Cape Breton Island

Our first stop in Cape Breton Island was Port Hastings and the tourist info centre. After getting some information we drove to Baddeck, at the foot of the Cabot Trail. This is the home of Alexander Graham Bell as well as the birthplace of Canadian aviation.

It was raining and windy so much of our sightseeing was done from inside our van, rather than on foot. Our timing was off and we arrived at the Gaelic College in St. Anns too late for the demonstrations they have, so continued on the trail.

Cabot Trail

At Igonish we entered Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We drove up to Keltic Lodge and took some pictures but didn’t feel we were dressed appropriately to go inside. Our stop for the night was in South Harbour, halfway around the Cabot Trail.

Cabot Trail

The next morning we met friends from Calgary for breakfast at Danena’s Bakery & Bistro. It was the first trip to Cape Breton for all of us and nice to be able to connect and share our experiences.

Cabot Trail

The sunshine and warmth had reappeared so we took our time completing the Cabot Trail and stopped at many lookouts to take pictures. The leaves were changing to vibrant colours and we enjoyed soaking up the beauty. At one point a moose lumbered across the road in front of us. I was so busy watching it that I didn’t think to take out the camera and get a picture!

At Margaree Forks we left the Cabot Trail and joined the Ceilidh Trail. The night was spent at a campground in Port Hood, a stone’s through from the beach.

Celtic Music Interpretive Centre

Another highlight was the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique. There was an opportunity to learn a few simple steps for step dancing and try my hand at playing the fiddle. I seem to have no natural ability at either!

While there we attended a lunch Ceilidh. The fiddle playing was incredible. It would have been easy to spend hours listening to it, but the line-up to get in for lunch convinced us we should give up our table.

We drove to Sydney, stopping for pictures at St Anne’s lookout over St. Anne’s Bay and Bras d’Or lookout. In Sydney we made our way to the pier, walked along the boardwalk, took pictures of the Big Fiddle (I think it’s 60 feet tall) and watched a cruise ship leave port.

The next morning we attended the Sydney Farmer’s Market. We found one booth where old silverware was turned into beautiful jewellery. Another vendor told us her inspirational story. We loved meeting people!

We arrived in Port Hawksbury in time to attend a Fishcakes and Fiddles dinner. Eating fishcakes made from salted cod and mashed potatoes was a new experience for me. We had some interesting conversation with people at our table.

I was really there!

The next morning we attended church in Port Hawksbury before having to leave Cape Breton Island. I’m pretty sure we left a piece of our hearts there and will need to go back for a longer visit.

Nova Scotia

Truro, NS

A seventy-five-minute ferry ride took us from PEI to Nova Scotia. In an hour we were settled in Truro.

The next morning we attended a Farmer’s Market, one of our favourite activities. This one did not disappoint as we had nice chats with several vendors and made purchases from quite a few. There was also a challenge between nearby fire stations on a blocked off street in front of the market and it was interesting to watch the competition.

Shubenacadie River

We drove along the south coast of Minas Basin and stopped at an info area on the Shubenacadie River, the longest river in Nova Scotia. This was a tidal bore area and we were told the river can rise ten feet in thirty minutes!

Burntcoat Head Park

We went into Canada’s oldest general store, Frieze & Roy in Maitlands and then to Burntcoat Head Park, where the highest tides in the world have been recorded.

Lunenburg

We drove the Annapolis Valley as far as Middleton before stopping for the night. After visiting a local church in the morning, we drove south to Bridgewater to spend some time with friends. They took us to a Gospel concert that afternoon and the next day we were treated to a tour that covered many areas we wouldn’t have found on our own.

Mahone Bay

Continue reading “Nova Scotia”

Prince Edward Island

Confederation Bridge

The 13 km long Confederation Bridge spans the Northumberland Strait and took us to Prince Edward Island. The first thing I noticed after arriving on the island was how green the grass was. The second was the red soil.

Red Soil of PEI

Dusk was setting in so we made our way to nearby Summerside for the night. The wind howled and shook the van as we settled in.

The next morning we drove through Summerside. I was amused to see many of the red lights were square in shape and several amber ones were diamond shaped!

We drove to Linkletter Beach on Bedeque Bay before taking the Coastal Drive. A stop at the harbour in Mapleview led us to fishing shacks with piles of lobster traps and buoys behind them.

Where the bouys are

At Park Corner we saw the Anne of Green Gables Museum and a little farther on, in French River was the house Lucy Maude Montgomery was born in. History and scenic views in the same area!

French River

We drove through Prince Edward National Park and then on to Charlottetown for the night.

The next morning it was raining so we decided not to explore Charlottetown on foot, but to take a drive to the other side of the island instead. Georgetown looked far away on the map but was only an hours drive. It was smaller than we expected and most tourist stops had closed for the season. We need up at Shoreline, an artesian shop with silver jewelry made on site. Peter, the owner was full of information on how his items were created and even took us into his work area to show us the the tools of his trade. It was very interesting and I did leave with a souvenir!

