The Road Less Traveled

By Sunrise Trail Magazine

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by, and that
has made all the difference.
— Robert Frost

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.


Spring/Summer 2023

The north shore of Nova Scotia isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when people think about the province. We’ve all heard about Peggy’s Cove, Halifax, and Cape Breton. Thats all I knew for a long time, having grown up in Ontario. Any advertising I saw for the province primarily focused on those hot spots. Don’t get me wrong, they are great places to visit. But when I first visited the north shore I felt like I had found a well hidden gem.

The Sunrise Trail, which travels along the northern shore between Amherst and the Canso Causeway, is not just a scenic drive — it’s the backbone of the north shore. Along this road you will find little towns painted in bright jewel tone colours, sleepy little villages, and even a few bigger cities bustling with activity. The scenic views include breathtaking ocean vistas, beautiful woodlands (some of which have unfortunately been forever changed by hurricane Fiona) and mountainous hills that offer a birdseye view of the landscape. Tucked inbetween the vast forested areas are sheep and cow farms, while small fishing wharfs dot the coast lines. No matter how many times I drive along the Sunrise Trail, and no matter the season, I am still in awe of the beauty that surrounds it.

The area along the north shore is rich with history. It’s the birth place of Nova Scotia and the start of a new life for many that braved the trip across the ocean to make this their new home. Many of descendants of those early settlers are still here, ever adapting and changing with the times to make a life here. This year marks the 250th anniversary of that first trip here (see pg. 33). If you have the time this summer I encourage you to visit Pictou and learn about the Ship Hector.

If you find yourself eager to learn more, there is a multitude of museums and historical sites along the north shore (see pg. 29). You could visit a beautiful working grist mill that’s tucked away in the forest to see grains being ground the same way they did in 1874, learn about the first salt mine in Canada, or even the history of the fishing industry.

The north shore is quickly becoming the popular place to enjoy the summer. The quiet little villages and towns fill up with cottagers that have discovered the laid-back lifestyle of the north shore and the warm ocean waters and sandy beaches (see pg. 51). When I first read of how warm the waters get along the north shore I didn’t really believe it. We once visited the Bay of Fundy in August and the water could have had ice cubes in it — seriously, it was that cold. Needless to say there was no swimming for this girl on that trip! But 22˚C water on the north shore? Must be a typo right? Nope, it’s true. As the tide recedes, the the sandy beaches soak up the sun; since the water becomes so shallow for a fair distance it doesn’t take long for the sun-soaked sands to heat the water to a comfortable temperature.

Farmers’ markets buzz with activity every Saturday or Sunday as visitors and residents do their part to support the local farmers and producers in the area (see pg. 57). There’s smiles and lively conversations all around as neighbours catch up on the latest news, the returning cottagers are welcomed back, and local musicians let their music dance through the air.

As with other rural areas across the country, the north shore has no shortage of wineries, breweries, or distilleries for you to discover (see pg. 18). You can relax beneath an umbrella on a main street patio drinking a craft beer, enjoying a delicious spirit or cocktail while you take in a million-dollar ocean view, or sip some wine in a vineyard cafe as you relish the smell of summer in bloom.

As the north shore gains in popularity as a tourist destination it comes as no surprise that businesses that cater to tourism are starting to pop up. For adventure seekers there’s always kayak and paddleboard rentals of course, but we are now starting to see boat tour businesses as well. This year you can even expect to see the lobster fishing boats being repurposed as tour boats in their off-season as a new intiative gets under way. (see pg. 38)

If you’re looking for a little adventure and the “road less travelled”, the Sunrise Trail may just be the answer. There’s so much to discover on the north shore! It certainly has it’s busy season but it’s the kind of destination that will always remain a little untamed and wild, which of course is part of it’s beauty and charm.