We left Cape Breton Highlands National Park having seen three moose (including an an unphotographed cow and calf right in the middle of the road – I am so glad we saw them!) and a bear. We were sincerely hoping for a whale sighting as well, but the storm clouds set in, and the day we planned to get out on the water was the day that it rained buckets. So, we traveled a little to the north to one of the most remote and purportedly beautiful places on the island: the oddly named Meat Cove.
One of the most northern points in the province. You follow a dirt road for many kilometers, all the while your mind thinking “is this right? we are in the middle of nowhere…” and then you happen upon this very small community. There is a campground there, and it would have been great to camp, but we wanted to get a little further on (and out of the rain). Maybe next time…
So, we headed south, spent the night in Ingonish at a nice inn, and headed out the next morning for lands south – and east. First we went inland to the Bras d’Or Lake region, surrounding Baddeck, home of one of Nova Scotia’s best yarn shops, Baadeck Yarns, and a great bakery, High Wheeler. (Yarn photos later!) We ran into our friends from the campground again (it really is a small world) and walked around the wharves and the docks.
That afternoon, we headed to Louisbourg, a fortress-turned-National Monument that was built by the French in the 18th-century. From Louisbourg, the French suffered several attacks from the British, and the fortress was sieged several more times, eventually falling in the 1760s. Reconstructed and employed by re-enactors, visitors can now see the fortress as it was before the large attacks – in its prime in the late 1750s.
We planned to camp near Louisbourg, but were disappointed to see that none of the campgrounds in the area accomodated tents (favoring RVs instead), and there were no restaurants open in the town. (The plusses and minuses of going in the “off-season”.) So, we regrouped, and headed south around the southeastern shore, and back to the mainland.
Spending the night near Sherbrooke, on the Eastern Shore, we got up early and planned to get out on the trails at some of the provincial parks.
We went around the small town of Sheet Harbour, and then headed to Taylor Head. We had the park to ourselves, well, except for this guy… The hikes worked up the appetite. A note to vegetarians: while it is not impossible to find vegetable dishes in rural Nova Scotia, it is challenging. However, many of the servers fielded my questions well, and there was often a salad choice – albeit kind of pale and out-of-season-looking. That being said, if you plan ahead, and maybe bring some of your own food, you will be fine. Kris, on the other hand, was in seafood heaven. This is the night he got a lobster.
After his feast, we headed to the nearby beaches of Clam Harbour and Martinique. Some of the widest and flattest beaches I have ever seen – and so pristine!
I thought it was a little chilly, but these brave girls jumped right in to the rising tide. We chatted with them for a little while, as well as a woman walking her adorable puppy. Just so relaxed and peaceful, and it shows on the peoples’ faces. We spent the night at Porters Lake Provincial Park – very nice campground, although there did seem to be a disproportionate amount of slugs (yep, found one in my shoe the next morning!)
We headed back into Halifax, and made it in time to catch the very enviable downtown farmers’ market. Ah, how nice. Too bad we were leaving the next day, or else this would have been the place to get some goodies!
We decided on a brewery tour, as well as a harbour nature tour. (They didn’t bill it as “Whale Watching” because of the chance that we may not see whales this far south…) The brewery tour was quite fun (more re-enactors! this time with mutton chops!) and we later boarded the Sea Tiger, the boat of New Dawn Charters. Once again, there is not a lot of photographic evidence to prove it, but we did see a minke whale. He was playing coy though, so every time he popped up, we would catch a glimpse, but not enough to shoot a photograph!
We ended our (free) time in Halifax with a nice dinner with Megan. It was great to start the trip with her, and then end it on that high note. I fell in love with Halifax all over again. Wow, what a province.
… we had a hard time getting home … (maybe I should think of it as Canada not wanting us to leave?) two canceled flights and sitting on the tarmac for six hours are not exactly fun, but I DID finish two books in that time. Funny thing is, I didn’t pack my knitting in carry-on because I was planning to get a nap on the plane. With that delay, I could have made a whole sweater!
And because I like maps – and some of you told me that you do too! – I thought it would be helpful to see our travels around the province:
The travels started in Halifax, in the middle of the province on the Atlantic coast, from there, we traveled clockwise (for the most part) around the province. The only area that we did not adequately explore is the western region that connects to New Brunswick. It was a little out of the way, and we were anxious to get north to Cape Breton. The blue dots on the map correspond with the photos that we took – here is the complete Flickr set of photos from Nova Scotia.
Once again, thank you so much for all of your amazing feedback! I think I enjoy sharing my travels through writing and photography almost as much as I do traveling!