Lunenburg is billed as one of the most attractive towns in Nova Scotia and it is. I can also tell you that after visiting other supposedly attractive towns we came to appreciate it more and more. Lunenburg is filled with brightly painted buildings, excellent restaurants, and old fashioned sailing ships.
The back bay. This was the view from the porch of the home we stayed in. Anyone with less fortitude than I would not have survived tea every morning with this pastoral panorama.
Lunenburg is home of the Bluenose, an award winning schooner. We took a ride out on the Bluenose II, which I will describe in another post.
The town itself sits atop a hill and its gridded lanes are filled with 100 year old homes, flower boxes, and tall trees. Walking around town, particularly in the 30°C heat was a trial, however. The steep hills would normally have been trivial for us Coloradans but in the heat they resulted in near prostration. The town's real charm showed after Hurricane Bill had sucked the heat away and the fog returned. The old-fashioned signs, the filigree, and the street lamps all took on a special aura in the fog. This is a good thing since fog is Lunenburg's natural habitat.
Because of the heat, I found myself drinking a great deal of beer on this trip. Most of the iced tea is sweetened and the sodas were sold by the can and also full of sugar. I found that the local brew Keith's fit the bill nicely and could be had in grog bowl quantities, a blessing on a hot day.
In 1995 the old town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While a boost for tourism the locals were less than pleased. As anyone who has lived in a historic district knows, maintaining a home to historic standards is a pain. Every possible modification has to be approved. God forbid indoor plumbing should be desired.
A few shots of Lunenburg Homes
Lunenburg was settled not by the British, but by German, Swiss, and French immigrants. A memorial to the early settlers exists on Bunkhouse Hill and the names engraved on the stones are still seen in the phone book today.
There are decent shops and nice galleries throughout the town, which tempt the walker away from the waterfront. We found the restaurants right along the harbor to be quite average although seafood was plentiful. Lunenburg does boast two fine dining establishments, one of which, the Fleur de Sel, was voted the best restaurant for 2008 for all of Nova Scotia. It was quite good but pricey as one might expect.
Sailing seems to be the national pastime of Nova Scotians. There were many in the harbor and other bays and inlets.
Since we had a house to stay in, we decided to hit the grocery store and stock up. There are two in town and both were very small. Seafood was sparse and much more expensive than beef or pork. The vegetables were also lacking, which explained why we didn't get any in our dinners out. It seems that many of the locals drive to Bridgeport about 20 minutes away to really stock up.
Many of the folks that live in Lunenburg are retired. There is not much work in the area outside of the tourism industry.
As a base of operations, Lunenburg proved ideal. We could easily travel north to Peggy's Cove and south to the many beaches that dot the nooks and crannies of the coastline.