Halifax – 2018

From Quebec City to Halifax was a very long and uncomfortable train ride.  The train car seemed warm to me, and I was on an aisle seat instead of a window.  Once the sunset I guess that wasn’t a big deal, but trying to sleep proved more difficult than my trip a few years ago on Amtrak.  I just think Amtrak seats are more comfortable for sleeping in a chair.  But I did learn my lesson, a sleeping car on over night train trips in Canada would be worth the crazy price you have to pay; plus dinner/breakfast are include and you get access to a special observation car at the very end of the train.  But enough about the train… On to Halifax…


Halifax Train Station

The train pulls into the Halifax Train Station at 7:06 PM local time takes a bit of time to get luggage, because unlike the previous trains the luggage is unloaded and put on one of those conveyor belts like at an airport.  And since I learned my lesson in Quebec City, I ordered a taxi and get to the hotel by 7:54 PM.  I check in, drop off my luggage and then head right back out to see the water front.  The whole time on the train getting into Halifax the sun had been shining and the day was bright, but it seems a fog rolled into Halifax just ahead of the train so visibility was down to quarter of a mile, maybe?

Its now around 9 PM and I’m hungry.  The turkey sandwich from the train had been hours ago.  So I try to find some place to eat, in what is really a tourist area.  It is a late Monday evening, and the I believe the fog had everyone moving in doors earlier then normal.  Or it could be that the area is always kind of slow on a Monday evening.  I did find a pub on the docks that was open, The Lower Deck.  They served fish and chips and I am a fan.


After dinner, I go walking around a bit more, but there are very few people out and the fog has made everything damp and a bit chilly so I head back to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow’s adventure.

It is now Tuesday, July 3rd and I have a free morning.  My bus tour of Halifax and then to Peggy’s Cove is not until 12 PM.  I decided to eat the breakfast buffet in the hotel.  It was $20 but you get to eat a little bit of everything than just a larger amount of only a few things.  They did serve an interesting egg, broccoli, bread thing that I went back for seconds.  Breakfast all done I head back down to the docks to redeem my voucher for the ticket for the bus tour. By 9 AM the fog has cleared off and you can see across the bay.

After a short walk along the board walk, I decided to head east into Halifax and visit the Museum of Natural History. I head up along Salter Street toward Barrington Street, but half way only my trek I have to make a surprising detour. Like in each of the other cities I’ve visited, lots of construction is going happening.  I’m not sure if the construction worker are responsible or if it was just a bad fire hydrant, but water is gushing into the air a good 12 feet and running down the street about 3 inches deep. How do I know? Well, I stepped in the water and soaked my right shoe.

broken hydrant

I continue on my way as another police car arrives to block traffic from going down the street.  So I finally get back on course and head up Sackville Street and I notice the Halifax Public Gardens.

From the number of pictures I took, I think you can deduce I didn’t make it to the Museum in time.  I did go back to the Museum on Wednesday and looked around.  It was a very small museum, but it had an interesting exhibit of artwork created by some of the local tribes of the First People, what Canadians call Native Americans, that visualized the impact of Europeans on the lives of these people.  And remember these are basically the same Europeans that are moving into the America’s and Mexico so when I say things didn’t work out well for the First People, I am making a huge understatement.  And some of the repressive laws continued into the modern era and if I’m remembering the date correctly, it wasn’t until the 1960s before a woman of the local tribes no longer lost her tribal status with the Canadian government if she married a non tribe member.

The museum also has a mascot.  His name is Gus, and at night when the staff is closing up the museum he is allowed to roam his museum.

DSC01357Gus the tortise

The museum also has a bee hive behind glass inside the building with a pipe that allows the bees to come and go as needed.  It also has some good displays of the various types of rocks and minerals found in the area along with bones and some fossils of animals from the past and present.  It was a nice museum to visit, and gave me about 45 minutes out of the unusually warm day (The museum visit was on Thursday, July 4th)

After leaving the public gardens, after another quick walk through I walked around one of the edges of the Halifax Citadel National Historical Site.  I didn’t visit, but this is a raised area over looking the lower portion of the city and the harbor where a military fort had been built to defend the port.  From the level I was on it just looked like a huge grassy hill, but when you got to on of the roads leading up, you could see the fort’s structures.

