July 6th, 2010

Halifax Highlights

I went to Halifax for just shy of 48 hours, so all impressions are non-representative and possibly erroneous, but I really did like it. For so short a stay, I managed to rack up a lot of delightful impressions. In no particular order:

The Halifax Public Gardens are what they sound like–a big pretty park filled with elaborate flowerbeds and little rivlets, ponds, and lawns. So pretty, it smells really good, and I can’t think of a Toronto equivalent. Also, apparently where they filmed those sketches of the two old ladies walking and snarking on This Hour Has 22 Minutes back in the day.
–Fiddlers at the waterfront. I suppose is a Maritime stereotype, but it is awfully pleasant to listen to the music while you are strolling along eating your Cows ice cream (strictly a PEI product, but available in Halifax and equally enjoyable there).
–The waterfront! Giant blue wave/tongue sculpture, happy roaming crowds, scampering children, boats coming in and out, peanut-butter-company-sponsored person in bear costume (might not be a permanent fixture). Touristy? Hells yeah, but so delightful on a sunny Saturday afternoon after days of rain and chill.
–The nice crewpeople on the My Summer Bay deepsea fishing boat. I like boats, but was was scared of the ladder (it had a missing rung) and they were very patient with me.
–Little boy who staggered across the sand towards his beckoning mother at Point Pleasant Park, calling plaintively, “What kind of sandwich is it?”
McNab Island is not strictly in Halifax but just visible from from the harbour. It is where the My Summer Bay took us, and it is also delightful (once you struggle up the ladder to the dock). About 3 hours of (admittedly lackadaisical) hiking barely scratched the surface of all the woods and beach there.
–Oatcakes!!! I had experienced something I thought was an oatcake in the past, and it tasted approximately like a limp whole-wheat dinner roll. A genuine Nova Scotia oatcake is like a chewy, not very sweet giant oatmeal cookie. Or maybe not always: I only had two from an ice-cream shack down by the water, and three more from Second Cup (shared; over the course of several days; ok, it was something of an oatcake binge). I have heard rumour of a crispy type of oatcake I would like to experience as well. And then I will try to find a recipe (any advice, blog readership?) and attempt to transport this wonderful phenomenon back to Ontario.
–The very sweet bartender at Pogue Fado who said there were no servers on and therefore no table service on Sunday night, then proceeded to serve all the tables all by herself. Thanks!
–Silky orange cat encountered in the parking lot of our inn, who wanted nothing more than his belly rubbed and wasn’t too proud to ask for it.

It was a really great time, and I’m not even counting the Peggy’s Cove excursion and the various nice meals and the conversations eavesdropped upon, and the unusually large seagulls. I hope to get back soon.

PS==I also was in Moncton for a night, and had an equally delightful time, but feel unqualified to comment upon the actual city. This is because all I did was attend a 12 hour house party, sleep, and then eat breakfast at Hynes Restaurant (which was very good and crowded at 11am on a Tuesday, which tells you something or other about Moncton). So, while I can say nothing about the city of Moncton as a whole, I can say that the people at that particular party were awesome, though they could’ve been a little gentler about my failings at croquet.

4 Responses to “Halifax Highlights”

  • Troy Jollimore says:

    O you are making me homesick . . .

  • AMT says:

    i choose to believe that the peanutbutter bear is there EVERY SINGLE DAY, all day long. this will sustain me for some time, i think.

  • Amy says:

    You know, I had no idea that oatcakes were a Maritime thing. I basically lived on them during university.

    One time we camped at McNab’s and discovered a rave. Also, there are these abandoned cottages there that are pretty much the creepiest places on earth in the middle of the night. One had a broken toaster sitting on the front lawn.

  • Rebecca says:

    Apparently, oatcakes were originally a Scottish thing, transplanted and improved upon in “New Scotland.”

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