A Food & Travel Blog

Picture Perfect – Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

27/06/2013 | By

Barn Mahone Bay

Nova Scotia was the site of the first European settlements in Canada and was originally colonised by the French, who were later brutally ejected from the region by the British, but more about that story on another day. It is a maritime province and has a rich seafaring history, magnificent coastal scenery and is also a cultural and artistic centre with an extraordinarily long list of artists,  crafts-people, musicians, authors and film makers who call it home.  It is a beautiful place and I greedily wanted to see it all.  I hope to get back again one day to spend more time there, but have some lovely memories of a couple of very special places which will have to keep me going until then.

Mahone Bay

On leaving Halifax we headed along the Lighthouse Route on the south shore region and enjoyed an all too brief stop at the picturesque fishing and craft village of Mahone Bay.  Nova Scotia Tourism did us proud and managed to serve up a day that started romantically soft and misty – surely the very best light in which to see this charming little village.  We wandered past what I am told is a very common site in the area – a US television film crew  filming a series – and checked out the wharf, gazing wistfully at some of the delightful local buildings.

Mahone Bay is just about as pretty and as appealing as a small town can get. In fact it’s almost as though someone made a list of all the requirements for the ideal sleepy coastal town and went ahead and built it – and did a great job of it, too.   The bay itself is beautiful and edged around with boatsheds, landings and the colourful clapboard homes of the area.  I was completely seduced by the architecture around this region and couldn’t stop snapping pictures of all of the brightly painted, elegant timber homes.  Of course, it is a coastal village and as such is popular with the boating fraternity. It is noted for it’s annual wooden boat festival which it now combines with a pirate festival, based upon the local legends of pirates in Atlantic Canada.

The town is a hub for a variety of craftspeople, many of whom have seductive little shops which line the main street.  There are also antique stores, inns, romantic little restaurants and fascinating  shops with loads of rooms full of deeply desirable, interesting little things.  I found one or two, including the knitting store Have a Yarn and Zac and Nemo Mercantile, where I could have done the credit card some severe damage, but was saved by the fact that we only had limited time.  Sigh.  To be honest, I’d go back there just to spend a day or two in the stores.

Mahone Bay was also the first place I saw a couple of the local culinary treats – dulse (dried seaweed) and fiddleheads, which are the furled heads of a local fern.  The former is an acquired taste as far as I’m concerned and the latter are a seasonal delicacy much anticipated by the locals who rejoice in their short season.  We tried them a few days later and, while not unpleasant, they didn’t really rock my world either.  Happily, I found some rather splendid butter pecan fudge which really did push all of my buttons – and all I can say is it’s just as well I can’t get my hands on it regularly.


Lambs’ Ears and Honey was a guest of the Canadian Tourism Commission and Nova Scotia Tourism.


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  1. Fran @ G'day Souffle'

    Nova Scotia looks beautiful- it reminds me of New England in the USA. Looking at those colourful yarns in that store makes me want to get out my knitting needles again!

  2. Kate

    Those pastel houses are so beautiful . Insulation would be a top priority though as winter would be pretty severe.

  3. ChopinandMysaucepan

    Dear Amanda,

    Your photo are lovely and I think Canada is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

  4. Hotly Spiced

    The photos are gorgeous. I just love the look of the houses. The architecture is stunning and the properties seem very well looked after. I’d love to go there in the summer xx

  5. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Amanda there were quite a few inward sucks of breath reading this post. I’ve always thought I’d quite like to live in this part of the world (thank you Anne of Green Gables) going by your photos…yep, could totally live there.
    Those houses look like doll houses…picture perfect indeed.

  6. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    You would find all of that where I grew up in Maine. What beautiful memories each photo brought back.

  7. Jennifer @ Delicieux

    Those pretty pastel houses, especially the yellow one, are so adorable. They look like little doll houses.

    I tried fiddleheads on our first trip to the United States. They were much nicer than I thought they would be.

  8. bookywook

    Um, the Rope Loft is in Chester, not Mahone Bay

  9. Laura Smith

    The Rope Loft is in Chester, so, you wouldn’t go wrong removing the picture of it from this article.

  10. celia

    It’s all so picturesque! And that wool shop – I reckon I could lose a few hours in there – and I don’t even knit! 🙂

  11. Amanda McInerney

    Thanks Laura & bookywook – you are both correct & I have amended the title on the image. Chester was a gorgeous spot too, but we only had a flying stop there before getting to Mahone Bay.

  12. InTolerant Chef

    What a gorgeous place indeed, perfect for wandering and spending up big!

  13. Bruce Gallop

    Hi Amanda:

    We’re glad that you liked our store and the products that we sell. Sounds like you liked our fudge as well. If you ever get back to Mahone Bay please drop in for some more butter pecan fudge.

    Zack And Nemo Mercantile