Uniacke Estate Museum Park
*Disclosure: I received a Nova Scotia Museum Pass in exchange for writing about the various museums we visit*
Uniake Estate Museum Park has always been one of my favourite places to go hiking. I just wis it were a little bit closer to the Valley, because I would be going all the time!
Located in Mount Uniacke, between Halifax and Windsor, Uniacke Estate Museum Park is part of what was the expansive country estate of Attorney-General Richard John Uniacke (1753-1830). Built 200 years ago between 1813 and 1815, the grand country house is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in Canada. The estate offers visitors a vivid glimpse of life in the early 1800s among Nova Scotia’s gentry.
Here’s what the website says:
Built as a summer home for Richard John Uniacke, a Nova Scotian Attorney-General, the estate was prominently located along the stage coach route from Halifax to Windsor, a testimony to Uniacke’s wealth and personal achievement.
The family summered in the area as early as the 1790s, probably staying in a farmhouse on the original land grant. Construction of the new house and out-buildings began in 1813 and was completed three years later. Although he maintained a house in Halifax, Uniacke would spend most of his time living in semi-retirement at the estate.
And what an estate it is. Set in the middle of nowhere, with an incredible landscape, this place would have made the perfect get-away!
We began our visit with a hike. There are actually 8 trails at the Estate.
I’ve only ever done two of them. I love them so much that we keep doing the same ones!
We started with the Red Spruce Loop. This is a 1.5km loop hike near the lake’s edge.
The Red Spruce Loop is described as:
Challenging walk of high difficulty.
Encounter magnificent hemlock; a stand of straight Red spruce, Nova Scotia’s provincial tree; brooks and a mossy bog. Return along the edge of Lake Martha (also known as Uniacke Lake)
I did not tell the boys that we were starting with a hike, for I could anticipate the response: NO!
But, as soon as we started out, I heard, “Mommy, this is way better than we thought it would be!”
Although listed as difficult and challenging, a 5 year old could easily do this trail. There are a lot of exposed roots, boggy/wet spots which makes it a bit rough going.
But, the scenery is beautiful and we even saw a snake sunning itself!
The hikes are incredibly well sign posted to tell you which way to go and which way NOT to go!
The Red Spruce hike took us about 45 minutes to walk.
Following the hike, we entered into the museum using our Museum pass.
The house is set up like in Uniacke’s time, using artefacts from the family.
The boys completed a scavenger hunt, looking for various artefacts around the museum.
The curators were wonderful and told us much about life at the estate in the 1800s.
We stayed in the museum for about 20 minutes as the boys have a low attention span and I find it stressful watching them constantly so they aren’t touching everything! But, there was plenty in the museum to keep them interested!
Next, we went on the Drumlin Field Hike.
The website says:
Field Trail; Veers off the Loop through woodland along the lakeshore, panoramic view of the house at the top of the drumlin
Although 2km, this trail is much easier to traverse, taking only about 20minutes.
It is a gravel trail, so suitable for strollers.
At the top of the hill there is a beautiful view of the estate. And, apparently, 2 of the Uniake horses are buried up there somewhere!
To walk the trails, you do not need to have a museum pass or pay admission.
• The trails available year-round
• ample parking located by Uniacke House during museum operating season
• picnic tables on site
• toilet facilities located near the Trailhead (closed in the off season)
The museum also offers guided walks and camps for children throughout the summer.
Directions: Uniacke Estates is about 45 minutes from the Kentville area. It’s best to take the Exit at St. Croix on the 101 (Exit 4) and head on the back road to the Museum.
I can’t wait to go back again and try some of the other trails!
Uniacke Estate is well worth the visit, whether for the hikes, the museum or both! I wish it were a little bit closer to the Valley, because I would be going all the time!