The Enchanted Land

Picturesque Lunenberg

Lunenburg is so picturesque that it has been the setting for more than a dozen motion pictures. In fact, the entire town was chosen as a World Historical Site. The first German settlers arrived in Lunenburg many generations ago, so local idioms are heavily influenced by colorful German expressions.

Two summers ago I watched a three-masted schooner, the Picton Castle, take on provisions as it prepared to leave Lunenburg for an 18-month voyage. To supplement a core crew of seasoned sailors the captain had signed on 20 novices eager to sail around the world. By happy coincidence, I was on the wharf when the newly returned crew auctioned off the treasures they had accumulated on the global journey.

Next, we follow the"Lighthouse Route" up the coast past Peggy's Cove to the city of Halifax, capital of the province. It's an easygoing town sheltered by a long, narrow channel from the rambunctious sea.

Headstones in Halifax remind us of those trans-Atlantic travelers aboard the great ship Titanic who were gently reclaimed from an ice-choked sea long ago.

A Dose of Scotland in Cape Breton

Our next stop is Cape Breton, a granite island connected to Nova Scotia only by a short causeway. Nova Scotia is, of course, inhabited mostly by folk of Scottish lineage, but the music and dress and lilt of Scotland are most pronounced along the high cliffs of Cape Breton.

I once visited Cape Breton's most distant outpost, a lonesome, windswept place named Meal Cove. In a clearing ringed by weather-beaten shacks, a half-ton moose hung upended from a crude tripod made of tree trunks.

One of the men standing at the base of the tripod told me the moose had been shot by a 12-year-old boy who, as a one-sixteenth Micmak Indian, had the legal right to do so. Looking at that moose, raw from butchery, it was a right I wished he had not exercised.

The main attraction for most visitors to Cape Breton is the challenging hiking in the rugged national park. Few are untouched by the rocky cliffs, vivid colors, and abundant wildlife.

Leaving Cape Breton on the "Cabot Trail" the road winds along the edge of a steep drop. Far below, Beluga whales play in the turquoise sea, tempting us to take our attention from the road.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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