“Cradle of our Nation”
Just a couple of short hours away from Halifax lies a seaside paradise called Annapolis Royal. This community is heaven for history lovers with its strong Mi’kmaw history and 400 years of European settlement. But there’s so much more to experience here, from nature to dining to the arts. Why not plan your own weekend in Annapolis Royal, and discover it for yourself!
Queen Anne Inn
What better way to soak up the ambience of a town than by sleeping within the same walls countless generations have called home over the years? One of the finest inns in Annapolis Royal is the Queen Anne Inn, a stunning Second Empire-style mansion from 1865 that’s simply oozing with Victorian elegance. Each of the 12 guest rooms are completely different, and you can view them all online. Breakfast is a gourmet, 3-course affair that might just tide you over until dinner.
Seafaring Maiden B and B
Get a different (though no less impressive) glimpse of Annapolis Royal by staying at the Seafaring Maiden B and B, just across the Annapolis River. Our room overlooked the river, and even if you’re not so lucky, there’s a gazebo with comfy seating right on the water’s edge. The property was built in 1881 as a sea captain’s house, and it’s been lovingly renovated while keeping the quirks and charm we love about Victorian houses. Breakfast is delicious and cooked to your preferences, and the owners are delightful hosts always willing to point you in the direction of a fabulous meal or fun local outing.
Bank, bakery, hostel, bookstore – this 1884 building has worn many hats and now houses the Whiskey Teller, Annapolis Royal’s only pub. Enjoy their creative and scrumptious take on typical pub food while taking in the gorgeous historical details that happily remain in the space.
With a great central location and the perfect family atmosphere, Bistro East also steps up with its menu. You’ll find a variety of yummy salads, pizza, sandwiches, steak and seafood here, and the view of the water across the street is the icing on the cake.
Fort Anne National Historic Site
It doesn’t get much better than historic Fort Anne when it comes to history and killer views. Wander the earthen fort walls and learn about the centuries of struggle that ensued here among the Mi’kmaq, the French, the English and the Scottish. Or just sit and take in the unparalleled views of the Annapolis River and imagine all the people who have stood here before you.
Port-Royal National Historic Site
Originally built in 1605, Port-Royal was a French settlement and one of the very first European colonies on the continent. What remains today is a remarkably faithful reconstruction that allows guests to experience life in the 17th century.
Sinclair Inn Museum
This unassuming building on St. George Street is the oldest Acadian building that still survives in Canada. It’s had quite a fascinating past, and you can explore all 300-plus years of it by stepping inside. Don’t miss the mysterious paintings on the upstairs walls that were uncovered beneath dozens of layers of wallpaper and paint.
Farmers & Traders Market
On our last visit, we lucked out and arrived just before the Farmers & Traders Market, held from May to October, closed for the day. Wander the market to get your fill of yummy local produce, unique arts and crafts, homemade soaps and baked goods, clothing, and much, much more.
Over on Church St, across from the Farmer’s Market, is Lucky Rabbit Pottery. This colourful shop is brimming with gorgeous pieces of ceramics, jewellery, leather goods, and other amazing items handcrafted by local artisans. Check it out for unique gift ideas, souvenirs, or decor for your home.
Neither a simple art gallery nor a simple antique shop, Far-Fetched Antique & Art Gallery allows you to travel through time and around the world simultaneously, all while bringing home fabulous finds that you won’t find anywhere else. Take some time to wander these stunning treasures, and let inspiration strike.
Of course, there are far too many lovely shops to be mentioned in full here, so take time to explore Saint George Street and the adjacent side streets to discover your own shopping gems.
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Ice cream, sundaes, floats – this tiny ice cream parlour packs a delicious punch! Opt for an old favourite, or try a new flavour – and don’t be stingy with the toppings! While you’re here, check out the whimsical, hand-made birdhouses for sale in the window.
Joann’s Chocolate Shop & Café
It doesn’t get much better than chocolate and books! Joann’s Chocolate Shop & Café embraces this winning combo with to-die-for artisanal chocolates that you can enjoy while perusing a second-hand book. You can also order a light meal and beverage or just check out the selection of antiques.
DON’T MISS IN ANNAPOLIS
Still Fired Distillery
It’s the diving gear in Still Fired Distillery that will catch your eye upon entering (the owners had diving careers before beginning the distillery), but the unique flavours will keep you coming back for more. There’s something here for everyone, from Granny’s Apple Pie Moonshine to Thai Chili Vodka to the Root Beer Moonshine!
Annapolis Royal Historic Garden
Warning: once you’ve visited Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, you may never look at gardens the same way again (personally, I’m now planning my very own elaborate Victorian garden, complete with topiary). Because that’s the kind of place this is – a place for meandering, and dreaming, and enjoying the beauty of life all around you. Leave yourself time to explore all 17 acres, or just take a quick jaunt around the main areas for inspiration. You will be glad you did.
Annapolis Brewing Company
After a long day exploring, perusing the local shops, and admiring the views, why not take a break with a pint of locally crafted beer at Annapolis Brewing Company? Located on St George Street, this welcoming brewery is directly across from Fort Anne, and they’ve started their own revolution – a craft beer revolution. Enjoy a pint of one of their cold, refreshing beverages inside the brewhouse, or out on their back patio (weather permitting). With so many brew options, there is surely going to be something for everyone to enjoy.
A weekend is never enough to explore all that Annapolis Royal has to offer. But it is enough to give you a taste of this unique area and to give you plenty of reasons to plan another trip!
For more short stay travel ideas – check out RougeTrippers’ other 48-hour itineraries
Historic. Scenic. Fun!