Saturday, 10 July 2010

Nova Scotia Musings . . .

For those of you who don’t know, I am originally from Nova Scotia, Canada and that is where I just spent the last three weeks. I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the place that I come from this morning and share with you some of the experiences I had these past few weeks and some of the many pictures we took while we were there.

Nova Scotia is one of 10 provinces (and three territories) in Canada.

It lies on the east coast of the country and is almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Believe it or not, millions of years ago Nova Scotia was actually part of Africa. When the earth's crust shifted and Africa and North America separated, Nova Scotia got left behind.

One big part of Nova Scotia is actually a huge island, called Cape Breton Island.

Our neighbouring Canadian provinces are New Brunswick (which is bigger) and Prince Edward Island (which is smaller). Together, we are often called the Maritime provinces of Canada.

The nearest American state is Maine. It takes about four hours to drive from Nova Scotia through New Brunswick to the Maine border.

Most of the province is covered with forests and lakes and most larger towns are along the seacoast. When you are flying over it in a plane, it looks very different than the British landscape … there are no hedgerows bordering the fields giving it a patchwork quilt look and one is always amazed at the number of lakes and rivers. It’s also covered in fir tree forests which give it a completely different colour and look.

Nova Scotia's capital city is Halifax, an international seaport and transportation centre.

The name of our province is Latin and it means New Scotland. It was given this name by the Scots, who were the first British settlers to come here. We even have our own tartan!

I come from a unique area in Nova Scotia, known as the Annapolis Valley. It is a long stretch of land nestled between two mountains, called the North and the South Mountains. (Very ingenuous thinking there!) It’s an area of Nova Scotia well known for it’s farming and apple production and I believe it is one of the most beautiful parts of Nova Scotia, but then people from Cape Breton or other areas might beg to differ with me on that one!

My town is called Middleton and is known as the Heart of the Valley, basically because it is exactly in the middle of the valley. (You can find it's location on the map approximately halfway between Kentville and Digby)

It’s a beautiful small town. In the year 1810 on the corner of a river amongst the shrubs and alders, stood four houses and a lowly store - alone, unknown, and hardly wanted.

As the years passed lots were bought up at a slow and steady pace - to be drained and inhabited as new homes were being built. The word spread of the nice little area in the middle of the valley and it didn’t take long for the Pearce Hotel to go up. Travelers and locals wanted to be entertained and here the hospitality was more than plentiful.

Two railways soon followed - the Windsor/Annapolis Railroad and the Nova Scotia Central Railroad. Now the Town was ready to grow and expand into the business marketplace. The Windsor/Annapolis Railroad line constructed a handsome two-story station which was the finest on the route and ensured the area as a destination.

Opportunity called and two new hotels arrived on the scene shortly after. They were the Hatfield House and American House. With three hotels now in the area the soon to be Town of Middleton became quite a talked-about hotspot for travelers and area dwellers. Before the turn of the century Middleton had become the finest first class luxury point outside of Halifax.

It didn't take long for the residents to see a need for infrastructure so a water reservoir on the North Mountain was created for a mere $25,000. By then the Town boasted to have the best educational institute in the County and people were definitely paying attention.

In 1893 two churches congregations had a central gathering place - The Episcopal Church (modern style building cost of $5,000) and the Baptist (costing $7,000). The latter became the foremost for the County of Annapolis.

The Migration of new residents was continuous as the Valley Telephone Co. opened up the area and the Commercial Bank came to town. The area had unquestionably become the best fruit growing region in Canada - all this by 1895. In that original short span of 15 years the pace for the popular modern day Town of Middleton was started.

It remains today as one of the most beautiful towns in the valley, or at least to me anyways. It’s tree lined streets are full of a mix of beautiful old homes and newer modern ones. There are even a few excellent examples of Victorian architecture that I love to call the “Painted Ladies”.

My mom lives just outside the town and every day while Todd and I were there we took a lovely long walk into town and back again. Each day as we walked we were overwhelmed with the beauty of the area. Here is a view from the roadway where we walked down into the town.

Here is a view from the bridge we had to cross to get into the town.

