The Great Outdoors
If your idea of paradise is the outdoors, then Second Paradise is for you. Tour the bay in the rowboat, or explore the beautiful coastline by kayaking Nova Scotia’s many secluded beaches. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself suddenly surrounded by a curious seal family. Fish from a boat or the wharf, or harvest mussels and clams. And for the purest of all sea activities, jump from the wharf and feel yourself slowly drifting away with the tides.
If that sounds too wet or energetic, you might prefer beachcombing or a walk in the woods to look for mushrooms. You might want to take a bike tour along the Second Peninsula. Then again, you might just choose to relax in the hammock.
Within a 5- to 20-minute drive from Second Paradise, you can rent a sailboat to explore the waters of Mahone Bay with its legendary 365 islands, one for every day of the year. Or you could book a sailing day trip, a guided kayak tour, go for bird or whale watching, wreck diving, deep sea fishing, golfing, tennis, biking, hiking and a lot more.
Rich Culture and Heritage
The picturesque town of Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunenburg’s architecture reflects a strong European influence. Historic buildings and stately heritage homes add to the unique charm of Lunenburg’s tree-lined streets. Old Town Lunenburg, founded in 1753, is an outstanding example of British colonial settlement in North America, in terms both of its conception as a model town plan and its remarkable level of conservation. The area’s fine artisans capture the tradition of their Maritime heritage in their work with handcarved duck decoys, ship models, pottery and beautiful paintings displayed in local art galleries and gift shops.
Just a few out of many more things you could see or do: Take a sailing tour on Bluenose II, the replica of the famous schooner on the Dime. Have some hands-on fun from the Touch Tanks to the decks of a Salt Bank schooner at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. Witness one of Nova Scotia’s premier, preserved parklands and home to the nesting Piping Plovers at the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct. Explore the sea caves at nearby Ovens Natural Park. Go back in time on a working farm from the 1800s at Ross Farm Museum. Participate in hands-on programs while learning about how raw wool is transformed at the Wile Carding Mill Museum in Bridgewater. Tag a lobster on an educational, research-based experience with Lobsterman Tours. Dive the wreck of the “HMCS Saguenay” at the Lunenburg Marine Park. A large variety of other activities happen year-round in the Mahone Bay Centre.
Nova Scotia Birding
Nova Scotia has hosted about 475 species of birds over the years and a great number of these have been sighted in Lunenburg County. The combination of boreal forests, salt water, oceanfront cliffs, numerous uninhabited islands, and countless lakes, ponds and rivers, makes the South Shore a very attractive habitat for a wide variety of birds.
Prominent among them is the official provincial bird, the Osprey. This magnificent raptor, called a “fish hawk’ by the locals, can be seen hunting over Lunenburg Harbour, the nearby LaHave River, and all along the many beautiful beaches within a short drive from Second Peninsula. In late spring and early summer, birders can watch the Osprey raising their young in huge nests that have been built on hydro pole platforms put up for their use on Indian Path, a 15-minute drive from Lunenburg. At the end of the beach where Second Peninsula narrows, there is an osprey nest that can easily be observed through binoculars. The peninsula itself boasts many species of warblers, ducks, shorebirds, and cliff swallows at the very end.
Always be on the lookout for the splendid Bald Eagles which are regular summer visitors. Lunenburg Harbour usually has three gull species in the summer and in winter this number rises to seven. Just outside Lunenburg, on the way to the quaint fishing village of Blue Rocks, is a large wetland called Back Oler Marsh. You can get a great view of it from the roadside and should stop to have a look for Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, and Little Blue Herons that are present there quite regularly along with various shorebirds.
East of Lunenburg, Westhaver Beach and Princes Inlet Drive often have three species of terns – Roseate, Common, and Arctic. Carolina Wrens, Northern Mockingbirds, and American Coots are uncommon visitors there, as well as nesting Northern Orioles. If you go further east, past Mahone Bay to the road that leads through Oakland to Indian Point, you will see many warbler and duck species. Great-crested Flycatchers can be seen there also. Long Hill, on the west side of Mahone Bay, is an excellent birding site, especially during migration when it is home to Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Blackburnian Warblers, Grey Catbirds and a number of woodpecker species.
For a real treat, you can take a day trip from Lunenburg to Cherry Hill Beach. First drive to the ferry landing on the LaHave and onto the ferry for a short trip across this beautiful wide river; then turn left as you leave the ferry. A quick stop at the unique LaHave Bakery for lunch and a peek at their craft co-op will set you up for a scenic half-hour drive along the shore to Cherry Hill. This is the closest beach to Lunenburg that hosts the endangered Piping Plover from May to midsummer. Watch carefully for these tiny shorebirds as you make your way along this almost pristine beach. Take a look in the sky for diving Northern Gannets and take note of the many shorebird species that inhabit the mudflats behind the dunes in July and August. Willets, Semi-palmated Plovers and Sandpipers, White-rumped and Least Sandpipers, Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlins, Whimbrels, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and American Golden and Black-bellied Plovers are there in abundance. Good Nova Scotia birding!