Picture of sydney Way up in the northeast corner of Nova Scotia is the Fortress of Louisbourg historic site. It's about a half-hour's drive from the second largest metropolis in the province: Sydney and the bay area around it. We spent an evening in Sydney and didn't find a whole lot to recommend it. The ferry for Newfoundland leaves from North Sydney (alas that will have to be another trip). Downtown Sydney has a few restaurants although nothing we can recommend from personal experience.

Picture of fortress_of_louisbourg It's called Fortress of Louisbourg, but the fortress itself envelops a completed restored town, a harbor, and assorted buildings outside the fortifications. It sits out on a spit of land with a well protected harbor on the north side. As a visitor you park about a mile from the site and take a bus.

Picture of entrance After a brief introduction to the town, groups travel through the main gates which involves justifying (in theory) your presence at the town. Particularly your presence without an associated ship, and as an English speaker it might require a bit more. (France was at war with England at the time Louisbourg is now 'set' in). Ultimately of course they'll let you in and then you're free to wander throughout the place.

Picture of fortifications

Picture of sheep Considering the remoteness of Louisbourg, the restoration job and the number of costumed players is phenomenal. As one might expect all sorts of period crafts are demonstrated including blacksmithing, baking (more interesting than anticipated), lace-making etc… Upper, middle and lower class homes have all been refurnished for comparison, down to the detail of herb and vegetable gardens.

Picture of us Another rather neat experience is the period dining. There are two restaurants: one for the gentlefolk of the time, and the other for common merchants and sailors and the like. We went for the common tavern because it seemed more interesting and the changes between the 18th century and now are a bit more noticeable there. The menu is a choice of two soups, and two stews with a bit of bread (and optionally some fine dark ale). Silverware (pewterware?) is limited to a big spoon which is a fun way to cut meat. The communal dining tables add to the atmosphere too.


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