Halifax Greek Festival

This past weekend, my friend and I decided to check out the Halifax Greek Festival in Purcell’s Cove. Although I hadn’t heard of the event prior to seeing a Facebook post, it was certainly something I needed to check off my bucket list.

IMG_2663We began the day a bit late and arrived in the city around 2 p.m. Although the roads were jam-packed with cars, we were able to find a spot to park. As we entered, we were immediately greeted by a woman passing out brochures. We then proceeded to a tented area and paid the $5 entry fee. Following the stream of people, I noticed many activities for kids like face painting and a “Kid’s Olympics” area. There were also several tents displaying Greek culture, food, and historical artifacts. We then waited in a line for about 10 to 15 minutes to buy food vouchers, waited again in the “kitchen” area for my plate, then waited once more in the grill line for my friend’s food. While we waited, we were treated to the Keravnos live band and, later, a traditional Greek performance by the senior dancers.

IMG_2662Although the food was a bit expensive and the lines were long, it was well worth the time and money. I ordered the vegetarian dish ($12) which included a Greek salad, roasted potatoes (so delicious!), stuffed green pepper with rice and herbs, dolmathes (feta stuffed in grape leaves), spanakopita, tiropita and a slice of bread to top it off. I was pleasantly surprised and completely full. Nevertheless, this did not stop me from admiring a dessert tray which presented several Greek delicacies. For $3 each (again, a bit steep in price) I bought two desserts, baklava and diples. Although both treats were delicious, the baklava stole my heart – and filled my stomach.

IMG_2660

After our late lunch, we decided to explore a bit more of Purcell’s Cove and saw a number of ships docked in the bay.

IMG_2664IMG_2671IMG_2673 (1)IMG_2679IMG_2674IMG_2675

We then returned at 4 p.m. for a tour of the Greek church. Throughout my travels, I’ve seen a fair share of churches, but this one was definitely in my top ten. Despite having a nondescript exterior, the inside was beautifully painted.

IMG_2678

Overall, I would definitely recommend the event for anyone who enjoys Greek food, Greek culture, or who wants a great family day to get out and support your local community.

Advertisements

Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival

Last Saturday, a few friends and I headed down to the annual Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville. Over the past few years, I’ve travelled during the month of May, so I was never home to experience the event. I was, therefore, pretty excited that I could go this year and see what all the hype was about.

Honestly, my friends and I had no idea what to expect or what to do. From what I knew, the festival was a community/family day, complete with parades, vendors and various other events that took place earlier in the week. For others, the day is an excuse to party.

We arrived in Kentville around 12 p.m and waited about an hour and a half before the parade started. In the meantime, we explored the vendors – which were largely food trucks (I had onion rings, yum!). As a huge fan of parades, I was extremely impressed with the number of floats and community organizations. Later, my friends had a few beers (I was DD) and we shared a huge plate of nachos at Paddy’s Pub.

IMG_2434

Beer tent outside Paddy’s Pub

IMG_2439

The sun decided to shine for all of half an hour

IMG_2444.JPG

Beautiful henna by Halifax Henna

By 4 p.m., most of the vendors had packed up and were about to leave. We also decided to head out, but not without seeing the apple blossoms first!

IMG_2446

Rows of apple blossoms

IMG_2459IMG_2482IMG_2485

Have you ever been to the Apple Blossom Festival? What are some of your favourite things to do there?

 

Cobequid Eco-Trails

There’s nothing I love more than finding lesser-known hiking spots. This past weekend, a few friends and I trekked through the Gully Lake Wilderness Area located near Earltown. The forested area features two large hiking loops for hikers of all levels. The Sandy Cope Lake Trail boasts 6.4 km while more advanced hikers might prefer the Gully Lake trail with a total length of 10 km. We opted for the Sandy Cope Lake Trail and were not disappointed.

IMG_1973IMG_1974IMG_1975IMG_1977

IMG_1979

The view we came for!

IMG_1980

Our picnic didn’t last long. Too many bugs!

IMG_1981

While the woods didn’t provide any shade, the cold water and breeze was a relief!

IMG_1982

IMG_1993

Taking a dip

We eventually made it back to the car and decided to make a day of it. We headed to the one store in Earltown, the Earltown General Store (blink and you’ll miss it!), and cooled off with drinks and ice cream. I highly recommend their Oxford Blueberry ice cream. Local and delicious!

IMG_1996

We (finally!) had our picnic lunch down by the water in Tatamagouche. Clearly we were excited about it.IMG_1997IMG_1998

And of course we got to enjoy this beautiful view!