It crosses what is called the Annapolis River, which runs the whole length of the Annapolis Valley, winding and twisting it’s way through most of the towns and small villages along it’s beautiful banks. Actually I can remember when I was a child that they rerouted it so that it didn’t actually come up so close to the town of Middleton. It had a habit of overflowing it’s banks every spring and flooding some of the homes in the town regularly and so it was decided to re-route it a bit further out of the way so that wouldn’t happen anymore. As I recall it was quite a mammoth undertaking!

One thing that always amazes Todd when we are there, are the large number of huge trucks that come rumbling up and down the mountain into town carrying logs, the lumber industry being very big in the province. The smell of freshly cut wood as they drive past is very strong, and they always go by with a big rumble!!!

There’s a lot of unique things to see in the town such as the railway museum, McDonald School Museum, and the water clock, but the one thing that always impresses me is the spirit of the town. It is a very close knit community full of neighbours and friends, a community of people that care for and about each other, and in today’s insular climate and constantly evolving and changing communities, that’s a very good thing. It’s a small town with a very big heart!

No recipe today. This has been a reposting of my last trip home to Nova Scotia, some three years ago! I thought you might enjoy seeing where I am right now and to be perfectly honest, I am probably doing much the same thing as I do everytime I am home! I hope you enjoyed this little visit!


  1. Marie!!! So wonderful to see this post--even if it's a "re-run"! Such a beautiful place you're from, and as fate would have it, the same place (Annapolis Valley) that my dear sister-in-law is from! I'm here with her in Utah right now and she just read your post, and it made her homesick...

    She wonders if you knew her Mother at all...Debbie Herbert? (She's LDS) Just wondering!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I miss our daily visits!

    So much love sent to you in Canada from Utah...


  2. Just beautiful...I love the painted cute! Hope you are having a good time on your trip! :D

  3. I love this post. It is so beautiful I could so live in one of those homes in Nova Scotia. I see Prince Edward Island Joe and I have always wanted to go there perhaps one day we will. Thanks for sharing. love ya, cyndi

  4. I really needed a dose of Marie.
    What a pretty place. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I am glad you got to enjoy a lovely trip home. It looks like a beautiful place.

    Enjoy your weekend,


  6. I would want to stay forever Marie!
    You paint a wonderful picture of your homeland.
    Enjoy this visit and make lots of beautiful memories to sustain you when you return.
    Jeanie xxxxxx

  7. What a beautiful town! Glad to hear from you. Hope you are enjoying your trip and being with you family! xoxo

  8. Marie, you are a tease...I started reading and thought to myslef I don't think our Marie and Todd should be home yet...then read on and realised I had read this before !!!
    Hope ..well I don;t need to hope, I know you will be having a wonderful time. Com home soon,#
    Love Sybil xx

  9. I could not believe you were home already! Glad to know you are still in Nova Scotia...the land of Marie and Anne Murray!

    What a beautiful little town Middleton is and a great place to have memories of I am sure. I sure hope you are able to connect and communicate with all the kids!

    Love you, B

  10. Absolutely nice pictures Marie and what a joy know a bout you, I m sending you a lot of love and huggs for you and Todd, Love ya, gloria

  11. I just watched Anne of Green Gables- and can I just tell you- I am jealous! What a beautiful place to be!

    We miss your daily posts, but we are glad you are having such a great time!


  12. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway blog network: Giveaway Scout ( Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog ( ). thanks, Josh

  13. I hope you are having a wonderful time and enjoying a great visit with everyone!

  14. Gosh you had me going for a minute there until I realised this was a repost. You naughty thing you

  15. What a beautiful area you come from. I hope one day that I can visit there and see it for myself.

    We miss you but we are glad that you and Todd are having such a wonderful trip visiting with family. I am thinking of you with love and wishing you the best.
    Hugs, Lura

  16. Sooo much enjoyed this re-post Marie! I know you are having a wonderful time. Look forward to more tales & photos when you get back. I've not been online much in recent days as I've been unwell with a cold and then bronchitis... on the mend, I hope. Happy Days, dear friend... Miss you! :o) ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))

  17. Welcome home Marie - that time has flown past! A lovely post, I love reading and learning about new places. My dad and his wife did the cross country train trip across Canada for his 60th birthday a couple of years ago and loved it. Such amazing countryside. Glad you had a chance to spend some time away but lovely to have you back xxx

  18. looks so lovely, I love nova scotia who were the original inhabitants of the area?


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