Relishing the small town atmosphere of the Maritimes
For the modern day workplace survivor, a 2-week vacation in rural Nova Scotia, Canada may be the best stress medication there is. The laid back and friendly atmosphere, coupled with the general lack of urgency typical of small towns, make it difficult to remain stressed for long. And since the weather varies quite a bit from one hour to another, you don't even have to worry about sunburn - but do watch out for frostbite in the winter!
The only real negative variable of a vacation in Nova Scotia may actually be encountered just before you really get there - at the Halifax International Airport. If you are young and working with computers or electronics in general, don't be surprised if you get inteviewed by Immigration Canada on your arrival, especially if you're bringing a laptop with you. So, leave that laptop home - it's meant to be a vacation anyway.
This photographic essay portrays some of the places and events I encountered while visiting Nova Scotia around New Year's Eve 2001. Since I took over 700 pictures during my 2 week stay - most of them interesting in their own way - it was certainly no easy task to condense the essay to just under 40 images. However, I hope you will enjoy this particular selection as the quick and easy way to appreciate the atmosphere and sights you can expect to encounter, if you visit NS some day yourself.
(Note: If you like these photos, be sure to also check my Nova Scotia II collection of photos from a more recent roadtrip through this beautiful region)
Take a gun to a knife fight
..and a 4x4 jeep to a winter road. In order to enjoy the surrounding countryside, a 4x4 jeep was rented. I ended up with a Jeep Cherokee just a few days before DaimlerChrysler announced they would, after 17 years, discontinue with the production of the br . .
A small village community next to Cape Split, is Scots Bay (also spelled Scot's Bay). This photo shows the approach to the idyllic but relatively isolated little village of homesteads.
One bridge too far
This photo is of a scenic small bridge by the Scots Bay beach. This is actually one of my favourite photos, because of the dramatic contrasts in ambiance. The dark and gloomy clouds communicate restlessness and danger, whereas the little bridge sits calml . .
Low tide at Scots Bay
Researchers have estimated that at mid-tide, the flow in the Minas Channel north of Blomidon equals the combined flow of all the rivers and streams on Earth. Nova Scotia bends slightly when the tide comes in. As 14 billion tonnes (14 cubic kilometres) of . .
The dyke of Port Williams
Albeit I had some concerns about the double meaning of this title, here's another view of the entrance to Port Williams, and the bridge over Cornwallis River. In this composition, I placed the camera parallel to the bridge in order to achieve a strong sym . .
Inside a New Minas mall
Arguably a fairly mundane motif, but therein lies its interest - it communicates just how global the shopping mall phenomenon is. Sure, it looks just like your local mall wherever you are from, but that's exactly my point. I mean, just think about it! The . .
Driving the old economy
In stark contrast to the emerging dot-com economy are these antediluvian dinosaurs of public transportation. These charmingly archaic buses (supposedly to be replaced in 2001) transport people between the towns. Note such adorable details as the cash 'bot . .
The farming Dutchman
Taking care of row after row of apple trees is the immigrant farmer Henry van Oostrum, who moved into the Annapolis Valley (aptly nicknamed Apple Valley) in the 1950s, from Holland. The first thing Mr van Oostrum commented on, after learning that the curi . .
Apparently unconcerned about thieves and subsequent precipitation, a farmer leaves his bales of hay sitting outdoors, unguarded (come to think of it, do you think customs would've viewed a souvenir in the form of a bale of hay with suspicion? :-)).
The Look Off Point II
Another view of the Annapolis Valley from the Look Off Point, looking to the south. The low clouds cast a gradational pattern of shadows on the valley below.
The old wharf of Kingsport
As a legacy of the history of Nova Scotia, and the Annapolis Valley, is the old wharf of Kingsport. Kingsport, due to its location, used to be a major port where agricultural products were shipped out on big sailing ships. Today, of what once was a key se . .
The university town of Wolfville
Wolfville was originally known as Mud Creek, relating to its thriving boat building business. It became Wolfville in 1830 when two granddaughters of Judge Elisha Dewolfe convinced their postmaster uncle that a more suitable name was needed. The villagers . .
