Friday, December 2, 2011

Yarmouth on My Mind

I'm always surprised by how many Nova Scotians tell me they've never been to Yarmouth.  No, that's wrong. I'm always shocked.  Never?? Never driven around the South Shore and back up through the Valley?

Most folks tend to think of it as the far end of the province (in NS, read as 'Earth') and virtually inaccessible.  In reality, it is about  two and a half hours from Halifax, a perfect distance to drive on a sunny afternoon along the South Shore (OK, it's going to take you six hours because there's so much to poke around and explore along the way.)  And then you get to stay overnight in a lovely, possibly quaint, B&B or motel for an excellent price.  You get to really see the town, shop in the shops, eat the food.  Oh, the food...don't get me started...

Most folks tend to see it as dying; no jobs, no industry left, no boat to the US anymore.  I don't see it that way.  Sure, a few parts of it have been horribly disfigured due to bad urban planning over the years.  The train is gone.  The ferry is gone.  However, I see it through the romantic eyes of my childhood, where four kids from Halifax could get up early in the morning, wander through town all day, stop at the DQ for a Mister Misty (lime) and find amazing things everywhere we looked.  A giant tuna being landed on the wharf.  Holly bushes as big as a garage.  Old moss laden cemeteries.  Gigantic houses on huge lots.  Names right out of Nova Scotian history books.  The sights and smells of my great uncle's butcher shop.  A real gramophone that played 'Blueberry Hill' on a 78 record.  A lemonade stand on the main road through Sand Beach, where American visitors in big cars with real white shoes just like in the movies would give us a quarter - a US quarter! (1930's memories courtesy of Marie, Villages of Yarmouth County.)

I was last there in the summer this year, and went for a run along the wonderfully groomed old train trail, with my Auntie's dog.  We listened to some amazing bluegrass music in the bandstand on the waterfront.  I bought a hand made hat and mitts (on July 1st!) from a sweet lady in a craft co-op.  We spent the morning at the new Farmer's Market (yummy peach salsa,) trying on fabulous and stylish shoes, and of course, doing our Frenchie's hour.  Had fishcakes for brunch at Rudder's Brew Pub.

If you haven't been to Yarmouth - GO!  They need you, they need us.  Get out of the car, walk along the streets and see the Grand Dames of Seacaptain's houses.  Buy some amazingly fresh fish at the Red & White in Dayton.  Go over to the Forchu Light and have tea.  Stay in a motel overlooking Lake Milo.  Go to the Firefighter's Museum.

I'm passionate about exploring this incredible province we live in.  As Joseph Howe said, we need to "Brag of your country. When I'm abroad I brag of everything that Nova Scotia is, has, or can produce..."  However, the lack of tangible support of Yarmouth by Nova Scotians worries me.  It's NOT the end of the Earth.  And it's well worth the visit.  Trust me, the shoes alone are worth going for.

Photos courtesy of,, 

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