Pubnico is a small French Acadian community located in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia on Nova Scotia Trunk 3 . It was founded in 1653 by Philippe Mius d’Entremont. It holds the distinction of being the oldest Acadian community still inhabited by people of this descent. Most of today's residents are descendants of the founder. Approximately 50% of the residents of the region are of this background and Acadian French is typically their first language, a mix of words from English, Mi'kmaq and 17th century France. Sizable Acadian communities, are also found at nearby Wedgeport and Argyle.
Unseasonably warm weather in Lunenburg County as compared with Yarmouth County caused us to cast of and cruise south west for a bit more than two hours. The nether portion of Shelburne County and the coastal part of Yarmouth County are essentially flat lands with very little productive agricultural soil compared with our part of Nova Scotia. Pubnico proper was the original place of French settlement, but after the Expulsion of Acadians this area was resettled by English-speaking colonists. When the Acadians returned they reestablished themselves in Upper and Lower West Pubnico and at East Pubnico. The closest retail centre is Barrington Passage a slight detour from the main highway #103. Obviously that peninsula is going to suffer from the effects of global warming.
We booked a Saturday night at Yester Year's Bed & Breakfast, based on their home pages at www.yesteryears.ca. Check in time is given as 3 pm, but we had said we would probably arrive at 5 pm. Not a good idea on a very warm day, as we got away earlier than anticipated and arrived when the proprietors were shopping.
This B&B was easily located following a byway south from the 103. This shot was taken standing on the western road to Argyll. The tourist rental was immediately at right. Unable to access a room we set off on a short tour of West Pubnico.
This areas is essentially an ancient peneplain, eroded to flat land by glacial erosion in the not so distant past (15,000 years ago) in geologic terms. It was not left with a huge overburden of deposited soil like Lunenburg County and has none of those gently rounded drumlin hills.
A coffee shop/groceteria. Note that almost everyone in this community is fluent in English, perhaps understanding it better than Parisian French.
A quick in transit view of the largest church on this side of Pubnico Harbour. It is on the the land side of the road heading southward.
A more imposing view from the air.
This community is famed for its quilting and this annual quilt fair in the interior of the church.
Hard to equal this place as a display room.
A liquor outlet is associated with the Cooperative store on the water side, but it is closed Saturdays except in high tourist season.
Part of our itinerary.
Housing is traditional, sound and well maintained.
West Pubnico is one of the top fishing ports in Nova Scotia by value of landings, and is home to 15 fish processing companies. Major species include haddock, cod, redfish, herring, lobster and scallops.
The Acadian Village on the right down this road had a closing time of 5 pm; too late for more than a quick look, so we put that on Sunday's agenda.
A right turn just past the village sees a refrigeration plant at the waterfront.
Most homes are less grand than this but all are in excellent condition.
A couple of fish processors and a view of the shoreline behind these buildings.
The Dennis Point Restaurant, one of two respected eating places in this community. It is located on the land side of the road directly across from a massive wharf on the other side. Too early for food since we had a late lunch on the road.
All photos were taken with the car in motion, so they are sparse.
Back on the main highway and still headed southward we pass through the wind turbine farm. It is located at Lower West Pubnico. Consisting of 17 1.8 MW Vestas V-80 turbines, the Pubnico Point Wind Farm has a generating capacity of 30.6 MW. Commissioned in 2005 and purchased by NextEra Energy Canada in 2008, the wind farm is one of the largest in generating capacity in the province. It was the first wind farm erected in Nova Scotia.
Here is a view from the water giving so idea of size.
All that angst started in 2008. Of course this project is still operative, and homes close to the project seemed to be vacant when we visited in 2015.
On the road northward.
This photograph illustrates how close some portions of road lie to the high tide mark, and these must certainly flood when there is storm surge in reaction to high winds and an increased tidal range.
Unlike the rather grand Lunenburg fire station... On the water side of the street.
No action yet at the B&B. To expend time and keep cool we drive to Barrington for six bottles of craft beer.
The connecting #103 is deathly boring is spite of being a 15-minute run.
On return we sign in and find ourselves assigned this turreted room on the second floor of the B&B. "Beautifully restored and renovated, this 100-year old Queen Anne revival heritage bed & breakfast offers a peaceful retreat during your visit to the region!" It was decidedly well renovated and very, very peaceful.
The interior looking from the doorway toward the interior of that turret.
