Amherst: Things to See and Do

Discover Amherst!

Amherst is the largest town in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia with a population of 9,500 and growing. Located approximately two hundred kilometers northwest of the province capital Halifax, and three kilometers from Nova Scotia / New Brunswick Border, Amherst is positioned in the geographic center of the Maritime Provinces. The town demonstrates a degree of significance to the local transportation industry particularly with imports/exports going through the New Brunswick/Nova Scotia border. Amherst is actively and aggressively working to attract new businesses and offers companies a fully serviced industrial park, a bountiful water resource and a trained labor force.

The town is a two hour drive from Nova Scotia’s capital Halifax, one and a half hour drive from the Halifax International Airport, one hour drive from Prince Edward Island and a forty minute drive from Moncton, New Brunswick. Throughout Amherst you can’t help but notice the exceptional stone structures and historical homes making Amherst a must see site for tourists.

 

Things to See and Do While Visiting!

Murals:

Amherst has decided to celebrate murals and it's many historical phenomenon’s and a grand scale, bringing the town alive with color and activity.

Beaches:

 Amherst has many wonderful beaches in its surrounding area, where the water is the warmest north of the Carolinas.

Including:

Northport Beach Provincial Park

Northport Beach is a red sandy beach accessible by stairs. It has warm water and the gentle tide and at low tide, sandbars trap pools of warm water for wading.

  

Tidnish Dock Provincial Park

The park marks the eastern terminus of the historic Chignecto Marine Transport Railway - one of Nova Scotia's most ambitious engineering projects. The project called for the construction of a 17 mile (28 km) long double-tracked railway from Fort Lawrence on the Bay of Fundy, across the isthmus to Tidnish Dock on the Northumberland Strait. Vessels were to be floated over huge wheeled cradles, which would be lifted by hydraulic presses to the level of the railway. The vessels would then be hauled across the isthmus where, on the other side, vessel and cradle would be lowered into the water until the vessel floated free.

 

Gulf Shore Provincial Park

Gulf Shore Provincial Park is a beautiful picnic park on a hilltop overlooking Northumberland Strait. It offers tables, some shelters and a sandy beach with warm water

 

Heather Beach Provincial Park

An excellent supervised beach, it is crowded on weekends during good weather.  

 

Historical Homes:

Take time out of your busy schedule to stroll downtown, enjoying Amherst's Victorian architecture and heritage homes.

 

Museums:

Age of Sail Heritage Centre Museum

Historical House and Heritage Site

8334 Highway 209, Port Greville

902-348-2030

Overlooking the tidal Greville River, the center pays tribute to the heritage of the communities along the Minas Channel. Through pictures, videos, storytelling, models, artifacts and hands-on exhibits, the museum brings to life the history of shipbuilding, lumbering and local community lives. The area boosts a rich history from the time of the dinosaurs to the Mi'kmaq and Acadians to loyalists and shipbuilders to the present day. The heritage center hosts a museum in an 1854 church, local blacksmith shop from the Wagstaff and Hatfield shipyard, as well as the Port Greville Lighthouse circa 1908 and a boathouse.

 

Anne Murray Centre

The Anne Murray Centre showcases the incredible life and times of Springhill's internationally acclaimed songstress Anne Murray. Step into the remarkable story of this Canadian icon and take an intimate look at her humble beginnings, flight to fame, and enduring contributions to the world of music.        

 

Balmoral Grist Mill

A working grist mill from 1874

Discover this three-storey mill tucked away in a wooded gorge on Matheson’s Brook. See grains being ground, sifted and turned into flour just as they have been since Alexander McKay opened this mill in 1874. Feel the mill in action and hear the whir of wooden gears as shafts and pulleys turn the original Scottish granite millstones.

Bring a picnic and linger in this shady and peaceful place. Hear the mill stream splashing as water tumbles over the dam. Ramble along the Christine MacDonald Walking Trail as it winds along the brook.

 

Cumberland County Museum & Archives

Archives and Genealogy

150 Church St, Amherst

902-667-2561

www.cumberlandcountymuseum.com

The Cumberland County Museum and Archives is located in the heritage home of Robert Barry Dickey, one of the thirty-six Fathers of Canadian Confederation. The museum is home to a collection of artifacts and resources from the generations of families who have lived in Cumberland County.

