Yup, I drove from Philly to Halifax (with a few stops in between) and don’t regret it for a second! I could go on and on about the entirety of the trip, but I’ll keep this post limited to my experiences in Halifax. Full disclosure – I was there for an academic conference (the North American Society for Sport Management), so I didn’t have quite as much time as I’d have liked to explore the city, but I squeezed as much as possible into three and a half days. So, here’s what I did:
RUN! – I was lucky that the conference was based at the Marriott Harbourfront, so I had easy miles along the water! My friend and I also got down to Point Pleasant Park on a 6-miler. More time to explore would have been great as there were so many paths through this park. It would take weeks to explore them all! On that 6-miler, we also ran through a few of the neighborhoods. I loved the varied architecture we saw along Young Avenue and Park Street. There were also runners everywhere, so it gets a thumbs up from this runner.
Yoga – I only managed to get to one class, but Moksha Yoga was so welcoming. The instructor took time to find out about my practice prior to class and I felt immediately comfortable at the studio, which you don’t always get as a one-time visitor. Most importantly, my fellow yogis sent me to Steve-O-Reno’s for a quality breakfast sandwich after class!
The Citadel – Love me a little history of the place I’m visiting and the Citadel was the place to find it. Climbing the hill from the hotel was also a helluva workout! The real highlight of this stop was the replica World War I trench they built to commemorate the Canadian efforts in the war. It was impressive, informative, and upsetting all at once. The trench exhibit is only there through the year, so if you go, don’t wait to see it.
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia – I did this right after the Citadel and it just made me feel incredibly grateful for all I have. The museum does a lovely job highlighting local artists and, in doing so, really gives you a feel for the history and culture of the region. The exhibit that really hit home highlighted the work of Maud Lewis. This woman had a hard, hard life. She found joy in painting. She sold small pieces to try to make ends meet, but also painted her home. Inside, outside, all of it – because it gave her joy. The house has been moved into the museum and you can see it, along with several of her works there. So, in short, I spent an afternoon hearing about the horrors of WWI and how a hard-working woman, whose art is now celebrated across her homeland, could not make ends meet. I’ll keep the silly complaints about my life to a minimum, thanks.
The Public Gardens – JUST. GORGEOUS. They encompass one city block. They are meticulously maintained, colorful, and were so peaceful to walk through (one exception to the peace – I think every high school in Nova Scotia had their prom on the Saturday I was there and they were all taking pictures at the gardens). This was my favorite place in the city. I won’t try to articulate why, I’ll just share a few photos.
My friends and I also ate well while we were there. If you like seafood, this is a good place for you. The Bicycle Thief was a particular favorite. Other folks managed to venture out of the city to some of the coves in the region, but I can’t personally speak to those experiences (word of mouth was really good though).
I would love to go back and take more time to explore some of the neighborhoods beyond walking distance of downtown. What I saw was already fantastic and I can’t imagine the rest of Halifax isn’t as charming.