Comely LUNENBURG, 10km south of Mahone Bay, perches on a narrow, bumpy peninsula, its central gridiron of streets clambering up from the main harbourfront flanked by elegant churches and multicoloured wooden houses. Dating from the late nineteenth century, the most flamboyant of these mansions display an arresting variety of architectural features from Gothic towers and classical pillars to elegant verandas and the so-called “Lunenburg Bump”, where triple-bell cast roofs surmount overhanging window dormers, giving the town a vaguely European appearance – which is appropriate considering it was founded in 1753 by German and Swiss settlers, dubbed the “Foreign Protestants”, on invitation of the British in Halifax. Starting out as farmers, they eventually created a prosperous community of fishermen with its own fleet of trawlers and scallop-draggers, though today the only fishing done here is for lobster; and since being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 the town earns far more from the tourist industry.
To buy bottles of locally produced spirits (and the only rum made in Nova Scotia), visit Ironworks Distillery, thick with the aroma of distilled molasses. It also makes Annapolis apple vodka, and a rich apple brandy, aged in Hungarian oak barrels (local fruit supplies the liqueurs). Follow your nose to the Blacksmith’s Shop, 2 Kempt St (Wed–Mon noon–5pm; t 902 640 2424, w ironworksdistillery.com).