The time is now 11:30 AM and I need to be at the departure point by 11:45 AM which is out side of the nautical museum.  I didn’t visit the museum so I can’t say anything about it, other than its location.  The bus leaves a bit late, around 12:!5 PM, and I am off to Peggy’s Cove which I knew nothing about before my trip and I only booked it because there was a lighthouse.  It’s almost an hours drive out to the location and our tour guide has many stories to tell mostly about tragic events that happened on the ocean.  Halifax was the closest port to the location where the Titanic sank so many of the survivors were taken to Halifax along with the dead that were able to be recovered.

Peggy’s Cove is a fishing village that mainly traps lobsters. On the docks of all the little houses, I saw many lobster trap.  The fog found me again here at the cove, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t get some good pictures of the lighthouse and surrounding landscape.  I even had time to grab a “lobster roll” for lunch.  Why the quotes, well it was lobster meat, but the “roll” was just a hot dog bun.  Still it was good, better than any lobster I’ve had at Red Lobster.

Another hour drive back into Halifax, with some more local stories that I don’t remember because honestly I didn’t really care.  I just wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean and the light house and I was looking forward to my next tour, The Halifax Distillery.

The Halifax Distillery is a very small rum distillery located on Lower Water Street.  One of main people responsible for running the distillery gave the tour.  In the pictures above you can see the pot where the mash is fermented. They only use molasses for their rum and I didn’t know this, but as rum is fermenting it is producing so much heat that they have to cool the pot.  That explains the dimples in the outside of the pots.  They run water between the outside and inside layer of the pot to cool the mixture other wise it would boil and kill the yeast and end the fermentation. My beer takes about 6 to 7 days to finish its fermentation process, rum is done in 12 hours.  Because of the heat produced by the fermentation the distillery only runs during the winter months when it is much cooler and their are less people wanting to take tours. After those 12 hours are up, the liquid is transferred to the pot and column still where it is heated and the alcohol is collected. It is than aged for 3 years in old bourbon and whiskey barrels.  Many of those being used here are from Buffalo Trace.  One of the other guests asked how many times a barrel can be reused, and the answer was up to 5 times before it starts to leak too much. I personally am not a fan of drinking rum, even in a cocktail, but the dark rum here was pretty good.  I even bought a bottle of the Rum Cream which is basically like Bailey’s Irish Cream, but made with golden rum and not whisky.  Overall, this was a very good tour, and I learned a few things I didn’t know.  It also helps that the business is still small enough that they owners are the people running the place and giving the tour.

After the tour I head back to the hotel keeping my eye open for a place to eat dinner.  I run across, The Old Triangle.  Maybe subconsciously the math teacher in me is drawn to the word triangle or the fact its an Irish Alehouse either way, that is where dinner will be.


This is Tuesday night, around 7:30 PM and the place is pretty empty.  I over here the bartender and one of the waitress discussing that fact.  About 20 or 30 minutes later after I get my food the manger even lets the waitress go home earlier because she isn’t making any money on tips, because their is no crowd and the place is over staffed.  It seems I decided to visit between the arrival of the cruise ships.  Which is very good for me, I didn’t realize that Halifax was one of the major destination ports for cruise ships.  The harbor is deep enough that the ships can dock without issues.  I thanked my good fortune and sit back and enjoy the live music coming up from the lower section of the Alehouse while I wait for my meal.

Dinner was pan fired Haddock with potato leek soup.  And dessert, which I didn’t really have room for but decide to just go for it anyways was this awesome Guinness Gingerbread cake.  If all desserts tasted that good, I would always save room.

Since the sun is setting so late, it is still pretty bright out when I leave the restaurant at 8:44 PM.  I walk back to the board walk and get some really good pictures of the docks and harbor with my phone using the landscape and sphere setting.  Sadly they don’t upload well here and only look good on a phone.

And it is back to the hotel for some sleep.

It is now July 4th; the train back to Montreal doesn’t leave until 12:30 PM.  I take one final walk along the board walk, and then head up to the public garden again.  As I mentioned before I visited the History museum today.

I get a taxi to the train station and board the train and get a window sit on the single seat side of the train.  Here are some pictures I got while traveling from Halifax.

Published in: on July 24, 2018 at 11:43 am  Comments Off on Halifax – 2018  

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