In the cozy, colourful seaside town of Shelburne, you can connect with arts, crafts, culture, and cuisine.
I know a thing or two about having adventures in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. After all, this is where I had my infamous "anti-adventurist" moment when I attempted axe throwing! (You can read all about it here - thankfully, nothing was hurt but my pride). However, there are plenty of much cozier, low-key, micro-adventures to enjoy in this pretty seaside community, with no weapons, tools, or farm implements required! If you're lucky enough to find yourself in southern Nova Scotia, here are some of the treats you can enjoy.
Enjoy happy hour at Cooper's Inn
Cooper's Inn is more than a comfortable place to stay in Shelburne. It is an icon in its own right. This hundreds-year-old inn is filled with homey charms and is famous for its bountiful breakfasts. However, it was the gorgeous garden that won my heart. Couldn't you just see yourself sitting among the plants and enjoying a nice book... and maybe a glass of wine? New owner Amanda welcomes guests to join her for a complimentary glass of wine in the garden most days. It's a lovely way to discover some tasty sips from Nova Scotia's finest vineyards and unwind from the day.
Observe the art of dory building
It would be easy to say that a dory is a small wooden fishing boat and leave it at that. However, while that description is accurate, it doesn't tell the whole story.
The dory's compact, elegant, reliable design revolutionized the fishing industry along the northeast coast of North America. For decades, Shelburne was the dory building capital of the world until changes to the industry made the small vessel all but redundant in modern practices. Thankfully, the art and skill of dory-making lives on in the Dory Shop Museum, catering to clients and showcasing the area's heritage for visitors. My favourite dory-related fact is that you never bail water out of them during a storm - you actually bail water IN. The added weight makes the boat sit much lower in the water, improving stability.
Browse the gift shop at the Shelburne County Museum
Oh, I just loved this little gift shop! I wish I had taken more photos to show you how amazingly cozy it is. One of the standout products is the homemade soaps and toiletries - they make the entire museum smell nice (sorry, other small community museums. We all know that you usually smell a bit dusty and musty!)
I also loved the gorgeous pottery (I brought home two mugs) and the small homemade baskets (I got two of them as well). I could have easily done all my holiday shopping here if I had the time. In short, this is a wonderful place to get made-in-Nova Scotia souvenirs.
Reflect on history at Ross Thomson Home and Store Museum
A visit to the Ross Thomson Museum offers powerful insights into Shelburne's earliest days. This rare property dates to 1785, one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Nova Scotia. Here you can learn how the Loyalists in the area lived, which can be both fascinating and also sobering - enslaved people lived in the community and their story is often overlooked and untold.
Photograph the famous waterfront
No visit to Nova Scotia is complete without plenty of time by the sea and Shelburne doesn't disappoint. Its historic waterfront, complete with colourful, old-fashioned buildings, cheerful fishing boats, and beautiful views is exactly the kind of picture-perfect coastal view you were dreaming of.
Enjoy some delicious food
During my time in Shelburne, I had the chance to twice eat at The Ship's Galley, a charming spot favoured by locals that serves up a mean plate of fish and chips and also regularly has French onion soup on the menu, a perpetual fav of mine. I can also recommend Moe's Shake Shack, which is a great spot for picking up Nova Scotia-famous ice cream flavours like Moon Mist.
Funnily enough, I've never been to my "favourite" restaurant in Shelburne. The Beandock has utterly captured my imagination. I mean, who doesn't love a cozy seaside coffee nook? I wanted to visit so badly but, alas, it's always been closed during my free time in village. Another popular spot, Charlotte Lane Cafe, is also on my future list as it was closed during my visit. I guess that's all the more reason to return!
If you enjoyed this piece, you'll also like:
Tales From the Anti-Adventurist: Vanessa Goes Axe Throwing In Shelburne
Cozy Things To Do in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Exploring Georges Island National Historic Site in Halifax
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