Nova Scotia Itinerary Help Needed

Old May 9th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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Nova Scotia Itinerary Help Needed

I could use some help in refining the itinerary for a 13-day trip to NS, with a side trip to NB. My husband and I are 63 and 54 and in good health. We don't care much for cities but like mild hiking, nature, coastlines, harbors, and shopping for local crafts. We'll have a rental car so we're pretty flexible in where we go.

Here is my initial itinerary. Any comments regarding timing, etc., would be appreciated. We won't have time to go everywhere so I'm trying to hit the parts I think we would enjoy the most.

June 28: Arrive Halifax late. Get rental car & check into hotel.
June 29: Sightsee Halifax. Spend night in Halifax.
June 30: Halifax to Liverpool, checking the sights in Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg. Spend night in Liverpool.
July 1: Liverpool to Digby via Rt. 8, hoping to sightsee Liverpool, White Point, and Kemi Seaside. Spend night in Digby.
July 2: Digby to Windsor, trying to sightsee Digby, Annapolis Royal, Hall's Harbour, and Cape Blomidon. Spend night in Windsor area.
July 3: Windsor to Parrsboro. Sightsee Truro, Parrsboro, Cape d'Or, and Cape Chignecto. Spend night in Parrsboro.
July 4, 5, & 6: Parrsboro to New Brunswick and sightsee Hopewell Rocks and Fundy Nat'l Park. Spend nights in Moncton or somewhere closer to Hopewell.
July 7: Moncton to Antigonish, taking Sunrise Trail from New Glasgow to Antigonish. Spend night in Antigonish.
July 8 & 9: Explore Cabot Trail. Spend nights in Baddeck.
July 10: Head toward Halifax down Eastern Shore. Sightsee Sherbrooke Village and Musquodoboit Harbour. Spend night in Musquodoboit Harbour.
July 11: A little morning sightseeing then drop off rental car and leave.

Thanks for comments and advice.
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Old May 9th, 2011, 10:18 PM
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Wow, you have done very well all on your own.

You might arrange it so that you head for Cabot Trail at the first sign of clear weather... and having that extra day to insure against FOG is a good thing.

I can't knock any of your plans.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for the advice. The itinerary isn't carved in stone and the only reservations I plan to make are for the first 2 nights in Halifax. After that we'll play it by ear to allow for flexibility. I forgot to mention my husband is a photographer and fog makes for great pictures so I do hope we run into some. ;-)

My only concern is being able to call ahead to make reservations since I'm from the U.S. and my cellphone plan will cost me about $1 per minute to make calls in Canada. I'm still working on finding a cheaper way to make calls. Are there many public pay phones? In the U.S. it's almost impossible to find one any more.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 01:53 PM
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Hi cslasor. You are very lucky to be going to Nova Scotia. My friends and I who are also photographers went there 2 summers ago. You and your husband must must must go to my favorite place to photograph there. It is very close to Lunenberg and is called Blue Rocks. it is a small area with boats, harbors etc. When we got there we thought we had died and gone to heaven. We were lucky enough to get there when it was foggy . If you want to see my shots from that area you can go to my web site which is www.pbase.com/emyoung and look for the album that says nova scotia then find the one that says blue rocks. when you go to peggy's cove, if you go early at about 6 a.m. you can get the sunrise which is spectacular on the lighthouse, and you will not get the other tourists. The other people start to come at about 8:30 and by then you have done your thing. By the way, I think you can by a card which will give you some cheap phone time. Don't ask me how but I know it is available.
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Old May 10th, 2011, 04:59 PM
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Oh, upon scrutinizing your list of stops, I am inspired to first alert you that to drive from Cape Breton to Halifax "down the eastern shore" will entail a sloooooooooooow path of the sort for which you should just have accurate driving time in mind.

AND IF you attempt to get cute and leap to the Eastern Shore as soon as possible, getting anywhere near to Canso (east/north OF route #7)... you run the risk of mistiming the ferry boat at Isaacs Harbour.

This is a boat that, when I was there, ran once per HOUR, across a length of water something not far from what I could hit a golf ball... with the alternative being to drive a decent distance 'around'. (I got lucky and made it with moments to spare - though I was unsuspecting)

Generally, I think I'd take the main freeway from Cape Breton to Antigonish, and only THEN cut toward the ocean on Hwy #7. (and it will still be a slow road - but no tiny little ferry)
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Old May 11th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Hi - we're in your general age range and our likes are similar and we've vacationed in Atlantic Canada 6 times in the last 19 years, so here are a few of my thoughts: Trying to fit in 8 NS and 1 NB destinations in 13 days would, from my own tastes and experience, be ambitious but then I like to unpack and explore each destination while I realize other people may be happy to be always on the move.

June 28: Arrive Halifax late. June 29: Sightsee Halifax. Spend night in Halifax.

Good. I'm also not a big city person but Halifax is nice, vibrant Harbour district, museums, pubs, interesting shops.

