What to do in Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Winding its way through Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, the number one highway leads travellers through a string of towns, villages, and communities.
Heading east, (about one hour west if coming from Halifax) nestled along the uneven muddy banks of the Minas Basin, is the town of Wolfville. Home to Acadia University, the town’s population almost doubles during the school year to nearly 8000 residents.
Wolfville ranks high on my road trip ‘stop worthy’ list. Why? Quaintness. It’s a small, walkable town, with great food options- Cafés, diners, and specialty restaurants. If you’re thinking of visiting but wondering what to do in Wolfville, this article should help you with that!
Its proximity to several local Nova Scotia vineyards is reason enough for many folks! A variety of shops and stores will keep you busy, and is especially great when looking for a special gift.
If it’s a clear, pleasant day, a walk over to Wolfville Waterfront Park is a must. The views overlooking the Minas Basin and across to Cape Blomidon are beautiful…
Here’s my detailed run down on everything Wolfville has to offer:
Where to stay in Wolfville:
- Blomidon Inn. A renovated sea captain’s mansion with 33 B&B style accommodations. Beautiful gardens and a fine dining restaurant. For more info visit www.blomidon.ns.ca
- Victoria’s Historic Inn. A 5 star B&B in Wolfville. The Inn was built in 1893, and has 16 rooms. Visit www.victoriashistoricinn.com for more info.
- Tattingstone Inn. Built in 1874 as a farm house, there are 13 rooms in the main house, and eight in The Carriage House. A nice feature in summer is their in ground heated pool. Visit www.tattingstoneinn.com to learn more.
- Gingerbread House Inn. Offers four rooms and three suites. Check them out at www.gingerbreadhouse.ca
- Old Orchard Inn Resort and Spa. While it’s not right in Wolfville, if you have a vehicle you’re an easy 5-7 minutes drive into town. Think pool and spa, and quite a view of the valley! For details visit www.oldorchardinn.com
Where to eat in Wolfville:
- Paddy’s Brewpub and Rosie’s Restaurant. An Irish pub and restaurant serving standard pub fare. A local favourite.
- Joe’s Food Emporium. Joe’s opened in 1977, and is a well established sports bar/pub. Quite popular with the university and younger crowd, and the best outdoor patio on Main Street!
- Troy. Mediterranean cuisine, great food and atmosphere.
- The Real Scoop Ice Cream and Espresso Shop. Hand crafted ice cream, light lunch menu and espresso drinks… open March to January. It really is a sweet shop… Love the swing seats!
- The Church Brewing Co. The new kid on the brewing and restaurant block, located in the former St. Andrews United Church. They’ve done a great job keeping the beauty and atmosphere of the church.
- Li’s Wok and Grill. A Front Street diner serving Chinese and Canadian food. Quite good!
- Tim Hortons. A good Canadian town just wouldn’t be complete without a Timmies! A chain franchise coffee and donut shop, always a safe bet.
- Just us! Coffee. Located in the Al Whittle Theatre, Just Us! has been serving up tasteful drinks and snacks for several years. They’re all about fair trade, which is great! It’s an ‘I’ll have a chai latte with milk and one bag left in’ kind of place … (yes, that’s my drink)
- Tan Coffee. There is no shortage of coffee shops and hang out spots
in Wolfville …
- The Naked Crepe Bistro. This specialty bistro takes crepes to a whole new level. I love this place, and there are so many delicious crepes for any time of day!
- Pronto Pizza
- The Rolled Oat Café
- The Library Pub and Merchant Wine Tavern
- The Pita House
- Blomidon Inn Restaurant. Found in the Blomidon Inn, and having a very extensive wine list from the local vineyards.
Where to Shop in Wolfville:
- Harvest Gallery. Local art gallery showcasing various artistic styles and displays of local artists work, including the lovely heirloom jewellery from Locusart Jewellery.
- Wild Lily. Specialty clothing and home decor boutique. Possibly one of the most unique locations, in a renovated gas station/garage of yesteryear.
- Casa Bella. Carries women’s fashions, jewellery, and accessories.
- We’re Outside. Specializes in high quality apparel for hiking/outdoors.
- Herbin’s Jewellery. Family owned and operated since 1885.
- Reta’s House of Fashion. Designer Fashions, Jewellery, denim and western wear.
- The Wool ‘n Tart. Yarn and food. Lots of yarn. A knitter’s paradise…
- The Odd Book. Rare and Second hand book store
- Rainbow’s End Books and Disk. A second hand book store with much more… books, cd’s, vinyl, comics, games etc
- The Clayground Studio. Paint it yourself pottery.
