I like to get a bit off the beaten path when road tripping. We did visit places like Canso and Advocate Harbour recently on our trip to Nova Scotia. However, tourist hot spots like Peggy’s Cove just can’t be passed up.
It’s a short day trip from Halifax and can get a bit crowded but, as you see from the photos in the image gallery below, the beauty should not be passed up. We visited in early September and the crowds were substantial. I imagine in July and August you’re fighting for space (and parking).
Find yourself a spot on the rocks, safely above the waterline, and simply be mesmerized by the sea crashing on the shore. Also, be sure to visit the nearby memorial for the victims of Swissair Flight 111. And, be sure to stop for some amazing seafood at Shaw’s Landing Restaurant on your way back to Halifax on Highway 333.
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia Image Gallery
Peggy’s Cove was founded in 1811 as a fishing village and is now part of the Halifax Regional Municipality. Despite its close proximity (43 kilometres or 26 miles to the southwest of the Alexander Keith’s Brewery in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia) to the most major city in the Canadian Maritime Provinces, you’ll feel worlds away at Peggy’s Cove.
The Peggy’s Cove lighthouse was established in 1868 and is the focal point for sightseers. It is located near the mouth of St. Margaret’s Bay on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s 640 residents still do a little lobster fishing today but the major draw is tourism.
I suggest not driving right up to the lighthouse parking lot. The stroll through the village provides an outstanding scenic view at every turn. Plus, you get the ‘douchebag’ tag when you run your car past the walking visitors on the narrow road with even narrower shoulders. There is an excellent, spacious parking lot at the visitor centre at the bottom of the hill with nice clean washrooms. Please, leave your car there.
Swissair Flight 111
Just to the west, there is a small park with a beautiful memorial (seen in the image gallery above – bottom right photo) to the victims of Swissair Flight 111. Swissair Flight 111 was traveling from New York City to Geneva, Switzerland on September 2, 1998. Known as the U.N. Shuttle because it often transported members of the United Nations between New York and Geneva.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (registered HB-IWF) left John F. Kennedy International Airport and was destined for Cointrin International Airport in Geneva. Off the coast of Nova Scotia, a fire started in the ceiling on the right, rear side of the cockpit, spreading and intensifying rapidly. Later, it was blamed on arcing in the recently installed in-flight entertainment system network.
Eight kilometres or five miles off Peggy’s Cove, the aircraft hit the water at 560 KMH and at a 20 degree nose dive. It was estimated that the force when hitting the water was 350 G’s. All 215 passengers and 14 crew members perished in the crash.
The memorial is strong but subtle, blending into the natural surroundings as the families of the victims requested.
Shaw’s Landing Restaurant
Lastly, a shout out to Shaw’s Landing Restaurant. This is a restaurant on highway 333 on St. Margaret’s Bay, a short distance from Peggy’s Cove. The patio hovers over the waters of the bay and provides magnificent views of the adjacent fishing village. The seafood is excellent and you will not leave hungry.
The photo to the right shows the view from the patio, looking out toward the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Find them on Facebook: Shaw’s Landing Restaurant
To the folks at the restaurant, we’re sorry we left without buying t-shirts! We had planned on it and now regret it. The kids got a little nuts after the meal and in our haste, we left shirtless…