awaits. The museum is home to an impressive collection of authentic Acadian artifacts dating as far back as the mid-1600s. Interestingly enough, the museum also boasts an impressive exhibit of cameras and photography accessories, including more than 300 cameras. Be sure to pack your own camera to snap a photo!
And if all this history has you feeling a little hungry, be sure to stop by D’Eon’s for an authentic Acadian rappie pie. This traditional dish — made from grated potatoes, meat, onions, and pork fat — is as filling as it is fantastic.
Did you know, about 25 minutes outside of Yarmouth, you’ll find North America’s first official UNESCO Starlight Reserve? It’s true! These reserves are protected natural areas that are committed to maintaining the beauty of the night sky and starlight for all to enjoy. In other words, if you want an absolutely stunning look at the skies above, this is the place for you. Within the Starlight Reserve, you can visit the Deep Sky Eye Observatory to explore the cosmos through an impressive HD telescope. You can marvel at the Milky Way, spy on the Rings of Saturn, and even catch a glimpse at the spiral arms of distant galaxies. And if you’re looking for the ultimate out-of-this-world experience, you can spend the night at the observatory in their Sky Cabin or Sky Bubble — each of which offers unbelievable views and cozy accommodations.
Your final day along the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores begins at, arguably, the most iconic landmark in the region, the Cape Forchu Lighthouse. The second most photographed lighthouse in all of Nova Scotia is known for its unique visual appeal and rugged surrounding landscape. The grounds surrounding the lighthouse — known as Leif Erickson Park — are full of rugged walking trails that offer spectacular views of the coastline. And a fun fact for movie and trivia buffs — Leif Erickson Park is where the 2019 psychological drama The Lighthouse was filmed. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography at the 92nd Academy Awards. Spend a little time making your way through the park, and you’ll quickly discover why.
The Yarmouth and Acadian Shores is home to one of Canada’s largest fisheries. In fact, more than 40 different species of fish are harvested here, and the industry employs thousands. You can learn all about this essential industry and its people by taking a stroll along the Living Wharves. Here, you’ll find active and retired fishermen eager to share their stories and skills with you. You’ll hear stories of life on the water, legendary catches, and friendships forged on the waves. You’ll also have the chance to try your hand at splicing rope and tying knots — essential skills for any fisherman or woman.
Foodies will think we’ve saved the best for last — and they might be right! The Savour the Sea Harbour Tour & Wharfside Lobster Dinner is as delicious as it is delightful. The tour begins with an early-evening voyage through Yarmouth Harbour, where you’ll be regaled with stories and songs of the sea by local lobster fishermen. Then, you’ll dock for a special wharfside dinner, complete with fresh lobster and a chance to enjoy craft beer and Nova Scotia wine. Finally, you’ll return to Yarmouth — hearts and bellies full — for your last night in town before your return passage home aboard The CAT.
We can’t wait to set sail this summer with you. Join us aboard The CAT, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure along the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores. Book your tickets today. And to see more of what this beautiful neck of the woods has to offer, head over to Explore the Maritimes.