Peggy’s Cove, located just 40km south of Halifax is home to one of the world’s most iconic lighthouses. This community, nestled along the shores of St. Margarets Bay, has much more to offer though, including some of the freshest lobster you’ll eat and a myriad of great vistas in the village.
As a photographer, I was looking forward to taking photos of the lighthouse, but by the end of the day, I had come back with memories of great seafood that left me wanting more and vistas that rivalled my expectations of the lighthouse.
The Peggy’s Point Lighthouse may very well be the most photographed lighthouse in the country. Having known this, I wanted to capture her beauty in ways that I hadn’t seen many times before.
Having spoken to some photographers and reading online, I quickly learned that a sunset by the lighthouse was by far the more popular option because of the direction the sun sets—behind the lighthouse when looking at it from the north side of the lighthouse.
Being an early riser though, I knew I had to make it a point to capture the sunrise by the lighthouse instead. Having stayed by the Halifax Harbour the night before, it was a very early morning that day. Waking up at 3:30am, and checking out of the hotel before 4am, we drove down to the lighthouse, arriving shortly before 5am.
To my surprise, there were already a couple people by the rocks taking pictures. One person approached me and asked, “where is the best place to see the sunrise from here?” I thought to myself that I should be the one asking that same question! I told him this was my first time here as well, so I couldn’t give him a solid answer. He went on his own way and disappeared into the darkness (after appearing back on top of the granite rocks).
Peggy’s Point Lighthouse was indeed very commanding, standing alone on the rocks with its brightly painted white and bold, red light fixture. I instantly knew why people love this view so much. It contrasted so nicely with the blue of the ocean—and even better with the blue hue of the early morning hour.
After circling around the lighthouse to see it from all angles, I started taking a few photos of it. Having being so dark still, I had to take advantage of this low-light, which enabled me to get some long exposures against the water.
The granite rocks here offer quite the subject matter. There’s a sign explaining what all the different types of rocks are, and how they have been formed over the many years. It’s interesting to try and spot them all as you walk on them.
Finding random puddles on the rocks offers some great reflections, some of them including the red light from the lighthouse.
I loved that you can see some of the village in the far distance. Depending on where you were standing, you could see the homes of Peggy’s Cove dotting the rocks in the distance, offering that quintessential view of the East Coast. I had to admire this for a few moments without worrying about taking any photographs.
Since the rocks climb a little higher between the lighthouse and the direction of the sunrise, it was a little difficult to get the sun low to the horizon and in the same frame as the lighthouse. This is probably the reason why most photographers prefer the sunset here (not to mention having to wake up early).
As the sun started to rise higher that morning though, the skies in the other direction glowed a beautiful pink and blue. This stunning sunrise backdrop offered the perfect picture with the lighthouse.
It wasn’t until about 7am that I told myself I had to stop taking more photos of the lighthouse and move on to my next location, the village!
Despite being here for two hours already, I wasn’t even thinking about breakfast or a bathroom break—and that’s a good thing because we found out that all of the stores in the village open around 10am. The restaurant and gift shop by the lighthouse though, opens at 8:30am, which was perfect timing as it gave me enough time to explore the village.
Being here during the longest day of the year made this trip a little more special in a way. Waking up in time for a sunrise meant waking up around 4:30am. After shooting the sunrise around 5:15am and spending some time in the area, I would normally be done around 6:30am or 7am. This still gave me the entire day to explore the area making my mornings so much more productive. A short power-nap in the early afternoon would often be enough to get me energized for the rest of the day.
As I walked down the main street from the lighthouse to the village, I looked all around me enjoying the silence and beauty that surrounded me. Everywhere I looked, it gave me a refreshing feeling of being by the ocean. I absolutely loved it.
As I walked around, I explored different vantage points to try and capture the village in unique ways.
I eventually met a dog-walker who happened to be a photographer from Chicago. She kindly gave me some tips on other vantage points that she enjoyed taking photos from.
Before coming to Peggy’s Cove, I had read a lot about this U-cook Lobster place, which intrigued me as it was known to be a more hands-on lobster-eating experience.
Choosing the lobster from the day’s catch, removing the rubber bands from the claws, handling the lobster in to the mesh bag and in the boiling pot of sea-water was all part of the experience. The owner of the inn on this lot originally had this idea for his guests, and just last year expanded this experience to non-guests.
When I decided to try this place out—around 11:30am—there was a group of people taking pictures as the resident lobster girl (as she is affectionately known as) handled the lobster from the pot of boiling water to a second pot of regular temperature sea-water to the cutting board. There were about five or six non English-speaking tourists who anxiously awaited their tasty treats. As I watched from behind, the lobster girl called me and asked me if I wanted the one pound or two pound lobster. Opening up the cooler, she showed us the day’s catch. We opted for the two pound lobster for $35 because, well, it’s lobster. For those wondering, the one pound lobster was $20.
After we chose the lobster, she took it out, placed it on top of the cooler, and prepared the boiling sea water and mesh bag. I grabbed a quick selfie with the lobster before its demise. She then hurriedly took the lobster, took off the rubber bands and placed it in the mesh bag before putting it in the pot of boiling water. She gave me a timer and told me to come back once the timer alarm went off—in about 15min.
We stayed there for the duration of the boil, and upon the alarm going off, she proceeded to take the lobster out of the pot, into a second pot of sea water to terminate the cooking process, and onto the cutting board where she skillfully ripped it apart and placed it on our container.
While we were eating our lobster, a tour bus stopped by and picked up the tourists that were here before us. They left with their bellies (and memory cards) full as they hopped on the bus with the rest of their group.
I remember my first bite of this lobster: it was sweet, juicy, and full of flavour. It was indeed the best tasting lobster I had through our entire trip. With so much meat for even two people, we were fully satiated with this meal—although I will admit, I was left wanting another one shortly after!
After leaving the U-cook Lobster, we walked around the village a little more before passing by the truck again. It wasn’t until we saw her explaining to another customer then about how to handle the lobster as they held it and took the rubber bands off, that I realized we never got to experience this for ourselves! In hindsight, I realized that she thought we were part of the tour group who were pressed for time, so she skipped all of the explanations and did the entire procedure herself. It was a little disappointing I will admit, but on the other hand, I did get to snap a few pictures of the process instead.
If you’re in Peggy’s Cove, I would definitely recommend the lobster here. It may not be cheap, but it’s still a fun experience to be had—not to mention it’s some of the tastiest lobster you’ll ever eat.
By the time we were done with Peggy’s Cove, it was only shortly past noon, and our drive along the coastal shores of Nova Scotia was just beginning. What a drive it would be as we slowly made our way to Lunenburg.
Stay tuned for my next post covering the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg.