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Maine/New Brunswick OR Nova Scotia/New Brunswick

Maine/New Brunswick OR Nova Scotia/New Brunswick

Old Jan 5th, 2012, 03:33 AM
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Maine/New Brunswick OR Nova Scotia/New Brunswick

Hello everyone. I’m torn between two holidays ideas and I’m hoping you can help! My boyfriend and I would like to travel to either Maine/New Brunswick (return trip from Boston ) OR Nova Scotia/New Brunswick (return trip from Halifax ) on 2-9 June. We really like taking long drives (so long distance are not a problem, which might be useful to point out), as well as short to moderate hikes, and it would also be nice to take a kayaking trip somewhere. Rugged and remote looking places also appeal to us. We also love seafood and ideally it would good to spend a couple of nights in a more out-of-the way guesthouse/B&B for that ‘sense of remoteness’ (ideally we would stay in two different locations on this trip, about 3 nights each). Which destinations would you recommend, for all of the above, plus for its scenery? I realise 2-9 June is not very long, but we are good at getting the most out a short space of time. Your help would be really helpful as we really can’t decide. Thank you!
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 03:57 AM
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I would choose Nova Scotia/New Brunswick simply because your options in the northern half of Maine up to New Brunswick are pretty limited. There's a lot in NS, especially for such a short trip and even if you like driving. I would focus geographically as much as possible. Good luck!
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 04:25 AM
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Thanks for your reply! Can I ask another question which might help me make a decision. Let's say we skipped NB and just did Maine OR did a trip to Nova Scotia (and potentially NB or PEI), so the question now becomes Maine OR Atlantic Canada for one week vacation? Thanks!
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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Our choice has always been Maine. All things being equal, Maine is a cheaper destination.

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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 08:02 AM
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Thanks Mark. Is it just because of cost or are there other reasons you prefer Maine?
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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Were it me, I would spend the whole time at Acadia National Park.

If you must have 2 locations, Acadia National Park and Grand Manan Island, NB.
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 10:44 AM
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Thanks everyone. Can I also ask your opinion on 'downeast' Maine, so the scenery far north, driving up to Canada. I known it's sparse with not much in terms of facilities, but would you say it has its advantages?
And are there places to stay up there? I guess we're looking for rugged and remote!
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 12:39 PM
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I'm surprised no-one has suggested Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia for at least part of your vacation, especially as "rugged and remote looking places" appeal to you. It's not quite off-the-beaten path, but it's generally not completely overrun with tourists either (especially early June which would be shoulder season) and it is spectacular! The Cabot Trail, particularly the section through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, is one of North America's most scenic drives and there are good short, moderate and long hiking trails, fishing villages, charming tourist towns, whale and wildlife watching, etc. Search "cape breton" in these forums and you will find lots of data. To get the most off-the-beaten track, investigate the communities of Meat Cove and Pleasant Bay.

I was surprised at the comment about Maine being cheaper, although it's been years since I spent time there, I don't really remember that being the case back then. And Maine was much, much busier (although Nova Scotia has become more "discovered" over the years).

I have spent time on Grand Manan as I am a naturalist and birder and this quite off the beaten track smallish island is very popular for these activities - bird and whale tours (early June might be too early for the latter, check in advance). It's quite scenic in areas, but is nowhere near as large and diverse as Cape Breton (which although an island is accessed by road-causeway across the straights separating it from the mainland).

For New Brunswick - I would recommend the Alma/Fundy National Park area for hiking and scenery and dramatic views of the famous Fundy Tides with a day-trip to Hopewell Rocks.
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Old Jan 5th, 2012, 11:18 PM
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Thanks everyone for your comments, it's definitely not an easy decision - some people say option 1, some option 2, I wish everyone just agreed on one! We're potentially leaning towards Boston with a focus on Maine and a smaller trip to NB (having looked at it properly Bay of Fundy and Hopewell Rocks are just too far to drive to in our time scale). It does seem to me that Nova Scotia would maybe appeal to us more for that sense of 'remoteness' and maybe even scenery (although I know Maine is very beautiful too). What"s making us lean towards Boston is that we're going so early in June, where there is less change of good weather and I'm afraid of landing in Halifax and having fog and rain the whole week. Boston seems to give us more "change of plan" options. So that's our thinking at the moment! Thanks again.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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If you do go to Maine, definitely go to Acadia National Park AND the Schoodic Peninsula, which definitely fits your description of remote. It is beautiful, with rocky coastal scenery, much fewer tourists, (especially in June, I'm sure). If you make a short trip to NB, you could go to St. Andrews by the Sea & go on whale watch where you will definitely see whales, unless it's not the right time of year.
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Old Jan 14th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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Bel, where do you LIVE?

