Nova Scotia’s stunning coastline is graced by an array of charming fishing villages, nestled among its rocky inlets and coves. However, none have captured the hearts of visitors like the timeless beauty of Peggy’s Cove.
Perhaps it’s the historic lighthouse that draws them in, standing as a proud sentinel, casting its warning light over the waves for over a century. Maybe it’s the village itself, colourful houses and fishing sheds perched precariously atop the rough granite landscape, doorsteps kissing the shoreline. While both the lighthouse and village are indeed reasons to visit, perhaps the true magic of Peggy’s Cove is a feeling more than a feature. Because in exploring this unique and rugged landscape, one can’t help but be overwhelmed by its breathtaking majesty.
The feeling creeps into the pit of your stomach slowly as you wind along the road that approaches the village of Peggy’s Cove, about forty minutes from central Halifax. The landscape shifts from forested and lush to open, flat, and rocky. A not-too-distant expanse on your left signals that the sea is within reach. A sign of what’s to come. After you pass through the village, and you step outside to take that first breath of salty air, it hits you like a boulder of granite: this is a place like no other. Raw. Forceful. Overwhelming. The landscape is alien, yet somehow familiar. Massive mounds of granite pour into the sea. The air is heavy with salt and brine. A light blanket of fog fights being burned off by the sun – and loses. The immensity of the Atlantic Ocean hangs all around you. Rising above it all, the white and red Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse signals—quite literally—that this wild place is no stranger to humans.
The village of Peggy’s Cove was founded in 1811, and the current lighthouse was constructed in 1915, but the history lesson here is much older. It’s a story of steel and concrete shaped by salt water, a tale of the ancient battle between land and sea. As you explore the rolling granite dunes and witness the Atlantic crashing over the outcrops, you become a character in the ongoing history of this place. You are absorbed by it.
Tourists have made Peggy’s Cove a frequent stop on their east coast itineraries, which might imply this fantastic place is a novelty, fit only for the first-time visitor. But any local will tell you how passionate they are about Peggy’s Cove, and how they return time and time again. Because it’s more than a place on a map or an item on a list. It’s an emotional journey. It’s a reminder of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. This is a place like no other.