Early autumn is the perfect time to explore the bounty of Nova Scotia. But don’t limit the feast to Halifax – there’s a big (and delicious) backyard to explore in this East Coast province. Here are a few can’t-miss stops:
Sugar Moon Farm (Earltown)
May the power of maple compel you! Sugar Moon Farm makes maple syrup onsite and serves what some food critics consider to be Canada’s top pancakes. After gorging on an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, learn about the history and craft of maple sugaring on a guided tour, or hike one of the 30km of trails near the farm.
Steinhart Distillery (Arisaig)
Driving along Highway 245, pull over to visit the newest kid on the block, Steinhart Distillery. Owner Thomas Steinhart initially emigrated from Germany to Canada for love, but now his passion is distilling vodka on a farm overlooking the Northumberland Shore. Stop for a tour and tasting of his maple-flavoured vodka, a best seller for the distillery. Those looking for a more in-depth experience can stay overnight in the onsite cozy cottages and learn about distilling first hand.
Mrs. MacGregor’s Shortbreads (Pictou)
Entering Mrs. MacGregor’s shop, inhale the aroma of butter and sugar wafting in the air. Here, you’ll find small batches of freshly baked shortbreads, rated by some to be the best in Canada.
Learn Lavender 101 (Seafoam)
At Seafoam Lavender Farm, the plant is plucked from the fields and transformed into tasty edibles, such as lavender ice cream, chocolate, cookies, tea, and salt.
Stop for a cup of Lavender Lemonade with a Lavender and Lemon shortbread from Mrs. McGregor’s!
Get Farm to Fork Cooking with The Kilted Chef (Pictou)
Take a whirlwind culinary journey with one of Nova Scotia’s finest, Chef Alain Bosse, also known as The Kilted Chef. In the morning, visit local markets; source fresh ingredients from fish purveyors, butchers, and farmers; and learn to select the freshest seafood and veggies.
Dine in a Railcar (Tatamagouche)
Once used by the Canadian National Railway, owner Jimmie LeFresne converted this 1920s train into the Tatamagouche Train Station, a stationary bed and breakfast. Each of the seven cabooses have been renovated into rooms decorated with railway memorabilia.
Stop for a Craft Beer Tasting (Tatamagouche)
Pour a foamy pint at Tatamagouche Brewing Company, one of Nova Scotia’s newest craft breweries. If it’s in season, try the Maple Squash Ale. Sap from local maple farms is infused into the brew, creating a dash of sweetness to the beer.
Dig for Oysters (Malagash)
Dig for your own Quahogs at Bay Enterprises, a local family-run oyster farm. The full “oyster experience” involves going out in a traditional oyster boat and trying your hand at tonging oysters.
Tipples in the Annapolis Valley
On a sunny patio overlooking grapevines, a sommelier pours a glass of honey-golden wine to pair with a plate of freshly shucked oysters. It’s not Napa Valley – this is Nova Scotia’s wine country, renowned for producing crisp whites, ice wines, and Champagne-style sparkling wines.
At Jost Vineyards, enjoy a glass of wine on the patio with a charcuterie board, or grab a picnic lunch and leisurely wander the vineyard.
Or spend a day touring and tasting the best varieties at Luckett Vineyards and Benjamin Bridge Vineyards, followed by an incredible dinner surrounded by grapevines, gardens, and cobblestone walkways at the dreamy Domaine De Grand Pre.
Lobster Feast (Everywhere!)
Sink your teeth into Nova Scotia lobster morning, noon, and night. Start the day with Lobster Benedict at the Pictou Lodge Resort, watching the sunrise over the ocean.
For lunch, head to Hall’s Harbour, a tiny fishing town where you can hand-pick a Bay of Fundy lobster, prepared in the onsite cook shack. If you can take your eyeballs away from your plate, watch from the wharf as Bay of Fundy tide rises and falls.
For a decadent dish, devour different varieties of Lobster Poutine – a heaping plate of fresh-cut fries smothered in with cheese curds, gravy, and lobster meat. My personal favourite was served at McKelvie’s Seafood Restaurant in Halifax.