 

Fort Beauséjour

Explore the historic fort where once the future of Acadie and North America hung in the balance. Located on the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland Historic Site stands at the crossroads of Canadian natural and cultural history. The fort depicts the 18th century conflicts between France and Britain, and the later struggle between two great empires--America and Britain--for North American supremacy.

 

Fundy Geological Museum

The Fundy Geological Museum displays an ancient world and some of the oldest dinosaur bones in Canada. Meet some of the ancient creatures that lived here millions of years ago: the world's first reptiles, early dinosaurs, giant dragonflies, an ancestor of frogs and a sow-bug-like creature as long as a baseball bat. So many great fossils!

 

Joggins Fossil Cliffs & Centre

Located on the upper Bay of Fundy, home of the world's highest tides, is Joggins, Nova Scotia. This beautiful seaside community is perched above the famous Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

For more than a century, scientists have studied the cliffs and visitors from around the world have come to explore. The coastal cliffs reveal the most complete fossil record of life during Earth's "Coal Age", 300 million years ago. It is truly a site of universal value, the only place on Earth where visitors can view these rare fossils of plants and animals preserved in the place where they lived.

Constant erosion from the Fundy tides, rising and falling 15 metres (47 feet) twice daily, creates possibilities for exposing new fossils. With careful observation visitors may find fossils on the beach that have fallen from the cliff, or view the spectacular sandstone layers that entomb ancestors of the first dinosaurs. It is all here, at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, waiting to be discovered

 

Malagash Salt Mine Museum

Historical House and Heritage Site

1926 North Shore Road, Malagash

902-257- Located in the Northumberland Shore region (off Route 6, then follow the signs) the Malagash Salt Miners’ Museum is the site of the first rock salt mine in Canada (1918–1959). 

The museum houses displays of local industries including salt mining, farming, and fishing, as well as providing information on the Malagash area. The museum also features an annual theme display.

 

Minudie Heritage Association

Historical House and Heritage Site

2730 Barronsfield Road, Minudie

902-251-2422

The Amos School Museum built in the 1840’s, one of the oldest

remaining one room school houses in Nova Scotia, showcases the

history of Minudie, from the 1840’s to 1962 when the school

closed. 

 

 

Nova Scotia Highlanders Regimental Museum

Historical House and Heritage Site

36 Acadia St, Amherst

902-661-6797

Open to the public, the museum houses a vast collection of military artifacts and displays that tell the historical story of the Nova Scotia Highlanders from their beginnings as the Cumberland Highlanders to their present day status.

 

Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum

Historical House and Heritage Site

1155 Whitehall Road, Parrsboro

902-254-2376

 

We are very happy to be celebrating the life and times of Sir Charles Tupper at the Ottawa House Museum this season. Sir Charles Tupper was noted for being an accomplished pharmacist, physician and true Nova Scotian as one of the Father's of Confederation from Cumberland County.  Dedicated to his political career he was a noted supporter of confederation, Premier of Nova Scotia, Commissioner to the Queen and Prime minister of Canada.  Sir Charles Tupper was also instrumental in the founding of free school for all children and the railway coming into Nova Scotia.

 

Spencer's Island Lighthouse

Historical House and Heritage Site

Spencer's Island

The community of Spencer’s Island is not located on an island, but is rather named for an island of the same name found just offshore. Located along the Minas Channel, connecting the Bay of Fundy and Minas Basin, Spencer’s Island was formerly one of Nova Scotia’s premier shipbuilding ports.

A cairn located on the beach at Spencer’s Island bears a plaque telling the story of one ship built there:

Nearby the world’s most famous mystery ship, the Mary Celeste, a brigantine, was built and launched in 1861. Was first named the Amazon. In 1868 she was driven ashore in a storm and after being repaired was renamed the Mary Celeste. In December 1872 she was discovered at sea with all sail set and everything in order but not a person was on board or ever found.

Arthur Canon Doyle, before becoming well known for creating Sherlock Holmes, penned a short fictional story about the Mary Celeste, and others have followed suit, making the vessel the subject of numerous imaginative articles, novels, and plays. 

 

Springhill Miners Museum

Historical House and Heritage Site

Black River Road, Springhill

902-597-3449

 Displays of mining equipment, tours of the wash house and lamp cabin are just a few of the things that one can experience at the Tour a Mine, Springhill Miners' Museum.

 

Sutherland's Saw Mill

Located in Denmark, near Tatamagouche, the mill preserves a time when our forebears were far more self-reliant than we are nowadays. In this mill, trees went in one end, and out the other came almost everything you needed to build and beatify your home. Including bathtubs.

