a note for nova scotia


Dear Nova Scotia,

We first met somewhere on Cape Breton, remember? Gosh, yonks ago now. And we didn’t know you well then and assumed you were similar to Ontario, that there would be lodging everywhere, that we’d have our pick of places but that wasn’t the case, was it? And as we hadn’t booked a room for the night we had to drive well INTO the night to find a room amongst all that forest, all those cliffside ocean views, which quickly turned into deep darkness as we continued to find no place to stay… the steering wheel being gripped a little tighter in the process, given those thin, winding, cliffside roads.

And then… a place. But would there be a room?

There was.

A funky little room in a motel on the edge of who knows where. So dark we couldn’t see anything around us. Did we even have lunch that day? No idea. Only remember that we were starved for dinner so we asked the owner of the motel if there was a place we could buy some food, or get a bite to eat.

There wasn’t.

And what there was had closed hours ago.

But, he said, if we didn’t mind a sandwich he’d try and make us one himself.

Which he did and which I can’t remember what it was except wonderful.

In the morning we saw that the motel had a mini putt range and I’m sorry that I don’t remember the name of the place because I’d like to send it some love today. And to all the places we’ve visited in the many years since including my favourite tea shop where the owner proudly talks about the science of tea and his insistence on supporting only fair trade leaves and a most brilliant new library with a rooftop cafe (and the old one too, where staff once helped me look things up on microfiche), an off grid cottage, the hammocks of the Bay of Fundy and Halifax too and outdoor showers and the power of standing in the doors of Pier 21 where my mother and father and sister stood decades before. The easy chat in a pub you’ve never been to and the way you can bump into friends while walking down a busy street. Annapolis Royal’s gardens and fruit and the way it rivals BC wine country and Niagara combined. Small towns with parcel pick-up (still) in grocery stores (I’m looking at you, Mahone Bay). The fact that you create people who dream up dreameries and the way it’s possibly impossible to go anywhere without ending up talking to a guy in the park who was once the Harbourmaster of the Port of Halifax and who now likes to dance with his wife in the open air on a summer evening in a downtown garden. Because despite the slice of paradise that you are, dear Nova Scotia… your beauty is legendary… it’s the people, the people, the people…

And the friends we’ve made. Love to you, especially.

Dear Nova Scotia… I can hardly wait to see you again.


8 thoughts on “a note for nova scotia

  1. In a time of darkness it’s wonderful to read a reminder of what makes Nova Scotia so beautiful. While the views are spectacular the greatest gift this province offers is indeed the people, the people, the people! Thank you for telling it so eloquently when we needed it so badly. Emily

  2. Thanks for this beautiful post, Carin!

    Now I want to visit Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe & Dreamery, among other favourite haunts in beautiful Nova Scotia.

    …and I am so grateful to have friends and family who love slow conversations!


    Diana Cawfield

    1. Slow conversations. Music to my ears. (Mable Murple’s is a capital ‘D’ Destination; you will love it.) Always lovely to ‘see’ you, Diana. Thanks for kind words.

  3. This is heartwarming. You’ve also reminded me of the first time I went to the east coast (driving from southern Ont with my boyfriend) to see the ocean for the first time. I was 17. Too callow and self-involved at that age to notice people much. Mostly wowed by Cape Breton. But I recall the roadside stop where a woman had baked blueberry muffins, even though tourist season was over, because you never know. Someone might drive by, feeling peckish. So, yes, at my age now I can say: the people.

    1. What a great memory; I wonder if the woman would be surprised that along with the beauty of Cape Breton, those blueberry muffins linger…

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