DRIVE THE SCENIC CABOT TRAIL
September 12 & 13, 2012
Located on Cape Breton Island the CABOT TRAIL is a scenic roadway. The route is 298 km (185 miles) in length and makes a loop around the northern tip of the island, passing along and through the scenic Cape Breton Highlands.
It is named after the explorer John Cabot who landed in Atlantic Canada in 1497.
The Northern section passed through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The western and eastern sections follow the rugged coastline, providing spectacular views of the ocean. The southwestern section passed through the Margaree River Valley before passing along Bras D'Or Lake.
The town of Baddeck is the gateway to the Cabot Trail. The western entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park is near Cheticamp, an Acadian fishing village famous for its hooked rugs and fiddle music.
I must say, Hans and I thoroughly enjoyed our Drive along the Cabot Trail. So many beautiful sights to see and so many small towns to explore.
VISIT PICTURESQUE PEGGY'S COVE
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
A small community, PEGGY'S COVE is located on the Eastern Shore of St. Margarets Bay and 43 kilometers southwest of Halifax. Peggy's Cove is one of the numerous small fishing villages located around the Chebucto Peninsula. Many artists and photographers flock to Peggy's Cove as do tourists and Bus Tours.
The village's famous Lighthouse with its classic colors of red and white, marks the eastern entrance of St. Margarets Bay. Situated on a granite outcrop, the lighthouse is officially known as the Peggys Point Lighthouse.
Visitors may explore the granite outcrop around the lighthouse , despite numerous signs warning of unpredictable surf and slippery rocks. There have been many injuries and even death for some who do not heed the warnings.
The current lighthouse, octagonal in shape, was built in 1914 and is made of reinforced concrete. It stands almost 15 meters (50 feet) high.
From the beginning, the community's economy revolved around the fishery. Today tourism has overtaken fishing in economic importance. I have to say, I was soooo looking forward to my visit to Peggy's Cove and I was not disappointed. It was one of the highlights of our East Coast Road Trip.
For more information see my Peggy's Cove pages.
VISIT MAGICAL MAHONE BAY
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We were told "you're going to love Mahone Bay". Well, we did. It certainly is a Special Place.
Located only one hour from Halifax MAHONE BAY is easily accessible via Highway 103, The Lighthouse Route, on the beautiful South Shore of Nova Scotia.
European settlers arrived here in 1754. The town's heritage homes and original architecture are much photographed and painted making it a popular spot for artists.
Protected waters and magnivicent vistas, make it a popular sailing, kayaking, cycling and hiking destination.
Our first view of Mahone Bay was breath-taking. You see all the sailboats bobbing in the Harbour, then you see the iconic "Three Churches" - St. James Anglican Church, St. John's Evangelical and Trinity United. This wonderful view is on many pictures and postcards from the town.
There is also the Settler's Museum to visit.
For more information, see my Mahone Bay pages.
VISIT HISTORIC LUNENBURG
Monday, September 10, 2012
Situated on Nova Scotia's South Shore, LUNENBURG is located on a peninsula at the western side of Mahone Bay and approximately 90 km southwest of the city of Halifax. The historic town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. This designation ensures protection for much of Lunenburg's unique architecture.
Lunenburg has a long history of building wooden ships, the most famous being the schooner Bluenose. Her sister ship Bluenose II is a huge tourist attraction and Lunenburg is her home port.
Tourism is Lunenburg's most important industry and thousands visit the town every year. A number of restaurants, Inns, Hotels and shops service this tourist trade. The town is home to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. Other tourist attractions include Lunenburg Academy, Whale Watching Tours, Knaut -Rhuland House Museum and St. John's Anglican Church.
Hans and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Lunenburg.
VISIT NOVA SCOTIA WELCOME CENTER
The first thing we did when we entered Nova Scotia, was to visit the NOVA SCOTIA WELCOME CENTER. Got lots of brochures and information. The center is divided into sections - Purple - Bay of Fundy - Yellow - Yarmouth & Acadian Shores - Orange - South Shore - Blue - Eastern Shore - Green - Cape Breton Island. Also be sure to get your copy of the "Doers and Dreamers" book as it is such a valuable resource for finding accommodations, restaurants and things to do during your visit to Nova Scotia. I used it a lot for finding a motel, as you look up the area you're visiting - go to accommodations - program the address into my GPS and we're good to go.
Also got lots of brochures for my scrapbook.
Halifax Harbor Boat Tours
I researched our options on going on a boat trip before we went and found this site. It turned out to be the best choice if you would like to be on a sailboat. We went on the "Pirate Cruise" . The 3-men crew worked very hard at "sailing" the ship, and only used the engine near the dock and were very happy to explain to us what they were doing and why. Two of them were injured, but they still worked!! We had to move and get out of the way frequently , while they switched the direction of the sails. At the end of the trip, they shot off the small but very loud cannon.
The other tourist ships with sails only used the sails for looks, and did not actually sail. The trip was interesting also. We got a good look at some Canadian Navy ships and a submarine, the small island with a lighthouse near the Harbor, an oil refinery on the other side, many other ships and boats, and the harbor itself.
