Although Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens has only existed since 1981, its ties to horticultural experimentation date back more than 400 years. Built atop the foundation of Port Royal––the first permanent European settlement in North America––Annapolis Royal was the site of pioneering gardening in the 17th century. Early settlers used the plot to clear native vines and sow rows of Old World seeds such as hemp, rye, and wheat.
Despite their relative youth, the gardens reveal a great historical depth in their 17 acres, with themed spaces representing the changing floral aesthetics between the time of those early settlers and the present day. More than 3,000 exotic and native plants recreate the extravagant taste of the times in the Victorian Garden; the Innovative Garden showcases the clever planning and sustainable practices that make flowers flourish in cramped urban plots rather than uproot and busk for extra fertilizer.
The Fundy Complex combines restaurants, nightlife, and sightseeing to give visitors and locals myriad ways to enjoy the Bay of Fundy. At Fundy Restaurant, diners gaze out of the 80-foot glass solarium to watch the boats and boardwalk while enjoying fresh seafood such as lobster and scallops. Meanwhile, boardwalk seating along the water is an apt extension of Dockside Restaurant's relaxed atmosphere, which invites locals and yachtsmen to stop by for a meal or drink. During the evening hours, Club 98 capitalizes on the region's vibrant nightlife with DJs and dancing.
The complex shows off its outdoorsy side with Dockside Whale Watching & Charters, which ferries passengers onto the bay bound by green hills to witness whales and seals playing poker in their natural habitat. For self-guided adventures, the complex rents kayaks during spring and summer months. Guests can also stay close to all the sights and activities at Dockside Suites, which offers cozy rooms to retire to, each equipped with the comforts of home such as full kitchens and balconies boasting panoramic views.
Nearly half a century ago, a group of 80 golf lovers decided to transform a farm into a course where the salty breezes off of St. Mary’s Bay would blow in and grassy fairways would flourish. Their vision was realized in the founding of Clare Golf & Country Club, whose original front nine were joined by a back nine in the '80s, filling out a championship 18-hole layout. The course embraces beginners, but still challenges golfers who have earned their black belts in putting, inviting all players to exercise their long game at three par 5s while avoiding the stream wending its way among the fairways. After hiring a math-bowl champ to tally up their scorecards, players can unwind on the wraparound porch of the newly built clubhouse that replaced the course’s original farmhouse, refuel at the restaurant and bar, or drop by the pro shop for a new set of golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
Science East, housed in the former York County Jail, inspires interest in science, technology, engineering, and math through 150 exhibits and hands-on activities that kick start imaginations of all ages. Inside a building built with solid granite blocks, parents and kids step in front of a virtual wall to take turns interacting with a simulated ball before testing the limits of their peripheral vision at a reaction timer similar to those used during Formula 1–driver training. Hands guide a laser beam as it paints patterns across a disk, eyes peer into the faces and souls of exotic frogs and sticks tap across pipes to string notes into mellifluous melodies. Meanwhile, families venture down to the basement and enter jail cells lined with heavy barred doors that were used for 154 years to enclose prisoners. Visitors explore jail artifacts, learn about DNA at a forensic science exhibit and study displays highlighting the crimes of the prison's most notorious inmates. Meanwhile, fledgling scientists can stock up on essential equipment at the gift shop.
The aestheticians at The Spa at Digby Pines use Annapolis Valley apples and Aveda techniques to paint a relaxed glow onto patrons' faces. A one-hour apple-blossom facial harnesses the exfoliative alpha-hydroxy acids hiding in apples to whisk away dead skin cells, leaving skin as glowing, toned, and smooth as a health-conscious firefly. The fruitful facial, which is recommended for dry skin, lures toxins from their subepidermal lairs by boosting circulation. Once complexions have been soothed, spa-goers can treat stressed-out shoulders to a 30-minute massage. The Elemental Nature massage employs Aveda aromas and massage techniques tailored to suit personal olfactory inclinations and target an individual’s unique internal-tension bull's eyes. Alternatively, unknot looped latissimi with an invigorating stone fusion massage, during which warm and cool stones combat back cricks as an aromatic bouquet of sage, cedar, and sweetgrass tickles noses like a feather from a freshly washed angel wing. For an additional cost, massage time can be upgraded to a one-hour session ($32 plus tax for the Elemental Nature massage; $29 plus tax for the fusion stone massage) or a 90-minute session ($63 plus tax for the Elemental Nature massage; $57 plus tax for the fusion stone massage).