Ross Farm is a working farm (circa 1817 to 1900) located on 60 acres of the original 800 acre land grant given to Captain William Ross in July, 1816. Captain Ross took 172 disbanded soldiers (from the War of 1812) and their families to settle in what is now the New Ross area of central Nova Scotia.
Five generations of the Ross Family lived and worked the farm between 1816 and 1969. In 1969, the Ross Family homestead was sold to the New Ross Museum Society, and today it is part of the province-wide Nova Scotia Museum system.
March 20th was cold and windy, although the temperature was approximately 32 degrees, the gusty wind made it feel like minus10 degrees.
After paying our very reasonable admission, the first order of business was getting hot dogs for lunch. Some of us even had two! .
While waiting for the ‘dogs’ to cook, we saw the horse and sled , although a “sleigh ride” was included in the admission price, none of the grand-kids ended up on a ride. Bad timing, and maybe a bad temper too! (No, not the horses). In summer and / or warmer weather, when the terrain is easier for the horses, they offer hay and/or wagon rides that travel around the area of the farm.
As the dogs cooked , we visited the gift shop. The restrooms are located here as well. These barrels were made at Ross Farm. In the very early days (1800's), farms were mostly self-sufficient and made for themselves virtually everything they needed .
As our visit was on the last day of March / Spring Break, the museum was offering free hot-chocolate . At other times, fruit and other drinks would be offered. Staff, & ‘friendly interpreters’ are dressed in period attire or dress . The nature trail was deemed to icy for us!
The Museum consists of the following, contained within 60 acres:
- Welcome Stand - Pedlar’s Shop
- Visitor Center School (which was not a hit with the grand-kids as it reminded them it was their last day of no school!
- Ross Barn
- Workshop and Store
- Rose Bank Cottage circa 1817 Stave Mill & Larder Barn
- Blacksmith Shop
- Cooper Shop
- The Nature Trail
Yes, farm life (1816 -1900) was hard, families had to make most of what they needed, such as shoes, candles, & woolen clothes.
At the farm, you will see heritage breeds of sheep. In fact, we got to see four day old twin lambs , during our visit. The sheep are kept separate . Here are pictures of the heritage chickens (the sign says Heritage Poultry Breeds 1870) Our granddaughter Ann, a true city girl at heart, was afraid she might “catch something”, at which point Nana Ann said we are not going to “roll around on the ground with them, only look at them. “ Kids!
The farm has huge pigs, I swear one had to be over 1000 pounds . Definitely not the cuddly “Wilbur” (from Charlotte’s Web) size pigs the kids were expecting! There are oxen too, , but once again, granddaughter Ann would not go in to see them as she deemed the area “too smelly“ for her delicate nose. City girls! Yes, there are horses, and besides the draft horses on sled duty, here is another horse at leisure .
The farm always has activities to keep young hands and minds busy during any visit. The activities range from decorating cookies to making book-marks , to wagon / hay / sled rides, nature trails, crafts and more.
Our visit was on the first day of Spring, but after such a tough winter, there was still a lot of ice and snow on the paths and walkways. Winter had not given up its grip just yet. And if the snow and ice were gone, then it was mud to contend with, but a fun family day in Nova Scotia never-the-less!
You will see this type of ‘winterizing’ used to keep out the cold on older homes, shops as seen here and throughout rural Nova Scotia.
We had a fun day at Ross Farm Museum, and you can too!
We returned to Halifax by continuing along Route 12 which enabled us to show the kids numerous Christmas Tree Farms, and one that is said to be the largest in the world. You could stop for pictures, we didn’t as the kids were being kids and the wife and I just wanted to get them home!
Yes, this could be a stop on your cruise Halifax excursion, and it truly is ‘an almost free family fun day’ in Nova Scotia with fresh country air, history, nature, crafts, and agriculture all together in one 60 acre site in Nova Scotia.
Blue Diamond can help you with a Ross Farm Excursion.
Until next time, Bob