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Five nights in NS - Cape Breton or Yarmouth? We think Cape Breton.

Five nights in NS - Cape Breton or Yarmouth? We think Cape Breton.

Oct 1st, 2009, 07:30 AM
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Five nights in NS - Cape Breton or Yarmouth? We think Cape Breton.

Almost exactly one year from now my wife and I are intending to spend five nights in NS after four weeks in NL.

In the time available our choice seems to be between heading NE or heading SW. We're from UK, not into "attractions" or tourist traps but are interested in landscape, history, wildlife and just seeing a little bit of what life in Nova Scotia is like. At present we're thinking of going into Cape Breton Island rather than the other way. General comments about the wisdom or otherwise of that would be appreciated.

We have a tentative itinerary in mind. It needs a lot of work on it still but it be helpful if any major flaws in it could be pointed out and the specific questions in it answered. Locations for overnights are illustrative of area rather than specific.

Day 1 (Saturday)
Arrive YHZ from YYT late evening. Overnight near airport.

Day 2 (Sunday)
Pick up car early, Straight drive to St Peter's, trickle round coast to Louisbourg for overnight. Alternative would be to go via Iona Highland Village rather than coast.

Day 3 (Monday)
Louisbourg - how long should we allow for this - half or whole day? (We usually like places like this, on a recent trip to AB we spent full days at both Fort Edmonton and the Ukrainian Village). Somewhere around St Anns Harbour for overnight.

Day 4 (Tuesday)
Cape Breton Peninsula anticlockwise to Chéticamp for overnight.

Day 5 (Wednesday)
To Eastern Shore for overnight around Canso.

Day 6 (Thursday)
Sherbrooke Village (same question as for Louisbourg - how long should we allow?).
Overnight Sherbrooke/Sheet Harbour

Day 7 (Friday)
Return to YHZ via Highways 224/212 for evening flight to LHR via YYZ.
What are likely driving times (excluding stops) Sherbrooke - Sheet Harbour and Sheet Harbour - YHZ via 224/212?

Is that realistic or too ambitious? Are the days reasonably balanced or are any light/heavy?


wasleys is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Michael, rather than flying YYT to YHZ & having to overnight in Halifax & then drive to Cape Breton the next day, I would be inclined to fly YYT to Sydney ( YQY) which is on Cape Breton Island. You would probably have to connect in Halifax ( YHZ) if you fly Air Canada but they may have "seasonal" direct flights. If you get a morning flight, when you arrive in Sydney you can pick up a reserved rental car @ the airport & head straight for Louisbourg.
Where you go from there depends on the time of day...maybe overnight in Baddeck & then begin your tour of the Cabot Trail (counterclockwise) the following morning.
When you finish your tour of Cape Breton Island you can then drive to Halifax & fly out of YHZ. You should be able to drop your rental car @ the Halifax airport if you arrange that when you pick up your car in Sydney.
OceanBreeze1 is online now  
Oct 1st, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Thanks for that.

It's something to bear in mind when we can see schedules for that far off and have got our start/finish dates for the whole trip finalised (day of the week seem to have a marked effect on these conections).

Current schedules do not make it attractive as we either lose too much time on our last day in NL or take so long on the following day (0535 YYT, 1127 YQY with four hours at YHZ) that it's not much advantage.


wasleys is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 06:35 AM
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I am going to disagree with your total avoidance of Halifax. To land from NL and then head straight to the Cape and then repeat that on the way home is a great pity.

Halifax is a lovely little city with wonderful history, some very sophisticated restaurants, charming hotels, a beautiful harbour (much nicer than St. John's, I regret to say) and a terrific vibe, home to 5 universities, full of art and vibrant life.

I am fond of Cape Breton, too, but you are going to find some redundancy in experience with your recent NL explorations. Yes, the leaves will be showing off (but you will have just seen them even more magnificently in Western NL). Yes, there are lovely mountain hikes and sea views (but, again, you will have had lots of that).

I don't want to talk you out of Cape Breton altogether (well, I do actually, we own a home in Lunenburg on the South Shore-Lighthouse route and I am totally prejudiced-but you have a good plan and shouldn't undo it completely). You will enjoy Louisburg and should take time for it, but the East Shore Canso/Sherbrooke part is just not that compelling.

I'd snip a bit out of that and add a full day in Halifax. And do get hold of the Doers and Dreamers Guide from the Nova Scotia Tourism website.

