north shore map

Exploring Nova Scotia north shore

Our first day of the holiday is behind us and it’s time to start exploring. Today the initial plan was simple: Cross the Nova Scotia border and head east following the coast line. No final destination and no plans regarding activities, other than returning to the cabin and make sure we don’t go hungry. Just, as the title says: Exploring Nova Scotia north shore.

Sunrise Trail

The route for today is part of the Sunrise Trail. The trail runs from Amherst, Nova Scotia to Antigonish, NS, but we entered the trail in Tidnish, NS and drove to Pictou, NS before we returned to our base in Baie Verte, NB. Only a part of the trail, but still worthwhile.

When we leave our cabin we head towards the border crossing at Tidnish, NS. This is a five minutes drive from where we stay. We’re curious about what to find as this is the first time we cross the New Brunswick border as a family since COVID19. All we see is two unoccupied booths. No personnel, so no checks. This is different from the Trans Canada Highway crossing. There, especially non-Atlantic, people are being checked when entering Nova Scotia.

Back to the Sunrise Trail though, we continue our drive in eastern direction. Following the two-lane road we enjoy a rolling landscape and regular sightings of the Northumberland Strait on our left. So far enjoying exploring Nova Scotia north shore.

As the weather is relatively cool, we do not leave our vehicle a lot. Our east coast weather is quite different from the west coast where they currently deal with a heatwave. Because of this we make more kilometers than we first intended, but that’s fine. The car is comfortable with the climate well controlled.

Atlantic Ocean

As mentioned in the previous post, the Baie Verte is part of the Northumberland Strait. It means that there is open access to the Atlantic Ocean. This becomes clear when we drive through Pugwash, NS where a sea vessel is occupying the small harbour. This is the only sea related activity we see on our route until we reach Pictou, NS, but it motivates me to do more research on this area. Maybe a return trip would be in order for photography and more detailed information sharing.

Next town we drive through is Wallace, NS. A small town with well kept streets, parks and rest areas for travelers. The rest areas have nice flower beds and picnic tables. For now we ignore this, but we might stop here when we drive back. In the meantime we continue towards Tatamagouche, NS. A village with a wide variety of tourism attractions and certainly one we will add to our “wish list” for future planning. Today, however, we continue our drive, exploring Nova Scotia north shore.


The drive is definitely pleasant, as is the scenery. There are these moments though that a stop cannot be delayed any further. This can be a bathroom stop when needed, but let’s face it: Who wouldn’t like to stop for ice cream? That is exactly what we do in River John, NS.

Ice cream isn’t the thing River John is historically know for, but it is the reason we do stop anyway. Once we have taken care of our ice cream you would think we would continue our drive, but no, we don’t. Carlien decided to walk into the local museum in order to find more information about the town’s history. She was triggered by a certain design of a house that raised some questions.

When Carlien returned, she told us that River John has a history in Shipbuilding. This was booming through the 1840’s, but with some ups and downs it started to decline in the 1870’s. Land transportation became more feasible compared to ship transport and for ocean crossing the steam ships and metal ships started to push away the sailing vessels. Those working in the shipbuilding industry were transferring to more land focused labour, maybe selling ice cream was part of it as well. With this knowledge under the belt it was time to start the engine and proceed our trip eastbound.


When we left River John, NS, we also left the Northumberland Strait behind us for the time being. A 30 km long drive took us to our most eastern point for this day, Pictou, Nova Scotia. home of Hector’s replica.

Hector in Pictou, NS

Hector was a ship that took approx. 200 Highland Scots to Pictou, NS on September 15, 1773. The replica of Hector can’t be missed when you get to the harbour of Pictou. It is a tribute to the arrival of the earlier mentioned 200 Highland Scots as this marked the immigration wave of Scottish people to Nova Scotia. Pictou, NS is seen as the birthplace of New Scotland, Nova Scotia.

After we finished our meals and our walk it was time to drive back to Baie Verte in New Brunswick. Our navigation told us that the fasted way back was by taking the same road we’d been on during the day. Well, since we get into the opposite direction, things will look different anyway. Pointing the car in western direction we started our way back. This time we stopped in Wallace at the picnic tables for a drink. Eventually we made it safely back to the cabin after a nice day of exploring Nova Scotia north shore.

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