Nova Scotia: Halifax

After exploring the Annapolis Valley and Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove, Russ and I drove up Highway 103 to Halifax to wind down our Nova Scotia road trip.

We arrived in town just before lunch, parked the car, and stumbled across the Alexander Keith’s brewery 15 minutes before the next tour.

Alexander Keith’s Brewery Tour

Cultural heritage interpretation, and more specifically, actors in period costume and character make me uncomfortable. I can’t exactly explain why and nor do I want to dwell on it here. There are actors in period costume for this tour through 19th century Halifax. I made an effort to enjoy it anyway. It’s an hour long (I can make it through anything for an hour, right?). It’s family-friendly. Try the beer. Sing along if you can. I couldn’t – a sign I wasn’t born or raised here.

If you crave more beer or need lunch after the tour, the brewery’s Red Stag Tavern sits steps away from the brewery tour’s entrance or go on a little meander of Halifax’s historic waterfront district for other options.

The Citadel

Citadel National Historic Site

My first use of my Cultural Access Pass, a lovely gift from the Canadian government upon becoming a citizen.

The Halifax Citadel is a Parks Canada National Historic Site. The Citadel recreates life for British troops from 1869. I spent a lot of time in the 19th century during this portion of the trip.

The onsite Army Museum fascinated Russ with its artifacts and exhibits from Canadian efforts in both World Wars. Both our hearts nearly stopped with the Noon Gun. I enjoyed the barrels of gunpowder in the South Magazine. Parks Canada staff appeared to be excellent at engaging children of all ages in activities, from the sentry that stood guard at the gate of the Citadel to the costumed staff who ran the “Ready, Aim, Fire!” program (age restrictions apply to that program).

Mexican Tall Ship and the Halifax Waterfront

Halifax boardwalk

We happened to time our visit to Halifax with the Mexican tall ship, Cuauhtémoc (pictured at the top). The ship carried 250 crew members including cadets who were trained to become officers of the Mexican navy. While locals and visitors toured the ship, Russ and I wandered the waterfront spying on a wedding party in kilts, taking in various outdoor art installations, and enjoying ice cream at Cows.

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax

Russ wanted to see a Titanic exhibit so we stopped in to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. In addition to a permanent exhibit about Halifax’s role after the disaster, the museum also houses interesting exhibits on the Franklin exploration, the Halifax explosion, and the CSS Acadia among many others.

Live Music

Finally! Just as we were about to settle up for our last meal of the trip, we noticed musicians coming in and setting up at the reserved table in the corner of the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse. What’s a couple to do but order another round of pints? Have a listen.

While we found traveling to Nova Scotia before the May long weekend a bit too early in the season to see things we wanted to see on Cape Breton or in Kejimkujic National Park, we enjoyed having the time and space to get to know shop owners, waitstaff, and locals – something that’s become a trademark for the two of us traveling together.

For more Nova Scotia ideas, visit Tourism Nova Scotia’s website.

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