There are places in the world so inarguably beautiful that they become legendary. Americans may not know Peggys Cove by name – but if you’ve ever seen a picture of a lighthouse, you’ve probably seen Peggys Cove. It’s hard to believe that a place so photographed and visited hasn’t sprouted a Motel 6 and an IHOP, but Peggys Cove is holding strong at a population of 46.
As our group of journalists and their families pulled into the King Neptune Campground just outside of the Cove in the even tinier town of Indian Harbour, we could see why this was one of the most photographed places in the world.
It was our first night parking and hooking up the RVs, so there was quite a bit of backing up, pulling forward and leveling off. We had a chicken dinner for seventeen inexplicably prepared by one of our Go RVing Canada guides on a tiny grill.
As we finished up our plates of chicken and rice, we watched a sunset that I will never forget.
Just as the sun was dipping below the rocky horizon, we were greeted by the owners of the campground, who live onsite year round. This is Miss Kay Richardson, proprietor, resident and grandma extraordinaire with her daughter, Joyce.
Kay and Joyce brought out coffee, tea and gingerbread cake just after dinner. The cake was spicy, aromatic and lovely. THIS was why I came to Nova Scotia. Just the night before, I was in one of the finest hotels in Halifax and I ate at a restaurant that was in my lifetime top three – yet, here was Miss Kay with her moist, delicious spice cake with handmade whipped cream. You can’t buy Miss Kay. You can’t buy Indian Harbour. You can’t buy that sunset.
That night, I did something I have never gotten to do before — I fell asleep to the sound of the ocean crashing on rocks instead of sand. There were no car horns, no engines revving, no phones ringing and no airplanes overhead – just the sound of the ocean and the lingering scent of gingerbread cake.
The next morning, Miss Kay invited us inside her home which perches on the edge of the ocean. To the left the lobster traps waited for the day’s work and to the right the lighthouse broadcast its warning across the North Atlantic. Below the tidy, modest home was a fledgling vegetable garden. Miss Kay brought us inside and proudly showed us the kitchen where she had baked our evening treat. The view from her kitchen window is priceless.
Her wood stove stood sentry against the wild winter nights to come. But, for that day, the weather was warm and the sun shone brightly on her little part of the world.
This is more than a nameless campground trumpeted by a smiling bear with a pool and a store that sells t-shirts. This is Miss Kay’s home and the best place I have ever stayed away from home. I will never again hear the word “hospitality” and not think of Kay Richardson and her family. There is no guide travelers can buy or website they can visit that will tell them exactly when they will feel welcomed or genuinely valued so deeply that the word “customer” seems offensively detached. This campground is one of those places where, just for one night, I felt like part of the family.
You can visit Kay Richardson’s campground from June 1 – October 15 each year. The King Neptune Campground is located at 8536 Peggys Cove Road, Indian Harbour, Nova Scotia. There is no website, but you can give them a call for reservations or information at 902.823.2582.
all photos copyright © 2010 by jodi a. kasten • all rights reserved