The Hector Quay Museum is a multi-storied building giving us insight into what it must have been like to travel across the Atlantic in the crowded Hector that carried an unbelievable number of 189 immigrants – men, women and children. PHOTO: Denise Davies
Today’s day trip takes us to New Glasgow and Pictou. From Antigonish head on TransCanada 104 for a quick drive to New Glasgow (35 min) – or for a more scenic drive go along the Sunrise Trail.
New Glasgow has old world charm with brick and stone buildings and stately homes along the East River, a tidal estuary which runs right through the town and flowing down to Pictou Harbour on the Northumberland Strait. The main business-downtown area is beside the George Street Bridge linking the two sides of the town. An under-bridge track provides easy pedestrian access.
Enjoy the lovely walking and biking paths along both sides of the river with over 6km of riverside trails. The Samson Trail, Pioneer Trail and Johnny Miles Memorial Trail were built on old rail line beds that once ran through the town.
Between 1821 and 1912, two hundred sailing ships were launched from the five shipyards located on the East River. Just picture what the area would have been like at that time. Now the riverfront has pleasure boats, kayaks to rent and a yearly Dragon Boat race in July.
The New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee, celebrating its 20th year, takes place July 31 to Aug. 2 at Glasgow Square Theatre, an open-air amphitheatre on New Glasgow’s riverfront. This outdoor setting on the East River will host headliners The Trews, Steve Earle and The Dukes, Classified and a large variety of musicians from the East Coast Music Association, Music Nova Scotia and Juno Award winners and nominees.
Cross the bridge in New Glasgow and continue on another 15 minutes to the Town of Pictou on the Northumberland shore. Take Abercrombie Road for a riverside drive or onto Highway 106 to Pictou.
On arrival at Pictou, stop at the tourist information centre to view their chalk board of events of the day, things to do and great suggestions for the area. Then continue on to Water Street where the Grohmann Knives and the Water Street Studio Crafts are worth a visit. The Water Street Studio Crafts is a co-operative that has been in operation since 1982 and is situated in a historic stone building from 1820.
Across the street is the DeCoste Centre. This attractive performing arts centre has a great summer lineup. The Cape Breton Summertime Review, popular since 1977, will perform Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m. with music, story and comedy to delight the audience. During July and August take in the Festival of Summer Sounds, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 8 p.m. Other August performances include Runa, Starb’ard Side, Celtic Ladies II and Men of the Deeps. Check the website for details ( www.decostecentre.ca )
The first wave of Scottish immigrants arrived in Pictou in 1773. The Hector Quay Museum is a multi-storied building giving us insight into what it must have been like to travel across the Atlantic in the crowded Hector that carried an unbelievable number of 189 immigrants – men, women and children. When you look at and board the replica of the three mast Hector itself it is hard to imagine that many people on board. Be sure to watch the video in the museum that shows the background of the voyage and also the building and launch of The Hector. The Marina Stage at the Waterfront has free summer concerts on Sundays and Mondays at 6 p.m.
There are several restaurants in the waterfront area – The Lobster Bar, Settlers Saltwater Café, or stop for tea at Mrs. MacGregor’s. We had a delicious salmon burger for lunch at the Stone Soup Restaurant.
Enjoy hiking or biking on the Pictou to Oxford section of the Short Line Railway Trail (127 KM). The trail is a former rail bed along the Northumberland Strait and passes through farms and forests. There are several access points to this trail. The Jitney Trail in Pictou is a beautiful recreational trail (3km) with interpretive panels from Pictou’s waterfront to Brown’s Point – the landing site of the Ship Hector.
The ferry from Caribou to Prince Edward Island is 10 minutes beyond Pictou on Hwy 106 or follow along the water through Caribou & Munroe Islands Provincial Park on Three Brooks Rd. (15 min)
On your return you can make a beach day at Melmerby Beach Provincial Park. Hwy 289 from New Glasgow (15 min).
Return to Antigonish on Hwy 4 via Southerlands River, or on the Trans Canada through New Glasgow