Sue & Mike Foreman are the proprietors. She is decidedly the driving force in this operation, an ex-pat (like Ruth) from southern England. Hot and tired we slept until 7 pm emerging for supper at the Dennis Point Restaurant.
This turned out to be a very busy place and no wonder the prices were modest compared with restaurants in our tourist trap part of Nova Scotia. Ruth attracted a great deal of attention. Part of the operation is out of the cooler fast food for a largely male clientèle, most speaking English. We thought first to buy into lobster, but had eaten a lot of that in Lunenburg and passed for two chicken dinners, unexpectedly seasoned to perfection both for under $30 with drinks.
We missed out on a seafood omlette for breakfast, but this picture shows what one can expect.
We at breakfast (very good) at the B&B , and then decided to have a closer look at the Acadian Village. While the B&B property was well tailored, the road to Argyll next door featured a slightly inferior view. That seeming debris is lobster fishing gear, the winter season having passed.
Here is the backyard of Yester Year. Nice gardens and an barbecue.
And directly across the byway as seen from the front yard.
That's our red vehicle parked west of the B&B.
We departed close to the noon-hour. This place gets full marks for displaying good introductory photos and not promising more than it could deliver. It is a four-star Canada Select place and scrupulously clean.It was obviously inspected and displayed a current dated certificate showing that it was inspected and approved as a tourist accommodation in 2015.
There are two tourist attractions in the village,but the museum on the landward side of the road moving southward, was not open.
The museum has a garden of traditional antiquarian plants west of its buildings so we will be wanting to see that as well as the indoor displays. Obviously there is a great interest in gardening in spite of the fact that their soil type has drawbacks. Check out this website if interested!
As for the Acadian Village it grew out of a local interest in preserving buildings of historic interest by members of Musee acadien et Achives, Pubnico-Ouest, public funding followed. It is, by the way, on high ground.
Note that care and control over this attraction remains in local hands, with advisory input from the Nova Scotia Museum based in Halifax. It has 27 local museums scattered across the province and superintends more than 200 historic business.
Since 620,000 people paid admission to these museums in the past year it is an importance part of the tourist infrastructure. #7. The West Pubnico Museum and Archives, #8. The West Pubnico Historic Village.
Sunday morning stroll: "Vive l'Acadie! Situated on a beautiful 17-acre site overlooking Pubnico harbour, Le Village historique acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse (Historical Acadian Village of Nova Scotia) invites you to step back in time and discover the heart, life and work of the Acadians in the early 1900s. Conceived in 1989 by West Pubnico’s Acadian historical society, Le Village was incorporated in 1996 and opened in 1999.
Passing through the admission/interprative building one passes across this patio on the west side. Months of Operation 2016 season June 6 - September 30;
Hours 9:00AM - 5:00PM (daily); Toll free: 1-888-381-8999.
Same position looking eastward over the harbour.
A bit further to the north. Admission rates (HST incl.): Adults $7, Seniors (65+) $6, Students (student ID) $6, Students (6 to 17 yrs.) $3, Family $16, Group Rate $4 (per person), Children (5 yrs.& under) Free.
There is a restaurant wing. Café du Crique is open in tourist season. "If you wish to have a picnic on the beautiful site of the Village, you can buy all that is needed at our café. Our cooks will prepare your lunch in a basket with towels, utensils and beverage. The site has plenty of picnic tables, or you can bring a blanket; you will have a quiet and relaxing experience."
The path to the isles. In this region, tides are in the five meter range rather than 2 meters, which is the average along this coast. geographical shape and tidal resonance explain this difference and explain why "a 40 ft. lobster fishing boat is able to sail through this narrow channel at high tide and one can walk across it to the islands at low tide."
Ruth approaches the Charles Duon House (1832), Archange d'Entremont's shed is seen at extreme left.
We are greeted by Program Director Kathy Nickerson. The house's main section originally had a gentle slope but was raised to make overhead room available for a growing family. The gable was added in later Victorian times. The furnishings and accouterments of the two houses we looked at were no surprise since I lived in places like this during the last century.
New Ampitheatre, down the hill from the house. Built new in 2004 it is used as an open space for addressing groups concerning the details of Acadian history. Notice the hay drying rack at the right of this building.
The Acadian term for a square haystack on a raised wooden framework was carré, called a ‘’staddle’’ by the English. On the salt marshes in locations like Pubnico the hay harvester also had to work with the tides. The hay had to be cut and the haystacks made between flood tides. The building of a stack took about one and a half hours. Having a high salt content this hay was only suitable for oxen, which have more tolerant stomachs than other farm animals.
