My favourite cozy things to do in Yarmouth include watching artists work by the seashore, visiting a lovely cafe, and shivering over ghost stories.
The small town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, seems purpose-built for coziness. Between the delightful views of the harbour, the fresh seafood served in local restaurants, and the area's strong cultural connections, you have a recipe for a snug visit and amazing travel memories. I had visited the area before as many people do, during a short stop after taking the ferry over from Maine. I had never spent significant time in the region until this summer when I attended a conference in Yarmouth. It was the perfect way to check out the community's homiest spots and I'm happy to share my favourite cozy things to do in Yarmouth so your visit can be equally as nice.
Check out the artists by the shore
Yarmouth's harbour and waterfront walkway is the town's heart and soul, its centre of commerce, and the best place for visitors to feel a sense of community. When the weather is warm on the weekends (and sometimes even when it's not), you'll find artists at work by the water, often with a little table or stand selling their completed works. The Yarmouth Art Society has additional information on artistic events and activities talking place in the area.
Enjoy the market of the farmer's market
Yarmouth's delightful Saturday morning farmer's market is blessed with an indoor space, which means a warm, dry place for people to gather (those spring-time winds off the water are no joke!) It also offers great acoustics for the live music which accompanies the shopping. The combination of produce, homemade meals and baked goods, cider and wine, and crafts and household goods available means that no one leaves empty handed. I skipped out on a bit of a conference lecture (sorry)! to drop into the market and I'm so glad that I did. It was wonderful.
Visit Sip Cafe
On my first morning of the conference, I strolled down to Sip Cafe to grab a proper latte (sorry, conference coffee... you didn't cut it) and enjoy some quiet time as I prepared for my day. I saw one or two other attendees and we all shared a nod but things were pretty quiet overall. By the next morning, word had gotten out as to just how wonderful Sip was and there was a line that stretched to the door! Good things in this town don't stay a secret for long. In addition to their full menu of coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, Sip also offers gelato, 'shivers', baked goods, and light lunch items.
Take a selfie at the Maud Lewis frame
Canada's most famous folk artist, Maud Lewis, was born and grew up just steps from the town's central Frost Park - but many local residents don't know it. A persistent piece of mis-information, that Lewis was born in the nearby rural area of South Ohio, continues to circulate but Yarmouth was indeed this acclaimed creator's youthful home. Perhaps this is why Lewis's life and art aren't celebrated more in the area but there is one wonderful tribute that everyone can take in. A "selfie station" is positioned at the top of Frost Park, overlooking the harbour. It features Lewis's portrait of the Bluenose schooner, another Nova Scotia icon, as a backdrop for selfies. It's well positioned to help viewers imagine what kinds of scenes the young artist might have observed for herself down at the waterfront.
Visit the less-famous lighthouses
Cape Forchu, with its tall, narrow 'apple core' design and spectacular views, is Yarmouth's pride and joy and a must-see destination for any visitor. However, I must confess that I think there are other lighthouses in the community that warrant equal consideration. Take, for instance, the adorable mini lighthouse that graces the harbour. Sure, it's not exactly involved in Maritime navigation but it sure is cute. Another spot to photograph is the adorably nicknamed Bug Light. Located off Bunker's Island and accessible at low tide, Bug Light seems awfully lonely, stuck out on the ocean by itself, but it was actually a thriving family home in addition to being a working lighthouse for decades before its services were automated.
(But stop and smell the roses at Cape Forchu)
No trip to Yarmouth is complete without a trip to Cape Forchu and for good reasons. This is a rare lighthouse you can actually climb and the views from the top are just stunning. There's also a nice gift shop and the lobster rolls from the little lunch window are as good as any I've had. But the real cozy treat are the pretty trails around the lighthouse grounds. Wild roses have run, well, wild around here and the result is that the air carries the scent of roses everywhere you go. Consider this your reminder to not only stop and smell the roses but to WALK and smell them as well!
Search for these sensational buoys
As you drive out to Cape Forchu, a colourful collection will catch your eyes on the right hand side of the road. This is the #YarBarBuoyWall and, given that there's a sign with the hashtag posted nearby, I suspect the colourful collection was designed in part to encourage people to stop and take photos. Message received! This is a fun little spot to grab some memorable vacation snaps.
Go for a ghostly walk
Yarmouth is just filled with old buildings, historic homes, and maritime folklore. You better believe there are some spooky stories in there as well! Mile East Productions offer an "Introduction to Yarmouth" tour in July and August and an "Eerie and Ominous" tour that runs from May to October. I was fortunate to enjoy a combination of the two as part of my conference programming and I'd love to return for the full ghostly experience - it would make for the perfect autumn outing.
Get some great gifts at this museum shop
Ah, the things I wish I had a better photo for! You'll have to accept my word for it that the small gift shop inside the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives is a superb one. It doesn't offer much space but it has an excellent collection of books from local and provincial authors, homemade crafts, a good selection of Maud Lewis-themed items, and much more. I can't think of a better stop to grab something to remember your trip by.
If you're spending more time in Nova Scotia, you'll enjoy these blog posts:
How To Explore Georges Island National Historic Site in Halifax
Visiting Fortress Louisbourg 101
Dining Onboard A Historic Railcar In Tatamagouch
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