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need help planning scenic route- airport to Cape Breton Island & Cabot Trail to Halifax

need help planning scenic route- airport to Cape Breton Island & Cabot Trail to Halifax

Old Jul 6th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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need help planning scenic route- airport to Cape Breton Island & Cabot Trail to Halifax

We will be fortunate to spend a week in Sept in Nova Scotia. This group has been so helpful & I am trying to do some fine tuning. We plan to be in Halifax for the last 2 nights, especially to see the Bluenose & the Maritime Museum. Reservation is set at the Halliburton thanks to your suggestions.Are advance reservations needed to do a harbor sail on it? Tanya, you have been a great help to me!! We arrive at airport at 3, get away by 4 in the rent car if all goes well. We need advice on where to go from airport to position ourselves for the drive next day to Mabou or Margaree or somewhere in between where we will start the Cabot Trail the next day. We want to allow plenty of time for stops, photos, short hikes etc.
Got the wonderful Doers & Dreamers guide and a detailed map. Should we head for Truro or the Burncoat-Noel Shore-Selma area from the airport? We would really like to see the extreme tide area. This may not be a realistic option or choice. What would you experienced travellers and NS residents suggest? We were thinking 1st night Truro or whatever you suggest, somewhere near the beginning of the trail, 2 nights Ingonish area, overnight in Baddeck, then 2 nights in Halifax. I am open to any suggestions and thank you so much in advance!
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Old Jul 7th, 2007, 05:36 AM
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You really won't see the tides in Truro. Would have to head towards Five Island/Economy on the Glooscap Trail. This does take you about an hour off the highway towards Cape Breton but it is a very picturesque spot.

If you want a spot to stop for the first night after leaving Halifax Airport may I suggest Pictou. A scottish town with a beautiful waterfront. There are many B&B's to stay at located in the downtown area or you could opt for Pictou Lodge. The Consulate is located directly on the waterfront and you can stroll along the trail. You are about 1 hour from the airport. Your next day travelling would be about an hour to the Canso Causeway and the entry point to Cape Breton. You are a short distance to Mabou - take time to explore Port Hood one of my favorate places. If going to Mabou don't forget to take in some music at the Red Shoe Pub - owned by the Rankin Sisters.

