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Itinerary? Labrador/Newfoundland/Nova Scotia?

Itinerary? Labrador/Newfoundland/Nova Scotia?

Old Aug 27th, 2008, 10:50 AM
  #1  
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Itinerary? Labrador/Newfoundland/Nova Scotia?

Hello all Canada experts!

My wife and I are very late in our planning for our annual October vacation and need your help.

Right now we are considering a trip to eastern Canada and I'm unsure of how/if to do it.

Basically, we like to spend time outdoors and weather usually isn't a major issue for us (we spend the same mid-October time last year in Iceland). We're planning on taking two weeks.

So, my main question is how/if was can string together some form of trip between Nova Scotia/Labrador/Newfoundland/PEI? Does this make sense? Are the logistics reasonable (I don't want to spend days on the ferries)? If so, do we fly into Halifax or St. Johns? Rent a car? Fly between Halifax and SJ? Drive our car from NJ to Maine and take the ferry?

HELP!

Any suggestions would be great!
Thanks in advance!
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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LJ
 
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With two weeks you can do part of your trip this year and save the rest for another time. You will have to decide on Newfoundland Labrador OR Nova Scotia/PEI. Both are impractical in the same two week stretch.

If you decide on NL, then your best bet is to fly into St. John's, rent a car and 'do' the eastern half in the first week(St. J's itself, Avalon Peninsula and so forth). Then for week 2, make your way across to Western Newfoundland (Corner Brook, Gros Morne and on up to L'Anse aux Meadows and the Viking Settlement with an optional trip on to Labrador-its getting late for Lab!).

Then back to St. John's-that itinerary would take a good two weeks to do really well.

For Nova Scotia/PEI you might consider breaking your time up like this:

Halifax: 2 days
Cape Breton: 4-5 days
South Shore/Annapolis Valley: 4-5 days
PEI: 3-4 days

Personally, I don't think there is any advantage to bringing your own car up from NJ...I don't think that either the CAT (Bar Harbour to Yarmouth on the South Shore of NS) or the Digby/St. John, NB ferry would be running by mid-October.

As for NL ferries: they take a full day each at best.Definitely fly in and rent a car.

Have fun planning and come back when you have defined your trip.

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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Astein it is doable if you see ONLY ... and briefly ... bits and pieces of each province AND if you fly. Both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Labrador are large geographically and both are lovely but quite different. I'm also assuming you only want to see the island portion of Newfoundland as Labrador itself would constitute another trip. I would suggest visiting one province or the other if you only have two weeks.

However if you would rather see both I suggest you fly into Halifax, spend a week seeing the area nearest the city ... lots of great things to see and do. Outside of my home province of Newfoundland it's my favorite province in Canada. Then fly into St. John's from Halifax, rent a car and spend your time in and around the Avalon peninsula. There's so much to see and do within a small radius while making St. John's your base. St. John's itself is a fabulous historic, small city. In any case I wouldn't consider the ferries as it isn't practical.

Alternately ... or if you decide to spend the full two weeks in Newfoundland having spent one week on the Avalon .... you could drive across the province and tour the western region around Corner Brook and make your way to Gros Morne National Park. Its natural beauty is amazing and the northern peninsula contains L'Anse aux Meadows, the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. The Avalon region and the western portion of Newfoundland are vastly different and both beautiful in their own way. In both cases in visiting either province you will need to rent a car.

Post again when you've firmed up your itinerary and if you need more suggestions. Hope this helps.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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Thanks for the info... if we decide to just do 2 weeks in NL, how far past the main tourist season is it? I'm OK with having the area to ourselves, just want to make sure that some of the tour operators, museums, restaurants, etc. are still operating.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Not sure where you're from... and that matters in terms of how impractical it could be for ever getting back to the area again.

Also, if you're from 'middle America', for example, then the water scenes in the NS/PEI area should be plenty interesting for at least a week and possibly two weeks.

My first instinct is to suggest doing only NS, NB and PEI... plan NS to the fullest... and then fill the rest with PEI and a bit of NB.

I guess I'd fly to Halifax if I were you, and then make somewhat of a circle, beginning with Cape Breton, and then moving about as you see fit. Adjust your time on PEI and back in and around Halifax to suit your time constraints.

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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 12:56 PM
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If you decide to do two weeks in Newfoundland there'll be no problem at all in the St. John's area or anywhere on the Avalon ... lots of great hotels as well as B&B's. If you're in larger centres on the west coast such as Corner Brook, Deer Lake, Rocky Harbour and a few other places you'll be okay too but there may not be as many choices the further north you go. I'd call ahead to book.
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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 01:01 PM
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Thanks for all of the quick responses... we're from NJ and it's not a long trip... that said, the chances of us getting back soon a probably small (not that we don't expect the trip to be great, but that we have so many places on our list to see that it will be a while before we repeat any of them!).

