Wandering in Canada: Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
I got out of the car, glad I had worn two sweaters as the blasting cold wind took me aback. The salt in the air leant a clean, sharp feeling to each inhale as my eyes adjusted to the brightness of the beauty before me. So, here it was: the famed Peggy’s Cove. It was so gorgeous it was absolutely surreal. Large white rocks gleamed as the lighthouse above them braced against the wind. My hat almost blew off my head and I barely noticed.
It was a scene I’d witnessed before on postcards, tourist t-shirts and old photos of my paternal Grandma’s, but all I could think about was how none of those renderings did the place justice. I immediately understood why this little ocean inlet had become a poster for Atlantic Canada, and I couldn’t stop smiling from the amazing view.
A short one-hour drive from downtown Halifax, Peggy’s Cove has long been a tourist gem—and it isn’t hard to see why. A quaint, quintessentially Maritime-feeling village, complete with clapboard houses, fishing boats and local crafts, it is so cute it’s almost painful. But the exclamation mark of Peggy’s Cove is hands-down the beautiful lighthouse on top of jutting rocks that towers above the fishing hamlet.
Photos: 1) the lighthouse itself, 2) lost in thought while watching the sea, 3) the required me-and-the-lighthouse tourist shot
We had set out with a picnic lunch and DSLR cameras, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the fall foliage that met us on the drive. Winding costal roads with small farmer-owned produce stands led us to this site that has already cemented itself as one of my favourite views in Canada.
While Peggy’s Cove is a destination you can go to year-round (summer brings swaths of tourists and worth-the-drive ice cream cones!), the autumn drive we took makes me recommend you visit in September or October. And, since there’s no admission fee to see the lighthouse, the trip can cost you as little as a tank of gas! Go to the lighthouse and explore the rocky terrain. Stop for a sandwich [and maybe a selfie!] and then wander through the village— there’s a few craft coffee spots and some fun boutiques worth browsing. There's also a restaurant near the lighthouse if picnics aren't your scene, but who doesn't like picnics?
As we ventured out over the rocks, seeing seagulls fly, waves crash and light shimmer off the Atlantic, I felt incredibly lucky to be living so close to the ocean. I couldn’t get over the dizzying feeling of a space so angular and raw, so jagged and authentic, being so close to home. The strong lines of the lighthouse matched the deep etches of rock so well. I was surrounded by angular symmetry. The hard break between rock, sea and sky was so perfect I couldn’t look away.
Photos from top: views of the rocks and the ocean surrounding the lighthouse, and a shot of Boyfriend enjoying the trip!
They say it’s called Peggy’s Cove because a young girl named Peggy, the sole survivor of a shipwreck on these very rocks, washed ashore in the fishing village. She grew up in the space where the water and rocks meet the sky, where nets are still cast out in the ocean like the olden days, and where the wind has bite on even the warmest days.
I don’t know if I believe Peggy was real or not, but I do believe in the rugged beauty of nature. I believe it’s something we must bear witness to as often as life allows us. Get swept up in the winds that beckon the sea, and visit the lighthouse that reminds us of nature's power. I guarantee you’ll love the feeling you find there!
You'll return home like me, with a windswept hairdo and spirit. With lungs full of fresh air and eyes full of a new perspective.
Some photos in this post were shot by The Caffeinated Observer, and have been labelled accordingly.