It’s no secret that Peggy’s Cove is the most photographed lighthouse in the world. There’s a good reason for that. Duh. Look at it. But really, even after my hundredth visit, I’m still astonished by what this small little village has to offer. That’s right, village. Peggy’s Cove is more than it’s lighthouse.
Personally, I start to get excited when we reach West Dover; the landscape starts to change, and you start to see the water lined with fishing shacks and docks in perfect pastels. If you’re keen, you’ll notice the giant boulders scattered around that look like they’ve been perfectly placed as if part of some giant’s Zen garden. For a lot of people, Peggy’s Cove is what comes to mind when they think of Nova Scotia, so it’s natural to get excited when you first see the sign. You take a deep left hand turn off the highway and it feels like you’ve gone back in time. The village is small, housing only 640 people year round; however, the population on any given sunny day has got to be in the multiple thousands. It’s always fun to see how many people from so many cultures know this place exists. The first time someone sees the lighthouse, their eyes expand to about the size of their face. Magic is what I call this sort of thing, and Peggy’s Cove is full of it.
We suggest to anyone going to Peggy’s Cove to start at the top. Drive all the way up to the parking lot. From there you can cover the whole village by foot in about 15 minutes. Take some time, explore the rocks (remember to stay off the black rocks: we’re very serious about this. The danger is real.), try to capture your perfect lighthouse picture, take a seat and watch the waves crash, you might even be lucky enough to catch a porpoise playing in the water.
Then make your way down to the village. Amos Pewter has been in Nova Scotia since 1974 and has cool little affordable gifts and keepsakes for anyone’s taste. If you take the AR shuttle to Peggy’s Cove, it might be a little early to grab an ice cream, but if your morals allow for an ice cream breakfast, I highly HIGHLY suggest going to Dee Dee’s (you can always check out their other location in Halifax). They have local flavours like haskap berry, or fancy fun mixes like my personal favourite Banana Cardamon (yup, really, and it’s delicious), or try one of their classics like chocolate, or if you want to spice it up a bit, you can try the Mexican chocolate. I’ll stop there; I could do a whole other blog post on the magic that is Dee Dee’s ice cream, and just might!
Don’t miss Roger's Buoys Shop. This place is ever changing mix of all sorts of coastal delights and treasures. Even though most things are for sale, it’s like a little underwater coastal museum, with giant whale bones, buoys, and glass bottles from a lifetime ago.
Something I look forward to every time I go up this way is the rock. A giant granite wall carved by William E. deGarthe in the 1980’s that depicts his vision of Peggy arriving in the cove. There is something mythical about this rock, and the story of Peggy’s arrival, that a lot of people miss if they only go to see the lighthouse. Every time I look at it, I see something new. There are 32 figures carved into the rock, and you’d almost never believe it unless you count them out individually.
Now, the bus won’t actually stop at the next location I’m going to talk about, but if you are on your own and have the time, check out the Swiss Air Flight 111 memorial that has been put up right down the road. If you don’t know the story, there was a plane crash in 1998 of a flight coming from New York City going to Geneva. Fishermen from the area and families rushed to the aid in the recovery process but unfortunately, there were no survivors. It's a tragic story, definitely, but how people in the community came together to recuperate whatever they could from the freezing ocean waters is a remarkable one.
I don't want to end on such a dark note, so I'm going to tell you briefly about Clam Pond. It's a little over a kilometre walk from the village, but it's totally worth it. The pond is more like a small lake or large tidal pool that's full of fish and other underwater life. Great place to cool off (Peggy's Cove is not for swimming) and get an idea of what's lying on the bottom of our ocean.
We hope to see you there soon!