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Halifax/Cape Breton

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We are planning a 9-night trip from Chicago to Halifax and Cape Breton. We land in Halifax on Friday August 31 (Labor Day Weekend) at 4 pm and plan to take a shuttle into the city and stay overnight there (no reservations yet).

On Saturday, September 1 we plan to tour Halifax. We haven't looked into car rental yet but were thinking we may not need one for that day. Spend night 2 there as well.

Sunday, September 2 we would like to pick up rental car in Halifax and drive to Cape Breton. We then have 6 nights for Cape Breton and I'm looking for suggestions on areas to stay in. I was thinking maybe we'll do two nights each in 3 spots or maybe 3 nights in two places.

Our interests are hiking (with lots of stops for photography), eating seafood, hearing some traditional music, perhaps a whale watching trip. We also like being able to walk to dinner, whether it's in our hotel or by staying in a quaint village. We are not golfers.

I'm thinking our first stop could be Mabou -- maybe stay at the Glenora Inn and Distillery?
Or Margaree Harbour-- stay at The Normaway Inn? (This would be Sunday and Monday nights)

Then on Tuesday and Wednesday we could stay at Four Mile Beach Inn in Bay St. Lawrence, or just drive up that way but continue on to sleep at Ingonish. There we were thinking the Keltic Lodge if there are rooms available, or perhaps Lantern Hill and Hollow in a cabin. Those two properties sound very different, and I imagine each has pros and cons. I believe the Keltic is closer to Highlands Park and its trail system?

For our third stop (Thursday and Friday nights) I was thinking Baddeck. Is it quaint or very crowded and touristy? We like wandering on foot to shops and restaurants but don't like towns loaded with tshirt/candy shops and souvenir trinkets. Also don't know where to stay there.

That brings us to our last full day, Saturday September 8. We thought we would take our time driving back to Halifax airport and return our car, then stay at the Hilton Garden Inn by the airport. Our flight home leaves Sunday morning at 8:30 am.

How does this itinerary sound? Any suggestions on specific places to stay are also welcome. Thanks!

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