Atlantic Canada’s most photographed site is a 40-minute drive southwest from Halifax, and the place is everything its fans say it is. With the houses of the tiny fishing village clinging like mussels to weathered granite boulders at the edge of St. Margaret’s Bay, the Atlantic lathering against the boulder-bound coast, the fishing boats moored in the small cove, and the white octagonal lighthouse overlooking it all, the scene is the quintessence of the Nova Scotia coast.

The oft-photographed white octagonal lighthouse at Peggy's Cove perched above large boulders.

The lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove. Photo © Andrew Hempstead.

The only accommodation has just five guest rooms, so book well ahead if you’d like to stay overnight in this delightful village.Sightseers clog the village during the daytime (to miss the worst of the crowds, get there before 9am or after 5pm), wandering along the wharves and around the weathered granite boulders surrounding the photogenic lighthouse. Peggy’s Cove has a population of just 60 souls, so don’t come expecting the services of a tourist town. The village has just one B&B, a restaurant, and the deGarthe Gallery (109 Peggy’s Point Rd., 902/823-2256; May-Oct. daily 9am-5pm, free). The latter, along the main road through town, displays the work of Finnish-born artist William deGarthe, whose stunning nautically themed oil paintings grace galleries the world over. Behind the gallery, deGarthe sculpted a 30-meter-long frieze on a granite outcropping. It depicts 32 of the seaside village’s fishermen and families.

The town received worldwide attention in September 1998, when a Swissair MD-11 jetliner bound from New York City to Geneva crashed in shallow waters off the coast here, killing all 229 people aboard. A small memorial overlooks the ocean along Highway 333, two kilometers west of the village.

Food in Peggy’s Cove

The road through the village ends at the Sou’wester Restaurant (178 Peggy’s Point Rd., 902/823-2561; June-Aug. daily 8am-8:30pm, Sept.-May daily 9am-8pm; $12-28), a cavernous room with a menu designed to appeal to the tourist crowd. And as the only place in town to eat, attract them it does—try to plan your meal before 10am or after 5pm. The menu does have a distinct maritime flavor, with dishes such as fish cakes, pickled beets, and eggs offered in the morning. The rest of the day, seafood continues to dominate, with haddock and chips for $15 and a full lobster supper under $30.

Accommodations in Peggy’s Cove

The only accommodation has just five guest rooms, so book well ahead if you’d like to stay overnight in this delightful village. At the head of the actual cove, Peggy’s Cove Bed and Breakfast (17 Church Rd., 902/823-2265 or 877/725-8732, Apr.-Oct., $155 s or d including breakfast) has well-furnished guest rooms with wireless Internet, a living area, a dining room, and a deck promising magnificent views across the cove.

Getting There

Peggy’s Cove is about 45 kilometers southwest of Halifax, on Highway 333. The drive takes about 40 minutes.

Excerpted from the Eighth Edition of Moon Atlantic Canada.