We headed down toward Sydney and went to Glace Bay to visit the Miners Museum which was very highly-recommended and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
We ate some lunch at the Miner’s Village Restaurant then popped over to the museum. We checked out the exhibits which were very informative and interesting. The piece de resistance was the Mine Tour. After donning hard hats and capes to protect from the low ceilings and dampness, our guide (a former miner) provided an introduction and history about his experience during his long career in the mines. Abbie was incredibly engaging and the stories he shared really made things come to life. Then, off we went into the mine!
For a bit of the way down, we were able to stand up but once we got into the mine itself the ceilings were 5′ high and 4′ at times. We were grateful for the hard hats! We crouched along the way and it was hard to imagine working an entire shift like that, let alone day in day out.
We learned about the different jobs that the boys, men and animals handled in the mine and learned about the labour disputes that were common at the time. It was very disheartening to hear about the control and the practices the companies participated in. This tour was one of the highlights of the trip.
Food List Items: Fish Burger
Today we headed south to the Fortress of Louisburg which is a reconstruction of the fortified town and fortress of Louisburg. I’m a big history buff and enjoy pioneer and heritage villages but this one took the cake! All the staff are in period costumes and in character throughout the entire village. And the village is huge. We arrived at 9:45 and left at 3:30! There is so much to see and do, one can easily spend the whole day there exploring all the buildings, chatting with the staff, participating in the activities offered, at whatever pace you like.
After taking the shuttle from the visitor centre to the fortress, our first stop within the walls was the bakery where they explained how much bread they prepared for the soldiers rations and they even had buns and loaves for sale (half whole wheat/half rye for the lower class, half white/half whole wheat for the upper class). We must be lower class since we bought a whole wheat/rye one and snacked on it as we toured. 🙂
There’s a short history on each building in the booklet they provide upon entry and what it’s purpose was back in the day. In buildings that provided a service (e.g. inn, bakery, etc.) there were staff on site to provide information and tell stories. For the buildings that were citizens’ homes, they often included an exhibit such as household goods, the history of building/materials, the history of the excavation, etc. Excellent use of the different spaces and everything we experienced or visited was fantastic.
My favourite part was eating at the inn/hotel where the menu was simple (soups, bread, cheese, ale, wine and a couple of heartier meat dishes, other beverages and some dessert options). All served on metal plates and cups, only with a spoon and the largest napkin I ever saw (it was used to cover yourself with to protect your clothes). Seating was family style on long tables and we met some great people at lunch. I loved it.
The homes often had gardens in their yards with actual produce and herbs growing. some had farm animals (geese, goats, chickens, sheep, etc). On the military side of things, there was the barracks, the bastion, the governor’s apartments and the ramparts. All very interesting.
We decided not to take the guided tour and preferred to roam around at our own pace. We did however sign up for the rum tasting, which was in the Inn and led by the most hilarious “servant” ever. She played her part perfectly and explained how the rum business came to be and how the different classes in the town partook of the rum. We enjoyed two samples – one straight and one mixed with punch. All in the setting of an inn back in the day. It was awesome.
Fantastic way to spend our last day in the Maritimes!
Food list Items: Crab Cakes