Beautiful Lunenburg – located 6 miles (10 km) south of Mahone Bay Village - is atop a small peninsula in Southwest Nova Scotia. Brightly painted 19th century wooden houses run along the main waterfront; the most outstanding collection includes a range of architectural styles including Gothic towers and pillars to sweeping verandas and spiral artwork.
The appearance is decidedly European. Dormers located atop the houses – affectionately known as the “Lunenburg Bump” – reveal German and Swiss influences. Protestants moved here in 1753 and founded Lunenburg; shortly after, they began building an impressive collection of ships originally intended for fishing. Nowadays, the town makes as much money on tourism as it does tourism.
Credit: Kid Cowboy
What to See in Lunenburg
The most popular destination in Lunenburg is its Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic which is housed in a fish processing plant downtown. The museum includes a collection of schooners, including the Bluenose I and II built in the 1920′s and the Theresa E. Connor, a fantastically restored 1938 schooner.
But the real highlight is the aquarium. There’s a room dedicated to whales and the whaling industry (once highly important to Lunenburg industry), and an interactive display showcasing sailing and boat building techniques.
Further down the waterfront is the Dory Shop, where you can actually see traditional boats built besides the docks.
Credit: archer10 (Dennis)
If so inclined you can rent a boat to sail out on your own or take a tour. Whale-watching tours run from from the jetty near the museum; tours are two hours and run 3 -4 times daily.
Another highlight in Lunenburg is the Zwicker House. Built in the 1820′s it’s one of Lunenburg’s finest mansions. Near downtown is St. John’s Anglican Church; built in 1754, the original plain architecture was replaced with a more Gothic style in 1875. It remained that way until a fire destroyed the church on Halloween night in 2001. Fortunately, locals raised the money to fully restore St. John’s to its former glory.
Credit: Wendy Schotsmans
Also located downtown is an impressive red brick building. Welcome to city hall. Just outside the building is a charming park, which features a monument to Norwegian soldiers who trained here during World War II. During the German occupation, Norwegian whaling ships were sent here. Over 1,000 Norwegians were trained here during the early 1940′s; many of their ships were converted into naval war vessels.
When To Go
Lunenburg can be visited year round but the weather is best in late Spring to early Fall (June to October).
From June to October, the average high temperatures range from 55.4 to 74.1°F (13 to 23.4°C), low temperatures range from 39.2 to 55.8°F (4 to 13.2°C), and precipitations ranges from 3.9 to 5.3 inches (98.4 to 128.9 mm) each month.
Getting There & Around
Lunenburg is located in Nova Scotia on the southeastern part of Canada. Halifax International Airport is located 70 miles (112km) from Lunenburg. You can rent a car at the airport or take a Trius bus.
You can walk around Lunenburg, but the area is hilly. Rent a car if you want to explore more attractions.
- Mid-range accommodations: $100-150
- Meals: $15-25
- Bottle of beer: $3.50
- Visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic for an aquarium, fish and boating exhibits.
- Try the Lunenburg sausage for breakfast. It’s made with pork, beef, coriander, and allspice.
- Visit St. John’s Anglican Church where the oak frame was imported from Boston in 1754.
- Miss a bite to eat at the Laughing Whale cafe (at the corner of King and Lincoln).
- Stay in a hotel. Book your accommodations at a B&B or inn. The 1880 Kaulback House Historic Inn is a excellent example of a preserved Lunenburg Victorian mansion and dishes some tasty European breakfasts.
- Forget to visit the Visitor Center on Blockhouse Hill Road.
- In 1753, Lunenburg was founded by German and Swiss Protestants.
- The old town of Lunenburg was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
- In 1921 the original Bluenose fishing and racing schooner was built and later replicated by the Bluenose II built in 1963.
Feature Image Credit: H.L.I.T.