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Maritime Tour Sept 29-Oct 13, 2018...Advice :)

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Aug 11th, 2018, 11:14 AM
  #1
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Maritime Tour Sept 29-Oct 13, 2018...Advice :)

Hello Fodors Help,
My husband and I (early 50s) are planning our first trip to see the Maritimes in the fall and hopefully catch some of the beautiful colours. We will save Newfoundland and Labrador for another trip with friends. We realize it may be late in the “tour” season therefore some sites may be closed...I am researching of course.
My first questions are the route to take and how long in each location with our time limit (14days). We are interested in History, Scenery with some short hikes (1-2hr), Food and drinks Seeing the local culture not just the tourist areas. We fly in/out of Halifax and will be renting a car. We prefer to spend more than 1 night in each town/place however we realize this may not be possible.
At this point here is what we are thinking our route may be: Any suggestions welcomed.
-Halifax- Visit sites there, Maritime Museum... we stay in Halifax 2-3 nights and see local sites from there?
Areas of interest in the area (besides what’s in Halifax) are: Mahone Bay, Lunenburg (may stay a night or 2 there and head to Annapolis?), Peggy’s Cove (day trip from Halifax or enroute to Lunenburg?).
-From Lunenburg (1night??) drive across to Annapolis Royal. STay
-Take a ferry from Digby stop Saint John to St.Andrews to Fundy National Park and see Hopewell Rocks (tide in and out). Not sure where to stay or how long in this area...still researching.
-Confederation bridge to PEI, spend 1 night? We are not big fans of Grenn Gable however know there is more than that in PEI to see. Confederation Trail, Graham Bell Museum, Red Earth...lobster of course.
-Cabot Trail- best route to go from PEI? Interested in Glenora Distillery for one stop may stay there. Then do you suggest Baddeck or Sydney? I realize that it is Celtic Colours during our time therefore I am a little concerned with availability of rooms and business overall.
-Return to Halifax for flight home to AB on the 13th
I realize this is a very general itinerary and I have a lot of work to do to fine tune. I am still researching length of travel time etc before booking places to stay. Any advice anyone has is greatly appreciated. We are not huge Bed and Breakfast fans however my research indicates that is what many accommodations are.
Thanks so much for your time, it’s truly appreciated.
Cheers,
Kerry
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Aug 14th, 2018, 08:57 PM
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Wow, you have done an impressive amount of homework, and you have your affairs in order fairly well.

I visited most of the towns you mentioned less than 2 1/2 months ago... (not Saint John or Fundy NP)

Also, I can't give knowing advice on fall colors in the area.


Just to get it out of the way... if I had to do "hiking" of any sort in NS right now... I'd go to Burntcoat Head at Low Tide and 'hike' all over the ocean floor (which I did, in June).

I also hiked the skyline trail along the Cabot Trail. Years ago I took the 5-hour round trip hike to the end of Cape Split... it wasn't particularly challenging... in March, with snow on the ground... but eventually you may get tired, as would anybody. I was advised at the time to bring a change of socks... which I didn't make use of until returning to the car. (but man that felt good at the time)
My having been to Cape Split long ago really meant something this year when I viewed it from across the bay from an angle where the 'split' part was clearly visible.

This sounds dumb... and I have no grand reason for saying so... but with two weeks... don't allocate your Halifax days right away... instead, maybe get one good night's sleep there, and then set off in some initial direction, and either put some more Halifax in the middle of your trip somewhere, OR leave at least some of it for the end.

First of all, far too many of the criss-crossed paths in the area lead you through Truro, which is 60 miles from Halifax... so chances are you'll have other points where you can contrast what you've seen out in the toolies, with some city life.

I can't decide how I feel about Mahone Bay and Lunenburg... the latter is overly touristy and perhaps overpriced as well. Mahone Bay is scenic and peaceful and laid-back. (I wasn't offended by Lunenburg's tourism, and I did buy some souvenirs there, but I can't decide whether I needed to be there for longer than a meal and some touristy browsing)

I ultimately did not spend a night in either one, and even now I can't decide whether I 'should have' stayed in easy-going Mahone Bay, or whether I would have gained at all by staying a night in Lunenburg.

If one were looking to 'break-up' a trip on which he/she was mad-dogging around the province, he/she might do well to spend 2 consecutive nights in gentle Mahone Bay, and potentially make a day trip to Lunenburg on the day in between.

I did spend a night in Annapolis Royal, which I preferred by a wide margin over Digby (which I did visit for a short while)

While I do endorse visiting Fundy National Park, I don't really think you will gain anything from ferrying from Digby to Saint John. Perhaps consider instead finessing Moncton, Hopewell Cape, Fundy NP, and the Confederation Bridge to PEI into one reason to drive in that direction from Truro. (would definitely opt for the shore path between Truro and Parrsboro no matter how you feel about this next suggestion: )

And if you really want a highlight... look into spending a night at the lighthouse at Cape D'or, NS.

