best route cape breton to halifax

Mar 4th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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best route cape breton to halifax

i will be spend 3 days in the pictou area , then a week in cape breton with my last night around port hawkesbury. wondering what's the most scenic way to get to halifax. i had planned on driving the coast hwy #7 stopping at a beach or two along the way. somebody wrote once that it was very boring, slow and you couldn't see the coastal views much of the way. do you agree? (i will have spent several weeks along coasts in pei, pictou & cape breton.)
or, should i just skip the coast and return the way i came via new glasgow and then down to halifax. is this a scenic drive through the interior?
time is not a big issue BUT i don't want to be going 50 km/hour the whole way. i'll leave port hawkesbury early in the am and would like to be in halifax by 3:00 p.m. at the latest. any opinions welcome. thanks.
ltt is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:36 PM
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I did that route after my tour of Cape Breton Island a few years ago. It's certainly not as dramatic as the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton, but still it's somewhat interesting. And since it's <300km, you should be able to do that in about 4 hours. [Actually, I make it even longer by first drive down Highway 16, and then cut back to 7.] Still I left Sydney that morning, drove by Glace Bay and Louisbourg, have lunch around Port Hawkesbury, and still get to Halifax by early evening.

It's not a "must drive", but since you seem to have the time, then I don't see why not.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 5th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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I think the Marine Drive is VERY scenic especially if you leave highway 7 and take some of the many small byways along the coastline. Donīt miss it!
KarenE is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 04:19 PM
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I followed my instincts and took Hwy #7 on a trip from Cape Breton back to Halifax a few years ago. The trip was fairly slow (not to a fault) and there were some serene SPOTS along the path.

The most surprising part was when driving around some random curve and then finding a sign that said:

Ferry crossing ahead... ferry leaves every hour on the hour, etc.

(apparently you HAD to use the Ferry to get across this one tiny little strip of water)

It was 6:52 pm and so I floored it, not knowing how far ahead the ferry dock was... but I made it easily, and then rode the most bare-bones ferry boat I've ever seen. The "body" (stretching the meaning) of water is tiny, and I don't know what I'd have had to do if I'd been 10 minutes later.

Finally, for Nova Scotia ambiance, I think that the quiet sense of life there is the impression you're best left with. Highway #7 is generally worth it, but do time that ferry thing right, if it is still there (look online somewhere for info).

You mention spending several weeks in the maritimes and I don't know if you will have taken in the awesome tides in the Bay of Fundy during that period.

If I were starting from the Cape Breton area and driving toward Halifax, and offered a choice of the Atlantic coast or the path toward and through Truro, I'd take the Truro path and attempt to view the impacts of the awesome tides there in spots not far from Wolfville.

Last note: I found the park due north from Charlottetown and on the coast of PEI quite a serene setting when there briefly. Just a short hop from C'Town too.


NorthwestMale is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 07:07 PM
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There is no ferry crossing on Hwy 7 between Halifax and Antigonish.

Yes, I've done ferries in NS, but definitely not on Hwy 7. It's a fairly well-used route. No way can there be restricted to passage once an hour.

You must be thinking of somewhere else.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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Looking at my map, are you talking about the Country Harbour ferry that's a few miles east of Highway 7? Because I was trying to take that route on my trip, and the ferry wasn't running, so I have to make a slight detour. From what I'm reading, that ferry doesn't operate all the time.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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We have a summer home along the eastern shore of NS, and I have driven the Highway #7 since I was a baby. Be aware that there is not much in the way of amenities ( stores, restaurants, and even gas stations ! ) along the way.
For us, it's a convenience thing now, and we'd rather take the highway up to Antigonish, cut across into Sherbrooke, and then continue down the most twisty, turning, bumpy road I have ever driven. Thankfully the drive is forgotten when relaxing at the summer place.
Good luck.
wagonwheel is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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Indeed I stand corrected!

Apparently I opted for the fullest helping of the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia I could afford myself.

Perhaps I even took hwy #344 for the complete "scenic route" eventually connecting with highway #316, and it was on highway #211, near "Isaacs Harbour" that I encountered this small ferry:

at you could enter the locale of Isaacs Harbour, NS and get a quick glimpse of the ferry along the path.

The schedule shows a departure that I seemed to remember clearly (I was going from "east" to "west") and the following map implies how narrow the waterway is:

I do remember that once I committed myself to that coastal path, the available options diminished a great deal. (I couldn't sensibly cut back inland for a faster trek to Halifax)

Now I'm sorta mixed as to my thoughts to the original post. I believe you WILL be on a fairly slow-seeming journey if you set out to get to Halifax via #7, BUT I admit that the minutes may have seemed to turn to hours on my trip for my having first opted for the scenic route at Mulgrave.

I guess my final thoughts to the original poster are to set out as intended and then let impulse and weather and your timing decide which route you take.
NorthwestMale is offline  

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