- The Market. Opened in 1971, a long time part of the community. A bit of an assortment here from clothes to vinyl to smoking paraphernalia and the list goes on…
- Applewicks (L’Arche Homefires). Candles, weaving and crafts, all made in Wolfville. Applewicks gives adults with special needs work and opportunity.
- Annapolis Cider Company. Enjoy a tour and tasting… using local Annapolis Valley apples and made right there in Wolfville in their own cidery.
- Daisy Roots Vintage. Used clothing and as the name implies, vintage.
- Jane’s Again. A wonderful little consignment boutique! Jane’s has current styles and great prices. I’ve had more than a few good finds here…
What to do in Wolfville:
- The Clayground. If you’re feeling crafty and they’re open, try your hand at painting your own ceramic piece! Great selection of pieces from small to large. If you’re only here for a day you may have to arrange to have your piece shipped, as the firing process takes time, or use the non-fired paints and take with you that day.
- Valley Ghost Walks. Into ghosts? And history lessons? If so this is perfect! Jerome the GraveKeeper will keep you entertained for a full two hours! For details visit valleyghostwalks.com
- Randall House Museum. Built in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s, this farmhouse turned museum gives you some lessons in history and is said to be haunted…
- Wolfville Magic Winery Bus. Do you like wine? If not it’s ok, you’ll still enjoy the tour… a hop-on/off tour that takes you to each of the wineries in the area… on a British double-decker bus! Visit up to five wineries during the day. Find out more at https://magicwinerybus.ca/pages/home-Wolfville
- Harriet Irving Botanical Garden. Located at Acadia University, stroll the gardens and hike the Woodland Trails (1.5km)
- Acadia Athetic Complex– offers public skates and public swims
Of course, you’ll find town staples including two pharmacies, two banks, a grocery store, a travel agency, dentist offices, hardware store, tattoo and piercings shop, two clinics and a post office.
Honestly there’s more, but I think I’ve hit the highlights and then some! As you walk around you may discover new places, like any town, businesses open and close from time to time.
What’s Going On in Wolfville…
Wolfville really is a delightful little town, especially during summer. You might try and coordinate your visit with a festival or event taking place, as there are a few of interest.
- The Deep Roots Music Festival has been growing and gaining momentum for a few years now. Going into its 16th year it runs for 3 days in late September… (27-29 September, 2019). For info go to www.deeprootsmusic.ca
- Devour! The Food Film Fest. International festival that celebrates cinema, food and wine. Takes place late fall each year. For more visit devourfest.com
- Mud Creek Days. For updates visit here.
- Taste of the Valley. Annual culinary event at the Wolfville Farmers Market.
- Valley Harvest Marathon. The marathon takes place over Thanksgiving each October. Events includes kids, 5k, 10k, half, full, and ultra marathons. Find out more here.
- Uncommon Common Art. A seasonal project from mid June to mid October. Learn more at uncommoncommonart.com
A Quick History…
Wolfville was incorporated as a town in 1893. It was called Mud Creek originally and the name was changed to Wolfville in 1830. (After the many DeWolfe’s that inhabited the Main road in Wolfville, in particular, Elisha DeWolf, the postmaster).
The French (Acadians) had settled in the area in the 1600’s, but were expelled by the British in 1755. New England planters resettled Wolfville, arriving in 1760.
If you have time, a visit to the Grand-Pré National Historic Site will give you all the details of the Acadian expulsion, which has been made famous by the poem Evangeline by Longfellow. It’s located in Grand-Pré, a few kilometers up the road, and about a five minute drive.
A Bit More…
In addition to the town itself, Wolfville allows visitors easy and close access to many places of interest:
- Gaspereau Valley and it’s many vineyards- Gaspereau Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards, Luckett Vineyards
- Gaspereau River tubing
- Lightfoot and Wolfville Vineyards
- Grand-Pré Winery
- Various farm markets (Noggins, Hennigars, Elderkins, Stirlings)
- Wolfville Farmers Market (Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings)
- Wolfville Rail Trail. Walk or bike the old rail line trails.
- The Look-Off. About 20 minutes away, best view of the valley!
- Cape Split hiking
- Blomidon Provincial Park for smaller hikes
- Port Williams – Fox Hill Cheese House, The Port Pub, The Noodle Guy, Prescott House Museum
- Fort Edward National Historic Site in Windsor.
- Halls Harbour
For a small town, Wolfville has appeal. It’s quirky and cultural and has a great summer vibe. A sunny summer day in Wolfville is relaxing and great for exploring! Have you visited Wolfville? What are your thoughts?