Meeting Van Gogh
Local trees such as this one are reminiscent of something you'd only expect to find in an impressionist painting, with the rugged, exaggeratingly zig-zagging branches.
This photo is primarily included here for its aesthetic value, but it also outlines an eastern Canadian idiosyncrasy - staircases to upper floors are often built on the outside of buildings.
Life on the 3rd floor
As an interesting architectural detail, it's fairly common for Nova Scotia buildings with multiple floor levels to feature staircases such as this one. Life in the attic may be a bit crammed, but I reckon the view more than makes up for it. A vertical for . .
With an average precipitation level of 134 cm (53 inches) per year, and with some of the heaviest yearly rainfall along the Atlantic coast, Nova Scotians enjoy quite a bit of snow in the winters. This photo was taken on a day when strong winds kept sweepi . .
View of Cape Split
In the distance (on the right) is Cape Split, a popular camping/hiking travel destination. Two days after this image was taken, two tourists ended up trapped at Cape Split due to the heavy snowfall, and had to be rescued. Cape Split is also popular among . .
High tide at Scots Bay
It has been claimed that some of the highest tides on the planet can be found in Nova Scotia's Minas Basin. According to some sources, the water level can fluctuate up to 16 metres (52 feet) between high and low tide. High tides happen every 12 hours and . .
Bridge to Port Williams
Pictured here is the bridge over the tidal Cornwallis River of Port Williams. Port Williams is a thriving farm community that was originally settled by the MicMac (Meeg'ma) Indians, testifying for the viability and fertility of the location. Of some inter . .
The new malls of New Minas
The Annapolis Valley hasn't been able to fully escape the North American phenomenon of large shopping malls. The illumination of the entrance is of particular interest - the mall entrance looks computer rendered. However, even in a photograph with an arti . .
The ShackDot effect
Not even the largely rural Annapolis Valley has been able to escape the dot-com mania of yesteryear. This cute little shack houses the only dot-com company I stumbled on in the Valley, the aptly named ValleyWeb.com. Don't get me wrong - I actually like re . .
Hay lying in the snow
An interesting aspect of the farming industry in Annapolis Valley was the way hay is left out in the fields. Why this hay wasn't being stored in a barn (to keep it dry and from decomposing) wasn't immediately obvious. It turned out to be good economic sen . .
The Look Off Point I
Overlooking the Annapolis Valley, is the Look Off Point. From this altitudinous location, much of what's going on in the valley below can be seen. In fact, from here, I was able to witness the interesting spectacle of a local snow cloud pouring down its p . .
Acadia University I
One of the primary establishments of Wolfville is the Acadia University, selling various types of educations to some 3700 students from over 50 countries.
The Acadia Arena
The Acadia Arena Complex contains various sports resources, including (big surprise) an Olympic-sized ice surface arena, three gymnasiums, two swimming pools, an outdoor football/soccer stadium, etc. Here, part of it is viewed in a slightly more artistic . .
The mall of Wolfville
Considerably more modest and old fashioned than the new malls of New Minas, this Wolfville town mall hosts a variety of small establishments. Quite adorable, really - adding to the old-fashioned atmosphere are the floors, which are primarily wooden.
Wanted: the owner
On New Year's Eve, this car was abandoned in the mall parking lot in downtown Wolfville, with its doors unlocked, radio playing, and engine running. It was still running in the same spot 2 days later, ostensibly untouched. By coincidence, I happened to en . .
Pictured here are the fields below Wolfville, with a view towards the bay, and in the far distance, the Look Off Point. Interesting illumination conditions.
Another photo included primarily for its aesthetic value, also demonstrating one of the reasons for the Annapolis Valley being one of the primary farming regions of Canada: precipitation. And in the winters, that means plenty of snow (there is a buried ca . .
The town of Kentville
Perhaps the most urban town in the area, Kentville also seems to have the strongest online presence. To highlight this point, even the town's web address is featured on its welcome sign.