This building was an 1800s shoe shop 'repaired in 2015. It is not shown as yet on the Acadian Visitor Map. An official Canada Post outlet it sells stamps and offers a cancellation which is a logo of the Village.During the season, interpreters staffing the feature will dress as a postmaster or postmistress to interact with visitors and talk to them about rural postal delivery in the early 1900s. Artifacts from the shoe shop can also be viewed in the building.
The Reuben Trefry Blacksmith Shop (late 1800s).
Built in West Pubnico this building was moved here some time after it ceased to be used as the community blacksmith shop.
Here the blacksmith is seen fashioning a hand-forged nail for Ruth.
This family arrived just as we were leaving.
The Maximan d'Entremont Home (1856). The Classic revival architecture is not limited to Acadian communities, but is no longer as commonplace as it was when I was a child.
He we were met and entertained by Head Interpreter Laurel d'Entremont whose large family of antecedents lived in this home. Again, everything was reminiscent of the Mackay family home at Bonny River.
The blacksmith shop and that last dwelling seen from down the hill.
A very similar little building down the hill on the same side of the gravel road originally served as a Fish Shed (1875) for Augustin Duon. Fishermen worked from Shelburne-styled dories like this one.
Commonplace hand-lining cod-fishing gear.
Like my Guptill ancestors from Grand Manan Island these folk prepared salted fish using fish drying racks like these examples found behind the shed.
Large quantities of salted cod was packed in barrels or boxes such as this for shipment abroad.
Salted cod were brought home in wooden barrels, which were fitted with tops like this. Cod liver oil was a by-product. Smaller boxes were created for the retail trade.
Big boxes were framed to contain little boxes. My Guptill ancestors fished and packed smoked fish when I was a kid. Packed them is similar smaller wooden boxes.
The Boat Shop built new in 2004 is directly across the way near the amiptheatre. Here a visitor is seen talking to the resident boat-builder, who is unfortunately off camera.
Here is a dory in progress. The Pubnico boat is constructed with a two-piece stern post rather that the Lunenburg single piece fashioned from the trunk and a branch of a tree.
This shanty was recreated following an old model in 2012. It was a place where fisherman used to repair nets and other gear. This crib-style wharf is fitted with a lift for hoisting fish baskets from dories. It measures 60 feet in length and 8 feet in width and is supported by 3 cribs measuring 10’ x 10’. The materials consist of natural white spruce and the cribs are filled with rocks.
The vireveau is a mechanical device that works by winding and unwinding a rope or chain around a spool or drum that is large enough to reduce the physical effort. This device was used to lower supplies onto the boats as well as raising heavy containers of fish onto the wharf. Note boat ramp at left.
Early mechanical gasoline-driven winch.
A lesser remnant of the past. Very like the skiff my grandfather bought ($25) for Art and Rod many years ago. I had the pleasure of rowing them about.
View from the nature trail which parallels the shore southward.
In this shed nearest the wharf a craftsman fashions wooden lobster traps.
Repair work in progress.
The trail gives access to this picnic table and look-off.
At the back of the ampitheatre.
Looking back from near sea level. Ampitheatre ramp at right.
This was early in the growing season.
D'Entremont home and Ampitheatre from the trail looking northward.
Feeling a lot less harassed by air temperature.
Another picnic table.
The salt marsh.
The main entry building.
The trail follows that line fence.
Later we would have seen gardens being planted and farm animals on the property.
A school bus full of grade school children arrived as we were leaving.
Sadly, the future can be seen from this replica of the past.
A telephoto glance into that past.
Early farm machinery.
A very enjoyable day, but the weather gods were complicate.
The Ville seen from East Pubnico. Obviously not our photo.
For the record here is the present situation according to one maven.
Coming soon to a theatre near you. Meanwhile, Pubnico is decidedly a place worth visiting. The befinde willing we will visit again in 2016.
As for me and my friend: It was on the road and up-and-along again, and glad to clear these long straight highways.
Suffocatingly hot by late afternoon. I forget why this stop was necessary, but recall that we took the next right turn to the coast.
And ended in Liverpool, which reminded us that Pubnico has advantages.
Liverpool lost its major industry, Bowater-Mersey. They are struggling to deal with infrastructure breakdown and a small, aging population.
This is an English-speaking enclave with an equally interesting history, but as visitors I'm not sure we can deal with the troubles they are having.