The last stop on our Cape Breton road trip was one of my favourites, and it wasn’t even in Cape Breton! We spent about five days at a cabin near Sherbrooke. My travelling companion took take part in a four day plein air oil painting workshop at Sherbrooke Village Museum. I spent the first day relaxing at the cabin on my own (mainly because it was raining) and I spend the final three days taking pictures around the village/museum. The museum also hosts a photography workshop. Unfortunately, that was the following week so… that was too bad. On the other hand, I made my own workshop!
Check out my photo gallery from this excursion at the end of this post.
Sherbrooke Village Museum
The Sherbrooke Village Museum is part of the Nova Scotia Museum family; consequently, admission is free if you have the museum pass. That’s super handy if you plan on being there for three days like I was! Otherwise, adult admission is $13.75.
There are over 30 buildings in the main village and the public can view 29 of them. With one exception, none of the buildings have been moved, giving the visitor an excellent example of a close-knit community. You’ll also find three buildings and a short nature trail off site, just around the corner.
The buildings that visitors will see now house offices, a gift shop, church, general store, courthouse and much more. The old hotel is a wonderful tea room and I recommend the corn chowder! Pets are welcome in the village, just not, obviously, in the tea room. Those off-site buildings are a couple of mills, as well as a lumber camp on the lake-side nature trail.
To get the most out of your visit, I recommend spending a full day. You’ll have a chance to explore all the buildings, watch any demonstrations, and chat with the interpreters. Many of the buildings close for a short break around 2:30, but the restaurant does not, so have another cup of tea or a nice, cold ice cream! Finally, take the short walk or drive to those mills!
If you’d like to extend your experience, the museum has several “hands on learning opportunities“. Spend a day with the blacksmiths. Adults and children may participate in “Hands on History” for a day or a whole camp. Day programs are supposedly popular with bridal parties. They also offer three creative camps for painting, photography and songwriting. They all sound really interesting!
Three Day Photo Shoot
Day One: I spent the morning visiting and shooting half of the buildings. That afternoon, after it cooled down, I explored the off-site area. Once the museum closed, I could still walk around village so I took external shots and explored the short riverside walk. Finally, I sat at a picnic table near the water, read a book, and took additional photos as the light changed, or a boat travelled down the river.
The morning of day two I spent visiting the other half of the buildings. After another long trying-to-keep-cool lunch, I revisited them all again. This allowed me to photograph the buildings in both the morning and afternoon light. After closing, I went to the saw mill, shooting the area in the changing light of early evening.
The jailhouse, where wonderful baked goods were made throughout the day, and the general store were the most noteworthy for me. There was so much to see in each building and the light was amazing!
Finally, for day three, I gave myself goals and assignments. I’d been carrying around a 35mm camera and a pinhole body cap for the entire vacation and hadn’t used them; I wanted to change that. I also gave myself two assignments – Light as Subject and Self-Portrait. My friend also had her end-of-workshop exhibition which took up some time. I wanted to ‘shoot low’, most of all – get down on the ground and get a new perspective on everything I already explored.
Three days meant no rushing and lots of opportunities! By then people recognized me and were even more accommodating than they’d been on Day One.