Rat Race


We spent three years in Lunenburg licking our wounds after my mother passed away. It’s a lovely seafaring town that is home to 2,400 souls, even when soaking wet.

It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a subtle choice at that. Filled with Victorian homes of uncommon charm, each streetscape seems plucked from a fairy tale. When the fog rolls in off the Atlantic shrouding the town in gray mist as tall ships like the Bluenose and Picton Castle heave gently against their wharves, all is revealed. In Lunenburg, barely a hand’s breadth separates past from present. This is as close to a thriving town, circa 1870, as the New World can offer to travelers in the 21st century.

We lived in a drafty, rundown apartment, but we ennjoyed some happy times. The town was so small, so quiet. So often osprey, eagles and comorants would outnumber automobiles along the byways. You could shoot a cannonball down Pelham Street at 9pm on an autumn night and not hit a thing.


Anyway, I said all that so I could tell you about this.

I was talking business with an old family friend some time ago, and she mentioned how much she she loved Lunenburg. And then she told me a funny story that makes me smile every time I think of it.

Her husband is a well-known Halifax lawyer, and he was trying a case involving a Lunenburg company, and interviewing potential witnesses. Several people suggested that he talk to an old salt, now living in Herman’s Island, which is really nothing more than a village with maybe 20 houses.

Trying to put the old timer at ease, he asked a few general interest questions, and then wanted to know how the old fisherman ended up in Herman’s Island.

“Oh,” he said, “I just couldn’t stand the city anymore.

“The rat race in Lunenburg was killin’ me!”

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3 Responses to Rat Race

  1. Cheryl Kauffman says:

    John and I have been watching a show called Haven and I found out it is being filmed in Lunenburg. There was one scene when one of the characters opened the fridge and it was filled with beer from Lunenburg. It is a really neat show.

  2. Suzanne Kauffman says:

    Apollo, Pennsylvania, where I live has a population of 1,800. Apollo has one traffic light and nothing larger than a two-lane road going through it. A friend who lives three miles away will not venture into town during “Rush Hour.”

  3. It’s funny how life is all a matter of perspective. I once made the mistake of referring to a rural Pennsylvania town as a small town. It is a small town to me, but a resident was confused since compared to all the other towns in the area this small town is the big town.

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