- illustration by Aziza Asat
Merging historical anniversary with a reason to drink, next week marks the launch of the Good Cheer Trail. With over 30 stops at breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the trail was created by the province to promote discovery of lesser-known regions of Nova Scotia, while building awareness of the gastronomic explosion happening from one end to the other. Participants receive a passport to keep track of their visits, which also makes a nice memento of the trip even if your memories are hazy. The stops span province-wide, including in regions that tourists might never have heard of, let alone have thought of visiting (or spending their money in). While the trail is being promoted mainly to outsiders in target markets like Toronto and Boston, nothing stops any libation-loving native Nova Scotians from grabbing a passport and discovering their own province too.
In addition to the drink stops, the trail includes two historic sites: The fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton, and Port Royal in the Annapolis Valley. This year marks the 400th anniversary of North America’s first social club, The Order of Good Cheer, founded in 1606 by Samuel de Champlain. While the order was initially founded to keep the settlers’ minds off the brutal winter and rough living conditions while they established Port Royal, this modern interpretation of Good Cheer promises all of the good times without the fear or freezing or starvation. Win, win, right?
The trail can be self-guided, says Taste of Nova Scotia’s Christine White, although since the point is to bounce around the province drinking, she stresses that people should secure a designated driver. Or, to make sure nobody feels left out, organized tours are being set up to shuttle people around. Nova Scotia’s tourism website offers a six-stop package with a visit of the fort at Port Royal, tastings and designated driver included in the $125 fee