Annapolis Royal is a wonderful waterfront community on the western side of the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia and is referred to as the “Cradle of our Nation”. It was once the capital of Nova Scotia and is steeped in history with a number of tourist attractions to keep you busy for a few days or more.
Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens
There is a lovely 17 acre garden in town which showcases a large variety of plants and flowers. It sits along a tidal river valley and includes some walking trails. It is known for its Victoria Gardens, an Acadian house, and its wonderful rose garden. The word on the street is that spring was about 3 weeks behind schedule so many of the plants had not really gotten into their full summer swing yet but it was beautiful none the less.
Port Royal National Historic Site
This area is in a beautiful, sheltered harbor and was settled by Samuel de Champlain in 1605. A reconstruction of this 17th century French habitation is available to be toured and is known as one of the earliest European settlements in North America. This is now a National Historic Site run by Parks Canada and is a great example of life in the 1600s.
Fort Anne National Historic Site
First fortified in 1629, this four star fort preserves what is left of over 400 years of military protection of the harbor of Annapolis Royal. It has a museum, an 18th century gunpowder magazine, and officers’ quarters which can all be toured. It has 4 remarkable tapestries in the museum depicting the four centuries of existence. Due to its strategic location it became one of the most attacked spots in Canadian history. The fort sits right in town along the river.
Annapolis Tidal Generation Plant
This plant, which opened in 1984, is the only tidal generating station in North America and produces 20 MW twice daily with the change of tides. It makes use of the large tides in the Annapolis Basin which are part of the Bay of Fundy. It houses a visitors centers along with tours of the plant.
Bear River – AKA “Village on Stilts”
The Bear River is a tidal river where the water level changes by about 25 feet twice per day. The community, also called Bear River, sits along the river and many of the homes were built on stilts more than a century ago to allow many of the 5 shipyards to be located close to their work areas. When the ships were finished they would be floated down the river to the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy on the outgoing tides. Today the area has a few shops, cafes, and artists studios along with a few vineyards which can all be visited.
Nope, we didn’t make it to Digby even though it was on our list of places to go and see. We especially wanted to vist the Maud Lewis Replica House since we missed the art exhibit and her actual house while in Halifax. Oh well, just another reason to return.
Signs in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia has some of the best highway signs we have ever seen. We were so enthralled by them that we starting photographing them to keep a collection and thought we would share them.