Guide to Grand Pré, Nova Scotia
Grand Pré is a rural community one hour from Halifax. It is famous for being the site of the beginnings of the deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755. It is a great little area to use as a base for further exploring. But there is also plenty to do within the community! This complete guide to Grand Pré will tell you everything you need to know to help you enjoy a great vacation.
Public transportation is nearly non-existent in this area, so you will need a car, or a very serious desire to bike to get around.
Guide to what to do in Grand Pré
Visit the Grand Pré National Historic Site
The National Historic Site is the top attraction in the area, and reason enough to drive from Halifax. Interpreters and museum displays take visitors through the history of the Acadians, and their eventual expulsion from the area by the British.
The Acadians are known not only for having been banished from the land, but also for building the dykes – the land masses around the area that stop the ocean from coming into the farms. The feats of engineering created by farmers in the 1700s are worth seeing. The way they moved the land to create the dykes now allows walkers to traverse the heights of land from Grand Pré to Wolfville, and take in the views.
A visit to the site could take at least a couple of hours. There is the museum to explore, and then the garden and grounds which are great for kids. You can also go inside the church where the Acadians were gathered to learn about the intention to expel them from the land.
Go to the look out at sunrise or sunset
A short drive from the Historic Site is the look off and iconic Canada Parks red chairs. Follow Old Post Road to the top of the hill and park by the flags. This is a perfect spot to visit at sunrise or sunset. You can look out over the land, and see the church in the distance.
Learn about coffee production at Just us! Coffee Roasters
Just Us! is a local cafe specialising in fairtrade, roasted-on-site coffee. In their Grand Pré location, you can enjoy a coffee and a treat while learning about coffee production around the world, and fair trade practises.
Swim, sunbathe, and bird watch at Evangeline Beach
Evangeline Beach is the closest beach to Wolfville, and is a great place to get a sense of the massive tides that operate in the Bay of Fundy. Plan your visit by looking at the tide tables. If you want to swim or sunbathe you’ll need to know whether the water is in or out.
Walk or bike the Harvest Moon Trail to Wolfville
The Harvest Moon Trail was created out of the old railway tracks that ran across Nova Scotia. Now, you can take your bike or walk the path from Grand Pré all the way to Wolfville – a little over 4km.
Try some wine
Also accessible via the Harvest Moon Trail, Mercator Vineyards is located between Grand Pré and Wolfville. They have a beautiful piece of land, and you can sit out on the back patio to enjoy wine tastings and charcuterie. You can also enjoy a tasting at Grand Pré wines, the oldest vineyard in the Annapolis Valley.
Stroll through the gardens at Tangled Garden
This little shop is right on the main road as you head from Grand Pré into Wolfville. Stop in to taste the jellies and jams and enjoy the curated gardens. Sometimes they do an afternoon tea which is also lovely.
Where to Eat in Grand Pré
Longfellow used to be Stirlings, or the Evangeline Motel’s cafe. They were famous for their pie. Now, Longfellow Restaurant has undergone a renovation and a refreshed menu. They serve lunch, brunch, and dinner with local ingredients in a homey atmosphere.
The restaurant at Grand Pré Wines, Le Caveau, is the nicest place to eat in the Valley. The Swiss ownership ensured the space feels fresh, clean, and European. The service is always top notch, and the food is original and delicious. This is a bit of a splurge, but well worth it!
Ice cream at Evangeline Beach
I was explaining to some friends the other day where to go in the Valley, and seemed to be primarily focused on where to get an ice cream! Head to the beach to enjoy the sun, and then stop for a cone before playing a round of mini golf.
Just Us! Coffee
When you first get off the highway into Grand Pré you’ll quickly come to Just Us! Coffee, a great spot for a fair trade Americano and a treat to fuel up before hitting the beach.
Where to Stay in Grand Pré
For a tiny, rural community, there are a surprising number of options for accommodations if you want to stay right in Grand Pré.
Evangeline Beach Campsite provides space for campers or tents, just across the road from the beach. The National Historic Site also offers places for oTENTik camping – off the ground, with supplies provided.
Up until a few years ago, the Evangeline Motel was a longstanding motel in Grand Pré. It was bought by a new family, and turned into The Evangeline, a modernized inn with pool, sauna, and in-house restaurant. The rooms have been upgraded and the restaurant renovated. Rooms start around $210 CDN per night.
The Inn at Grand Pré offers six suites on the property with the vineyard at Grand Pré Wines. In a beautiful location, the rooms are tastefully designed for luxury. Stays start around $175 CDN a night.
The Breeze Motel is the newest addition to the Evangeline region. Opened right across from the campsite, the Breeze provides a bit more comfort than a tent but with easy access to the beach and mini golf course. The rooms are cute and modern, and start around $225 CDN per night.
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