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A new ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia: Promotional fares offered

The Nova Star approaching Cape Forchu Lightstation
The Nova Star approaching Cape Forchu Lightstation
Roger Fasteson

Service between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia began service in May, 2014 aboard the state-of-the-art Nova Star. Recently offered savings include 10% off for Nova Scotia residents, a 24-hour round-trip cruise from $199 per person, double occupancy, and rates from $99 one way for vehicles up to 20 feet long. Check the Nova Star website for up-to-date information on special promotions.

The Nova Star departs from Portland’s Ocean Gateway Terminal at 9 p.m., allowing ample time to enjoy the onboard food and entertainment and get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable stateroom.

Walk onboard or drive your vehicle. There are three restaurants onboard, the upscale Currents, Fathoms Buffet, and Piper’s Pub for snacks and sandwiches.

A morning announcement is made 20 minutes before rooms are to be vacated, leaving about an hour to relax in a lounge before the 8 a.m. arrival in Yarmouth. Enjoy the view of lighthouses, sea birds, fishing villages, and wooden houses surrounded by pine trees.

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia is on the southwestern tip of the province. After clearing Canadian Customs head up the hill to the Visitor Information Centre to pick up maps and additional ideas on what to see and do.

Yarmouth has a number of attractions that shouldn’t be missed:

Since the ferry arrives at 8 a.m., before museums are open, a good place to start is with a walking tour like the Sea Captains’ Homes and Mercantile Heritage Walk. Get a map at the Yarmouth Visitor Information Centre or downloaded it at YarmouthandAcadianshores.com. These grand homes, churches and stores built from 1850 to 1900 reflect the wealth from the sea in Yarmouth’s Golden Age of Sail when the city was major shipping center. One is the award-winning Yarmouth County Museum, housed in an historic Gothic Revival style former Congregational Tabernacle.

Next door is the Pelton-Fuller House, summer home of Alfred Fuller, the original Fuller Brush Man, after his marriage to Primrose Pelton.

Imagine the small of smoke and the clung of the bell when you continue on to the Firefighters’ Museum of Nova Scotia and nearly every kind of apparatus used in Nova Scotia from the 1800s to the 1930s.

Step into the waterfront of Yarmouth’s past at the Laurence Sweeney Fisheries Museum on Water Street, a scaled-down version of the seven-building working waterfront.

Walk through the shady Frost Park and note the old headstones in Yarmouth’s first burial grounds. The three-tiered fountain is 150 years old and there’s an observation deck overlooking Yarmouth Harbor.

The Royal Bank of Canada’s Yarmouth Branch building now houses the only satellite branch of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

If you bring your car along on the ferry, you shouldn’t miss the Cape Forchu Lightstation, Nova Scotia's second most photographed lighthouse after the one at Peggy’s Cove. It’s the “Beacon to Canada” for visitors on the Nova Star Cruise. The light keeper’s 1912 house is open to visitors, and there is a museum, tea room, and gift shop with local crafts.

For more on the Nova Star and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia see Notable Travels' A cruise to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia aboard the new Nova Star.