We arrived in Halifax late at night. It was our first visit to this seaside city in Nova Scotia, and we had finally come in order to embark on our first Canada/New England cruise.
Colleen and I have cruised in many regions of the world, but had yet to check off a voyage in this region, and it was about time. Awaking the next morning after a pleasant rest, we were excited to spend a day in this charming city, with the weather cooperating. We visited on the first week of September, and the summer season was stubbornly hanging on, much to our delight.
I could see from the sixth-floor window of our room at the Westin Nova Scotian hotel that the Halifax Harbourwalk that people were beginning to start their days, and the area would soon be bustling.
Halifax is a destination on many New England and Canada cruise itineraries. These sailings are especially popular for "Fall Foliage" voyages. The cruises travel along the coastline in the Atlantic, and you can explore old towns and cities rich in history, culinary delights and even spot whales who are still roaming the feeding grounds until late October.
More than 400,000 people live in Halifax, with 75 percent concentrated near Halifax Harbour. So, we were located right in the heart of the action, and this was apparent as we saw residents out for their daily runs, bike rides and walks. There were plenty of tourists, too, as Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, Holland America Line's Veendam and Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn cruise ships all were in port that morning.
We would be joining the new Scenic Eclipse expedition ship which arrived in port that afternoon. Our cruise would take us to Portland, Maine; Martha's Vineyard and New York City.
But first, we found a few things we loved about staying near Halifax Harbour.
This history of this market dates to one year after the founding of Halifax. The market was created by Royal Proclamation in June 1750 and has existed at several locations and reigns as the longest continuously running market in North America. It was moved to its current seaport facility in 2010 and is home to more than 250 vendors.
Come to wander around and at least get a view of the harbor area and out to McNabs Island.
Speaking of this island, it's a wonderful spot for nature lovers to check out. Located at the mouth of the harbor and just a short water taxi ride from the Harbourwalk, you can head over to take a hike or history tour.
This spot immediately caught our eyes. Located right in front of the Harbourwalk at the Farmer's Market, Garrison started its craft brew business in 1997. The large production facility, bar and company store right at the seaport offers tours and a cool environment to hang out and try varieties like Seaport Blonde, Rise and Stein hefeweizen, Georgia Peach Pale and Juicy! (a double IPA).
This museum commemorates the city's role as the gateway to Canada for people coming to seek a new life in a new land. Open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily from May 1 to October 31, the facility sits on the Pier 21 National Historic Site. The museum offers a chance to learn about more than 400 years of immigration history in Canada.
The wide boardwalk is constructed with heavy timber wood and stretches more than 2.5 miles along the harbor and marina, a long inlet that reaches the North Atlantic. The boardwalk area is filled with restaurants (be sure to grab a lobster roll), pub, shops and activities to enjoy. We saw ice cream stands, poutineries, pizza joints, pubs (Halifax boasts the most per capita in Canada), craft breweries and a beer garden. You can rent bikes or take Segway tours or boat excursions.
You can choose from a simple sightseeing Harbour Hopper tour, whale watching outings or sailing on a tall ship.
This attraction is closed Mondays but otherwise open daily from November to April. This is the museum to learn about Nova Scotia's rich relationship with the sea. The site includes exhibits about boatbuilding, the 1917 Halifax Explosion and the Titanic. You can walk aboard the CSS Acadia, the only ship to last through the explosion, WWI and WWII. Learn about area shipwrecks and see displays of ages-old artifacts and treasures.
As we strolled the are during our late morning and early afternoon, we discussed how we were a little bummed out that we would have to be sailing away from this port city in just a few hours. We almost immediately decided that to come back soon for a much longer visit.
Thanks for reading, and always travel happy!