Lunenburg - Mahone Bay - Peggy's Cove


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North America » Canada » Nova Scotia
July 19th 2006
Published: August 1st 2006
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I planned this as a day trip out from Halifax.

I went to Lunenburg first. When I arrived in this well known ship building town and the present home to Bluenose II of course I went to the railway museum and then spent time listening to the organist in the Zion Evangelican Luthern Church.

Alright, don't consider me too daft. When I arrived I was actually just biding my time. The cloud cover was heavy and I wanted to wait for brighter light before going to the waterfront with my camera.

At the museum I learned a lot about the railways in Nova Scotia. I also was treated to a rather quirky presentation of the way railway operation was in the province before most of the tracks were ripped up. This presentation was done witha model train layout. I'm afraid I have been spoiled, looking at my friend Al's layout in Calgary over the years; so half finished, undetailed layouts don't do much for me. Mind you, the club that is doing the layout for the museum is making the effort to scratch build many of the buildings so they look like the real thing from long ago.
Lunenburg AcademyLunenburg AcademyLunenburg Academy

A school that is still used. All around it they have a rock inscribed with a province name, and a tree representative of that province.
Also, for all its quirkyness, grandson Zac would have been pretty impressed if he had be there to see it all.

Lunenburg has the very standard tourist main street. I've described them in the past and they are all the same, so I won't describe this one independently. On purpose, I wandered off the main street, on foot, to see what the locals do here. There were lots of older folk working in their yards, but the younger adults seemed to be focussed on tasks and generally running about. Several groups of construction workers were scraping and refinishing old buildings, probably to create even more tourist meccas, and those on the waterfront were either working on lobster pots or doing machinery of one sort or the other.

Up at the Luthern Church, or the Zion Evengelican Luthern Church as I was later corrected, the door was open and a few people were milling about, so I went in.

The sanctuary was organized opposite to most, that is, the pews were aligned with the longest part of the building. Beside the alter was the organ and in front of the organ were a man a woman speaking to
The Lunenburg BumpThe Lunenburg BumpThe Lunenburg Bump

One example of the 'bump'.
each other and doing a lot of hand and arm waving. I asked the guide at the front door some questions about the organ. She said I should ask the woman at the front was the organist and she was talking to the minister about Sunday's service. I didn't want to intrude, but she said it was alright. And so I met Annette, organist and self assigned historian.

Annette and I had a great chat about the organ. She allowed me in the pipe chambre in the back and I guess was somewhat taken with my interst, so unlocked the keyboard and played some pieces for me. She even had a go at some requests I made.

"You know, I'm self taught on this thing. I played the piano, but they neede an organist so I stepped forward. I just love it now and hardly play the piano any more. You know, it is really hard to go back to the piano after the organ, but it was easy to go the other way."

I told her, "Yah, my older boy learned his music on a sustaining type keyboard and when he finally got a chance to play the organ he had few problems. Mind you, he was so young at the time he couldn't reach the pedals, but it sounded good to me."

Annette had a go at several of her Lutheran favourites that, I confess, I didn't recognize. She also played some Bach and a few short church pieces that I like, such as the Doxology. All this pipe organ music had a relaxing effect on me.

As she closed up the organ, she started telling me a bit of history of the town, from her pervue. This is not an exact quotation of what she told me, but it is close. It is also probably not published in the local history handouts.

"Back then, the English were trying to build up their population here to be more than the French. They also didn't want more Catholics. Their nobility looked to their poorer relatives in Germany and enticed them over to Nova Scotia. They settled here and, because they were already boat builders, that is what they did here as well. Being German, they wasted no time in putting together a formal town plan on a grid and in two years had trasformed the place. The officers managing the town had the new German speaking Luthern attending services at the C of E as it was then (now Anglican). They went to that church, sang the hymns and prayed, but in their own language. It all came to a head after a year when the C of E told them they now needed to be confirmed. One Sunday they all walked out together and started this chruch. With all the master marine carpenters in their masses, it didn't take them long to design and build this building. We've continued on from that."