June 30: Halifax to Liverpool, checking the sights in Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg. Spend night in Liverpool.

Busy day. Peggy's Cove is a relatively quick stop to appreciate the scenery but both Mahone Bay and Lunenburg could use up half a day or more, I think. Maybe spend night in Lunenburg?

July 1: Liverpool to Digby via Rt. 8, hoping to sightsee Liverpool, White Point, and Kemi Seaside. Spend night in Digby.

I personally would plan a little more time for the "Lighthouse Route", especially as you like "mild hiking, nature and coastlines". Kemi Seaside is a hike in and back and is worth a few hours. There are lots of scenic stops and villages all along this shore (and beyond Kemi) as well as a some "hidden gem" beaches - i.e. uncrowded stretches of pristine sand great for strolling, picnicking and beachcombing (July 1 Holiday weekend could be busier).

Digby - pleasant little town, but what I liked best about our stay several years ago were the daytrips we made from Digby to Brier Island, Bear River and Annapolis Royal.

July 2: Digby to Windsor, trying to sightsee Digby, Annapolis Royal, Hall's Harbour, and Cape Blomidon. Spend night in Windsor area.

Have not stayed in Windsor so can't comment.

July 3: Windsor to Parrsboro. Sightsee Truro, Parrsboro, Cape d'Or, and Cape Chignecto. Spend night in Parrsboro.

I spent time in the Parrsboro area about 5 years ago and liked it a lot. A little quieter that some other parts of NS but again, there's enough to see here for a good couple of days - especially if you want to do a little hiking in Cape Chignecto.

July 4, 5, & 6: Parrsboro to New Brunswick and sightsee Hopewell Rocks and Fundy Nat'l Park. Spend nights in Moncton or somewhere closer to Hopewell.

Well, this area is also really nice although you've left more time to do Hopewell Rocks and Fundy than you have for some equally spectacular but larger destinations. Given your time limitations and ambitions, I would probably take one of those nights and tack it on to either the Lighthouse Route or Cape Breton. Or skip something else in favour of these.

July 7: Moncton to Antigonish, taking Sunrise Trail from New Glasgow to Antigonish. Spend night in Antigonish.

OK, although personally I would push through and drive all the way to Cape Breton that day, just because I'd want to spend more time there.

July 8 & 9: Explore Cabot Trail. Spend nights in Baddeck.

There are "lots" of scenery, mild hiking, etc. opportunities here. I'd spend at least another night. For local crafts - check out the "folk art" of the Cheticamp area, whimsical wood carvings.

Usually I recommend people visiting Atlantic Canada for the first time target my 4 favourite areas: the New Brunswick Fundy shore, The Lighthouse Route, Cape Breton, and Halifax, and fit in the rest if time permits or on subsequent trips.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 06:37 PM
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Hi all, I will be in this same area in early July so reading your tips with relish!
emyou, love your photos, we are also into photography so will be heading to Blue rocks for sure! We are staying at Seabright (St. Margaret's Bay)so close enough to get up for those early morning shots I hope.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 04:44 PM
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ozgirl -St Margarets Bay is lovely. Im sure you will love it.

The Eastern is slow. Not the best NS has to offer and a very big time sucker. Dont do it unless you have already done everything else. And even then.......
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Old May 14th, 2011, 01:42 PM
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Cape d'or - if you can stay at the lighthouse!
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Old May 24th, 2011, 10:19 AM
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OK, here's my revised itinerary. I'm leaving out the Eastern Shore and spending more time at a few locations to make daytrips from. So now I'm talking about 2 nights in Halifax, 3 in Lunenburg, 1 in Digby, 1 in Parrsboro or Truro, 2 in Hopewell Rocks area, and 4 in Baddeck. Opinions are welcome!!!

June 28: Arrive Halifax late. Get rental car & check into hotel.
June 29: Sightsee Halifax. Spend night in Halifax.
June 30: Halifax to Lunenburg, exploring Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay, and a bit of Lunenburg. Spend night in Lunenburg.
July 1 & 2: Explore Lunenburg area, spending nights in Lunenburg.
July 3: Lunenburg to Digby, via Shelburne and Yarmouth. Spend night in Digby.
July 4: Digby to Truro or Parrsboro along Bay of Fundy shore. Spend night at Truro or Parrsboro.
July 5: Truro/Parrsboro to Hopewell Cape via Cape d'Or and Cape Chignecto. Spend night at Hopewell Cape area.
July 6: Hopewell Rocks and Bay of Fundy Nat. Park. Spend night in Hopewell Cape area.
July 7: Hopewell Cape to Baddeck, exploring along Northumberland Shore. Spend night in Baddeck.
July 8, 9, & 10: Explore Cape Breton. Spend nights in Baddeck.
July 11: Baddeck to Halifax Airport for 4:45 p.m. flight.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Hi - I like your revised itinerary. I would personally probably spend just 1 night in Lunenburg though: leave early from Halifax the morning before, relatively quick stop in Peggy's Cove for photo ops, on to Mahone Bay for a couple of hours walk around and lunch, then by mid-afternoon on to Lunenburg which gives you the late afternoon and evening to enjoy the Museum (opens til 7:00 Tues-Sat in summer), the shops (not sure how late they open), and have a nice dinner and evening walk. The next morning I would leave to explore further down the Lighthouse Route including Kemji Seaside Adjunct and various picturesque villages and lighthouse, and spend the night somewhere like Shelburne. Following day continue on to Digby, exploring the coastal vistas and villages on route (it's hard to see everything in one trip - maybe next time drive to Brier Island and do a Whale Cruise).

