Acadia in autumn (photo slideshow)

Nova Scotia’s Acadian Coast is a feast for the senses at any time of year, but particularly in the autumn months when the trees are a patchwork of orange, yellow and crimson.

Port Royal was the birthplace of Acadia and as the first permanent European settlement in Canada

Nova Scotia’s Acadian Coast is a feast for the senses at any time of year, but particularly in the autumn months when the trees are a patchwork of orange, yellow and crimson.

Fall is Mother Nature’s favourite season to show off and that makes it the ideal time for a Maritime road trip.

A journey from Annapolis Royal to Halifax will take about two and a half hours — if you don’t stop. But stopping is half of the fun, so it’s a good idea to plan to spend a full day exploring this scenic stretch of highway. You will find that this part of Canada is filled with sights, sounds and tastes that reveal the amazing history of a proud, spirited and indomitable people known as the Acadians.

Here are just a few of many suggested stops.

Port Royal — Port Royal was established in 1605 when Samuel de Champlain and Sieur de Mons sailed into the Annapolis Basin and built the Habitation.

It was the first permanent European settlement north of Florida and the first permanent settlement in Canada. It was established two years before the English settled Jamestown, Va., three years before the founding of Quebec and 15 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. It’s no wonder locals call it the birthplace of Canada.

As the first European settlement in Canada, Port Royal has been designated a national historic site and a replica of the Habitation has been built there. Costumed interpreters guide you through historic buildings recreating the look and feel of one of the earliest settlements in North America.

Annapolis Royal — Considered by some to be Canada’s most historic town, Annapolis Royal is a real treat to visit. With a population of fewer than 1,000 people and an abundance of historic buildings, it isn’t hard to imagine yourself back in time. More than 150 homes and buildings in the town have been officially designated as heritage sites and the streetscape has been designated a National Historic District. Be sure to pick up a free touring map at the visitor centre and take in a free self-guided walking tour of the town.

Fort Anne —Fort Anne National Historic Site played an important role in Canadian history. As the former seat of government for Acadia, the site was the scene of many battles between the French and the English as they fought to dominate North America. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the conquest of Fort Anne was considered essential to the domination of the eastern part of Canada known by the French as Acadie and by the English as Nova Scotia (or New Scotland).

Local residents campaigned successfully to have the site preserved and maintained for future generations and, in 1917, Fort Anne became Canada’s first administered national historic site.

Grand-Pré — Located in the Annapolis Valley near the town of Wolfville, Grand Pré is more strongly identified with the Acadian Deportation than any other site.

This is due in large part to the fact that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow chose Grand Pré as the setting for his epic poem Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie, which was published in 1847.

Longfellow’s poem is a story about a young Acadian girl from Grand-Pré who is separated from her betrothed.

The poem touched millions of people around the world and became a symbol of the perseverance of the Acadian people.

Between 1755 and 1763, the British governor and the Nova Scotia Council seized lands and forced the French Acadian population to leave Nova Scotia. In 1755 alone, approximately 7,000 Acadians were deported. They were held on prison ships for several weeks before being moved to their final destinations and more than one-third of them died before reaching their destinations. An additional 10,000 are estimated to have died from displacement during the winter of 1755–1756. There were approximately 23,000 Acadians before the deportation, according to provincial records, but based on British records, less than half survived.

The government of Canada acquired Grand-Pré Memorial Park in 1957 and declared it a national historic site in 1961. The grounds of the site are beautiful and make a great picnic stop and the interpretive signage can tell you a lot about the history.

Wolfville —With fewer than 4,000 residents, the town of Wolfville has a distinctly New England feel to it. The small downtown area is surrounded by shady neighbourhoods with elegant homes. After the Acadian settlers were forced off the land, the area was settled by transplanted New Englanders. It’s worth a stop in town to wander the leafy streets and see the stunning grounds of Acadia University.

If you go:

• There are plenty of wonderful bed and breakfasts and inns to enjoy in this region of Canada. Consider staying at the Queen Anne Inn in Annapolis Royal. The historic mansion was built in 1865 and was selected as one of the top 10 accommodations in the Maritimes. The inn has 12 rooms and rates start at $119 per person during the autumn months, from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30. For more information, visit or call 1-877-536-0403.

• If you are looking for quaint accommodations in the city, consider staying at the Waverly inn in Halifax. Located within walking distance of Dalhousie University, the harbour and many major attractions, and points of interest in the downtown area, this historic inn has 34 private rooms and free onsite parking. Rooms start at $109 per night and include breakfast. For more information, visit or phone 1-800-565-9346.

• Direct flights from Calgary or Edmonton to Halifax can be arranged through Air Canada or WestJet. Prices vary depending upon the departure date. Visit their websites or contact your travel agent for exact pricing for your specific dates.

l For more information on visiting Nova Scotia, visit the official tourism website at or call 1-800-565-0000.

Debbie Olsen is a Lacombe-based freelance writer. If you have a travel story you would like to share or know someone with an interesting travel story who we might interview, please email: or write to: Debbie Olsen, c/o Red Deer Advocate, 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, Alta., T4R 1M9.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Lee seeks UCP nomination in Red Deer

Eyes Red Deer-North constituency

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Red Deer city council considers new business licence bylaw

All businesses operating in the City of Red Deer will require a… Continue reading

Saskatchewan farmer’s death triggers emotional harvest of love and respect

MILESTONE, Sask. — Volunteers have rallied to harvest the large wheat crop… Continue reading

Councillors want to represent Red Deer at AUMA

City council approves endorsement

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Scheer going to India to ‘repair’ relationship after ‘disastrous’ Trudeau trip

OTTAWA — Six months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy prowess… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month