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C21 Jun 11th, 2005 11:57 AM

Cape Breton Itinerary
We are planning a trip to the Maritimes in mid-August and have allocated four days to get from Charlottetown to Halifax and we would like to tour Cape Breton during that time (we will be touring PEI before that time, and the rest of Nova Scotia after it). We would appreciate any comments about the viability of our tentative itinerary, as well as suggestions of alternate interesting things to do. We are traveling with our two children, a girl age 16 and a boy age 13. We are an active family and don't mind early mornings and keeping busy. We hope to keep our driving to 3 or 4 hours a day.

Tentative Itinerary:

Day 1 - Leave Charlottetown and head northeast around the coast of PEI, stopping at some of the sights on the way, taking the ferry at Wood Islands and making it to Baddeck for the night.

Day 2 - Baddeck to Big Bras d'Or for a trip to Bird Island, and then on to Louisbourg for a half day visit, stopping back in Sydney for the night.

Day 3 - Head north on the Cabot Trail stopping in Ingonish for a boat tour and making it to Mabou that evening.

Day 4 - Head to Shubenacadie wildlife park for a visit and then on to Halifax.


klam_chowder Jun 11th, 2005 02:43 PM

Things to do:

Spend a full day in Louisburg and spend it at the Fortress. Very interesting - be sure to take a guided tour by the Parks Canada staff. Well worth the time.

Baddeck: spend time at the Alexander Graham Bell musuem....your kids are old enough that they would probably benefit from it. We followed a tip from another poster and went on the boat tour first (the one with a Celtic name Br...something); The Capt. provided background and perspective and made the museum visit more enjoyable.

Finally, when in Shubenacadie, you might want to do tidal bore rafting. It's pretty fun. For more info, there's a recent thread on it (re tbr with young kids).


wow Jun 11th, 2005 05:33 PM

Unless your reason for going to Sydney is to visit relatives or friends, consider going back to Baddeck after Louisbourg @ the end of Day 2. Then from Baddeck you can begin your tour of The Cabot Trail going counter-clockwise. What's the draw in Mabou? Again, I wld go back to Baddeck. So, 3 nights in Baddeck. Then on Day 4 head for Hfx.

C21 Jun 11th, 2005 09:52 PM

I thought we might find a good dance or ceilidh on the evening we spend in Mabou (heard there's good music there). We don't know anyone in Sydney, so I guess we could go back to Baddeck. What's the attraction there anyways?

As for the Fortress and the museum...I thought my kids might like something more outdoorsy...they'll have been to quite a few museums between Montreal and Halifax. Is it worth going to the Fortress for just part of a day?

Scotia Jun 12th, 2005 02:57 PM

Fort Louisbourg is fun because the costumed staff stay in character of the 1700's. For instance, when you enter the Fort you will be asked if you are French or English! The waitresses and Sea Captains "act" their part as if they are still living during that period. Here is a web site with more information.
Baddeck is a charming town which is a good base for visiting Cape Breton.

ltt Jun 13th, 2005 06:27 AM

i'm just researching my trip for this summer but i would base in baddeck at least two nights to save the hassle of changing hotels. several people have suggested a full day at louisberg...i can usually go through these types of places faster then most so i'm planning on about 5 hours. if a mine interests your kids, there is suppose to be a good one in sydney.

wow Jun 13th, 2005 11:20 AM

I think ltt means the coal mine @ The Miners' Museum in Glace Bay.

capebreton Jun 16th, 2005 09:53 AM

Dear c21, What I would suggest to you would be day 1 is fine
day 2 take the fortress first here and go back for the bird island boat tour I know its backtraking for driving but the fortress closes at 5 pm. do you half day there then the the boat tour , the tour alone is approx 2 1/2 hours long and if you got the 10am one you'd lose out on the fortress.
Day 3 Heading out of Sydney I would then do welselys whale watching in pleasent bay (He's the best on the Island)it really depends on what way you go around the trail with your plans to make all of this work it seams that you will be traveling counterclock wise around the trail (thru ingonish first)
if so day 3 is ok Day 4 also seems ok. hope this helps. By the way if your using Bird Island Boat tours to see the birds say Hi to Mary Beth the First Mate there she's Great...... Have fun any fiurthers questions can and will be answered just email me I'll be happy to help

C21 Jun 16th, 2005 07:54 PM

Thanks all for the replies! Capebreton, I really like your idea of going to the Fortress first. Scotia, thanks for the extra info on it...sounds like fun! If we are enjoying ourselves so much we can always skip the Bird Island tour. This way it might also make more sense to stay in Ingonish or back to Baddeck instead of backtracking to Sydney for night 2 (like you said, Wow).

Does anyone have any ideas for Mabou? Is it worth going to? We could do Baddeck for another night, but I feel like I could see more of the island if we went by way of Mabou instead.

Tanya Jun 17th, 2005 12:39 AM

With teenagers, you might want to station yourself in Baddeck. My kids love it there! Go to the Yellow Cello (I think that is the name) for great pizza and live music. Make sure you take a cruise on the Bras d'or Lakes with the captain who owns the something Braigh - a large power vessel. He knows the history of the area well and also lots of stories about Alexander Graham Bell and his family. It will make your trip to the Alexander Graham Bell that more interesting - and this is a must see museum. There is also some limited shopping in Baddeck with various boutiques and a great candy shop with local made ice cream.

The Telegraph House rents out a full 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath house right in the village. A few years ago it was only $169/night. Has a great veranda with barbeque you can enjoy!

I would do the first day in Louisbourg and then drive to Baddeck for the night (about 2 hours). The next morning, hit the trail counterclock wise and go back to Baddeck for the 2nd night unless you want to spend time hiking the Skyline Trail which is closer to Cheticamp. This is about a 3-4 hike so you may want to spend night #2 in Cheticamp. You can also do whale watching out of Pleasant Bay which would take you a few hours (or out of Cheticamp).

C21 Jun 17th, 2005 05:01 PM

Thanks Tanya! It's funny but someone told me about the Yellow Cello just tonight! I'll check out the Telegraph House as well. Do you think the Alexander Graham Bell museum will appeal to my teenagers? They'll have been to quite a few museums by then!

Tanya Jun 18th, 2005 04:04 AM

Definitely, it is a great museum, especially if you take the cruise on the lakes with the Breagh - the captain makes it so interesting you feel as though you know the Bell family. If your kids arent' familiar with Alexander Graham Bell, they will be pleasantly surprised at how far advanced he was for his time! At the marina, the kids can also take a little ferry across to a beach. Popular with teenagers and you can relax at the Marina with a cold drink! Visitors are welcomed.

The kids will also enjoy the majestic Louisbourg - definitely a breathtaking site when you first see it (hopefully no fog!). Explore the coastline while there as well. Don't forget to take a sweater with you just in case. You take a bus into the site from the main gate.

While in Halifax your daughter will enjoy shopping along Spring Garden Road and Barrington St. As all kids do, they'll enjoy the Freak Lunchbox on Barrington St. (candy store with a large variety of old and new delights). Take the Harbour Hopper tour to see the city from both the land and water - great fun! Any tavern in the downtown area has great food at reasonable prices. Make sure you try Bud the Spud's french fries at the Library on Spring Garden - the best!

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