I had a good look aroudn to see if I could recognize anything unique in the structure. I noticed long, steel tension rods extending right across the church in the air, holding the walls from falling out. That was certainly unique, although the same concept was used in the other two churches in town. It must have been a technique used in large boat construction.

I thanked Annette and wandered away from the church thinking of a scene many years ago when, after a Christmas concert at First Baptist in Calgary, Sean went up to talk to the
Me and the AtlanticMe and the AtlanticMe and the Atlantic

I had to think of someway of showing this.
organist. Before I knew it he had talked his way into playing the big pipe organ. I'm sure the organist did it to appease him, but Sean gave her a surprise. He played Silent Night so well that all those remaining in the church actually stopped talking in order to listen. It was a neat moment for Mom and Dad as it was for Sean.

Lunenburg has some fascinating history and unique architecture, and, of course, Bluenose II. Thankfully Bluenose arrived while I was there so I got some pictures of it along with the gang of people waiting to go for a sail on Bluenose. Photographically, from a micro biew point, I found it difficult to put together a feeling of Lunenburg without including some influence of the tourism trade. The image of serenity is broken by a saturation of cars and people in every nook and cranny of the old part of town. In addition, the skies are crisscrossed with power and telephone lines destroying the visual lines of the wonderful wooden buildings.

From a macro viewpoint, the town had much more photographic appeal for me. I found a place across the bay where I could
Peggy's CovePeggy's CovePeggy's Cove

A nice view - far enough away that you can't see any people. Please reference many other photo books or the internet for traditional shots of it. I just couldn't be bothered.
take in the whole town iwth all its shapes and colours, in one shot. It would be a classic piture at sunrise. I know that, because there were many postcards available of that exact scene. A very good photographer in Calgary has a moto for his images. In order to be good they have to be
- first,
- best, or
- different.
I had neither in my images, so I left.

As I left the town centre, I asked a woman if there was a back way to get to the highway. In some different sounding accent that at one moment sounded French and the next German, she gave me directions.

"Down this street here, second on the right, right at the hospital, down a bit until you see the water, then left ........"

When I asked if there were any road signs indicating the highway, she smilled, winked, and said, "Nova Scotia, eh."

I moved on to Mahone Bay, where I stopped for seafood. I had a fresh pan fired haddock meal. I t was so tasty there was no need for tarter sauce or salt. It was amazing. When I finished, I took the standard shots of the bay and the three churches. I wasn't inspired to do much photographically there, because the light wasn't good.

Driving up the coast, I stopped at the depressing memorial to the Swiss Air Crash Rscue Sight, where everyone was repectfully quiet. I then continued on a short distance to Peggy's Cove itself.

Peggy's Cove is on a promontory that looks like a moonscape. Given all the other nice bays around here, I don't understand why anyone would pick this one. Maybe when these families originally arrived, this is all that was left.

The place has been photographed to death. There were more than a hundred people walking about, capturing even more pictures for their home collection. I saw a man taking a picture of his daughter with the lighthouse in the background, which I thought would be a nice family shot. I offerred to take the picture with both of them in the frame. He declined. Either this was a strange situation or he didn't trust me with his camera. I chose to believe the latter, because I'm such a tough looking, sleezy guy. Actually, when I looked at myself in the mirror back at the hotel, with my jeans held up by braces and my sweaty, matted down shirt, I guess I maight have looked a little suspicious.

I had an idea of going up to the lighthouse and taking a picture back, looking through the doorway, of all the people, but I couldn't be bothered. The place really is picturesque and, if I lived in Halifax I would take a lot of early morning trips to try and capture yet another great shot of the scene, just to prove that I could.

I got back to Halifax, had supper, and closed off my stay with my last pint of bitter at the Henry House Pub. I went to bed early in antipation of a hard drive to Baddeck in the morning.

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