If I had a sand dollar for every East Coast smile, there’d be enough to pave the TransCanada Highway that led the Pye’s to a fun-filled family vacation, this summer, in Nova Scotia. Sand dollars and smiles went hand-in-hand every time our boys had a chance to go beach combing. Low tide to high tide, Charlie and Jack walked, ran, shovelled, and swam along miles of soft, scenic beaches. But there was more to the Pye family vacation than just toes in the sand. A week long vacation gave us a great taste of Nova Scotia, and everything was delicious, especially the Digby scallops. A morning hike through Kejimkujik National Park led us to a rugged ocean look-out, a perfect shoreline lunch spot in the company of curious Harbour Seals. A three-hour Bay of Fundy cruise along side of a 45-foot long humpback and her 12-foot long calf, put the power of nature into a whole new perspective. The living planet makes us humble as does the rich Acadia history and working-class hardship that echo in the heart of every habour town we visited. The Atlantic’s crashing waves on Peggy’s Cove gives tempo to the jigs and reels of a Scottish bagpipe. In a moment of vulnerability, I matched the piper’s melancholy music to this great Canadian landmark and a tear touched my cheek as ancestry filled my heart. In New Scotland, the Celtic spirit raises a pint to the City of Halifax, the shire town that feels more like a friendly village than it does Atlantic Canada’s largest city. We loved Halifax so much that we made a point to return for another evening before we said farewell to Nova Scotia. The homestretch is the best time to look back on a great vacation, knowing that the genuine local characters we met along the way really made the travel experience feel like home. A vacation is not complete without a special souvenir. An antique lobster trap, along with stunning Nova Scotia vacation photos and memories, are with us forever.