Winter Travel ’09: Nova Scotia

Eagles soar. Dogs skijor?

091116_travel_NS_wideIN THE DEAD OF WINTER MUSIC FESTIVAL/HALIFAX (Jan. 26 to 30)
The East Coast, and Halifax in particular, is known for a vibrant independent music scene. Since 2006, the IDOW festival, organized by a group of local musicians, has featured artists from Canada and the U.S. performing a series of acoustic sets at venues throughout the city. Past festival performers include Matt Mays, Joel Plaskett and Buck 65.

SHEFFIELD MILLS EAGLE WATCH/SHEFFIELD MILLS (the last two weekends in January)
Every year, bald eagles make this Annapolis Valley community a favourite winter retreat between late November and early March. The best viewing opportunities are said to be mid-morning. On the weekends of Jan. 23 and 30, a naturalist is on hand to answer questions, and there’s a related art exhibit at the community centre. Guests can also partake in a pancake and sausage breakfast.

Icewine isn’t the first thing to come to mind when planning an East Coast getaway, but the Nova Scotia Icewine Festival is proof that there are plenty of award-winning vintners in the region. The 10-day event, hosted by the Winery Association of Nova Scotia, will be the third annual celebration and features vineyard tours, wine tastings, gourmet dinners and cooking classes.

Covering 400 sq. km of inland lakes and forests, Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site is a ruggedly beautiful all-season woodland with over 50 km of groomed trails for backcountry skiing and a perfect site for winter camping. The park is home to centuries of Mi’kmaq history, and boasts one of the largest collections of rock carvings in North America. Kejimkujik is said to mean “tired muscles,” which is exactly what to expect after strapping on snowshoes and traversing the natural trails that snake through the park. But the natural beauty of the place makes it all worthwhile.

SKIJORING/BADDECK (November to March)
In what has to rank as one of the stranger sports, skijoring involves wearing a pair of cross-country skis and becoming attached, by a bungee cord, to the harness of an Eskimo dog (another variation of the sport includes a horse). This wild winter ride is best suited for the experienced cross-country skier. For something a little more traditional, climb aboard a dogsled that’s hitched to a team of Eskimo dogs and hurtle through a winter wonderland.


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