As for reservations for a cruise of Halifax, you shouldn't have any problem. If there are cruise ships in they may be busy but I can't imagine you not getting on. There are lots to choose from. I like the Harbour Hopper just because it gives you a good perspective of the history of Halifax and takes you from land to sea.
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Old Jul 7th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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We just got back from a 10 day stay in Nova Scotia where we had one of the best vacations ever! I hope/plan to post a report here with details, but thought I'd offer a few suggestions based upon our recent experience.
We spent 3 nights at Cresthaven by the Sea in Maitland. We travelled there from Halifax via a ridiculously roundabout route, but you should by able to get there directly in a little more than a hour via rte 102 and then cross country on one of the smaller routes. Cresthaven is in an amazing location perched directly over the water. You can watch the bore from the window of your comfortable room, from the chairs on the lawn or from one of the several look off points nearby (the one in South Maitland is an interesting perch). We did leisurely drives from this base along the coast and found the lighthouses at Burntcoat and Walton to be particularly interesting. The Lawrence House Museum in Maitland is a must see if you find yourself in the area. You should note that Cresthaven no longer serves dinner (they do an amazing breakfast) and your nearby dining choices are limited. We made a couple of stops in Truro and found it to be a crowded, trafficky place (lots of fast food if you're desperate!)
We drove directly to our hotel in Cape Breton from Maitland which took about 3.5 hours actual drive time. We stopped for lunch in Port Hood and did the distillery tour near Inverness along the way. We stayed 5 nights at the Island Sunset Resort in Belle Cote which we absolutely loved and found it a good base for exploring the region. We did a complete clockwise loop of the Cabot Trail which included a stop in Baddeck in one day and made another, leisurely half loop from Cheticamp to Pleasant Bay and back again one afternoon.
We needed to be at the Halifax airport for our return flight by 3pm on our last day and left Belle Cote at 9:15 am and had returned our rental car and checked our bags by 2pm. This last driving leg of the trip included a stop in Truro to battle traffic and eat at McDonalds!
We spent the first two nights of our stay in Halifax at the Halliburton and were very happy there. The location is great - we never used the car once we put it in their lot. We ate dinner on our second night in their restaurant which proved to be one of the very best meals of our trip!
Let me know if you have any specific questions based upon our itinerary - I must admit that I envy your trip - I'm ready to go back tomorrow!
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Old Jul 7th, 2007, 09:36 PM
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Hi Elston. How did you like Cresthaven by the Sea? (We've got reservations there for one night at the end of July.)
Do you have any recommendations for restaurants in or near Maitland, or should we plan on eating an early dinner in Truro before arriving at Cresthaven?
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Old Jul 8th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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We were extremely happy with our stay at Cresthaven and would definately stay there again. The breathtaking location and view alone make it a wonderful choice, but you will find that the accomodations are as good as the view! We spent 3 nights just about 10 days ago in the "Eagle View" (we did not view any eagles) which is the largest of the three rooms available. Since we were there for a few days, the larger room was a plus for us, but I did peek in to the other rooms and they were equally nice. Our room did have one more window than the others and we enjoyed sleeping with the windows open. A compact a/c unit had been installed for the summer in each of the rooms which leaves only 1 window to open in the smaller rooms - if that matters. Each room is also equipped with a ceiling fan. While the main house is an old structure with amazing original details, the guest rooms are all located in a new wing (built I think in 2000)so you will have a well designed space. Our bathroom was huge and rather luxurious.
I suggest you give the owner, Craig, a call to go over your dinner options. He and his wife have maintained a "fully licensed" status and were kind enough to offer a delicious dinner to us (and another couple lucky enough to be staying that night) on the last night of our stay. My guess is that the "off the beaten track" nature of Maitland combined with the owners juggling a growing family (2 young, well behaved kids) with the task of keeping the B&B running at a high standard has made it difficult to keep a public restaurant successful. There is a funky sort of place a 5 minute walk from Cresthaven, The Foley Inn, that was offering public dining in the evening as of a couple of weeks ago. We ate there one night and were pleasantly surprised by the nice meal and friendly service we enjoyed in a "homey" setting. They do like to know in advance who might be coming for dinner and Craig could call them in advance for you. We drove over to Truro one night and picked up sandwiches which we ate back at Cresthaven. There are a couple of small tables and chairs set up on the porch looking over the water - be sure to bring plenty of bug spray for time spent outdoors!
Breakfast at Cresthaven was excellent.
On another note, there is a laundromat located in a back room on the general store right down the road from the B&B - this was a big help to us.
Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jul 8th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Tanya, thanks so much for all the info. I will book Consulate Inn. Any suggestions for a good informal seafood dinner in Pictou would be appreciated. We will be pretty tired from our flight from Texas even if everything is on time. We will definitely stop in Port Hood and wander around as we will have all day to get to a stopping place near Margaree or Inverness where we will spend the night ( & again have a lobster!)
The harbor sail I was referring to was aboard the Bluenose and the info is on their website.
Keep those ideas coming! We are really looking forward to seeing your beautiful part of the world. Thanks
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Old Jul 8th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply and advice Elston. We will definitely contact Craig about our dinner options the night that we will be there. We've reserved the Sailor's Rest room for our stay. (When we reserved the room last winter, Craig wasn't sure what the dinner situation in Maitland would be.) We will have our longest drive that day, since we will be traveling from East Bay - near Sydney on Cape Breton.
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Old Jul 8th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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Wow, Elston, great information. Thanks. I leave tomorrow and can hardly wait!
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Old Jul 8th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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If the Saltwater Cafe is still open in September, they usually have a great lobster dinner. Try their blueberry grunt for dessert.

If not, take the time to go out to the Pictou Lodge.
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Old Jul 8th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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thanks so much for the restaurant suggestions!
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