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Celtic Colours/timing our trip-please help

Celtic Colours/timing our trip-please help

Feb 16th, 2008, 07:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Celtic Colours/timing our trip-please help

We're planning our first trip to NS for Oct 2008. We want to go to Celtic Colours but I can't figure out how it 'works'. Are the venues spread all over Cape Breton Island? Or are they central to one area? What would be the best base to see some of the shows?
Also, due to work restrictions, we won't get to NS til after Oct 5. Is this a bad time to come? (if it is, we'll have to give up Celtic Colours). We're not really into 'touristy' things but would like shops, etc all over NS to be open.
We'll probably fly into Halifax around Oct 6 and stay for 3 weeks. Planning to stay on Cape Breton for 5 days or so. Our choices for travel times are either the 3 weeks preceeding October 2 or the three weeks after October 5. What would you do and why? I want to book the flights soon while the fares aren't horrible. Then I'll work on the hotels. About the hotels-other than booking a hotel for Celtic Colours (if we decide to go) can we go in October without making a lot of bookings beforehand? What about the September dates? We'd prefer to choose maybe 4 locations around NS and do day trips from those. We'll do a couple of days in Halifax, and 5 in Cape Breton, but what other 2 or 3 locations would you suggest? I've been copying and pasting all your great suggestions into a document...this forum is so great. Thanks for any help.
Cliodhna714 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2008, 09:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,494
Clio, hi! This is a quick reply but I will check back later to give a more detailed reply. The 3 weeks preceding Oct 2 will be much warmer than the 3 weeks after Oct 5 so I wld definitely go w/ that. Celtic Colors is Oct 10-18, 2008. Canadian Thanksgiving is Oct 13, 2008.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the Cape Breton tourist attractions close after Thanksgiving so that's another reason I wld go in the 3 weeks preceding Oct 3.

About flights: where are you coming from? If within Canada & you are flying Air Canada, then I wld wait until about 2 months b/f your intended travel time b/f booking. I always go to NS from Toronto for Thanksgiving & I have found that the best fares are about 2 months out. It is a fallacy to think that the earlier you book w/ Air Canada the better. I go to their website & "monitor" it for a period of time. If you have the time & the patience this is the way to do it. I book one-way fares. If I see a good one, I grab it. The I go back to pick up the return or vice versa.

Go to the NS Dept of Tourism site to help plan your trip. www.novascotia.com where you can order a Travel Guide.

I wld drive from Halifax to Baddeck & stay there that night(Inverary Inn). Next morning I wld head to Ingonish & stay there a couple of nights(Keltic Lodge...or do a search here & you will find a couple of other places that people have enjoyed in Ingonish. I can't remember the names...Lantern Hill & Hollow something..??? Castle something...??? Sorry but you will find it if you do a search.)

wow is offline  
Feb 17th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Thanks, WOW, for your response. I can't rule out the dates in October because of cold weather. We like the cold, just got back from Jackson, WY and it was about 9 degrees (F) there. Something I want to know is which of the two months is less rainy and foggy, September or October?
The upside of September is that everything will be open. We don't really care about tourist attractions. we like to drive around, see the sights, do a little light hiking and shop. And we won't just be on Cape Breton Island the whole 3 weeks. When do things shut down on the 'lower' part of NS? I talked to an innkeeper in Truro the other day and she said they were busy all the time. Also in September no pretty fall colors, right?
When do the kids and college students go back to school? We like to vacation when it's quieter.
So, I guess my biggest question is-How 'shut down' does the majority of Nova Scotia get from October 6-27?
About the flights-we're flying from Sarasota FL so we go through either NYC or Boston.
Thanks for any help/opinions etc.
Cliodhna714 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2008, 07:50 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,494
Because of its coastal location NS does get a lot of fog. But, keep in mind that that does not mean "foggy all day". It may be foggy for part of the day....the way it rains on the East Coast of Florida in May!

Generally, I think of mid-Spring(mid-April/May) to early summer (late June)as being the foggiest months in NS. However, in 2006 when we were in NS for Thanksgiving in October our flights were significantly delayed because of heavy fog. But that was an anomaly. Keep in mind that coastal fog in the morning(6:00AM) is not uncommon in the summer months in places like Ingonish. Sept and October are fine months to be in NS. If you don't care about the cold, then go in October.

For the most part, academic years begin after Labour Day in NS(Labour Day is Monday, Sept 1st, 2008). Some will begin Tuesday, Sept 2. Others the following week on Monday, Sept 8th.

No Fall colours in September.

"Shut Down Times" vary by location. I believe Ingonish shuts down right after Thanksgiving as do historic sites such as Louisbourg. I don't know about the remainder of the province.

wow is offline  
Feb 18th, 2008, 04:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,109
I think Celtic Colours is an amazing event, well worth planning into your trip. The venues are all over CB - from tiny one-room halls to St. Ann's Gaelic college auditorium.

When the list of performers is available, buy tix immediately for the ones you want to see. Many concerts sell out.

CC has been running for a long time now and the organizers do a great job with it. I was sitting next to a fella who said he takes time off work every year and goes to CC from Boston.

Most nites there's a late nite jam session held at St. Ann's. As I understand it, every musician that plays CC is contractually obligated to show up at the jam session at least once. So you get the legends and the fresh faces. In one nite all types of Celtic music are performed, from folk to New World. You never know what you're going to get as it depends on what musicians show up. They play with each other and off one another so the music is fabulous. It's an amazing time. We left hours after midnite and they were still going strong!

If you have interest, check out Glenora Distillery. The "pub" has excellent food too.

If you go during CC, you will definitely need to book your accoms in advance. For the rest of NS, I think you'll be fine at that time.

Digby is a great area, as is the Annapolis Valley. Not very many services on the Eastern Shore. The NS Doers & Dreamer's Guide and map are excellent - you can order them free on-line from the official NS tourism website. It will give you a good idea of locales to stay.

klam_chowder is offline  
Feb 21st, 2008, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 9
Hello there, yes the venues are spead all over Cape Breton, there are even two big shows planned here in Sydney. Oct. is a wonderful time to come here. By the end of the Celtic Colours run, the colours of the trees should be perfect. The last two years the colours were running a little late. www.celtic-colours.com
proudcaper is offline  

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