Artisan Jewelry

It had been raining hard all day and we decided to leave the island in the afternoon rather than wait until the next morning. We arrived at the ferry terminal expecting to wait two hours for the next sailing and instead were able to get on one that was boarding right away.

Prince Edward Island was a quick stop, added into an already full schedule so we didn’t have time to explore fully. If returning, I’d do it in the summer months before the Island closes so many attractions at the end of their tourist season.

New Brunswick – Part 2

Tidal Bore in Petitcodiac River

Moncton was the beginning of this part of our journey. A wonderful couple opened their home to us and gave us suggestions of things to see and do in the area. We read about a tidal bore in the Petitcodiac River, found the schedule and discovered it was expected in about 15 minutes. We hopped in the car, headed to Tidal Bore Park and got there just as the wave was coming down and filling up the river. I even managed to take a video of it! An hour later this river was filled with water.

Chocolate River

The Petitcodiac is also called the chocolate river because of its brown colour, caused by the churning up of the muddy bottom when the water flows in and out.

Parlee Beach

We then drove to Magnetic Hill. In this area you put your vehicle in neutral and it rolls backwards, which seems to be uphill. Interesting.

Lobster traps

Continue reading “New Brunswick – Part 2”

New Brunswick part 1

As you can see by the picture above, I was excited to finally reach New Brunswick.

World’s Shortest Covered Bridge

One of our first stops was in Florenceville-Bristol where we toured the potato museum! It was right next door to the McCain factory but we didn’t get any samples!

Low tide at Bay of Fundy

We ended up in Woodstock for the night. The next morning we drove to Fredericton. After a couple of hours in the city we headed for Fundy National Park.

Flower Pot Rocks at Bay of Fundy

We arrived in Fundy National Park at low tide. I stepped over some rocks and onto the sandy bottom of the ocean. The effect was quite profound on me. After spending the night in the park campground, we viewed the bay again at high tide. Incredible!

Lighthouse at Cape Enrage

We drove on and stopped at Cape Enrage to take in the view of the bay. The last ghthouse here has been replaced three times due to erosion caused by high winds and the crashing water.

My feet on the bottom of the Bay

It has been an amazing start to our visit to New Brunswick

 

Niagara Region

St. Catherines was our home base while we explored the Niagara region.

Welland Canal Lock 3

I was fascinated by the Welland Canal. It was incredible to watch the massive freighters going through the various locks. We were able to drive close to all 8 of the locks that allow ships to navigate from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. This engineering marvel has no pumps and relies entirely on gravity to fill and empty each lock. I learned it takes ships 11 hours to travel through 8 locks and 7 bridges (that need to open to allow the ships to continue) as they make their way from one lake to the other.

At Welland Canal Myseum

We drove through Old Fort Erie, where the Niagara River flows into Lake Erie. It seemed strange to think the tall buildings we saw across the river were in Buffalo New York. We chose not to cross the Peace Bridge that connected the two countries.

Niagara Falls

Next on our tour was the world renowned Niagara Falls. The spray was visible long before the falls came into view.

Niagar Falls

The falls are magnificent and a rainbow seen in front of the water added to the beauty. Many pictures were taken as we strolled the walkway and felt the refreshing spray on this hot, humid day.

Niagara on the Lake

Another attraction in this region is the lively area of Niagara On The Lake. We followed Niagara Blvd and past vineyards and orchards. A stop was made at a farm where we purchased peaches and apples. Fresh from the grower makes such a difference to flavour!

Orchards at Niagara on the Lake

This lush area is one we thoroughly enjoyed.

Owen Sound to Simcoe

Kelso Beach, Owen Sound

Our first stop when we arrived in Owen Sound, on Georgian Bay was at Kelso Beach.  Kelso was an area in Scotland where my husband grew up, so the name drew us in.

Goderich

From there we travelled through lots of towns with British names. The first was Southampton, on the shore of Lake Huron.  The waves on this vast body of water gave the impression of an ocean. It’s definitely not the type of lake I’m used to.

Port Dover

A few minutes down the road was Port Elgin, then Kincardine, where we stopped for lunch. We wandered along the harbour before heading on. Goderich, billed as Canada’s prettiest town was our next stop. It had a central square with a circular road around it. Old brick buildings gave it the feel of a small British town. We enjoyed it.

Lake Huron

We stopped for the night in Stratford. The next day I wanted to head towards Lake Erie so we set the GPS for Simcoe. From there we made the short drive to Port Dover.

It’s all gluten-free!

Port Dover was wonderful.  We found a totally gluten-free bakery and I treated myself to a few delicious items. We walked along the sand at the beach and then out on the pier before checking out some quaint little gift stores.

 

One of the many vineyards in the area

A few other local attractions were toured before we retreated to the air conditioning at McDonalds. It was 28 C today and the humidex made it feel like 38 C. I thought I might melt!

Lavender field