Heading east from Halifax is a scenic drive known as the Marine Drive (Hwy #7). It follows the coastline with occasional detours inland to beautiful lakes. We decided to spend the day exploring the area and in the evening head over to Memory Lane Village in Lake Charlotte and the 10th Atlantic Canada Harmonica Festival. I found out about this event by reading a free handout paper. Three cheers for brochures!
One of our first stops was at the Fisherman’s Life Museum. This small museum is part of the Nova Scotia Museum system. The house and property belonged to a typical fisherman and his family. The inshore fisherman’s way of life has all but vanished and the role of the museum is to preserve artifacts and stories from the era. It was the home of Ervine Myers, his wife and 13 daughters. Do you think Mr. Myers felt a little outnumbered? Two volunteer docents had many stories relating to the family . The one I remember the best was about Louise who caught TB. She lived in the home but was isolated from the family even having her own doorway to enter/exit. Period items, many donated by the Myers daughters, made you feel like the family was just away momentarily.
After spending the day leisurely driving the coast we arrived at Memory Lane Village. It is open from 11am-4pm June 15-Sept. 15 unless a special event is scheduled. This is a privately run museum near Lake Charlotte designed to be a 1940s village in Nova Scotia. It has a general store where you can purchase a variety of gifts and souvenirs, a home, gas station, schoolhouse, church and smokehouse. The smokehouse serves as a restaurant when special activities are taking place.
We weren’t sure what type of crowd there might be so we arrived early and had a BBQ chicken dinner there. We needn’t have worried. There were probably no more than 60 people attending. That was too bad as it was a most enjoyable festival. It’s the type of local show that really makes you feel part of the area and not just a tourist. The show lasted three hours and offered a huge variety of musical styles from blues to jazz to Celtic and Scottish tunes. All this for just $10. The show stealers were the two kittens who kept getting on stage. They had everyone laughing. If you are ever in the Halifax area in mid August do plan on attending. This festival is a hidden gem. To whet your appetite we’ve put together some of our favorite segments in a 15 minute video. The last performance uses the fiddonica. Huh? Yes, it’s for real. That’s the simultaneous playing of harmonica and fiddle or guitar. Talk about walking and chewing gum! All were very talented musicians who demonstrated what this simple instrument can do.