We've done similar circular island drives (Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, etc.) and we tend to like those kind of coastal trips, so these sound right up our alley.

Any comments based on a mid-October timeframe whether NS/PEI/NB or NF is a better choice just based on weather, crowds, what's still open, wildlife, etc.?

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Old Aug 27th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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In Newfoundland it depends where you go. The Avalon tends to be cooler with more precipitation. The west coast is generally sunnier and warmer year round. Wild life abounds everywhere on the island but you're a lot more likely to see lots of moose and caribou and an occasional black bear on the northern peninsula. Having said that a few minutes ago there was a report on CBC TV showing a moose who had wandered into the city of St. John's this afternoon! Moose are also plentiful all along the highways during the fall ... you have to be careful driving. Most of the tourists have disappeared by October. In St. John's most cultural venues remain open year round and as you go into the smaller communities 'around the bay' formalized cultural activities are seasonal.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 04:44 AM
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Thanks again for all of the help!
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 05:55 AM
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NS/PEI in mid October - outside of the cities/towns, most touristy places close the Thanksgiving weekend. However, B&B's, restaurants, etc. still remain open.

Halifax/Charlottetown - business as usual. The roadways won't be as busy and probably a great time to do the Cabot Trail.

Whichever you choose - Newfoundland or the Maritime Provinces - you won't be disappointed. Newfoundland is absolutely breathtaking and I agree, make St. John's your main destination and take day trips around the Avalon Peninsula.

As for driving from New Jersey,not sure how far of a drive it is to Maine, but once you are in Bangor, you are about 6-7 hours to Halifax. You could look at doing New Brunswick along the way - St. Andrews, Fundy National Park, etc. and then cross the bridge to PEI. From PEI, take the ferry to NS. The border crossing at Houlton Maine into New Brunswick is all divided highway, so quick travelling. If you perfer the byways, I would stick to the Maine coastline and come through Calais, ME crossing into New Brunswick.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 04:32 PM
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Thanks for the info... you're all making this decision way to hard!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 07:25 AM
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LJ
 
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Just a reminder about the differences in Canada/US timing. As you have been advised, many of the tourist places in NL close down after Thanksgiving which, in Canada, is October 13th this year.

Happy planning and, again, when you have an itinerary, come back for detailed advice, if you require it!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Thanks... I was just reading about that! Since we likely will be traveling either 10/4 to 10/18 or 10/11 to 10/25, it's sounding like NS may be the better choice.

Is that correct?
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:51 PM
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LJ
 
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It may be slightly more prudent to think about NS over NL because of your dates, but, for example The Ovens Park (near Lunenburg) in NS is closed already by Thanksgiving. It just the way it is in these areas.

The weather is not the main factor here, it is more a reaction to the timing of the major wave of tourism which is well over by October. It is simply hard to justify, keeping on staff at entrance gates, small restaurants etc.

But that should be a reason to go to either place: you will be seeing your destination at rest, so to speak. Its highly unlikely that you will find yourself without accomodation or going hungry...its just that some sites will be closed. On the other hand, you will see the natural beauty of Gros Morne, Terra Nova or Beckman's Beach without tripping over hordes of folks.

But then, you knew that or you wouldn't be considering the trip in the first place!

IMHO, just go to whichever appeals to you most. Come back when you have made a decision and you will get lots more specific advice...just trust the thread and DON'T attempt to do both. You will do a disservice to NS and NL.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the advice... we're always somewhat offseason travelers... we did Iceland last year in October (and the tourist season ends August 31), so we're used to having a few things closed.

I'll be back for more info once we come to a decision!
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 08:16 AM
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Haha, as I am from Newfoundland and have been to NS, PEI (but alas, not NB yet) I am biased but I strongly feel Newfoundland is the most unique of the provinces. The isolation is a big part of who we are, and it is quite distinct culturally. October can be lovely here on the Island.

Your choice! Good luck!
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Old Sep 18th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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Thanks again for all of the help and opinions...

We've come to a decision and are going to do NS and PEI from October 11 to October 25.

In reality, we were leaning to NF (it really sounds like out kind of place... much like our trip to Iceland last year). However, my ability to come up with nearly free frequent flier tickets direct into Halifax swayed our decision.

Now, I just have to plan a 2 week vacation in the next couple of weeks. I'm actually going to start a new thread so that all of you helpful people can assist me in this effort.

Thanks again for everything!
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