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Trying to get a handle on planning an Atlantic Provinces trip

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After some problems pinning down vacation time, we're in the beginning stages of planning an eleven day/12 night trip in late June. My husband, our 26 year old son and I will be flying into and out of Halifax. I started with the idea of visiting Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and possibly Newfoundland. It's taken very little reading for me to realize that that's probably very unrealistic. This is a trip I've been wanting to take since I visited the area with my parents 49 years ago. Given how long it's taken to get back, I'd like to see as much as possible. But I definitely do not want this to be a blur through the windshield kind of trip, so I'm realizing that I need to make some hard choices. I don't want to start getting excited about places that are unrealistic given our time frame. What I know for sure is that we want to spend at least a day or two in Halifax and probably three on Cape Breton Island, preferably in the same location, though two would be okay. Another must see is the tide in the Bay of Fundy (Bay of Fundy National Park?). Since we didn't go there on the trip all those years ago, I'd like to hit PEI. The idea of the ferry ride and a couple of nights in Newfoundland is appealing, but I'm guessing that would be pushing it.

The "activities" that we're interested in are scenic drives, some hiking for my husband and son, Celtic music for me, local beer and lots of seafood (but not upscale dining). Most of all, I want to experience the beauty and get a feel for the history and culture, particularly the Celtic and Acadian influences. So where should I be focusing my reading? And what hard choices do I need to make in terms of eliminating areas that are too far for a trip of this length? I'd be so grateful for advice on making this trip a good overview of the area while keeping it relaxing.

Thanks!

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    Glad you are getting back. Sorry you don’t have more time. Here are some suggestions.
    Fly into Halifax. Hopefully your flight gets in by the afternoon so you have some time to explore. Spend the night in Halifax. Next day do a road trip down to Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay and area. Return to Hallifax for the evening and spend the night. Next day, explore Halifax until mid / late afternoon and then drive to Wolfville for the night. Before getting there check all the tide times for the next several days. Someone recommended Hall’s Harbour to have a look at the Bay of Fundy. Maybe you will luck out and see it at high or low tide that day and could return the next morning to see the other tide. It’s only a 30 minute drive from Wolfville.
    Then, assuming that the tide times work out for you…I would head to Alma NB for the night. Hopefully you can catch high or low tide at Hopewell Rocks that day. Next day, go back for the other tide. If times don’t work out, you might have to spend 2 nights in Alma but then you’d have time to explore Fundy National Park too! But, walking down around “the rocks” at low tide is very impressive. If into kayaking, that would be cool to do at high tide.
    Then, onto PEI over the bridge. You could get there by noon so you’ll have some time to explore that day. You could stay in Charlottetown or if you want smaller place and more beach area, look at the Cavandish Beach / North Rustico area. Spend 2 nights there. On the day you are leaving, I’d plan on going to Greenwich Nat’l Park. It’s a really beautiful, easy walk from the parking lot to the ocean. There is no shade so wear hates and bring lots of water if a hot day. Then check out some area around Basin Head Provincial Park and Souris on your way to the Wood’s Islands ferry. Take that back to Nova Scotia.
    Then, onto MacLeod’s Inn (macleods.com) at Inverness for the night…such a gorgeous beach. Or, you could go to Cheticamp, depending upon the time. You’d have a better chance of hearing some music at a pub in Cheticamp. This is going to be a busy day. Drive the Cabot Trail the next day. Stay at either the Keltic Lodge or Baddeck that night. If you can manage it, I would spend 3 nights on Cape Breton but I think we’ve run out of nights. On the day you are leaving, go to Fortress Louisburg in the morning and spend 4 or so hours. Then drive to Halifax for your last night.
    Hope some of these ideas help. Hope you have a blast. I found driving around the area a little slower then I had planned.

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    Thanks, Itt! These sound like some very good suggestions! I'll definitely put these on my reading list. I, too, wish we had more time, but getting my husband to take more than one week off at a time is no easy task! :-)

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