The scenic town of Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia (just south of Halifax) isn’t that far from Louisbourg as the crow flies. But navigating it by car requires a very long (500 kilometer, 5 hour) drive. The only way to get from one town to another is to wind in and out around every cove and headland. While parts of the drive and a few of the towns are quite pretty, the drive can get very, very monotonous–especially if you get caught behind slow trucks, RVs, or slow cars that will not pull over to let you pass
The destination, however, was worth the drive.
Beautiful Peggy’s Cove
Yes, Peggy’s Cove is as beautiful as it is claimed to be. Its iconic lighthouse is situated atop an incredible bluff of rolling white granite laced with cracks and lava lines. It is littered with granite boulders that appear to have been thrown and left where they landed (actually they are “erratics” deposited by the retreat of the glacier that formed the cove). One boulder alone weighs almost 170 tons. There is little soil or vegetation, but a lot of granite.
Peggy’s Cove Harbor
The harbor is almost as pretty as the setting of the lighthouse: lobstering and fishing boats docked against a background of weathered wood buildings.
As would be expected from a tourist town, the town also had an ice cream stand, a souvenir shop and restaurant and a number of galleries. It also has a large (30-meter) William deGarthe bas relief carved in granite that depicts fisherman and their families enveloped in the wings of St. Elmo, the patron saint of sailors. There is also a memorial to the 229 victims of 1998 Swissair flight 111 that crashed, with no survivors, in St. Margaret’s Bay.
Staying in Peggy’s Cove
We had dinner at Sou’wester, the restaurant that is next to and provides a view of the lighthouse. We couldn’t find other good alternatives to our desire for lobster. Too bad. The clam chowder was watery and had little taste and few clams. The steamed mussels were dry and came with no broth. And then a half hour after claiming that they had lobsters of all sizes, they had nothing between 1 1/4 and 2-1/2 pounds (we shared the later), which was slightly overcooked. Very disappointing but maybe we hit it on a bad day. But the view was nice.
Nor were there a lot of hotel options in Peggy’s Cove. Our stay at the Clifty Cove Motel (a 5 minute drive from Peggy’s Cove) ended up being comfortable. At first we were very nervous when we saw the place from the outside. But other than a ripped screen in our room, it was clean and cared for. The room had a microwave, coffee pot, and refrigerator. We had a beautiful view from our window of a cove and the property had seating area where one could relax and enjoy the view. The man who checked us in was very friendly and helpful. In hindsight, we should have driven a little further that day to make the next day’s drive a little shorter. But the motel ended us being a peaceful, restful place to stay.
Around St. Margaret’s and Mahone Bays
Although Peggy’s cove is the largest, and certainly the most popular of the bay’s scenic spots, there are many others on Route 333, around the perimeter of St. Margaret’s Bay. Many can be lovely, both in the mid-day sun, and in the morning fog.