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Annapolis Royal

Reflections in Granville Ferry, just next door to Annapolis Royal(©walknboston, flickr.com)

Reflections in Granville Ferry, just next door to Annapolis Royal

Annapolis Royal has been charming visitors for centuries.

First among them was explorer Samuel de Champlain, who arrived in 1605 and declared the nearby Annapolis Basin ‘one of the finest harbours that I have seen on all these coasts’.

Now it’s the historic Fort Anne, the beautiful gardens and one of the best selections of gorgeous B&Bs anywhere in Nova Scotia that enchant everyone who comes here.

As if all this weren’t enough, Annapolis Royal is ideally located as a base from which to explore Kejimkujik National Park, the artistic haven of Bear River and the whale-watching hub of Brier Island.

If you’ve got kids, you can also spend a day at the Upper Clements Theme Park, just down the road.

Start your tour of Annapolis Royal by strolling along the waterfront boardwalk, with its views across the river, and then head straight for Fort Anne. It’s right in the town centre and offers a view into the time when the French and English were battling for control of Nova Scotia. More…

The Historic Gardens should be next on your priority list as long as the weather is fine. They are simply splendid, with a rose maze, an Acadian house and an astonishing variety of flowers and plants to admire. Take your time. They’re open all day in the summer. (July and August, 8am to dusk; May, June and September, 9am to 5pm. Adult admission $8.50)

Also worth a look is the Tidal Power Generating Station, just north of town and near the Visitor Information Centre. It’s the only place in North America where the power of the tides is used to push water through turbines and create electricity – enough to power nearly 5,000 homes. It’s open every day and absolutely free, with guides on hand to answer your questions.

Where to Stay
Hillsdale House Inn
is one B&B that consistently wins praise from its guests and no wonder. They’ve been catering for travellers for over 100 years, including royalty. Everyone who stays the night gets a unique and tastefully decorated room and a breakfast that includes fresh coffee and homemade jams. The historic home is filled with antiques and set in 12 acres of garden. It’s pure bliss. (519 St. George Street; Rooms $79-139; 1-877-839-2821; Hillsdale House Inn)

Queen Anne Inn is another B&B renowned for its lovely, welcoming hosts and amazing food. Some rooms come with a jacuzzi, perfect for that romantic getaway, and in the suites you’ll find handmade feather beds. On warm summer weekends, a dinner of fresh seafood can be enjoyed on their outside deck. (494 Upper George Street; Rooms $99-179;1-877-536-0403; Queen Anne Inn)

Dunromin Campground offers something a little simpler but nonetheless lovely. Just out of town, they have beachside sites, a swimming pool and a boat launch. Rent a canoe, kayak or pedal boat for a relaxing afternoon or or bring your rod and go fishing for striped bass, the local specialty. If you don’t want to pitch your own tent, you can stay in a tipi or one of their cabins. They also have free wireless internet. (On Highway 1, Granville Ferry; Unserviced tent site $26; Dunromin Campground)