Nova Scotia

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Sure, a breathtaking coastal setting combined with a plethora of rafting, fishing, and hiking opportunities mean that many visitors spend a lot of time outdoors. Still, there’s a lot to explore indoors. Nova Scotia owes its quaint appeal to a rich blend of seafaring tradition and a history that stems from its Gallic, Celtic, and Acadian identities. When you’re not out on the water exploring that naval tradition first-hand, you can experience it in one of the island’s museums dedicated to the subject. The same is true for the culture and history of the island, which has been preserved in the form of 18th-century forts, museums, and monuments.

Things to do in Nova Scotia

Alexander Graham Bell National Historical Site

The scientist and inventor of the telephone was born in Scotland and resided in the United States; however, he owned a picturesque vacation home in Baddeck village on Cape Brenton Island. Visitors to this National Historical Site can learn about Bell’s life, the invention of the telephone, and his later work with the deaf through models, artifacts, and photographic exhibits.

559 Chebucto Street, Baddeck, NS B0E 1B0, Cape Breton Island, NS, +1 902-295-2069, www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/ns/grahambell/index.aspx
Tags: family | historic | things to do | museum

Celtic Music Interpretive Centre

Getting into the Nova Scotian spirit of things would not be possible without attending a ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee), also known as a "kitchen party," a casual get together featuring traditional fiddle music and dance. Enjoy free lunchtime ceilidhs between Monday and Friday, fiddle workshops, and Celtic concerts at the Interpretive Centre's head quarters in Judique.

5471 Route 19, Cape Breton Island, NS, www.celticmusicsite.com
Tags: things to do | culture | traditional

Domaine de Grand Pré

This boutique winery and vineyard offers daily tours and tastings of their signature Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, and Stutz hard cider. The grapes of Domaine de Grand Pré are noteworthy thanks to the oceanic climate and the Acadian soil in which they grow. The over 150-acre estate is situated close to the preserved Acadian settlement and deportation memorial of Grand-Pré National Historic Site.

11611 Highway 1, Western Coast, NS, 866-479-4637, www.grandprewines.ns.ca
Tags: things to do | wine tasting | vineyard

Fundy Geological Museum

In 1986, scientists discovered that Parrsboro was a virtual goldmine of fossils, containing 100,000 bones from dinosaurs and other primitive creatures. Today, you can see the fruits of these finds, many of which have been reassembled at this museum. See early frogs, dinosaurs, giant dragonflies, and other organisms so fantastic that it’s hard to believe they once roamed the earth.

162 Two Island Rd. (on the Glooscap Trail), Western Coast, NS, 866-856-3466, www.fundygeo.museum.gov.ns.ca
Tags: things to do | museum

Highland Village

All things Gaelic are preserved and celebrated at Cape Breton Island’s living history museum dedicated to Gaelic culture. Museum exhibits and workshops provide background information on the Gaelic language and music, as well as the history of Gaelic settlement on Cape Breton Island. Since many locals here came from the Hebrides, the endangered Gaelic language is still taught in schools, and traditional music and dance are enthusiastically passed down to the younger generations.

4119 Highway 223, Cape Breton Island, NS, 902-725-2272, www.highlandvillage.museum.gov.ns.ca
Tags: things to do | culture | history | traditional

Louisbourg Playhouse

Built as a replica of London’s Globe Theater, the Louisbourg Playhouse offers nightly concerts during the busy summer season. Local musicians from throughout Nova Scotia take the stage nightly at 8pm to perform traditional Celtic and Gaelic tunes in this 220-seat theater in the round.

11 Aberdeen St., Cape Breton Island, 902-733-2996, www.louisbourgplayhouse.com
Tags: things to do | culture

MacIsaac Kiltmakers

Looking for a Scottish souvenir to prove you were in Nova Scotia? You can’t get more Scottish than a kilt, and Maclsaac is tops when it comes to the masculine miniskirts. Maclsaac’s plaid, Highland wear is custom-tailored for the best possible fit. They also sell pewter and whiskey flasks.

4 MacAskill Dr., Cape Breton Island, NS, 902-535-4000, www.mackilts.com
Tags: things to do | traditional | souvenirs

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