I awoke in Yarmouth to more fog and clouds on the harbor. After a brief stroll on the harbor walk I moved on to the wharf and then the Firefighters’ Museum of Nova Scotia. This was an interesting collection of artifacts, photos, documents and just about every type of fire engine used between the 1800s and 1930s, including Canada’s oldest horse-drawn steam engine. Horses were not included.
Before leaving Yarmouth I took the scenic road out of town to Cape Forchu to visit the lighthouse at the mouth of Yarmouth Harbor. On the way I passed a stone fishermen’s memorial placed on the site where the first ship was launched from the new settlement of Yarmouth in 1764. In the second bend of an S curve on the tiny two-lane road I came upon the bow of a fishing boat protruding into the shoulder of the road. It definitely grabs your attention and I couldn’t help but think how startling that would be if one was driving home late at night after a few too many pints of ale at the local pub. Holy cow!
The original Cape Forchu Lighthouse was a wooden, octagon shape constructed in 1839 and placed in service in January 1840. The light keeper’s home was attached and the house now contains a museum and tea room. In 1962 the lighthouse was replaced with the current structure, described as an “apple core” design. It is narrow in the middle and flared at the base and the top to provide more resistance to the high winds that accompany those howling Atlantic storms. Peering down at the rocks 120+ feet below it is hard to imagine waves so big that they would sometimes crash through the second story bedroom windows of the house and emerge down the stairs and out the front door.
I left the Yarmouth area on Provincial Route 3 with the local Acadian station on the radio. Cruising the back roads through little villages, grooving to the lively songs played with fiddles and spoons and soulful ballads sung in French & English, I was beginning to feel
as well as see
the area. I crossed the majestic Tusket River ~ a major waterway with 10 branches spanning three counties ~ and stumbled across Canada’s oldest courthouse and jail in the village of Argyle. Ever onward I drove to the Pubnico peninsula to the villages of West Pubnico, Middle West Pubnico and Lower West Pubnico.
Pubnico is the oldest Acadian village still inhabited by descendants of its founding families. It was settled in 1653 by a group led by Sier Phillippe d’Entremont. Its members were deported during the Acadian expulsions in 1756 and 1758 but returned here 11 years later and never left. My first stop was at the peninsula’s point to see the large wind farm there ~ a technology that Nova Scotia seems to have embraced with enthusiasm as wind towers are visible in many areas around the province. The next stop was historic Dennis Point Wharf, home to the largest lobster fishing fleet in Nova Scotia with over 200 lobster boats sailing in and out of this port. It is also home to the largest flock of sea gulls I have ever seen in one spot. This could have been the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s horror movie “The Birds”. One of the local lobster fishermen told me that they have been affectionately dubbed “The Pubnico Air Force”.
The Historic Acadian Village Museum is an authentic early-1900s Acadian Village set on 17 acres overlooking Pubnico Harbor. Some of the homes and buildings from the 1800s have been transported from sites in the local area and restored. Others are reconstructions of buildings that existed in that era. Members of the community have donated artifacts and staff the museum buildings wearing period dress, demonstrating the language, skills and customs of the time ~ from farming and gardening to boat building, blacksmithing, and fishery skills. Olin d’Entremont, a great-grandson of the town’s founder, was busy at work in the fish shed making a gill net. When finished, it will be 70 ft. x 20 ft. and contain over 3 million knots. Makes it easy to understand why most nets in use today are manufactured. I was also interested in the lobster claws mounted on his back wall that came from a 19 pound lobster. What a feast that would provide!!
After closing down the museum it was time to head up the South Shore toward the campground. After three nights in a motel, I was ready for the comforts of my Home Sweet Motorhome.
To view more pictures from Acadian Shores, visit my on-line web album