Good luck!
LJ is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Well, now things are getting really interesting! As LJ has declared her bias right up front, it's only fair that I do likewise!
And, I am totally, 100% biased in favor of your spending as much time as possible on Cape Breton Island & in paticular, the spectacularly beautiful Ingonish area.
So, somewhere b/t LJ's biases & mine you should be able to carve out the perfect Nova Scotia tour that meets your objectives. Maybe you want to consider truncating your Newfoundland time & tacking on a few more days for NS.
OceanBreeze1 is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Even if there were direct flights from YYT to YQY, there would most likely be a drop off charge on your rental car with pick-up Sydney drop-off Halifax.
I agree with LJ about not avoiding Halifax. It is a historical city and worth a day's visit.
I would plan a full day at Louisbourg and only half a day at Sherbrooke.
Never having taken routes 224/212 I am not sure how long it will take you to get to Halifax. There are Provincial Parks in that area where you might want to stop. Without stopping a trip from Halifax to Cape Breton (Canso)takes about 5 hours.
Scotia is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 01:28 PM
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The first four days of your trip are fine, but I'm not so sure about the last three, except for Sherbrooke Village. Louisbourg, in my experience, deserves a whole day.

Others may disagree, but I can't say that I find the route from Port Hawkesbury to Canso, Sherbrooke, Sheet Harbour and onward to Halifax to be very interesting at all. After you have driven the Cabot Trail, you will find it quite unimpressive.

I would much rather spend my time in Halifax and down the shore to Lunenburg. Sherbrooke Village is interesting enough, but Lunenburg is a living town and a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, you probably don't have enough time to do justice to both Cape Breton and Lunenburg in 6 days.

Are you committed to a late flight out of Deer Lake? Getting to Halifax early in the day would give you a bit more flexibility. In fact, if you plan to spend four weeks in Newfoundland as you indicated in another thread, a couple of more days in Nova Scotia wouldn't affect your Newfoundland itinerary significantly.
laverendrye is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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We are just back in Belgium from our tour of the 3 Maritime provinces and would suggest to take at least three days for the Cabot trail and Louisburg.We spent a day and a half in Louisburg and enjoyed it thoroughly.We stayed in Baddeck-Chéticamp-2 days in Ingonish and 2 in Louisburg.Paul
tovarich is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for further comments to which I will respond later.

Meanwhile please does anyone have any views on the Iona Highland Village?
wasleys is offline  
Oct 10th, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Hi: My opinion is that 5 days for Nova Scotia would be rather rushed. If it was me, Day 2 - I would drive the old highway (through St. Peter's) to Sydney and find accommodation there (approx. 4.5 hours); taking my time and enjoying the nice scenery along the coast once you reach CB.
Day 3 -I would spend 1 day at Louisburg, spend another night in Sydney and then leave bright and early the next day Day 4 &5 head back towards Halifax stopping in Baddeck,St. Anne's, Ingonish, doing the Cabot Trail, etc.; breaking it up over 2 days and Day 6 & 7 - seeing some of Halifax and making a day trip to the south shore, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg (1.5 hrs drive)... just my thoughts ...
HalifaxShannon is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 10:11 AM
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I'm agreeing with those who vote for dividing your time between Cape Breton (personally I would focus on the Cheticamp, Ingonish and Baddeck areas outside of your Louisbourg visit), Halifax and the Lighthouse Route. I realize you have time limitations, but you can easily daytrip some of the interesting destinations of the Lighthouse Route from a base in Halifax (which as mentioned is a very nice small city) - e.g. Historic Lunenburg, charming Mahone Bay, quaint and picturesque Peggy's Cove (the latter can be done as a relatively quick scenic stop enroute). You might even be able to daytrip as far as Kemikujik National Park Seaside Adjunct where a moderately easy hike takes you to undeveloped shoreline - seal colonies and interesting birds. Cape Breton is spectacularly scenic, quaint, natureful and offers good wildlife-viewing opportunities (bald eagles and other birds, moose, whales - from a whale tour or sometimes visible offshore from the highlands section).
mat54 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2009, 01:43 PM
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We recently spent 26 days in Eastern Canada including six nights in NS We flew from the UK to Halifax,picked up a car and drove to Lunenburg,stopping at some delightful villages on the way.We spenttwo nights at the Sail Inn,very good and lots to do and see in the area. We then drove to Louisburg for two nights and stayed at the Louisburg Harbour inn for two nights again very good and the Playhouse is a must.It seemed a long drive from Lunenburg to Louisburg,lots of roadworks everywhere.We left Louisburg and drove round the Cabot Trail to Chetticamp for two nights,stopped at the Clucking Hen for coffee and the Chowder shack at Neils Harbour for a bowl of chowder for our lunch,very good on a damp day. Stayed at Merry's Motel in Chetticamp,clean and cheap and cheerful.I don't think any of the b and b's in Chetticamp are much better.Lots to see and do in the area,we went whale watching which was a great experience.Then it was off to PEI,fantastic and NB with amazing sights.We saw moose in NS and NB. Good luck with your planning.
joandg is offline  
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