And do we understand your two main alternatives correctly:

a) Flying into and out of Boston (for ME/NB)


b) Flying into and out of Halifax (for NB/NS)

As I read your first post, I simply marveled over how ideal your likes and interests would be for Nova Scotia.

All this talk of distance problems doesn't really make sense IF indeed the two travel options I just tried to clarify are accurate.

Not only that, but you could more likely get to Boston/Maine again more easily than you could get to Halifax again.

Nova Scotia is small-ish enough so that to give it a week would be a very good effort.

Working with your idea of staying 3 nights each in two different spots, the "Baddeck" area of northern NS would be a no-brainer. With regard to the fog, you'd have 3-ish days during which to take the first hint of CLEAR weather and dart to the Cabot Trail for a circuit, which would bring you back near Baddeck after a full day. On one of the other days you'd go to Louisbourg/Sydney area.

Ideally there would be time to dash across to New Brunswick, to Moncton and then down to Hopewell Cape (if you go only once, you go at LOW TIDE).

Oh, and go to this website right NOW http://www.lau.chs-shc.gc.ca/cgi-bin/tide-shc.cgi , where you can print the tide tables for the entire window of your trip.

(I'd print them for 3 locations... Hopewell Cape, Truro, and, eh, maybe Wolfville or something)

Then eventually you'd have that tide table in your luggage, and then in the glove box for easy reference while you're driving.

Those 45-foot tides at Hopewell Cape definitely require a schedule.

IF I were made to commit to "3 nights" in one spot and "3 nights in another", I'd choose Halifax for the other one. You did say June 2 through 9... and if you were flying on those dates, that would give you a 7th night, which could be very well spent strategically to afford an easier schedule for the visit to Hopewell Cape. (maybe Moncton, maybe Truro, and maybe somewhere in NS north or west of Truro)

Pictou is a great spot to visit in that area, and I personally love the drive from Parrsboro to Truro along hwy #2 - it's just peaceful, and a reminder that NS isn't overrun by society for it not being on the way to anywhere.

You mentioned Kayaking... how about "white water river rafting UPSTREAM" (which you can do near Truro, as all of the rivers in the area turn around and flow in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION when the mighty tides come in).

You also mentioned hiking:

While I'm NOT a true 'hiker' myself, I have picked (wonderful) spots for my very-few hikes. ONE such hike that I loved then, and I still love the memory, was to "Cape Split", NS.

(briefly, you drive near to Wolfville, NS, and then as far out onto the cape as you can. You park your car and then hike 2 1/2 hours each way. At the end, you're on a partially-windy bluff, out in the middle of the Bay of Fundy, with the world's highest tides rolling all around down below. There are spots to stop and picnic (in reasonable comfort, and not usually when being battered by the wind)

You look across the bay, to the northern side, and consider that, in the 2-4 miles in between, as much water flows during an average 24-hour period as flows through ALL of the rivers on earth COMBINED during the same 24-hour period.

LOL - as for seafood... well, as you can imagine it is a no-brainer that you can satisfy that desire in many spots in the area. Where else does McDonald's routinely sell the "McLobster Sandwich" (when in season)??

Nowthen, I've certainly passed through NB to get to NS, and I marvel over Hopewell Cape as much as anybody, but Nova Scotia really IS the 'destination' in the area. PEI is a nice diversion for those who have the time, but the $42 toll on the bridge is forboding. (you only pay it in ONE direction - when coming OFF of the island)

NS just has more to offer than does NB. Oh, and with your "3 nights" in Halifax, you're in a fun, coastal city which boasts a handful of universities and makes for a young-ish place for entertainment.

From Halifax you'd surely include a day trip to Peggy's Cove, and perhaps to Lunenburg as well.

I have a strong vibe you'd be quite pleased with your effort to go to NS. Perhaps many of your people have been to 'Boston' and surrounds, but to go to NS is to have something more unique and all your own!

I hope this helps.
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Old Jan 15th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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I'm Canadian and have spent only a little time in Maine so I will admit to my bias and relative ignorance. But I do absolutely love and recommend Nova Scotia, especially Baddeck, Cape Breton, Lunenburg , Mahone Bay. the Annapolis Valley.... Bay of Fundy and Cape Breton Highlands national parks both have well-marked hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. There is a lifetime of enjoyment in just the few destinations suggested.
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