It was the coolest discovery of my 2018 trip to NS.


Though let me admit that I had glorious sunshine where Fundy FOG could bring a nightmare via a foghorn sounding several times a minute all night long.

Though I do think some reviewers have lived through such nights to tell about them, so it might be tolerable in some form.


In my case, a Priceline.com rejection in Halifax left me in search of a spot to stay before needing to be in Moncton the next evening, and few things in my life have ever gone so right as did my having chanced upon awareness of the Cape D'or guest quarters as a grand spot to stay on that open night.

Moments after I arrived in the parking lot there, I took my first several steps down the steep path toward the lighthouse, and stopped to text a dear friend with a photo captioned:

"Oh Fundy, you do NOT disappoint!"


(but then again... there was zero fog and zero threat of fog when I was there)

Tiz said to be the only place on earth where three distinct tidal currents crash into one another, necessitating the fog horn and precise maritime attention to the hazards there. And you can SEE those currents crashing into one another, and the rough seas which result, right from your room/quarters.

It appears the general season for the lighthouse ends with September, BUT I saw a review on Trip Advisor stating that owner Darcy opened the place off-season last October for someone... so at least consider visiting early during the window of your time in the area.

I have no idea whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy I envision your driving to PEI via the bridge and then leaving via the ferry... but it makes enough sense so that I will just envision it happening.

Hmmmmmph, I stayed in both Baddeck and Sydney in June... and with THE priority being the Cabot Trail, tiz probably wisest to spend 2 consecutive nights in Baddeck and then, at the first sign of clear skies, heading for the Cabot Trail loop. If you awaken to grey skies or fog on the first day, then find other nearby-ish activities and (pray a lot).

LOL - I just noticed your "not huge bed & breakfast fans"... and I have long shunned them... BUT I happened to stay at one in Annapolis Royal, called the Garrison House Inn... and I was really impressed by it. Tiz centrally located along a pleasant street and the woman who runs the place (has just the right personality for doing a grand job)

*note: I have long shunned them ONLY for my not typically wanting to be fussed-over ... but I was cozy and never uncomfortable during the time I was there.

If going to Annapolis Royal again, I'd stay there rather than take a chance on door number two.

With regard to your trip, I guess you first want to decide once and for all whether YOU want to involve yourselves with Celtic Colours.

If so, then you spend some of the last part of your window on Cape Breton, but if C.C. doesn't matter to you, then maaaaaaaaaaaaybe plan to go north initially, and only then do the other things on your list.

Perhaps a glancing blow in the way of being on Cape Breton on the 5th and potentially the 6th will let you experience some of it without being inconvenienced by, and/or immersed in C.C.

If there are other areas of interest, you might click on my name and view the many Nova Scotia posts I have answered over many years here.


Hope this helps.
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Aug 19th, 2018, 01:56 PM
  #3
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Thank you for the great advice. I am taking notes and planning accordingly. I appreciate your time and great tips.
Cheers,
K
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Aug 27th, 2018, 08:14 PM
  #4
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Hello again Fodor’s helpers. Anyone have advice or suggestions for places to stay in Baddeck? It is booking fast therefore I may not have a lot of options... just nice hearing from others rather than the comments on some of the trip travel sites out there. This is one place we intend on staying a little longer therefore want to make a good choice
Thanks again for your time and assistance.
Best Regards,
K
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Aug 28th, 2018, 07:21 PM
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We are just finishing a driving trip of about 2 weeks, having covered much of same ground (though we drove all way from dc ) Our Canada itin was Saint John 1 night, drive to PEI FOR 3, ferry to NS, 1night Baddeck, 2 nights Cheticamp, 1 night Mabou, 2 nights Halifax, 1night Saint John. Generally w like to stay longer in each place. This was a lot of driving, but we found driving in Maritimes almost blissfully easy. Great roads. Little traffic. But having more time to spend in each area would have been nice. We got in a whale watch trip, a hike on Skyline Trail on Cabot, some bike riding on Confederation Trail in PEI and a walk in Greenwich Park, a visit to AG Bell Museum in Baddeck,
and a couple Caelidhs, and harbor walk, 2 museums, and citadel in Halifax. We were blessed with perfect weather the whole time. But there was lots more to see that we didn’t have time for. Thinking about it now, the highlight was probably Cape Breton. So don’t shortchange yourself there.
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Aug 29th, 2018, 06:03 PM
  #6
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Dear Glover,
Thank you so much for the advice. We have heard great things about the whole area and in particular Cape Breton so we have decided to lengthen our time there. Nice to hear you had great weather, hope it continues
Thanks Again,
K
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