I’ve always enjoyed seeing places that are not necessarily tourist hotspots. For me, it always seemed like people in these places were a bit more curious as to what you were doing there and perhaps a bit more willing to tell you and in some cases show you what life is like off the beaten tourist path. I’m also someone who is drawn to beautiful scenery, so when I was thinking about my next trip I kept coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia. It certainly seems to meet the criteria of not being a tourist hotspot and a place that’s incredibly scenic. I booked a flight there and began to make my plans, hoping to hop from neighborhood to neighborhood, talking to people and getting a slice of life in a new place. Unfortunately, I unbelievably forgot to book a hotel room in Halifax. I realized this immediately before I left.
I had never done something like this before, but what was done was done. I had very little time to find a hotel in Halifax or I’d have a real problem on my hands. In a mild panic, I grabbed my phone and started searching for hotel apps. I found HotelTonight and decided to search for Halifax hotels. There were quite a few to choose from, so I picked one that looked like a place I would like and prepared myself for what I assumed would be a difficult booking process. I was wrong. HotelTonight had my room in Halifax booked and confirmed within a couple of minutes. Disaster avoided – I was off to explore a new and beautiful place.
I like to start learning about a new city by visiting its downtown area first. This is usually the hub of an entire community and provides a snapshot of what life is like here. Halifax, based on its downtown, is a nice, friendly and hardworking city with people who may be busy, but not too busy to help you out if you need something. The architecture and overall landscape are unique and extremely attractive, and it looks like what a seaside town on the Atlantic should look like. I enjoyed myself here and would be back.
The South End of Halifax appears to be where a lot of the local families live in those distinct, Atlantic-style homes. They are close together and colorful, and looking at them almost makes me think of towns in Scandinavia. This part of town is also home to St. Mary’s University, which is one of the leading academic institutions in Canada. Students from all over attend here, and that adds to the flavor of the area in several ways. It certainly made for good options for coffee, which I needed at this point after the previous day’s travel.
The North End of Halifax seems to be undergoing the same type of change as many neighborhoods in the United States. This was an area that was largely industrial, complete with all of the family living nearby. In recent years, however, a lot of reinvestment and development has occurred here, resulting in a lot of restaurants, bars and the like. I was happy to see that, as it was lunchtime, and I was starving. I stopped in a place that looked nice, and it was. It also served some really good seafood, which makes sense considering where I was at the time. I was happy to dive into my plate, but I was a bit sad when it was all gone because I probably could’ve just kept on eating.
After lunch, I like to exercise a bit, and I wound up in Shannon Park. As it turned out, this was a good place to walk off that meal. Shannon Park used to be a military community, sitting right on the harbor. Now it’s more privately held, but there are a lot of wide-open spaces and park space in which to walk. I was so enthralled with the beautiful landscape that I walked around for quite some time, taking in the sights and talking to some more of those extremely friendly locals about where I was from and what I was doing that day.
A couple miles down the road and still along the harbor sits Dartmouth, another unique community. Given all the beauty I was seeing, I wanted to keep walking around a bit. I spent some time at the Shubenacadie Canal, which was unlike anything I had ever seen. From there, after all of this walking, it was time for dinner. I enjoyed my seafood lunch so much I wanted to do it again, although this time I found a different place in Dartmouth and enjoyed a feast that tasted like it had come out of the water earlier that day.
As I made my way back to my hotel, I thought about all of the great things I had seen that day. It’s always gratifying to see something different, something you haven’t seen before, and today certainly qualified. I also thought about the near-debacle that arose the night before I left when I realized I didn’t have a hotel room in Halifax. Thanks to HotelTonight, that became a minor and temporary concern, as the app helped me get my accommodations set up in minutes. I was thankful, and as I drifted off to sleep I thought about all the things I would get to see during my remaining time in this beautiful place.