A South Shore getaway is just what you need to reignite that spark between you and your partner and take a break from the hum and buzz of city life. Lunenburg is a small urban community in Nova Scotia known for its picturesque waterfront, colourful architecture and seafaring charm. Old Town Lunenburg is actually one of only two communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The charming fishing town is small enough to discover on foot and there are tons of amazing restaurants, distilleries, breweries, artisans and unique shops to explore.
Living in Halifax, we’re incredibly lucky to be only a short drive away from a place that holds so much of Canada’s culture and history. While many tourists prefer to visit Lunenburg in the summer to enjoy the restaurant patios or visit the historic Bluenose II (the tall ship on the Canadian dime!), it’s also a beautiful place to visit all year round. When we had the opportunity to book a short staycation the other month, Lunenburg was at the top of our list!
The first thing we noticed when researching where to stay in Lunenburg was that there are tons of inns scattered all throughout the town! But the one that caught our attention for our South Shore getaway was Salt Shaker Deli & Inn. This was our first time staying in an inn so we were honestly not sure what to expect but were blown away by the hospitality and warm atmosphere of the accommodation. From the tasteful and unique seaside decor to the spectacular views of Lunenburg Harbour and award-winning restaurant just below, we instantly felt those #vacayvibes.
The historic property consists of 4 freshly-renovated rooms equipped with Keurigs, plush bathrobes, locally-made Fiore Botanica toiletries and flat screen cable TVs. We stayed in the Waterfront Queen Room and it was the perfect size for two people for a romantic getaway. They also have larger King and Queen suites that offer two levels, quaint ensuites and kitchenettes.
Lunenburg is known for having some of the best seafood in Nova Scotia so we were super excited to start scouting out some local favourites. Our stay was conveniently located above one of Lunenburg’s top-rated restaurants so of course we had to check it out! The menu at Salt Shaker Deli was created by award-winning Chef, Martin Ruiz Salvador, and showcases the region’s fresh seafood, locally-grown produce and artisanal products.
Although seafood is their main fare (smoked seafood chowder and fishcakes are some customer favourites), they’re also known for their hand-rolled thin crust pizzas under the name “Greasy Marty’s”. We ordered the Mushroom & Goat’s Cheese Arancini, the Pork Chop and a Lobster Roll. We also had some of the best Cinnamon Cheesecake I’ve ever had for dessert!
In addition to their delicious menu, they also offer a wide selection of local wines and craft beers on tap. They have an outdoor patio that looks perfect for sipping on summer cocktails so we can’t wait to return for another during South Shore getaway in a few months!
The next day, we visited Nº 9 Coffee Bar just across the street from Salt Shaker Deli to get our caffeine fix for a long day of exploring. This coffee shop has an amazing welcoming atmosphere and a variety of espresso drinks created with the Haligonian-favourite, Java Blend Coffee. We highly recommend trying the Breakfast Cookies if you visit!
Next on our list was Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters, a 100% organic and fair trade coffee company based in Lunenburg. Laughing Whale is also the first Eco-Roaster in Canada meaning that their coffees are produced using a combination of the best traditional techniques and the latest low-emission, heat-recycling roasting technology! We purchased a bag of beans to bring back home and headed to our next foodie destination.
We heard some rave reviews about the fresh and delicious Smoked Salmon at Dory Mates’ Seafood Shop so we made sure to pick some up to make some post-staycation Smoked Salmon bagels. We were there around noon on a Friday and there was a small lineup to get inside but it is 100% worth the wait!
At the end of our first night in Lunenburg, we were in search for a local pub and were recommended by a local to visit The Knot Pub – a whimsical restaurant and bar offering classic pub grub and local beer. The pub looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale from the outside and on the inside there is a comforting nautical ambience that feels homecoming.
In the past few years, downtown Lunenburg has transformed its stores into a fun and unique shopping experience for locals and tourists alike. We visited tons of indie shops as well as well some beloved small businesses to see what all the buzz was about during our South Shore getaway.
Our first shopping stop was Ironworks Distillery, an artisanal distillery house in an old marine blacksmith’s workshop.Their delicious hand-crafter liqueurs and spirits are made with locally-sourced raw ingredients to take full advantage of everything Nova Scotia has to offer. For example, their vodka is made from Nova Scotia apples and their gin includes a portion of local juniper berries and numerous Nova Scotia-sourced botanicals (yum!). Their products make the perfect souvenir gifts to take home with you and the beautifully-decorated shop is worth the visit alone.
We came across Mom’s Buy & Sell – Dad’s Icecream on our way to another shop and had to stop in to take a look. What we walked into was an antique hunter’s paradise! They sell the most unique items from furniture to old stereos to vintage nautical decor, all at a reasonable price. They also have a cute clothing section featuring cozy sweaters, stylish shoes and fun accessories.
During the day, we came across many independent shops featuring beautiful handcrafted goods. Dots & Loops is a cute and colourful shop that offers a wide range of gifts including jewelry, bath and body products, books and more. SEEK is a shop specializing in gifts and home decor. They carry the sweetest collection of vintage vases, delightful candles and delicious cookbooks – it’s hard not to have a smile on your face when you’re walking through the store!
Lunenburg Bound and Block Shop Books are conveniently located just a few paces from each other on Montague St but are uniquely special. Lunenburg Bound houses about 10,000 new and used books, creating a diverse and ever-changing selection that is specially curated with the customers’ interests and staffs’ recommendations in mind. Block Shop Books, originally known as Lexicon Books, is the newest – and one of the oldest – bookshops in town. The shop was named after the building’s history as it used to be the space where blocks and pulleys were crafted. This charming shop is filled with a curated book collection featuring many local authors.
Before we headed back to Halifax, we were fortunate enough to visit The Chandlery at The Dory Shop. This shop located right on Lunenburg Harbour was one of the most unique shopping experiences of our trip! This traditional ship’s Chandlery offers unique items necessary to marines and non-mariners alike. This is a great shop to do some souvenir shopping in! Note: Due to COVID, you are required to call or email The Dory Shop to set up an appointment to visit.
I hope that this story inspired you to book a romantic South Shore getaway and reconnect with yourself and your partner in new, meaningful ways.