What’s it like living in Berwick?
The Town of Berwick is known as Nova Scotia’s Apple Capital. Orchards, farms, vineyards, and forests circle the town. The town has a population of about 2,500 people. Here’s what it’s like living in Berwick.
Many locals start their day with a coffee from North Mountain Coffee, created right here in Berwick. It’s located in the middle of the very walkable town centre. Berwick has a variety of stores and restaurants, including clothing shops, farm stores, hardware stores, and more. There are also hair salons, a barber, and you can find personal services like a dentist, vet, and massage therapist right in town. There’s a post office, bank, two grocery stores, , Frenchys, and market-type shops. While there isn’t a farmers market in Berwick, the North Mountain Farmers Market is a 15-minute drive away, with gorgeous views of the Bay of Fundy as the backdrop.
Berwick punches above its weight class when it comes to things to do. Youth and adult ice and ball hockey teams play at The Kings Mutual Century Centre, which also offers ice skating, a running track, and a fitness centre. There’s an excellent library in town with regular and special event programming.
Rainforth Park is home to a softball field, a splash pad, a multi-use recreation building, tennis and pickle-ball courts, a basketball net, green space, and a playground. Nearby Centennial Park is a lovely green space for picnics with a gazebo and picnic tables. The Peter Connell Ballfield is home to the Berwick and Area Minor Baseball games and features washrooms and a canteen facility.
Like to ride? Chute Park is for the thrill-seekers with a mountain biking skills park and space for BMX riding. This is a year-round outdoor facility with a walking trail around the park, picnic spaces, and a bicycle maintenance station.
The Berwick Town Hall has a small gymnasium and a multipurpose room available for private rentals. Behind the Town Hall is the Berwick Communty Garden Project and a beach volleyball court.
Some community organizations use Berwick and District School for sporting activities, as the school has a sizable playground as well as outdoor workout equipment and is home to one of the community gardens.
And of course, there are all the usual weekly bingo nights at the local halls and community centres, cold or hot fundraising suppers, live music nights, weekly walking groups, and more. Berwick Gala Days held each September, is a multi-day event with plenty of fun for the whole family, including a car show, parade, headliner concerts, and more. There are numerous churches in the area too, which are a wonderful way to find connection. Do you golf? If so, you’ll love the Berwick Heights Golf Course. If you’re willing to drive a bit, just 10 minutes away is Dempsey Corner Orchards, and 15 minutes away is the Oaklawn Farm Zoo. The Valley Drive-In is only an eight-minute drive away.
Many towns in the Valley were founded because of two railroads, the Windsor/Annapolis Railroad and the Nova Scotia Central Railroad. Today, those former train tracks are called rail trails. The 110-kilometre Harvest Moon Trailway traverses the Annapolis Valley, connecting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Grand Pré to the historic seaside town of Annapolis Royal. This trail system runs right through the Town of Berwick. The 2.2km “Apple Capital Heritage Trail” is a shared-use trail enjoyed by walkers, joggers, cyclists, cross-country skiers, equestrians, ATVs, and snowmobilers.
Are you worried you won’t make friends and build a community? Maritimers are notoriously welcoming, and being active in the community is one of the best ways to meet new people. Groups like Lions and Rotary are always looking for volunteers, as is the volunteer Fire Service.
Alright, let’s talk about some of the necessities – housing, health care, schools, employment, and transit.
Like many rural towns, Berwick has housing right in town that encompasses a wide range of styles and price points, from new builds to Victorians to run-down farmhouses in need of TLC. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, keep in mind that things move slower in rural areas than they do in big cities. It can be difficult to find skilled tradespeople with time in their schedule.
In town, homes are connected to municipal water and sewer, and the property tax rate is significantly higher than in the surrounding rural area, where you’ll be responsible for maintaining or upgrading a well and septic system. Roads will be plowed pretty reliably in town, but if you purchase land on a private road, you and the other road residents will be responsible for arranging and paying for your own road maintenance, and snow clearing.
Berwick does not have a hospital, and residents head to nearby Kentville’s Valley Regional Hospital if they have an emergency. Berwick is home to the Western Kings Memorial Health Centre for less urgent medical needs. Unfortunately, more than 10% of Nova Scotians are without a doctor, and it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re considering moving to a rural area.
There is a kindergarten to grade 9 school in town – the Berwick and District School. High school students attend Central Kings High School, which is less than 10 minutes away.
There are always employers hiring in Berwick. You may be able to find a job in town at the medical centre or the school, or at one of the retail stores or restaurants, or another small business, or in the industrial area. Some residents choose to live in Berwick, but commute to work in larger centres, like Wolfville, or to the Michelin plant in Waterville.
If you don’t drive, there is public transit in Annapolis and Kings County on major routes. The Kings Transit bus connects Berwick up and down the Valley.
That’s it for our tour of Berwick, Nova Scotia. Be sure to reach out if you have any questions.