The only other thing - and this again is based on personal tastes, others will disagree with me - but I probably would not spend all 4 of my Cape Breton nights in Baddeck. It's a pleasantly picturesque area but I like the more "seaside vacation" feel of the Ingonish area and its proximity to the ruggedly spectacular Cape Breton Highlands National Park section of the Cabot Trail. Cheticamp is also convenient to this portion of the Cabot Trail, while Baddeck would be closer to the Fortress of Louisbourg if that interests you. The Ceilidh Trail is also an option - a bit more pastoral and off-the-beaten path, but some really nice scenery, Celtic culture, and can still be a base for exploration. People often split their time between 2 of these areas.

I personally would stay in Parrsboro rather than Truro.

I think you would find the Nova Scotia Atlas very handy for your trip (I have!): http://www.bluenose2.ns.ca/Catalogue...otia-Atlas.jpg . I believe I was able to order it online through Amazon or similar. Very detailed - even shows hidden beaches, etc.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 05:20 PM
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We went last August, primarily to NB, but into NS and Cape Breton. We really enjoyed the Highland Village Museum near Iona, south of Baddeck. The tour was excellent - we learned much and the locals who enact the scenes from history are charming and engaged in their culture and history! Bought cheese at the Dutchman Cheese Farm near Economy NS and are still enjoying that! Stayed a night at the Glenora Inn and Distillery north of Mabou where we had a great room, delicious dinner and entertainment by a young fiddler, her father on guitar and a friend on piano. Be sure to take in some of the tradition of that area. You won't be disappointed.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 06:53 PM
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I endorse staying in Baddeck for all of your Cape Breton nights... mainly for the central-ish location that allows improvisation based on the local "F-word" (fog). As soon as you awaken to a clear day, haul a** and go to the Cabot Trail.

From Baddeck, you can opt for tourist opps around Sydney or the like in the event you awaken to dense fog.

Also, the next thing you do - NOW, I mean - is to go to the following website http://www.lau.chs-shc.gc.ca/cgi-bin...gion=5&zone=30

... and chart the TIDE TABLES for the ENTIRE WINDOW of your time in NS/NB. for a few locations:

Hopewell Cape (for sure)
Hantsport (maybe)
Truro (maybe)
Burntcoat Head (just for fun)

... and have that on a concise page or two, which you will later put into the glove box of your vehicle for easy reference during your journey.

Something visitors don't think about, with the tides, is that in order to get the full effect, one need wait SIX HOURS between extreme high and extreme low tides. So, if done optimally, paths can be timed and/or criss-crossed to just happen by at a contrasting moment.

For Hopewell Cape, definitely schedule your first trip during extreme LOW tide... but good luck finding something/anything to do for 6 hours while still in position to want to return and see the contrast.

Just open the link and click on the names of the various towns, and then adjust the calendar thing to cover the exact dates of your time in the area, and print the whole thing (though perhaps in condensed, smaller print fashion).

You can do this NOW, while you're thinking about it... because tide tables are generally etched in stone.

The tides in the Bay of Fundy are like no others on earth!
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Old May 24th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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I reread your post and realized you scheduled 3 (not 2) nights in Lunenburg. OK, with that much time you could take your time getting there, following the coastline to Peggy's Cove and Mahone Bay, lingering a little longer on route and still arrive in Lunenburg in time to walk around town a bit. The next day you could finish exploring Lunenburg and perhaps even have time to drive some of the nearby coast (e.g. Cherry Hill Beach at "low" tide is a lovely stretch of natural, uncrowded, shoreline for strolling). Tide tables are available online - also handy for Hopewell Rocks and the Fundy Shore (most dramatic to compare low and high tide there but if that doesn't work out, try to schedule visits to Hopewell for low tide).

But back to Lunenburg. I don't think I would spend 3 nights there. I'd still head further down the Lighthouse slowly and spend that third night somewhere like Shelburne.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:38 AM
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Rather than stopping in Hantsport to view the tides, I suggest going to Evangeline Beach in Grand Pre. The view of the beach is more vast, and in addition you will pass the National Historic site to commemorate the expulsion of the Acadians. Grand Pre is about 10 minutes from Hantsport and 5 minutes from Wolfville. Your visit might be be too early to view the migrating birds on Evangeline Beach which normally happens between middle of July to middle of August.
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