The town of Annapolis Royal has to be on your must-visit list when you are exploring Nova Scotia. Home to the Mi’kmaq Indians for 4000 years before it became one of North America’s earliest European settlements in 1605. It was ruled by the French until 1710 when the British took over and renamed the town Annapolis Royal. It was the capital of Nova Scotia until 1749. The town is rich with history and boasts one of the best Candlelight Graveyard tours you’ll ever experience. If that wasn’t enough there is also a 17-acre garden for you to explore complete with woodlands, a Victorian Garden and a Rose Garden. Those should be enough to explain why Annapolis Royal is a must visit when you are touring Nova Scotia.
You cannot visit Annapolis Royal and not visit Fort Anne. It is the first national heritage site to be recognised in Canada and it plays a major part of the history of Atlantic Canada. A bastioned fort that is completely open to the public. There is a small museum on site with artefacts, murals and plenty of information about the defenders and the role of the fort.
What I loved was walking the grounds. You can walk the perimeter and down into the trenches as well. All built to protect the inhabitants.
The oldest building on the site dates back to French rule in 1708. It was the Powder Magazine building and it looks almost identical to when it was first built. You didn’t want to start a fire in that building as this is where they stored all their gunpowder.
A very short walk down St George street you will discover the 2015 Canadian Garden of the Year, Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. 17 acres of intimate and breathtaking horticultural beauty are all around you as you explore your way through the maze of trails.
Of particular note for me were three areas. The Victorian Garden in its multicoloured splendour.
The Rose Garden with the largest collection of roses in the Maritimes.
And this little pond surrounded by trees and shrubs. I could sit here and read a book all day long.
There is also a complete replica of an Acadian House tucked into a corner of the gardens. It is the only one fo its kind in the Maritimes and represents what the Acadians would have lived in pre the deportation to France and Louisiana.
All of this adventuring has me famished. Tonight it will be dining by the Sea at Restaurant Compose. Normal enough looking from the street it is the back dining area that wows with it’s view.
I dined on Schnitzel as the sunset came upon us. Not sure if you can schedule your meal for it but well worth the effort if you can arrange it.
Delicious and an almost perfect end to my day. I have only one thing left to do before I call it a night and that is a …
You have to stay awake till 9:15 pm for this adventure. It has been running since 1991 and the creator and guide Alan Melanson has only missed a handful of tours since he created it. Rated as the BEST in Nova Scotia, Alan is in full character for the tour.
We meet at Fort Anne and then follow Alan as he walks and talks us through the history towards the oldest English Graveyard in Canada. He knows almost every grave and family history in the cemetery. It really is a tour de force performance. In fact, almost 1/3 of the attendees are return guests who brought friends with them.
It only costs $9 for adults and $5 for kids. It is the cheapest and best 1.5 hours you will spend. Trust me.
This is just a tease of what you can explore in Annapolis Royal. There are plenty of neat shops, galleries and cafes to check out as well. I hope you enjoy Annapolis Royal as much as I have. My only regret is that I’m only spending a day here. Next time I’ll plan for a few more.