Pulling up to the shores of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and looking out from the deck of the ferry I couldn’t remember seeing such a quaint, more beautiful sight. The shores of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia looked very much like the shores of Georgetown, Maine where my family lives. Just as in Georgetown, life here seems to move a little slower; it seems a little less glitzy. Almost as if the people who live in this area are trying to hide from glamour and complexity.
We pulled up in the “Cat”, a high speed catamaran from the mainland United States. Our high speed transportation seemed like it was from another time. It sat in Yarmouth’s harbor among 50 year old fishing boats and peeling painted row boats. The Cape Forchu Light glowed in the fog welcoming us to Canada’s Acadian shores.
Acadians have lived in southwestern Canada and fished its shores for over 400 years. The people that live in southwestern Canada haven’t changed much since then. They are still fishermen, devout Catholics, and they are still weary of outsiders. The Acadian people who live here today are social but not overly so. They prefer to keep to themselves and some even prefer to speak the Acadian/French language of their ancestors. For Acadians life is a double edged sword because Canadians from mainland Canada and Americans spend their money freely over the summer in Nova Scotia and most of it is spent touring its Acadian shores.
My husband and I chose not to tour Nova Scotia’s Acadian shores by car but by bicycle. This allowed us to get off the beaten path so to speak and visit places that we couldn’t visit by car. The drive through southwestern Nova Scotia is beautiful and one can certainly appreciate the quaintness of the villages that dot its coastline but by bicycling along the coastline we were welcomed to the Acadian shoreline in a way that we will soon not forget.
We visited the Acadian shoreline in late August. The weather was cool; not at all what most Americans would expect for late August. The fog was heavy with mist and the winds that came off the Atlantic were strong enough to cancel the Yarmouth Cup races that were scheduled for that day. But the weather was perfect for a summertime bike ride through the countryside.
We visited many churches that had been nestled in small villages, some for over 300 years. We greeted Acadian people in their native language. They eagerly greeted us back pleased that we respected their culture enough to greet them in such a manner. We took time to walk along some Acadian beaches and enjoyed watching the fishermen bringing in their daily catches. We are convinced that we could have never done all of this without taking the time to bicycle around southwestern Canada.
Visitors should be made aware that again life does move slower in Nova Scotia. Some visitors from the US mainland and even Canadian visitors expect to do lots of shopping at local malls, and enjoy an action packed visit to Nova Scotia. But life is not that way in southwestern Nova Scotia. When visiting Acadian Nova Scotia bring your binoculars, your camera, your love of culture and a quaint frame of mind. Your trip will be an experience you will soon not forget.