Barrington is on the southernmost tip of Nova Scotia. The early French settlements were destroyed during the 1755 Acadian expulsion, and were replaced by the British settlements of loyalist New Englander planters and fishermen following the American Revolution. Nearby Clark’s Harbour was the place of invention of the Cape Sable Island boat, which handles well in both rough seas and shallow water, with modernized versions still used in most fishing and seafood harvesting operations.
The Old Meeting House, Canada’s oldest non-conformist Meeting House, a guide in period costume will recount the community’s history. The Woolen Mill Museum houses the last water-powered mill in Eastern Canada. It also has on display a huge beautiful woolen tapestry that features a bit of the creation of the Nova Scotia Tartan. Also in Barrington, the Western Counties Military Museum displays cannonballs dating to the 1630s from Fort St. Louis, at Port La Tour. You can climb the five storey tower of the Seal Island Lighthouse, in Barrington.
Follow the Lighthouse Route to Villagedale, Port La Tour, and drive down to the working lighthouse at Baccaro Point Picnic Park. Stop at the 5 km beach at the Sand Hills Provincial Park. Play golf at the Shelburne County Golf and Country Club in Clyde River. Visiting golfers are welcome. The Environmental Association is restocking salmon in the Clyde River.
Archelaus Smith Museum
915, Hwy 330 at Centreville, Cape Sable Island
Clark’s Harbour, NS B0W 1P0
The museum honours the early New England settler Archelaus Smith, who came to Barrington in 1761 then to Cape Sable Island. The museum preserves the history and culture of Cape Sable Island and is located in a municipal heritage building. The museum displays fishing techniques and gear, models of the Cape Island boat, specimens of sea life, artifacts from shipwrecks, and marine paintings. Upstairs shows a collection of items related to domestic life (quilts, toys, cradles, clothing, etc.) and such non-fishing trades as carpentry and shoe-making. Open June 15-late September, Mon-Sat 9:30 am-5:30 pm, Sun 1:30 pm-5:30 pm. Admission free, research fee.
Barrington Woolen Mill Museum
2368 Hwy 3, next to Barrington River, Barrington, NS B0W 1E0
phone & fax (902) 637-2185
Begun as a community enterprise in 1882, the Barrington People’s Wool Manufacturing Co. was leased in 1894 to Robert Doane. The water-turbine-powered mill made yarn and cloth from local wool for nearly 80 years, as a supplier of specialized woolen goods for local farmers and fishermen during the first two decades of this century. In 1968 its carding machines, spinning mule, loom, twister, and skeiner became part of the Nova Scotia Museum.
Allow 30 minutes. Open June 1 to September 30, from 9:30 am to 5:50 pm, and Sundays 1 pm to 5:50 pm.
Cape Sable Historical Society Centre
2402 on Hwy 3, Barrington, NS B0W 1E0
phone/ fax (902) 637-2185
Local history exhibits and historical society archives, genealogy research. Open Daily June 1 to October 31, Mon-Sat 9:30 am-5:30 pm, Sun 1-5:30 pm; Winter: Wed 9:00 am-4:30 pm, please call ahead. Admission free, donations welcome. Research fee.
Cape Sable Light
Cape Sable itself is a low, sandy islet about 3 miles long, lying just offshore from Cape Sable Island at the extreme SW corner of Nova Scotia. The Mi’kmaq name for the island was “Kespoogwitik” which meant “where the land ends.” As early as 1554, Portuguese cartographers called the area Beusablom, “a sandy bay.” French explorer Champlain used the French version of that name, “Cap de Sable,” and when New England settlers occupied the land in 1761, the name became Cape Sable. a white octagonal tower on the cape, houses a radar-transponding beacon in addition to a light and foghorn, to protect mariners from the underwater ledges and shoals.
Chapel Hill Museum
Shag Harbour, NS B0W 3B0
(902) 723-2377 or 723-2115
Located in a former Baptist church, the museum preserves and displays many artifacts relating to the area, its fishing industry and maritime heritage. Displays include a scale model of the world famous “Cape Islander” style fishing boat, a tribute to the author Evelyn Richardson who penned the 1945 governor general’s award winning book “We Keep a Light,” and a display on the area’s 1967 UFO visit and the granting by Canada Post of a cancellation stating so. From the museums observation tower 4 light houses can be seen and a distance of 14 miles out to sea. Open: June 1-September 15, daily 10:00 am-5:00 pm, subject to change. Admission free, donations welcome
Old Meeting House Museum
2408 Hwy #3, Barrington
The 50 Cape Cod families who founded Barrington Township built a community meeting house in 1765, it served as a religious meeting house for all preachers of the Gospel. It continued to hold community meetings and elections until 1838 and was used by various religious groups until 1934. Eventually the townspeople built a courthouse, and most religious denominations in the community constructed their own churches. Open June 1-September 30, Mon-Sat 9:30 am-5:30 pm, Sun 1:00 pm-5:30 pm. Admission fee.
Seal Island Light Museum
2410 on Hwy 3, Barrington, NS B0W 1E0
phone/ fax (902) 637-2185
Replica of the lighthouse on Seal Island houses the lens from the original lighthouse and other items of lighthouse life. This light was manned since 1830. Excellent view of seacoast from top of this 11 metre (35 ft) lighthouse Seal Island lies off the south west tip of Nova Scotia at “the elbow of the Bay of Fundy”, where the broad mouth of the bay meets the waters of the open Atlantic. For more than three centuries storms, fog and powerful tides have conspired to wreck over 160 vessels here. Open June 1-September 30, Mon-Sat 9:30 am-5:30 pm, Sun 1:00 pm-5:30 pm. Admission fee.
Western Counties Military Museum
Route 3, Barrington
(in the old courthouse building)
Displays include military artifacts including uniformed mannequins, medals and pictures. Allow 30 minutes. Open June, Tues-Sat 10:00 am-5:00 pm; July 1-August 31, daily 10:00 am-5:00 pm. Admission free, donations welcome