• Halifax Learning Moment Fall 2019

    November 11, 2019 | Trip Recaps
  • Please select a day or scroll down to read entire post
  • Day 1 • November 8, 2019

    Aerial photo of Halifax, Novia Scotia. Located on the southern shore of Nova Scotia, Halifax is the largest city in Canada's Atlantic Ocean region and one of the country's most popular destinations. Halifax boasts one of the world's largest harbours,  which played a critical role in the country's economic and military history. The star-shaped citadel, built to protect the city, still sits high on a hilltop, commanding a striking presence over the city.

    I’m off to Halifax, Nova Scotia for yet another fall adventure! The last time that I was in Canada was from July 13-16, 2017 when I visited Montreal. I left home at 6:30 AM and went to Logan Airport by using GroundLink, a car service. I’ve never used a car service before independently, and it was more than perfect! After checking in, which was a painless process, I went to Legal Sea Foods in the terminal, as well as to Starbuck’s. The tuna burger and coffee were amazing, and the flight was full. The flight was on a turboprop plane, and I haven’t been on those since I flew between Vermont and Boston when I went to Perkins a number of years ago. On the flight, they had drinks and cookies, and the flight was about an hour.

    Upon arrival into Halifax, getting through immigration and customs was super easy, and like the transportation to Logan Airport, I had a car service to get me from the airport to the Halifax Backpacker’s hostel, which is in the north end of Halifax. The hostel is attached to a café called Alteregos, making it super convenient. This happens to be Halifax’s off season, so on the first floor, I’m basically the only one staying! I’m staying in one of two private rooms, and the other private room is on the second floor. Additionally, the hostel has a few dorm rooms. For a hostel, the bed is actually quite comfortable, and they were bunk beds. Similar to the sleeper car on Amtrak, I slept in the bottom bunk, and used the top bunk for my luggage. The two staff members who work the café/hostel, Amy and Emma, were super helpful, and they made sure that I had everything I needed. Upon arrival and after getting settled, I met up with Charlotte, who I met through Laura, a friend off of the Couchsurfing website. Charlotte is from England, and we walked Gottingen Street, the road that the hostel is on, to give me an idea of the neighborhood. Halifax Transit bus route 7 goes up and down the road, making it super easy to get around. The buses are similar to the buses in Boston, and like in Boston, I was able to travel for free! We stopped at three pubs, the Foggy Goggle, the Local, and the Hopyard. Halifax is well known for beer, as well as for fried pepperoni with honey mustard, so I enjoyed those at the Foggy Goggle, and it was happy hour, so it was even better! We got back to the hostel at about 4:00 PM.

    After a nap, I ventured out and took the bus to the Henryhouse, on Barrington Street, which is a main street in downtown Halifax. The Henryhouse is one of the oldest pubs in Halifax, and it has two levels. The top level is a dining room, and the basement level has an Irish pub atmosphere. I sat in the basement, and the Irish bartenders, as well as the other customers, were very helpful. The calamari, Rueben, and beers were amazing. To end the night, I went to The Local, a classic dive bar near the hostel. There were a lot of students and younger people, and this bar reminds me of some of the bars in Keene, New Hampshire. I ended up meeting three people Hannah, Kyle, and Brendan, and it was great to hear about Halifax, as well as to enjoy more beer. I got back to the hostel at 12:00 AM, and tomorrow I’m getting a tour by one of the Couchsurfing ambassadors of Halifax, as well as more fun surprises!

  • Day 2 • November 9, 2019

    A photo of a delicious Halifax donair. The Halifax donair was first invented in the 1970s by Peter Gamoulakos. Originally from Greece, he started selling Greek gyros (a pita stuffed with grilled lamb and tzatziki) from his restaurant located off the Bedford Highway. But the sandwich just didn’t jive with the East Coast’s “meat and potatoes” palate.  Swapping lamb for beef, the brothers whipped up a sweet “donair sauce” and tried again. This time, however, a feeding frenzy erupted and Halifax’s signature dish was born. The late-night favourite has become so popular that in 2015, Halifax city council voted to make it the city’s official food.

