Talk about East Lawrencetown: It’s like a resort
Local getaway offers endless amenities, beautifully-themed oceanside suites, the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, and, a secret map.
by Sheryl Dubois
Published: July 2019, The City Voice
Reprinted: November 2019
It’s a resort of sorts, and not more than a two-hour bike ride from Halifax, 90 minutes in the car from Lunenburg or an hour from Windsor.
This get-away starts with a fully-equipped suite sitting on a sandy Nova Scotia shore, surfing or kitesurfing lessons just down the Atlantic View trail, fabulous eateries, an art gallery, vintage clothing shop and a couple of chances to volunteer. It all begins in East Lawrencetown.
Where to stay
Consider staying a couple of nights at Moonlight Beach Suites (Suites). After 23 years of hosting, Jane Dominie and partner/husband Calvin Dominie deliver exactly what visitors need.
The second-floor suites open onto decks overlooking the ocean. All rooms are equipped with kitchenettes, WIFI, fireplaces and much more. Find a jacuzzi or steam shower bathtub in each en-suite bathroom. Adornments throughout make the space feel especially open, cared for and calming – yet it is not without quiet hints of luxury. The Dominies loan visitors bicycles and beach chairs; you can find sunscreen in the bathrooms. A convenient common space houses a games room, pool table, exercise equipment and access to the generous hot tub.
Trails & Heritage
Walking, running or biking, it is easy to love the 10 km Atlantic View Trail which hugs the shore and moseys right by Moonlight Beach Suites. At the west end of the trail is the Cole Harbour-Lawrencetown Coastal Heritage Park to discover. At the other, follow the incomparable 6.5 km Cole Harbour Salt Marsh Trail to the 400-acre Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Farm Museum.
Dominie says the folks who stay at Suites also get information about secret trails and look-outs, known only to locals.
Surf, Kitesurf or Kayak
Local services include lessons and all the gear required to learn to surf, kitesurf and/or kayak. Be sure to sign up in advance. Surfers are out all year long at Lawrencetown Beach, Dominie points out, where the surf is considered “world-class.”
You may bring groceries to Suites and prepare delicious meals or, you can dine out. According to Dominie, you won’t be disappointed by the variety of dishes and flavours within a twenty-minute drive, at the Acadian Tea Room/La Cuisine de Brigette and the Rose and Rooster Café and Bakery. Order the Korean Breakfast Wrap, Breaky Buddha Bowl, Acadian Fish Cakes or one of several vegan options.
Closer to home, Dominie says the Atlantic Dutch Store in East Lawrencetown is a treat. Her grandson’s visits “are not complete,” she says, without a trip to the Dutch store. Sweets, cheeses and Dutch-themed giftware are specialties.
At the storied MacDonald House you’ll find an engaging art gallery on the main floor and upstairs, exclusive vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. A new café, replacing the longstanding tea room, is opening August 2019.
Want to get a new volunteer experience under your belt and leave the community you are visiting a little richer? Check out Hope for Wildlife in neighbouring Seaforth, to volunteer anytime, or contact Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association to help at the Salt Marsh Trail on Saturday mornings.
East Lawrencetown and neighbouring communities have much to
offer vacationers and are further proof that in Nova Scotia, you don’t have to
go far away to feel far away.
A rainy day at the beach, but the surfers are out in the distance. Moonlight Beach Suites offers the sound, smell, feel and view of the Atlantic Ocean, up close and personal. Jump in the waves or learn to surf, kayak or kitesurf. It’s all here. (Jane Dominie)
Moonlight Beach Suites faces south. Visitors relish the uninterrupted sunrises and sunsets, like this one, taken from the front yard of Suites. (Jane Dominie)
Jane Dominie co-owns and operates Moonlight Beach Suites, built in East Lawrencetown by Jane and her husband Calvin Dominie, 23 years ago. Here she enjoys a mid-day walk on the beach, just outside the four suites. (Calvin Dominie)
The celebrated Salt Marsh Trail, traversing Cole Harbour and Lawrencetown, is part of Canada’s Great Trail and a designated “Migration Hotspot” for birds and other species. A must-experience for trail lovers. (Emma Dubois)