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Nova Scotia Road Trip

Deciding on a travel destination can be tricky. As someone who’s been lucky enough to have visited many incredible places, gearing up for a trip that’ll take me to the other side of the planet often involves some serious pre-planning that involves the friends who’ll go with me or the budget needed to finance it. As a New Yorker, I typically gravitate to flights headed east or south of my country’s border.

People often feel the need to travel far from home to experience their bucket list destinations. The further away, the more special the place seems to be…at least that’s the philosophy.  I’m guilty of it myself, yet in doing so we often overlook the incredible opportunities closer to home.

My recent trip to Nova Scotia was a surprising and refreshing revelation.  I’ve traveled to Canada multiple times: I’ve skied Quebec’s Mont Sainte-Anne, shopped the streets of Montreal, lived in Toronto for a brief period, and marvelled at Vancouver’s beauty. But after a week exploring the Nova Scotia region that offers the warmest ocean beaches in Atlantic Canada—like a fish, I’m hooked.

My Nova Scotia road trip would take me along the Northumberland Shore, known for its natural beauty, warm waters and fresh seafood. On my first night in Halifax, I feasted on lobster roll sliders and a seafood chowder made with coconut milk, lemongrass and a hint of heat.  It was so ridiculously delicious that, had I not been in public, I would have licked the bowl.

blueberryThe province’s famed blueberries make for a perfect slice of pie.

Heaven appeared in the form of a very generous slice of blueberry pie, courtesy of Between the Bushes in the Annapolis Valley.

Nova Scotia is known for the wild blueberries that grow in its fertile ground and it produces over forty million pounds a year. Nothing says summer like blueberry pie and after our never-ending winter, the unmistakable and indelible flavor of that inky fruit was like a trumpet call to my taste buds. Its health benefits are another plus. Van Dyk’s 100% Wild Blueberry Juice would be the first Canadian item to make its way into my luggage.

When I learned about the Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival in August, my summer holiday plans began recalibrating. If you go wild for summer fruit, it’s just one of many reasons to pick this province.

 

IMG_2208Road trips and food trucks are a match made in heaven!

Food plays a large part in any travel experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect in Nova Scotia and one of the first things to impress me was the cuisine. While it’s not part of my food regime, I was surprised to find gluten-free or vegan offerings no matter where I went.   With its strong Scottish heritage, hospitality is a hallmark of Nova Scotia and from the time I arrived, it showed in every welcome I received and in every bit of food served, from food trucks to fine dining. If what I’d inhaled in Halifax was a hint of what lay in store for me, than I was heading for foodie paradise.

The flip side, thankfully, is that the province is also known for top-notch outdoor adventures. From biking trails, kayaking, golfing, sailing, surfing, tidal bore rafting—you name it, when it comes to exercise in Nova Scotia the world is your oyster.

Whether or not I made the choice to work it all off was up to me!

Next up: Heading out of Halifax towards those warm waters.

All photos: Claudia Santino.