The Gaelic College Craft Shop is owned and operated by the Gaelic College. All their proceeds go to the college, which in turn, strives to promote and preserve the Gaelic culture.
What to buy: This is the place to go if you want anything Celtic: kilts, tartans, music, books, pottery, jewelry, sweaters, souvenirs, college clothes like jackets, t-shirts and caps.
Address: Gaelic College, Route 19
Directions: From Sydney, take the 105 and shortly after descending Kelly's Mountain, turn right on Route 19. It is less than a mile from here.
We stopped at Arts North, a neat wooden building on the Cabot Trail, near Cape North. It's on the northern end of the Cabot Trail. The crafts were exquisite, paintings, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and on the top floor in a loft, a large collection of quilts. Everything is made by artisans in Cape Breton. The quality is designer level and you won't find cheap souvenir type things here. These items are works of art and are priced accordingly.
What to buy: Local art, jewelry, textiles, quilts, paintings, pottery
What to pay: various prices, not cheap but definitely worth the quailty you are getting.
Address: Near Cape North and Dingwall
Directions: On the main Cabot Trail.
Flora's is a large white building housing a craft shop. It's on the Cabot Trail, just outside Cheticamp on the west side of Cape Breton Island. The main draw of Flora's is the hand-hooked rugs, all created by dozens of local women who have been doing this craft for generations. There is usually someone there that is demonstrating the technique which I found to be quite interesting. There are no knots or other visible means of keeping the wool from unravelling except the tightness of the wool through the small holes in the canvas. It pretty much just keeps itself together! The hooked rugs rangs from small bookmarks and coasters all the way up to floor area rugs so there is one for every budget. The rugs can be found in other gift shops but there won't be the selection you will get here.
Flora's also has a very basic "tea room" which isn't much really, just a place to sit down with a cuppa. The rest of the gift shop has loads of local and commercially created crafts and gifts and souvenirs, all quite nice and reasonalby priced.
What to buy: Hooked rugs of all sizes. The patterns are mostly birds and flowers but there are also lots of other designs too such as lighthouses. flags, animals, buildings and country scenes. Larger rugs will, of course, be more elaborate and the smaller items have simpler designs on them. I bought some coasters with initials on them for little gifts and had my eye on a larger floral rug but the budget didn't run to it... this time!
What to pay: various prices
Address: Cabot Trail, just south of Cheticamp
Directions: Between Grand Etang and Cheticamp. Well signed. Large white building.
Many shops along the Cabot Trail offer the opportunity to see artists and crafts people at work. I've listed a few that we stopped at. The Cape Breton Artisan Trail Map gives you a complete list of the studios and workshops or you can pick up a brochure and map at many Tourist Information Center.
What to buy: Shape Shift Pottery, North River Bridge: Raku and stoneware located in an old school house.
Leather Works, Indian Brook: stunning leather works in beautiful colours.
Sew inclined: A really fun shop of one of a kind items including funky hats.
Silver Gull Gift Shop, Birch Plains: There's no workshop here, but some Cape Breton crafts like pottery, quilts, jewelery, as well as cheap souvenir type items.
Flora's, Chéticamp: Rugs hooked in the unique Chéticamp style. There is usually someone demonstrating this technique.
Address: Cabot trail Cabot Trail
This is one of my favourite gift shops. It's located in the centre of Baddeck. The first thing you should notice is how pretty and welcoming the outside is. There's even a bench just by the door for partners and friends that don't like to shop.
What to buy: I have a routine whenever I go into this shop. After entering, I go to the left, where there's a selection of women's, men's and children's clothing. It's rare that I don't find something I love for myself and the other women in my life. Then I go to the right of the entrance, all the way to the end and check out the gourmet foods. Last time I went, I picked up some "Wildly Delicious" dips. Then, I peruse the assortment of books, many have a Maritime theme. The shop also has a nice selection of pottery, pewter, carvings and Cheticamp hooking. After this, I spend too much time looking at all the pieces of jewelry and try to narrow down the pieces I can't live without.
Address: 490 Chebucto Street, Baddeck
Directions: Right downtown.
We enjoyed stopping at the little shops between Ingonish and Baddeck . The Glass Works place is really good . They have some nice original designs ..beads ,wine glasses, window art etc.
There is also a metal sculpture place , a tannery (they have some things made with fish leather....looked nicer than it sounds) and of course there are pottery places.
What to buy: Original hand made works.
What to pay: The prices aren't cheap but I think they are reasonable for the pieces.
Address: Cabot Trail
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Women's Travel
This is a great little bakery with about the best bread you are going to find in Nova Scotia.
What to buy: Hot loaves of fresh baked bread are their specialty but they have a good assortment of cakes and pastries too. ;=)
What to pay: It was cheap and whatever it was, it was well worth it. The other breads in the Province SUCKED. lol
Address: Cabot Trail in Petit Etang
Directions: Petit Etang is a VERY small village just before you enter the National park.
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
When going around the Cabot Trail, and other parts of Cape Breton, you will come across many gift shops. You will find out very quickly that a lot of them are clones. The Sea Shanty, however, always is worth stopping at.
One side of the store is all antiques. Some stuff is junky but there are a few interesting finds. The other side of the store is all souvenier type stuff. There's the typical stuff and the more crafty stuff.
I think what I really like is it's location. It looks like a sea shanty and when you go in the window is always open so you can hear the water lapping outside. It is on a causeway so it is always very windy. It feels very authentic and is quite cozy.
It's open Mid May – Mid October
9 a.m. – 5 p.m
What to buy: There are some really nice photographs and prints of Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Also, there's some really neat sea glass and blown glass ornaments. I particularly like there selection of Celtic stuff (crosses, knots, etc.)
What to pay: It is very reasonably priced as far as gift shops go. There clothing is usually discounted so that if you buy two shirts you get 20% off or something like that. I just bought a tee shirt there for $16. Usually, in that area, a tee shirt would be $20-$25.
Address: Civic # 1517, Rte. 312, RR#1 Englishtown, N.S. B0C
Directions: Englishtown via Exit 12 (off 105) On Old Cabot Trail; 1 km North of Englishtown Ferry
Phone: (902) 929-2992Related to:
- Arts and Culture