An entrepreneur behind Settled Nomads is hoping to shine a spotlight on the merits of the Eastern Shore.
“It’s always been an area of interest for me, and I know as a local that it is not an area that people explore very often,” says the sustainable tour company's founder Chelsea Hanoun about the seaside region.
Hanoun has always admired the Eastern Shore for its quiet beauty but was surprised to find that the region is often overlooked by travellers and sightseers.
“When I was starting my business, I was doing a more of a deep dive on the research and data that Tourism Nova Scotia has done, and it was very clear that the Eastern Shore was one of the least busiest regions by travellers, but having gone there myself, it’s such a magical place full of off-the-beaten path adventures,” says Hanoun.
“So I really wanted to provide an opportunity that would service return visitors and locals of Nova Scotia who are wanting new experiences — especially after COVID where they’ve been stuck in one place for a long time.”
As a result, Settled Nomads has just launched its special Eastern Shore Escape Tour, a five hour excursion aiming to connect locals from the city to the coastlines, the countryside and the local vendors of the province’s Eastern Shore.
“Our morning starts off at the Halifax Brewery Farmers' Market, so people will get to enjoy a lively Saturday at the market and explore the 200-year-old granite and ironstone heritage building, which is a gem in itself,” says Hanoun. Tours include free samples and connecting with local vendors from the Eastern Shore.
“I really wanted to include a stop at the market that would help bridge that gap and provide that facilitation for connection, so people could really get to know their local farms and their makers and have more meaningful connections,” adds Hanoun.
From there, the tour departs for the Eastern Shore, where participants will get the chance to relax or watch the surfers at beautiful Lawrencetown Beach before breaking for a seaside lunch.
“We have a picnic set up by Halifax Charcuterie,” adds Hanoun. “They are a Black-owned business here, and then after we have our lunch, we get to explore the beach (before) we end up going to the farm.”
The farm in question is Ataraxy Farm — a Lawrencetown-based dairy goat farm that also offers a unique holistic experience for visitors.
Started by Blair and Kim Davis in 2013 as a goat therapy farm to help him deal with PTSD from years of military service in Bosnia, Ataraxy Farm eventually opened to the public in 2021.
“It’s really special,” adds Hanoun, who met the pair as vendors at the Halifax Brewery Farmers' Market. “They started the farm based on Blair’s mental health through his military service, so even though people may not all have mental health issues, it is still such a great place to feel alive and feel refreshed.”
The tour is accessible for all ages and includes transportation, the picnic lunch, a take home gift from Ataraxy Farm and the trip and farm guides.
“It’s really great for families with young kids, and the goats are trained to be gentle and they are not provided any treats,” adds Hanoun. “So if they want attention, they come and they get it, but they are very gentle with all ages.”
Since she launched her Eastern Shore Escape Tour in April, she has been overwhelmed by the growing interest — which she hopes will translate into more residents seeking out all the off-the-beaten path adventures waiting along the Eastern Shore.
“It’s been going great,” says Hanoun, noting that the tour has since been listed on several travel websites. “People have had really great things to say about it, and it was really the mental health therapy farm and the connection to the people that was really meaningful to us.”
For more information on the Eastern Shore Escape, visit the Settled Nomads website.