Newfoundland/East Coast Trip

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Nov 14th, 2008, 06:46 AM
  #1
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Newfoundland/East Coast Trip

Our family has 3 weeks to visit the East Coast and plan to spend approx 10 days in NFLD. We have 2 kids, aged 8 and 10 and we love hiking, nature and pottering around cities. This is what I've tentatively planned but am a little concerned that we're trying to put too much into 1 trip (although multiple trips out East will not be feasible so we want to make the best of this trip).

Due to the cost of rental cars and drop off fees in NFLD it seems to me its best to use Halifax as our base

Day 1: Fly to Halifax
Day 2-3: Halifax/Peggy's Cove
Day 4-7: PEI
Day 8-10: Cape Breton
Day 11: North Sydney to St. Johns
Day 12-14: St. Johns
Day 15: Drive to Twillingate
Day 16: Drive to Gros Morne
Day 17-20: Gros Morne
Day 20: Overnight Ferry to North Sydney
Day 21: Drive to Halifax to catch flight home

We haven't booked anything yet and as such are very flexible - I would appreciate any ideas to make this trip one to remember.

Michelle
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Nov 14th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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BAK
 
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Looks good to me.

The north shore of PEI has wonderful beaches, warm enough for swimming, and when the tide goes out there are little pools where the kids can play.

Newfoundland is too cold for swimming, but fascinating.
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Nov 14th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Yes, agree it looks like a pretty good itinerary. One comment (probably unnecessary) - Peggy's Cove can be done as a relatively short scenic stop - take some pictures of the cove and the lighthouse set on the granite shoreline. Then you can continue with your daytrip elsewhere along the "lighthouse route", e.g. to Mahone Bay and/or Lunenburg. These type of daytrip opportunities do make it easy to spend several days in Halifax, as you'll want to devote at least one full day to the city itself. But you've got lots of other good stuff on your itinerary. Cape Breton is spectacular. So is Gros Morne.
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Nov 14th, 2008, 09:39 PM
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I biked some of these places this summer and the highlights were Cape-Breton and Gros Morne. The easy skyline trail in Cape Breton Highland park is a must. Ask other hikers about moose and scan the sky and sea for bald eagles and whales. If you're staying in Cheticamp or Pleasant Bay, it's worth taking a drive along the western shore at sunset.

In Gros Morne, the Green Gardens trail is spectacular. It's 9km return from the second departure point. Gros Morne Mountain shares my "best trail in the east" award with Gaspésie's Mont Albert. It is not an easy walk though. 17km, a steep climb up the gully and a long descent. The view on Ten Mile Pond is spectacular.

Whatever you do, make sure you drive through the sureal Tablelands to Trout River. At the northen end of the park, Shallow bay is less visited and has beautiful beaches. Colder but in my opinion prettier than NB or PEI. I've visited several parks across Canada and Gros Morne has been the most interesting so far.
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Nov 15th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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I assume you are taking the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia? The rest is certainly doable but busy for kids - lots of driving involved.
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Nov 15th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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My inclination would be to drop PEI and spend the extra time in Cape Breton and Newfoundland. You would certainly want to spend a day at Lousibourg and a couple of days on the Cabot Trail.

In Newfoundland, days 15 and 16 will be a long haul and I would consider adding Trinity on the way. The kids will enjoy(as will as you) the Trinity Pageant, and the opportunity to see whales with Dr. Peter Beamish should not be missed.

Of course if you have Anne fans in the family, then perhaps a visit to Green Gables is mandatory. The beaches there are, of course, wonderful.
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Nov 16th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Hi, Regarding the ferry from North Sydney to Argentia: According to the 2008 schedule it departs on Mon/Wed at 0730/0800. Taking one of these you will arrive at 2200/2230. I strongly suggest you book accomodations in Placentia, e.g. Harold Hotel, etc. Do not plan on driving to St. John's that night.

If you decide to take the 1530 departure on Friday, arriving early Saturday morning, make your reservations early, especially if you want one of the cabins, recommended with small children. Last year I made reservations in February for a trip in July and could not reserve a cabin on this trip.

I second the recommendation to visit Trinity and would include Bonavista.
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Nov 19th, 2008, 01:57 PM
  #8
LJ
 
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Just a couple of additional notes.

I absolutely endorse the cabin idea on the ferry...with small kids it is an essential.

Do stay overnight in Argentia if you arrive on the late boat: the drive is murder after that ferry crossing.

Peggy's Cove is worth a BRIEF stop, but if you have ANY extra time make it down to Lunenburg, it has WAY more of interest to kids who are not into scenery in my experience.Boats like the Bluenose, and whale watching and a great museum and fun restaurants for kids.

PEI is less interesting than any of your other plans and I agree with the comment that without the draw of the whole Green Gables thing, you can skip it entirely and thus give yourself an extra Trinity/Gros Morne day...that is a long, dull drive for kids and you have it all in one, if I am reading you correctly.

Do make sure you book the boat at Gros Morne. And no driving at dusk: its fun to see moose, but way less fun to see them as hood ornaments!
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Nov 19th, 2008, 03:32 PM
  #9
 
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Hello,

I must respectfully disagree about PEI because my favorite part of my time in the Maritimes was in PEI. May I suggest that your family read the Anne of Green Gables books to prepare for your trip? They are lovely stories, especially Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea and Anne's House of Dreams. The Anne of Green Gables movies are spectacular. PEI is great for walking/hiking, cycling, beautiful wind-swept sand beaches, good food, fresh lobster (right out of the ocean). Even Charlottetown is a small city, which can be surprising, but the people are friendly and it is a fun escape for a few days. It may be touristy, but after seeing the movies and/or reading the Anne books, it is fun to visit the national park in Cavendish.

However, I do agree with the suggestion that Peggy's Cove is probably only worth a half day side trip out of Halifax. It is worth the trip and the scenery, but it is only an hour drive and is a very small village. Halifax is a great city with fun restaurants and a fun vibe. I especially enjoyed the Citadel and the museum commemorating the sinking of the Titanic.

Your trip might be a bit long, even for an 8 year old and a 10 year old. You could do a guided bike trip through many of these locations, including PEI and/or the Maritimes. There are also fantastic cruises, too, which are also a great way to see many of these ports in a shorter time span.

Best Regards,
Julia
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