One rainy and foggy day during my recent Nova Scotia vacation my sister and I decided to drive to Peggy’s Cove.
We planned to walk around the lighthouse and over the rocks, get a nice cup of coffee and maybe an ice cream cone. By happy coincidence Peggy’s Cove happens to be on the way to Ryers where you can buy great lobster (either live or already cooked).
As we set out, raincoats in hand we decided to take our time and stop at a few antique stores, a term I use loosely since most of these “stores” are actually in people’s garages. We are always searching for Schwartz mustard glasses that were produced in the 1970’s as part of a marketing campaign.
They are basically worthless, but everyone needs to collect something and somehow we landed on these. Our first stop was about five miles from my sister’s house. We stopped, looked around and chatted up the proprietor.
When we told him we were from Prospect he asked if we knew his sister. When we said we did, he responded “wow, small world.”
As he said this I kept thinking, not really, she only lives 5 miles away. An example of a small world would be if I knew someone in Atlanta that he knew.
A friend and I ran into someone she knew when we were at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. That is an example of a small world.
But he kept repeating how surprised he was that we knew Betty. After a few minutes of this we made our excuses and went on our way.
My sister and I laughed about how this was not a small world example. But the more I thought about it the more I thought he probably meets more people from Boston, Philadelphia and New York than he does from the surrounding villages.
All day long tourists driving to Peggy’s Cove and buses taking people on the Lighthouse Tour stop at his little shop. So maybe he was right and I should not have been so quick to judge.
I have probably been to Peggy’s Cove a dozen times over the years. Yes, it is touristy but it is beautiful and it is able to handle the tourists. Every time I drive up and there are 3 or 4 tourist buses I think Nooooooo, there are going to be too many people here. But it is surprising how many people you can fit in a small village when part of that village is a great expanse of granite rocks.
Funny thing about that. My brother-in-law is a geologist whose house is across the bay from Prospect. Every time we walk along the shore near their house he picks up a piece of rock and says”now this came from a long way away, all the way from Peggy’s Cove”. After thirty plus years of this it is getting old.
So what exactly is Peggy’s Cove and what is there to do there?
Peggy’s Cove is a small village on the eastern shore St. Margaret’s Bay. It used to be a fishing village though now it’s primary source of revenue is tourism. It is next to impossible to update and renovate a house or stage (dock) there so the village looks the same now as it did a hundred years ago except for the espresso bar.
Located 26 miles (43 kilometers) from Halifax a trip to Peggy’s Cove is generally offered as an excursion on cruises ships stopping in Halifax harbor. Get a window seat on the left side of the bus as you head to Peggy’s Cove from Halifax, that way you will have a good view of the seaside villages you pass on the way as well as a view of the coves and ocean. It takes about an hour to get to Peggy’s Cove from Halifax.
The weather along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia can change from hour to hour so if you have access to wifi it is worth checking out the Nova Scotia webcam to see what the weather is like. It is also helpful because you can see how many people are there at any given time.
If you are going to Peggy’s Cove make sure you wear non-slip shoes or boots that allow you to safely walk along the rocks. For good reason you are not allowed to walk on the rocks that get slick from the ocean spray. But even dry rocks can be tricky. There are also some little trails to be found in the area. So if time permits wander away from the village and the lighthouse making sure to stay on marked paths.
Sites to See in Peggy’s Cove
The Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse and the rocks it sits are the main attraction in the village. Located on a large expanse of granite the lighthouse is still operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The first lighthouse was built in 1868 but was replaced by the existing structure in 1914.
Shopping in Peggy’s Cove
The Sou’wester Gift Shop: This is a store that has a little bit of everything ranging from cheap souvenirs to nice prints, books and CD’s by local artists, authors and musicians. The Sou’wester has the advantage of being open all year with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Beales’ Bailiwick: Beales’ specializes in Nova Scotia and Canadian crafts, art and fashions for men and women. They have a very nice selection of pewter which is very popular in Nova Scotia and makes a nice keepsake. They range from inexpensive to pricey. They usually have a nice selection of hand carved items by Canadian Craftsmen. In Espresso On The Deck is located in the back of the shop and offers a nice selection of coffee’s, desserts, sodas and baked goods.
Amos Pewter: Amos Pewter designs and handcrafts pewter gifts and keepsakes with designs inspired by nature and the coastal surroundings. They have a little bit of everything, household goods, jewelry, Christmas Tree ornaments, all made in pewter. I have no idea why pewter is so popular in this area but it is and it is pretty and pretty inexpensive.
Art in Peggy’s Cove
Jo Beale Gallery: The Jo Beale Gallery offers an extensive selection of works by Canadian srtists.
Restaurants in Peggy’s Cove
The primary Restaurant in Peggy’s Cove is the one located in the Sou’wester Gift Shop. The Sou’wester Restaurant offers beautiful views of the ocean and the lighthouse. They offer local specialties like fish chowders and Solomon Gundy and lot’s of dishes made from mussels, haddock and lobster.