Around Cape Breton and over to Halifax (Nova Scotia Part II)

20 October, 2009 (01:54) | Nova Scotia, Travel Itineraries | By: darngooddigs

Ten days ago we posted about the first half of our trip to Nova Scotia in 2006 in “Nova Scotia: A Two Week Itinerary (Part I)”.  Again, here was our itinerary:

  • 1st + 2nd nights: Lunenburg at the Lunenburg Arms
  • 3rd + 4th nights: Annapolis Royal at the Hillsdale House
  • 5th + 6th nights: Canning at the Farmhouse Inn B & B
  • 7th and 8th nights: Mabou at the Mabou River Inn
  • 9th night: Cheticamp at Merry’s Motel
  • 10th + 11th nights: Dingwall at The Inlet B & B
  • 12th night: Louisbourg at the Cranberry Cove Inn
  • 13th night: St. Peter’s at the Canal House
  • 14th, 15th + 16th nights: Halifax at the Prince George Hotel

In our previous post we left off in the tiny town of Mabou in the middle of Cape Breton’s Ceilidh Trail.  After we hiked the Mabou Highlands Trails, we headed to the foot-stomping Red Shoe Pub for dinner and live music.

Skyline Trail at Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Skyline Trail at Cape Breton Highlands National Park

From Mabou we drove to Cheticamp, the gateway to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We hiked the popular Skyline trail, high on a headland above the gulf. We spotted a moose in the brush on our walk through the stunted forest, before the trail descended a boardwalk with stunning views of the dark blue waters far below.

We stopped at the Whale Interpretive Centre in Pleasant Bay on our way through the Park. While we skipped the whale watching boats, we did enjoy learning about whale evolution and seeing a life-size model of a pilot whale.

Dingwall Beach, adjacent Cabot's Landing Provincial Park

Dingwall Beach, adjacent Cabot's Landing Provincial Park

We spent two nights in the tiny hamlet of Dingwall at the Inlet B&B, which was essentially staying in a second bedroom with the friendly and welcoming Fitzgeralds. Dingwall was our base for exploring Bay St. Lawrence, where we enjoyed our lunch overlooking the harbor. And we had a lovely afternoon at Cabot’s Landing Provincial Park, a gorgeous stretch of windswept Atlantic beach where we lingered and walked along the four miles of sandy coast.

On our way to Louisbourg we parked at the upscale Keltic Lodge on the Ingonish peninsula for a hike out on Middle Head trail that follows an ever narrowing finger headland into Ingonish Bay.

Inside the Fortress at Louisbourg

Inside the Fortress at Louisbourg

In Louisbourg we stayed at the Cranberry Cove Inn, on the recommendation of Allison’s sister. It was a lovely Victorian home with immaculate themed bedrooms. We were truly impressed with the recreated Fortress of Louisbourg, a Canadian National Historic site. This place blew us away! Every detail of this 18th century town was paid attention to, from the tavern menu to the individual bricks of the reconstructed buildings. The costumed actors playing real people from 1744 truly threw themselves into their parts!  We had a wonderful time, and thought it was completely worth the out-of-the-way drive.

Lock at St. Peter's Canal, Cape Breton

Lock at St. Peter's Canal, Cape Breton

From Louisbourg we drove to the small village of St. Peter’s on a leg of the Bras d’Or Lake and the canal. We enjoyed watching the yachts pass through the St. Peter’s Canal, another National Historic Site, in the Battery Provincial Park.

Then we shot down to Halifax for our last three nights. We stayed at the downtown Prince George Hotel. We gave ourselves a walking tour of the historic downtown, including a stroll through the Halifax Public Gardens and a climb up Halifax Citadel. We also enjoyed the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. One of our highlights from Halifax was the Busker festival, where the entire harbor walk was crawling with charismatic street performers every night of our stay.

We especially enjoyed Nova Scotia’s dramatic coastline and interesting historic sites, and we look forward to visiting Canada’s Atlantic provinces again soon.  We’ll see if we can uncover any more Darn Good Digs up there.

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Comment from Toby
Time October 21, 2009 at 1:52 am

Looks like you guys are having an awesome time! I like the photo of the Fortress at Louisbourg a lot — it must have been fun to see the actors dressed up for that time period.


Comment from Kim Kinrade
Time November 2, 2009 at 10:16 pm


Great travelogue on Cape Breton!

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