Things to Do and MAP

About Tancook
Come and explore Tancook Island – a true Nova Scotian treasure just waiting to be discovered.

We are a unique community located approximately 6 miles off Chester, Nova Scotia – where vibrant artistry, a pristine natural environment, and a history rooted deeply in strong fishing traditions intertwine.

We invite you to leave your cares on the mainland and take a relaxing hour long ferry ride to visit us across beautiful Mahone Bay – or feel welcome to sail into our protected cove and stay awhile.

Come breathe in the sea salt air. Explore by hiking, biking, or beach combing for sea glass and shells. Enjoy a snack or meal at one of our eating establishments. Take a walk or rent a bike and ride to our museum where you will discover stories of days gone by.

Make Big Tancook your destination of choice to explore Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Chester and Peggy’s Cove. There is no place better to allow the pace of life to slow than Big Tancook Island.

You may find this map helpful when planning your visit to Tancook.

Tancook Map (Click on link then click on map to enlarge.)

On your visit please stop in at the Recreation Centre – a short walk from the ferry. Our island ambassador will answer any questions you may have.

Summer hours are:
Sunday 11:00am – 4:30pm
Monday to Thursday 11:15am – 4:15pm
Friday 11:15 – 6:15
Saturday CLOSED

Beaches
The pepper sand of Southeast Cove Beach is warmed by the tides rising over the sand bars that extend 200 meters from shore into the ocean. The water temperature can reach up to 18 C.  This is our largest and most popular beach.

Just past Southeast Cove is an interesting rocky beach called “Gravel Cove” where the rounded stones pop and gurgle as the waves wash in and out. On the way to Gravel Cove, check out the intriguing tubular and bubble-like formations in the flat, rocky outcrops that stretch into the ocean.

Additionally, a fossil beach is located very close to the wharf where the ferry docks. On this beach you may be lucky enough to find a treasure from long ago.  There is also a quiet, secluded shingle beach on the other side of the island at Little Kaffel, which offers a lovely spot to have a picnic lunch, fly a kite or just spread a blanket and enjoy the sounds of the sea.

In shoreline tidal pools you’ll find crabs, eels, minnows, starfish and other small sea creatures. The beaches are also home to numerous shore and wading birds, such as herons, gulls and sandpipers. While walking the beaches you’ll also find many treasures including shells, drift wood and various colors of beach glass. Keep in mind that the most common colours of glass found on our shores are brown, green and white – if you’re lucky you may also find rare colours like blue, purple and red, which you should consider very special – as we do.

(Photos by Adam Cornick)

Hiking and Biking
Tancook offers an interesting and scenic eco-environment in which to hike and bike. Because our ferry is for foot passengers only, most visitors tour our island by foot or bike. This will allow you to take in all the richness of this tranquil setting, as well as experience the slower pace which exists on Tancook.

We are home to only dirt roads, which offer smooth walking or wheeling. Around each winding corner you’ll find scenic surprises and panoramic places to rest. Our relatively untouched natural environment offers beautiful oceanscapes, big skies and green spaces to enjoy. Bike rentals are available through  Carolyn’s Restaurant.

Bird Watching
Seventy-seven species of resident, seasonal and migratory birds can be found on Big Tancook Island. Some of the rare and exciting birds occasionally seen here include the Indigo Bunting, the House Wren, Tanagers and the Northern Parula. Other, more commonly seen birds include Crossbills and Blue Jays, Chickadees and Nuthatches, Warblers and Kinglets, Pheasants, Mourning Doves, and Robins. There are also Hummingbirds and Swallows in summer.

Cemetery
The history of Tancook can be understood in a very real way by visiting our cemetery. Many families make journeys to the island to research their family genealogy, or find long-lost family members. With headstones dating back to 1855 there is certainly lots to learn about our unique past. Reading the stones and following the family lines provide family historians with exciting and valuable information.

Geocaching
There have been geocaches on Tancook Island since 2006. Since then, many geocachers have made the day trek to seek out the caches. Our first geocaching event was hosted in 2012 and we have had several since then.

There are currently 40 caches on the island, many offering more unique challenges to test the most seasoned of geocachers. We have many kid-friendly caches and caches to get you hooked! You’ll learn about the history of Tancook while visiting some of our cache listings. Our caches will help you discover areas of our island that the regular visitor may not get experience.

To find our listings, go to geocaching.com, enter our postal code “B0J 3G0″ to search our listings. Cache listing pages are also available at the Tourism Centre.

Fossils 
Look for fossils at the beach below the gravel parking lot at the land-end of the Tancook Ferry wharf. Here you will find fossilized corals and shells, some of which contain glittering bits of “fools gold”, also known as pyrite.

Honourary Tancooker Ceremony

One of the highlights of the weekly lunch provided to the Backroads hikers by the Tancook Rec Centre is  being sworn in as an Honourary Tancooker.

It’s not every day that one gets the opportunity to kiss a lobster and be banded.

 

Backroaders Become Honourary Tancookers

At the end of their lobster dinner, each member of the weekly Backroads hiking group becomes an Honourary Tancooker by reciting  an oath and kissing a lobster.   It is a fun event and one which the participants will remember.
These lobster dinners are hosted by a dedicated group of volunteers on the occasional Thursday throughout the summer.

Carolyn’s Restaurant, Craft Shop and Big Tancook Island Bicycle Rentals

Carolyn’s Restaurant and Craft Shop and Big Tancook Island Bicycle Rentals is a fully licensed restaurant offering excellent fish and chips, great burgers, sundaes and banana splits (and much more).
You will also find a variety of handmade crafts from woolen socks to painted mandala stones.

Carolyn’s also rents bicycles in every size.

Hours are typically (may vary from time to time)
Mon – Fri 11:00 – 5:00
Sat             12:00 – 6:00
Sun            11:00 – 5:00

Backroads – “My highlight was a homemade lunch on Tancook Island.”

Every Thursday throughout the summer and early autumn, Backroads will be introducing a group of hikers (mainly from the USA) to Tancook with a guided hike through the woods and along the coast of our beautiful island.

Following the hike, these lucky travelers will enjoy a lobster lunch prepared by the hardworking women who so generously give their time and culinary talents to make this venture such a success.

After being wined and dined, the Backroads hikers participate in the Honourary Tancook ceremony where they make a pledge and seal it with lobster kiss.

“This trip was fabulous. Our guides Martin and Tal made the trip incredibly fun, as well as informative and packed with beautiful scenery that I will remember forever. My highlight was a homemade lunch on Tancook Island with fresh cooked lobster, homemade potato salads and PIE, mmmm homemade blueberry pie!”

 

Wishing Stones Studio and Gallery

Wishing Stones Studio and gallery is located at 151 Southeast Cove Rd. on Big Tancook Island.
This unique gallery is a must-visit if you are planning a trip to Tancook. (If you are walking, it will take you about 30 minutes from the ferry.)

Owner and artist Hillary Dionne will welcome you and share some of the interesting history and artifacts of this special island. Her beautiful photography captures the natural wonder of this island.

Wishing Stones offers home-made jams; locally hooked, one-of-a-kind hooked mats; beach glass jewellery; and other unique gifts and souvenirs you will not find anywhere else.
https://www.facebook.com/wishingstonesgallery/