Digby Neck, Nova Scotia
Listen to Karen
We did not give ourselves enough time to explore and appreciate this beautiful wild island located in the westernmost part of Nova Scotia. When you go if you have the time allow for 2 or 3 days as there is so much to see on an island that is just over 4.5 miles long, less than 2 miles wide with a shoreline that measures about 16 miles.
Getting to Brier Island is some of the fun. Located in the Bay of Fundy, at the end of Digby Neck, the trip requires two short trips on small ferries operated by Nova Scotia Government as part of the highways system. From Digby Gut take the first ferry to Long Island, drive across the island and then the final hop to Brier Island landing in Westport.
The only village in town, Westport, is a fishing community. Working docks combined with café’s and places to stay including bed & breakfast and the Brier Island Lodge just minutes from the ferry. We didn’t visit much of the village, except to take some photographs, but do keep your eyes open when the ferry docks for the sea shacks on stilts.
An island means lighthouses and three guard Briar Island’s shores. Peter’s Island Lighthouse located on a small rocky island just outside of the village is also a bird sanctuary inhabited by seagulls. Starting here is a short out and back trail, along the rocky coast with fantastic views of the water pushing up against columns of rocks formed by an ancient volcano. Watch for the seagulls in the trees, yes you read that right!
On the other side of the island is Grand Passage Lighthouse, also known as Northern Lighthouse. Another beautiful rocky coastline with a trail which leads to Seal’s Cove. We missed this spot but will certainly find our way there on the next visit. We also missed out on a trip to Brier or Western Lighthouse due to underestimating how much there is to see on this small island.
A trip down Gull Rock Road leads to the Brier Island Nature Reserve, a sanctuary for the Eastern Mountain Avens, a small globally rare dainty yellow flower. Learn here how bog restoration project is underway to help reverse impacts caused by turning the bog into farmland years ago.
There is so much more to see and do; walking the streets of the village to see the quaint houses, lunch in the cafes, wild brier roses growing all over the island and most of the rugged island is devoted to watching for seals, whale-watching tours, birding and hiking on coastal trails. We hope to go back this summer.