A Memorable Place Nova Scotia: Reflections of Maryland...

PERSONAL JOURNEYS

May 12, 2002|By Special to the Sun

A Memorable Place

Nova Scotia: Reflections of Maryland

By Evan L. Balkan

SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Imagine standing in Annapolis, overlooking the water on a beautiful summer day. After a time, you walk down a cobblestone street to a fine restaurant, where you have an excellent seafood dinner.

Been there, done that -- right?

Not so fast. This isn't Maryland's beloved state capital. This is the small town of Annapolis Royal, in Nova Scotia. Tucked into the Annapolis Valley, a place with what might be the largest concentration of apple blossoms on the planet, Annapolis Royal is distinctly maritime Canadian.

The town's large number of Victorian mansions, its boast of having the oldest street in Canada and the slight tinge of Scottish in the local accent make this a fascinating place.

And this is only a slice of what Nova Scotia has to offer. If you have only a week or less to spend in Nova Scotia, it's best to contain yourself to either the eastern or western half. The decision is made easier by the fact that Nova Scotia's major airport is just outside the capital, Halifax, which happens to be pretty much right in the middle of the province.

Baltimoreans will feel at home in Halifax, because the cities claim the two largest natural harbors on the Atlantic. Halifax's restored harbor area is a quaint collection of shops, restaurants and clubs. The city itself has many of the attractions of larger capitals, such as Toronto and Quebec, but it retains a small-town feel.

Heading west from Halifax along the coast is an adventure. Ditch the highway: The smaller roads hug the coastline, offering up picturesque fishing villages, innumerable lobster "shacks" (fresh lobster for cheap), and a seemingly never-ending photo opportunity of sweeping valleys, rolling hills and rugged coastline.

Continuing around the coast will eventually bring you to the north shore, and the Bay of Fundy. Here you will also find Digby Neck, which bills itself as the "scallop capital of the world" (which is good if you've managed to eat your fill of lobster).

Along Digby Neck, and the more northerly Cape Split, you will find fantastic hiking, with verdant trails filled with conifers and ferns. These trails inevitably lead to water, where rock beaches and basalt boulders balanced precariously atop one another hint at Ireland's western coast.

It's easy to feel you have landed in some place far away from America when you are in Nova Scotia, but the hospitality of the people will make you feel as at home as if you were in your own state capital.

Evan L. Balkan lives in Baltimore.

My Best Shot

Morning sky in Cambodia

David S. Adler, Elkridge

After I'd roused my three travel companions for a 6 a.m. departure, we got to the reflecting pool in front of Angkor Wat in Cambodia just as the sky started turning pink and red. The large amount of dust in the air made for a beautiful sunrise.

Readers Recommend

Poon Hill, Nepal

Sharon Anoff, Baltimore

"We began our trek in Nepal on New Year's Eve with a short hike to Birethanti, where we spent the last day of the year among the foothills of the Himalayas. After two days trudging uphill for about eight hours each day, we reached Ghorepani. We awoke at 5:30 the next morning for the 45-minute hike up to Poon Hill to view the Annapurna range at sunrise. It was phenomenal. As the first rays of sunlight rose upon the highest mountains in the world, we saw a light show beyond belief."

Havana

Jay Lewis, Cockeysville

"The best reason to go to Cuba is that it's like stepping back in time. There are interesting architecture, cars, museums and good music. The Patronato Synagogue is one of three synagogues in Havana that I visited during a weeklong trip to Cuba in February. It was a pretty place with symbols on the doors representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Cuba was home to 15,000 Jews before Castro came to power; now roughly 2,000 remain, most of them living in Havana."

Let Us Hear From You

We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:

My Best Shot: Send us a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. (Cash value: $50.)

A Memorable Place: In 500 words or less, tell us about a travel experience that has changed you; the nostalgia a special place evokes; the power of a favorite beach, the mountains, a city cafe. (Cash value: $150.)

Readers Recommend: Briefly tell us about places you've recently visited that you'd recommend to other readers. (Photos are welcome.)

Readers Respond: Send a brief reply to our current question: Where's the best place to vacation with kids? Selected answers may appear in a future issue. (Photos are welcome.)

Because of the volume of submissions, photos and manuscripts cannot be acknowledged or returned.

Send by fax to 410-783-2519, or write to Travel Department, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or send by e-mail to travel@baltsun.com. Be sure to include your name and phone number.

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