It was sunny that day ( the only sun we saw the entire time we were in N.S.) but still cold on the ship.Related to:
- Family Travel
Admiral Digby Museum, Digby NS
The Admiral Digby museum was founded in 1972. It was named for Admiral Robert Digby who brought a fleet of Loyalists to the area in 1783. It focuses on the culture and history of the area with lots of antiques and exhibits to see. There's also a geneological research facility as well. My favourite was the costume room showing old clothing and accessories. You can wander around on your own or one of the staff will take you around and interpret the exhibits and tell you about the history of the area.
The house that contains the museum, on the main street through Digby, dates from the 1800's Georgian era.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
It was the first British settlement in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax.
Fishing and fish processing activities developed here over 250 years ago through the hands of German and Swiss migrants.
Despite we visited by mid August it was foggy and cold, anyway this condition gave Lunenburg a special charme and a place to remember.
A beautiful town in the Annapolis Valley, Wolfville is home to Acadia University. elegant heritage homes and some great theatre at the Atlantic Theatre Festival every summer. It is very close to the Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Evangeline Beach and cape Blomidon. There are wonderful little craft and antique shops as well to explore.
The town of Lunenburg was settled by the British a few years after Halifax was founded, in the mid 18th century. There is a strong German heritage here along the south shore of the province. Lunenburg has made it's fame by ship building in particular, and was the place our famous schooner, the Bluenose was built.
The town is architecturally beautiful with many old Victorian homes still standing. Lunenburg is also one of only two UNESCO world heritage urban areas in North America (the other being "Old" Quebec city).
Grand Pre/Evangeline Beach
Just outside of Wolfville, in the Annapolis Valley, is Grand Pre. This area was a center for French Acadians and it was from here that the Acadians were expelled by the British in 1755. Grand Pre has been restored as a historic park and several buildings reflect life in the 1700's including a school house and a chapel. Henry Longfellow invented a tale of separated lovers, Evangeline was his heroine. In the park there is a statue of Evangeline looking mournful as she waited years to find her lost love.
Near by is Evangeline beach, on the Bay of Fundy with it's world record high and low tides. There is a wonderful view of Cape Blomidon jutting out into the bay and there are walking trails and campgrounds all along the road and up into Blomidon park.
Open seasonally May to October.
This monstrous "Gingerbread" schoolhouse was the third school constructed in Lunenburg. The original Lunenburg Academy was soon replaced by two different buildings, with the photographed one being the latter of those built. The school operated as a K-12 academy between opening (1895) and 1965. Now it houses elementary school.
Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal
The Historic Gardens in Annapolis Royal is 17 acres of gardens, plants, trees and paths. there is a replica Acadian cottage overlooking the marshy dykelands and there is a German Bakery and cafe for treats! They also have a very good gift shop. The gardens are meticulously kept, with various types of gardens including a perennial, knot, experimental, a lily pond, and of course a spectactular rose garden which, in early July, is in full colourful bloom. There are sculptures and free standing art scattered through the grounds and benches to sit and enjoy the views. They often have events in the park, with music. In the evening they may sometimes have a "wine and roses" night. There are events for kids as well through the season. The gardens are open from mid May to the end of October and there is a charge for admission.
Seals, Puffins and Eagle spotting
There are small boat trips out from English Bay, near Baddeck on Cape Breton that take folk out to the offshore seal islands. The boat was called the Puffin, so called because if you go in the summer you're likely to see these charming little sea birds flittering around the cliffs of the islands. You'll also see the Grey Seals bobbing in the water and basking on the rocks. Enjoy watching the Bald Eagle that has learnt that it can get an easy meal from the boat when they throw a dead fish overboard and in perfect range for cameras. Get ready for that photo - they only do it once!
Go Whale watching
All around the Nova Scotian coast there are opportunities to enjoy boat trips out on the Ocean in the hope of spotting whales. We took 3 such trips. Our first was off Ingonish on the eastern coast of Cape Breton Island. This was on a schooner under sail. We were not so lucky that time and we returned to harbour just having enjoyed the trip but thinking we'll hopefully have better luck next time. Sure enough we did!
Pleasant Bay on the north west side of Cape Breton has a resident pod of Pilot Whales in the summer. We saw them at close quarters and even listened in to their click noises because the boat had some hydrophones.
Third time was off Lunenburg further south on the eastern seaboard. On that trip we were in a bigger, faster boat and the captain managed to track down a Minke Whale.
On crossing the Bay of Fundy from Digby to St John we saw whales off in the distance through our binoculars. They were spouting and surfacing then diving. I wished we'd had a chance to go to Brier Island at the southern end of Nova Scotia; that's where you get to see the Humpbacks really close.
Province of Nova Scotia Hotels
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Sitting on top the restaurant of the same name, this place has very nice clean rooms at a reasonable...more
Have only booked others in here. They have been quite happy with this place. It's not too pricey,...more
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