    Today, after enjoying coffee at the hostel, Youji, a Halifax Couchsurfing ambassador, showed me around downtown Halifax. It was cold out, in fact he said that today was Halifax’s first snowfall! To begin, we went to Tim Hortons, a Canadian staple, in the Scotia Square mall. The donut and coffee were both awesome, as to be expected for Tim Hortons, and I really enjoyed them. We then walked to an area called Pizza Corner. Pizza Corner is an area of downtown Halifax which has many bars and late-night food, because it gets crowded between midnight and 4:00 AM. Additionally, police are stationed there every night, in case street fights occur. We stopped off at a pizza place called Johnny K’s and enjoyed Donair, a Halifax classic food. Basically, it’s a Greek rap with beef, onions, and what stands out is the Donair sauce. It was amazing. We then stopped off at the Garrison Brewing company and tried a beer, which was also amazing.

    After, we walked to the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, an indoor market with many vendors. It was great to sample cheeses, chocolate, and hot sauces. In fact, I bought some hot sauces to take home. Following the indoor market, we walked to the Halifax Central Library, and enjoyed a Remembrance Day concert. Unlike in the US, Canadians call Veterans Day Remembrance Day. The band was awesome, and it was great to hear Oh, Canada, the Canadian national anthem. Additionally, it was great to be able to determine the key that each song was in! Youji also took me to Sobeys, which is similar to the store Target, where I got snacks for the hostel. Interestingly, the only places where you can buy any beer, wine, or liquor is at the NSLC, or Nova Scotia Liquor Commission. I got back to the hostel at about 5:00 PM.

    After relaxing for a bit, I took a taxi, Halifax has no Uber or Lyft, to Your Father’s Mustache/Rock Bottom, a restaurant suggested by my friend Rachel. Downstairs is Rock Bottom Brewery, while upstairs is Your Father’s Mustache, but the food is similar in both restaurants. I was downstairs at Rock Bottom, and it was very laid back. The risotto balls, as well as the pasta with chicken in a Cajun cream sauce, were amazing, as well as the homemade beer. To end the night, on the bus trip back toward the hostel, by chance, I met another Couchsurfing ambassador from Halifax! We went to the Local, the same bar that I enjoyed last night, and chatted about Halifax, Montreal, and other stuff. I got back to the hostel at midnight, and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow is my last full day in Halifax!!

  • Day 3 • November 10, 2019

    Interior photo of the elegant Durty Nelly's Authentic Irish Pub. Durty Nelly’s is a legendary establishment named after a famous Irish hostess and entrepreneur, built in the shadow of the 15th century Bunratty Castle.  Today, it is also one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks for its food and hospitality. It is what the Irish like to call “craic agus ceoll” and it is an experience that we have recreated here on the corner of Argyle and Sackville in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    After sleeping in until about 10:30, I went to Fries and Company, an amazing fish and chips restaurant in Halifax. It’s tiny, and since Halifax is on the ocean, it’s known for amazing fish and chips. The pieces were massive, probably the largest fish and chips that I’ve ever had, and the fries and Molson Canadian beer were amazing as well. After, I returned downtown, and got a beer at Durty Nelly’s, a famous bar in Halifax. A soccer game was on, so it was crowded, but it was neat to enjoy the atmosphere, as well as to meet a few people.

    I returned to the hostel at about 3:30, relaxed, and Ellenih, who I met off of the Couchsurfing web site, took me to Dartmouth, which is across the bridge from Halifax. We went to her friend’s house, enjoyed beer and a bonfire, and enjoyed marshmallows as well. Even though it was cold out, it was warm by the fire, and it was great to relax and enjoy that. Prior to my return to the hostel, Ellenih took me to Tony’s, and the chicken Caesar pizza was amazing. Unlike the past two nights, I returned to the hostel a bit earlier, at about 9:30.

  • Day 4 • November 11, 2019

    Aerial photo of Halifax Stanfield International Airport. Halifax Stanfield International Airport is a Canadian airport in Goffs, Nova Scotia, Canada, a rural community of the Halifax Regional Municipality. It serves the Halifax area, mainland Nova Scotia and adjacent areas in the neighbouring Maritime provinces

    To begin my last day in Halifax, I packed, and met up with a friend of my friend Rachel, Brendan, who lives in Halifax. We enjoyed two bars, the Brown Hound and Big Leagues. The fried pepperoni, Donair, and beer were all great, then he drove me to the Halifax/Stanfield International Airport. Getting through immigration and customs was easy, and the flight, like the one to Halifax, was full. I got back to Boston at about 6:00, and arrived home at about 7:30. The people, beer, and food in Halifax are all great, and I’m totally going to go back at some point!