If you haven’t lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, then you’ve probably never heard of Wolfville. Don’t feel bad. Neither had I until last April when I spotted an ad in my daily TrustedHousitters email alert. Since I had been considering Nova Scotia as a possible summer escape from the mayhem of Toronto’s upcoming PanAm Games, this immediately grabbed my attention and I applied for the Wolfville housesit.


Fast forward 10 weeks, and I find myself sitting on the large wooden deck of a four-bedroom home in Wolfvillle, a town of 4300 people, surrounded by flowers and foliage, with only the sound of birds and chimes (and a far away lawnmower) as distractions. A fifteen-minutes walk down the road is โ€œdowntownโ€ Wolfville.

Yes, it’s a small place, but everybody in Halifax seemed to know it, and raved about it. There are several reasons for this. First of all, it’s home to Acadia University, a school with a reputation for its liberal arts program and responsible for many of the town’s cultural activities. Secondly, it has great touristic appeal due to its location in an agricultural area near the Bay of Fundy. Wineries, Farmers Markets, and the highest tides in the world attract visitors from the rest of the province and beyond. Located 100 kilometres to the northwest of Halifax, it’s also noticeably warmer here than in the provincial capital.

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The housesit

Gina, Dave, and their cat Neo live in a two-storey house on a hill, overlooking the Minas Basin (an inlet of the Bay of Fundy). During their three-week vacation, I am responsible for Neo, who spends most of his time outdoors, including overnights on the deck when the weather is warm. He comes in to eat throughout the day, and snoozes on the sofa while I watch TV in the evening. (And as cat owners will appreciate, an outdoor cat means no litter box to clean!) Neo is a very chilled cat, and living in this environment, it’s not hard to see why.

On the other hand, I’m also responsible for watering Gina’s indoor plants and her garden. So many plants! Gina is passionate about gardening and it shows. It’s a little intimidating for someone like me who lacks a green thumb. Fortunately she has a little device that measures the moisture level in soil, so I don’t need to keep sticking my fingers in the dirt. Her husband Dave is a freelance software developer and a carpenter in his free time. He’s made some of the furniture that sits on the deck, and probably some of the structure itself.

High and low tides in Minas Basin (Wolfville)

High and low tides in Minas Basin

From the house you can watch the tide rise and drop in the Minas Basin twice a day, quite an impressive sight. And the view is even better from the neighbours, Coleen and John, who are friends of Gina and Dave. Last evening I was invited over for a drink and the three of us sat on their deck, above the trees, admiring the view. And when I left, Coleen gave me homemade date squares! How cool is that?

Although I’ve only been here for a few days, this is shaping up to be a great housesit. The house itself is beautiful and has everything one could want, from the aforementioned deck, to Netflix, to a fizzy water making machine! I even have the use of a bicycle. The nights are so quiet that I sleep without earplugs, and I find it hard to pull myself out of bed in the morning. It’s been sunny and warm so far and I’ve been eating and snoozing on the deck every day. Life is tough.

The town

Every other day or so I walk downtown to get a cappuccino, shop, and see the sights. Last Saturday I checked out the Farmers Market, with its 60+ vendors set up inside an old apple warehouse. It’s only open on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm and a smaller version of it offers $10 dinners on Wednesday evening. I picked up a bag of organic mixed greens, baked goods, and a homemade lavender soap (that looks like fudge). Next week I’ll probably buy some artisanal jam. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another view of Main Street (Wolfville)

Main Street, Wolfville

I stopped by a natural health store, and the main grocery store, to round up my food purchases. I’m a little shocked by the cost of food items here. It’s pricier than downtown Toronto! An avocado cost me $2.50 and bell peppers are $4.99 a pound!

About a dozen restaurants, and three times as many shops and services line Wolfville two main streets, cleverly named Main Street, and Front Street. I explored a used bookstore with surprisingly well-stocked shelves, a consignment clothing store, an art gallery, and walked past a theatre where performances of a summer play are about to start.

At the eastern end of Front Street is the small Waterfront Park overlooking Wolfville Harbour. This area was settled by Acadians who built dikes to drain some of the land for agriculture. The dikes still exist and you can use them to hike between towns. Next to the tourist office is another pretty green space called Willow Park (because of the willows no doubt).

The photos below should give you an idea of what it all looks like.

I am only starting to explore the area, so expect to see more in the weeks to come about wineries, walking and biking trails, and of course food!

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