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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Antiqueing In Nova Scotia

Author: Nancy Poore Tufts

( Article orginally published September 1963 )

Capt. A. L. Morfee, retired from 30 years in the Canadian Air Corps, continues his late wife's shop of elegant antiques in Annapolis Royal, featuring choice N. S. furniture, copper lustre, Georgian silver. A WEEK'S circle tour of scenic Nova Scotia, with delightful opportunities to browse in antiques shops as well as in County Museums, Craft Houses, and buildings of historic interest where valuable relics and trophies are housed, is recommended as a restful vacation of infinite variety and "other world" charm.

Nova Scotia and its Cape Breton Island can be comfortably encircled in a week, with stops at towns strung out like beads along the shores: Yarmouth, the great port; Shelburne, "birthplace of yachts," founded in 1783 by some 10,000 American Colonies Loyalists; Lunenburg, home of the International Champion schooner Bluenose (1921-46), and where the replica of H. M. Bounty was built for MGM; Mahone Bay, with its fine art colony; Peggy's Cove whose art colony is also widely known; Halifax, handsome capital and "Gateway to Canada"; The Cabot Trail Highlands, with its magnificent seascapes; Beddeck, and the Alexander Graham Bell Museum there; Fort Louisbourg, (1717); Antigonish, site of the annual Gaelic Mod; Pictou, great lobster port; Liverpool, famed tuna harbor; Grand Pre-Evangeline country; Annapolis Royal and the "Habitation," first white settlement in North America north of Mexico (1605); Digby, home of the Scallop Fleet, where a ferry can be taken to Saint John, New Brunswick, for the start home. The tumultuous background of this Maritime Province, a land of "firsts" in the crucible of Canadian history, is recognizable in the diversity of its people-their features, accents, customs, food, architecture, religion, handcrafts, and antiquities. Strains of six races-English, French, Scottish, Irish, Hanoverian, and Mic-Mac Indian still predominate in certain localities, while the influence of the sea -fishing, ship-building, trading, transportation, past and presentstill shapes the way of life.

Opportunities for collecting range from the quality shops of Halifax, Dana Sweeny's of Mahone Bay, and Morfee's of Annapolis Royal, through the fascinating Crafts Houses with their reproductions of early Nova Scotian patterns of hand thrown pottery, glass, iron, wood carving, bead and leather work, "baroque" hand wrought jewelry set with chalcedony stones, Nova Scotia tartan articles, paintings, hand and loom weaving, hook and needle work to the smaller shops of Yarmouth, Digby, Pictou, and such, and even an occasional roadside surprise like The Spinning Wheel.

The quality shops seem largely stocked with 19th century porcelain, glass, and silver, recently imported from England and Europe. The less pretentious are similar to rural New England marts, offering old shipping and farming gear, furniture, kitchen utensils, spinning wheels, quilts, early settler possessions, sea curiosities, petrified wood, old coins, agates, a few Indian relics and Oriental treasures, and oddities of bone, wood, and straw, fashioned by 19th century sailors on long voyages.

Of unusual interest, in a number of shops, are small selections of exquisite ornaments-carved chests, cloisonne, porcelain, jewelry, ivory, and fans, brought back from the Far East in windjammers "round the Horn" by long ago sea captains. (The author saw old copies of Spinning Wheel on sale for $2 each!)

Visitors spending seven days in Nova Scotia are entitled to membership in America's oldest social club, L'Order de Bon Temps, founded by Champlain in 1606. A certificate is mailed to those who properly register at the border. This is surely the only club in the world with no duties and no dues! The Order asks only four things of its members: to have a good time in Nova Scotia, to remember it pleasantly, speak of it kindly, and come again. Compliance is easy for those who have enjoyed the "Ciad Mile Failte" (a hundred thousand welcomes) and "will ye no come back again?" of Nova Scotian hospitality.

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