Today throughout the mill you can see numerous examples of Alexander and his son Wilfred’s adaptability and creativity. From designs and patterns to homemade, working machines, over 60 years of ingenuity and productivity is here for you to discover.

 

Parks:

There are several parks and play areas located throughout the Town, as well as a number of recreational fields.

Bird Sanctuary:

Take a walk around the site and see how many of the over 200 different types of birds you can identify, open all year round for your pleasure.

Designated a Migratory Bird Sanctuary in 1947 at the request of neighbouring landowners, it assumed its present size of 433 ha (1,070 a) in 1980.  A surprising variety of habitat lie within the sanctuary, but 66% of its area is open water, marsh, and bogs, or controlled water-level impoundments, an environment ideal for waterfowl. The enclosed wetlands, specifically the impoundments created by the dikes and sluices built by Ducks Unlimited in the 1970s, are among the best waterfowl breeding grounds in Nova Scotia. More than 200 bird species have been observed at Amherst Point, which is a regular nesting site for regionally rare varieties such as gadwall, redhead, ruddy duck, virginia rail, common gallinule, and black tern. Gypsum deposits underlie the entire area, and, from 1935 to 1942, a commercial mine operated near the sanctuary

 

Cape Chignecto Provincial Park

 Hike one of the top coastal trails in Canada.

At Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, towering 180 m (600 ft.) sea cliffs rise from the Bay of Fundy, while the world's highest tides lap at their base. Best described as a wilderness park, it has 29 km (18 mi.) of pristine coastline, deep valleys, sheltered coves, rare plants, and remnant old-growth forests. The park offers over 40 km (25 mi.) of wilderness trails and remote walk-in campsites

 

Sackville Waterfowl Park

A Bay of Fundy Recommended Experiencex

Discover a wetland world beneath your feet! Watch muskrat part the mirror-smooth water in a V-shaped ripple. Focus your camera on the antics of fuzzy ducklings dabbling in the shallows. Listen to a sunset chorus of marsh birds, the eerie cries of rail, coot, grebe, and bittern. From dawn to dusk, the entertainment never stops at the Sackville Waterfowl Park

 Galleries:

Amherst Artisan Gallery

142 Albion St South, Amherst, NS

At the Amherst Artisan Gallery you will find photographs, pottery, oil and watercolour paintings, carvings, metal art, rugs, jewelry, fabric works, quilts, dolls, stained glass and folk art just to name a few.

 

Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery

Art Gallery

3654 HWY 366, Tidnish Bridge, NS

902-667-8555

 

As you travel the Sunrise Trail (Route 366) in Nova Scotia consider a stop at the Tidnish Bridge Art Gallery, a cooperative of Cumberland County graphic artists, potters, and writers. We have on display original works in many media:  acrylics, oils, pastels, water colours, ink, and clay.  Also matted prints, ceramics, a collection of fine cards, and books by Harry Thurston - one of Atlantic Canada's better known authors.  

 

Vineyards

Jost Vineyards

48 Vintage Lane, Malagash, Northumberland Shore

Nestled in the gentle hills and sheltered coastal inlets of the Northumberland shores, our winery is Nova Scotia’s largest. A pioneer of the Nova Scotia wine industry, Jost Vineyards produces distinctive wines and styles, which have won hundreds of national and international awards.

Jost creates wines for all occasions and every palate—from the connoisseur to the newest wine taster. We take pride in showing the world that Nova Scotia adds a fresh new dimension to the world of wine. We love our place in the world and find joy in crafting our products—you will enjoy them too.

 

Winegarden Estate

851 Route 970,
Baie Verte

Underlying many of the cottage wines produced in New Brunswick is the talent and expertise of Werner and Roswitha Rosswog of Baie Verte, outside Port Elgin. Together with their daughters Elke and Christina and son Steffan they opened Rosswog Farm Distillery in May of 1992. When the cottage winery program came into being in 1999, the Rosswog family worked cooperatively with Gagetown Cider to produce the first apple wines. They have also been essential to the success of Ferme Maury, Tierney Point Winery and Tuddenham Farms. In 1998, Rosswog Farm was incorporated as Winegarden Estate Ltd. and in 2002 they celebrated their 10th anniversary and grand opening of their new farm shop and warehouse. They carry a selection of over 50 wines and liqueurs.

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Exciting Creative Workshops, Stunning Exhibits, and hands-on demonstrations.