We were able to sneak away for a last minute escape to Lockeport, Nova Scotia this Spring. On our way back home to Ontario, we had the chance to make a couple of stops.
Like every 5 year old I’ve ever known, my little guy loves all things dinosaur, so we headed to the Fundy Geological Museum and Joggins Cliffs Fossil Centre. While looking for a place to stay in between the two, a few spots popped up including the Cape D’Or Lighthouse in Advocate Harbour. I’m a certified lighthouse junkie and staying at a lighthouse has long been on my bucket list.
I knew that it would be a thrill for my little people, too. The tourist season hadn’t officially started yet so most of the touristy type spots were still closed for another couple weeks. I took a chance though and sent an email to the manager. To my delight, he called me that evening. They weren’t truly open yet but he was going to see if he could make it work. The next day he called to say that everything would be ready. I told the kids that we were going to stay at a lighthouse but we knew nothing of the adventure we were about to embark upon.
We spent the day driving and checking out the Geological Museum where they learned about the formation of rock and the different dinos that have been discovered in the area. We then started our journey to the lighthouse. Google Maps told me that the drive would be 52 minutes. That, my friends, may be true in theory but certainly not in practice. We turned off the paved, Parrsboro Shore Road onto one of the twistiest, hilliest road I’ve ever been on. The transmission in my trusty Camry was in a near constant state of confusion as we drove up, down and twisted around. Just as soon as I started to wonder what I’d gotten us into or if Google maps was hacked, the tippy top of a lighthouse appeared. Phew! It was the little, replica lighthouse in the parking lot at Cape D’Or. We got out and took in the view. Breathtaking! The scenery was straight off of a postcard. With a wee bit of intimidation and a whole lot of determination we stared down the hill we were to hike down to the lighthouse. We gathered our belongings for the night and began the trek down. This took longer than I had anticipated. After being at the Geological Museum earlier, the kids were very interested in the gravel we were walking on and picked up and examined many of the colourful stones on the way down. With our pockets lined with rocks, we made it to the bottom. It was worth every minute of the adventure thus far. We ran over to check out the lighthouse and…what was that little thing in front of the lighthouse? A Foghorn! Isaac was very excited about this. We explored all we could until the rain began. Isaac and Maddie played pirates, pretended to be lobster fishermen and played baseball with the buoys. The daffodils had just emerged and were a glorious shot of colour when the skies turned grey.
Once the rain started we headed into the “Light Keepers Guest House”. It’s a shared type of accommodation. Upon entering, there was a sitting area with two couches, a sink, dishes, coffee maker with coffee, bar fridge, bookshelf full of books and a table and chairs with some of the fresh cut daffodils in a vase. The kids, of course, were most excited to check out their rooms. We had the two rooms at the back with a bathroom to use at the end of the hallway. One room had a queen bed and the other two twins. Isaac decided on his bed right away and staked his claim. Maddie ended up with me that night so he had the room to himself.
We dug out our supper, devoured it and headed back outside where we found some rabbits! Maddie was in love with them. They ran and played until dusk. As we were headed inside, the fog horn sounded for the first time. It was as loud as expected and startled all of us. Maddie covered her ears and Isaac shouted “Whooooa! That’s so cool, Mom!”. Back in the house the noise was substantially muffled, but still loud. I was concerned that the horn going off, 3 times a minute, would keep them awake. And it did, but not much later than usual and Isaac thought it was just so cool. Maddie didn’t share his interest in it but it didn’t seem to bother her too much. Isaac played lighthouse keeper until bedtime. There isn’t any tv or wifi which for the most part was a welcome break from the world but at the witching hour before bed I like the little break that tv offers me. I plugged in my computer and prayed that the temperamental DVD player in it would work. I popped in The Lorax and waited. The opening credits popped up. Yay! Isaac snuggled up in a blanket on the couch and watched. Maddie wasn’t into the movie so instead hopped like one of the bunnies up and down the hallway. I was super grateful to have the place to ourselves because keeping these two secluded to one room would have been a little like herding cats at that moment. We all got ready for bed, read our stories and let the sound of the waves (and fog horn) send us to sleep. Early in the morning- so, so early- Isaac came bounding into the room excited that the fog horn was still sounding. We were up and outside to investigate in 5 minutes flat. The sun was peaking through the clouds and the bunnies were watching us from the bushes. We explored and hiked around the area and they played pirates for a couple hours. The restaurant onsite wasn’t open yet for the season so we munched on the snacks we had left and I drank a pot of coffee. We did the dishes, packed up our stuff, closed up and readied ourselves for the trek back up to the car. Again, with pockets full of colourful stones and some sticks for good measure, we made it to the car. It was at this moment that I realized just how out of shape I was and committed to get back running and biking again upon our return home.
This is a one-of-a-kind spot that is worth the twisty roads and hills to find. This was far and away the most secluded and rugged spot I have stayed with the kids. The unplugged nature of it was relaxing. I love watching imaginations come to life in the absence of screens. I’ve heard great things of the restaurant but we didn’t get to test it out ourselves. The manager, Darcy, is kind and as unique as the location itself. He’s accommodating and I’m sure, given some notice would be able to give you a ride up and down the hill if you aren’t able to hike it. This is a functioning lighthouse with a light and a fog horn when it’s foggy. Do not come with 5 star resort expectations. This is not the Marriot Harbourfront. You will not find a spa, wifi, jacuzzi or sauna. You will however have an authentic, rugged and memorable Nova Scotia experience.
4 thoughts on “Cape D’Or: Rugged and Unplugged”
I enjoyed reading about your overnight stay and all the fun things you and the children did. The best part for me was listening to the fog horn. Although I live in Lockeport it has been years since I heard a fog horn. Thank you!
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Thank you so much Mary! The fog horn was great. Does the fog horn off of West Head still sound? I could’ve sworn I’d heard it, but it may have been my imagination. Thanks again!
You are a great writer, I loved being able to rest my Mommy bones and read it from start to finish without being interrupted….lets be honest I’m working late and on my dinner break so there is nobody near by and my kid are at home with Daddy. But it was still nice:)
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Thanks so much Christine! ❤ You are one hard working soul. I can absolutely relate to the joy of being able to actually read something for enjoyment from start to finish. I’ve been reading one book for over a year. Thanks again!!