Huddled inside the house for weeks because I refuse to brave anything colder than -10 unless I’m getting paid for it (i.e. going to or from work), my thoughts turn to our favourite summer activities in an attempt to stave off cabin fever. And driving the Lighthouse Route in Nova Scotia is near the top of our family’s list.
There’s one problem with driving the Lighthouse Route in Nova Scotia in the summer, though: the driving is as fun as the scenery is beautiful. Every time we venture out from my mother’s cottage in East Port Medway I face an internal struggle between asserting my right to drive or letting Gary drive so that I can take in the ocean vistas and scan for shops, lookouts, or roads we haven’t explored yet.
Gary pretty much always does the driving.
One of our favourite sections of the lighthouse Route, Highway 331, winds along the Atlantic Ocean between East Port Medway and Bridgewater, and sitting in the passenger’s seat is important work, especially for a travel blogger.
Vigilance is essential. The ocean views pop up unexpectedly, most lasting for just a few seconds before the forest springs back up. Each view is different: sometimes you’ll see a marshy coast with islands in the distance, sometimes a sweeping expanse of open ocean, sometimes a rocky shoreline.
In between views of the ocean, you’ll travel through small villages like Broad Cove and Petite Riviere, travelling by folk art shops, cafes, and a winery. You’ll need to be quick on the draw to notice these in time to pull over unless you’ve planned your stops out ahead of time (and what fun would that be?).
We’ve been coming here for years and yet every time we do the drive I notice something new, because it’s just not possible to see everything at once. Especially when you’re distracted by scenes like this:
And this drive is a wonderful opportunity to stop and explore, because two excellent cafes are on this route – the LaHave Bakery (try the smoked salmon!) and the Best Coast Coffee Company (make sure you have cash) – along with many of Nova Scotia’s finest beaches.
Right around the LaHave Bakery, Route 331 turns from an oceanfront drive to a riverside one, as it follows the LaHave River up to Bridgewater.
The two-lane surface is reasonably good along the entire length of Route 331, and the driver’s biggest safety challenge (at least in the summer) is likely to be cyclists. That means they get to enjoy a fun, twisty road without worrying (too much) about potholes.
Gary certainly thinks he gets the best end of our bargain.
Places to visit on Route 331
- LaHave Bakery
- Crescent Beach
- Rissers Beach Provincial Park
- Best Coast Coffee Gallery
- Cherry Hill Beach
Also check out the Lunenburg Region’s tourism website, because planning summer vacations helps to keep the winter blues at bay!