Do you have a favourite hiking spot in Nova Scotia? Let me know!

A Quintessential Guide to Nova Scotia for First Time Visitors

When travelling outside of Nova Scotia, I always speak with pride and passion about my home province. Perhaps even obnoxiously, as some of my university friends could attest to. Since I am constantly trying to convince people to visit, I decided to create a list of the best destinations Nova Scotia has to offer.

  1. Halifax

The most well-known place to tourists, Halifax is an obvious choice for first time visitors. Learn about our military history at Citadel Hill, shop on Spring Garden and Barrington Street, stroll along the waterfront and learn about our immigration history at Pier 21. Head downtown for dinner at a number of amazing locally-sourced restaurants, then head to the waterfront for some Cow’s ice cream or a Beavertail.

banner0_0.jpg

Source: Destination Halifax

  1. Beaches (anywhere!)

In Nova Scotia, we have some amazing beaches. If you’re staying close to Halifax, I suggest Lawrencetown or Crystal Crescent Beach which are only about half an hour away from the city. My personal favourite is Melmerby Beach, located near New Glasgow. After a day well-spent on the beach, head to New Glasgow’s famous Acropole Pizza joint and grab a slice. Pizza and beach, what more do you need?

2015-07-11 16.38.06.jpg

  1. Bay of Fundy

Although watching the tide roll in is a bit anti-climactic, a trip to Nova Scotia wouldn’t be complete without learning about the tidal bore. To add a bit of fun to your “fun”dy experience, be sure to try whitewater river-rafting up the Shubenacadie River. There are many guided tours to choose from too! Check out River Runners, Shubenacadie River Adventure Tours or White Water Adventures to get the full Fundy experience!

tidal_bore_rafting_shubenacadie_river_nova_scotia.jpg

Source: Google

  1. Victoria Park

I’m a little biased to include this on the list, but with any friends that come to visit, I make sure to show them Truro’s natural treasure. With a playground area and many different trails and waterfalls, Victoria Park has something for everyone. While you’re here, be sure to walk downtown and enjoy many of the creative local shops my hometown has to offer!

2015-12-30 15.46.13

  1. Sydney

You won’t truly experience Nova Scotia unless you head up north to Cape Breton. Cape Breton is deeply rooted in its Scottish heritage and a visit to Sydney is a must for those who wish to see Nova Scotia’s different cultures. Speak with the locals, visit the world’s giant fiddle and learn a wee bit of Gaelic while you’re there!

Sydney Cruise Pavilion.500.jpg

Source: Google

  1. Lunenburg

An idyllic fishing village is often the stereotype for those not familiar with Nova Scotia. Lucky for them, we have that too! Visit Lunenburg to view colourful houses and shops, ships on the water, and maybe a few buoys. Having visited for the first time last year, Lunenburg has quickly become one of my favourite towns in NS. For visitors who want the “Bluenose experience”, a visit to Lunenburg is essential.

2015-09-05 14.06.45.jpg

  1. Yarmouth & the South Shore

Keep heading south from Lunenburg to Yarmouth and take in the picturesque landscape of rocky hillsides and beautiful lakes. Stop in to the small towns of Liverpool and Shelburne for a bite to eat and to chat with the locals. You can also visit the Kejimkujik National Park to camp, canoe, and hike your way into Nova Scotia backcountry. In Yarmouth, be sure to check out the Cape Forchu lighthouse and eat some Nova Scotia delicacies at the Red Shed.

2015-08-07 11.50.23.jpg

  1. Annapolis Valley

My favourite thing to do in Nova Scotia is to visit family down in “the valley”. Sprawling farmland, vineyards and small communities characterize the drive down Highway 101. If you head this way, make sure to hop on one of the many winery tours. There are also many hiking opportunities with beautiful look-offs. Cape Split is a personal favourite.

2015-08-15 16.13.42.jpg

  1. Peggy’s Cove

Located about 50 minutes outside of Halifax, Peggy’s Cove is a necessary experience for a first time visitor to Nova Scotia. Walk on the smooth rocks, take pictures by the famous lighthouse, and feel that ocean breeze. Because of its proximity to the ocean, do not walk on the black rocks as it can get quite slippery and people have been known to fall in.

2014 015.JPG

  1. Cabot Trail

Arguably the most beautiful scenery in Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail is the ultimate Nova Scotian road trip. Autumn is the prime time to see the leaves change to a mix of orange, red and yellow.

Cabot_Trail_Westside.jpg

Source: Google

Do you have a favourite spot in Nova Scotia? Let me know in the comments!