PEGGY'S COVE, N.S. -- After a long pandemic hiatus, scores of tourists are starting to return to Nova Scotia's best known tourist site, even though major construction projects are still underway at Peggy's Cove.

Despite cool, foggy weather in the morning, hundreds of people were seen visiting various areas of the cove on Tuesday, with out of province licence plates starting to outnumber Nova Scotia plates in some of the bigger parking lots.

Most were from Ontario and Quebec.

John Campbell, owner of the iconic Sou'Wester Restaurant & Gift Shop, says business remains about half what it would be during a normal July, but the number of visitors has surged about 30 per cent in the last week or ten days.

"I think people are excited to get out," said Campbell.

"And a lot of people want to come and see the construction going on, even though it's still a little bit messy."

Major projects still ongoing include construction of a new public washroom facility nearly adjacent to the restaurant, and a large, wheelchair accessible viewing deck, which Campbell says was supposed to be completed by the August long weekend, but supply shortages prevented that from happening.

Visitors have to navigate around fencing protecting those sites, but many don't seem to mind the inconvenience.

Visiting with extended family from the York-Durham region of Ontario, Lindsay Cowell told CTV News they're drawn back to Peggys Cove every few years.

"Just beautiful.  Everything's beautiful, she said.

"The rocks, the lighthouse, everything.  Just wanted to see it all over again,"

"It's nice that it's opened up, and the rest of us can now come here and see our friends that live her, and of course, visit our familiar places."

"I'm excited to see the changes that they have and the new things that they've added," said Megan Donaldson, travelling with Cowell.

A large backhoe was moving piles of gravel behind Angie Ferrari, visiting from Mississauga with her daughter Amanda by her side, but she barely noticed.

"No, not at all.  The view is here," she said, gesturing toward the water.

"It's gorgeous,  You just have to ignore what's going on in the background, and I'm sure once it's complete, it'll be well-worth any inconvenience that anyone might experience."

Work on phase one of the Peggy's Cove master plan began last fall, with a cost estimate of nearly $10 million.

Details are available online.