Nova Scotia...no idea..please help!

Old Jun 10th, 2005, 06:35 AM
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Nova Scotia...no idea..please help!

Hello All

My wife and I have been thinking of going to Nova Scotia at the start of July. I have never been there and have just starting get an idea of the place by looking up some of the websites.

We have about 5 days in Nova Scotia - from 7/4 to 7/9. We plan to get there by Cat Ferry (not sure where it drops us - I think Halifax).

All the forums on this website talk about doing a lot of hiking and driving to the see the beauty of this place and while that is not too much of an issue I need to keep the driving to a minimum from our base since I have an 18 month old with us. Now, I understand I might have to move base and that is okay.

So, here are some questions that I would dearly love some answers to..

(a) is this a good time of the year to go there?
(b) is it too late to book for this time of the year?
(c) what should we be definitely seeing - major tourist hot spots?
(d) what are the good locations/apartment hotels to stay at to see these hot spots?

and any other pieces of advice or information will be highly highly appreciated.

thank you all..in advance.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:13 AM
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the cat will drop you off in yarmouth not halifax. with only 5 days, i would stay three in halifax and 2 in digby. yarmouth isn't far from digby to catch your ferry home.
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Thank you ltt...just a question

How far a drive is it from Yarmouth to Halifax?

Likewise how far from digby to Yarmouth?

Thanks in advance
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 07:39 AM
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Yarmouth-Halifax is about 3, 31/2 hours if you take a straight shot. Longer if you want to detour and see the sights.

I'm going this August, and plan to stop at Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Peggy's cove during the drive. I expect that with stops for sightseeing, photoops and such, to spend about 6-7 hours.

I don't know if its late to book, but Iwould certainly try to book the Cat pretty soon. With the Portland-Yarmouth ferry ending service, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cat was very busy. And with it the 4th of July and all.

Here's a great website to help with maps, accomodations, drivetimes and such:
http://www.destination-ns.com/default.asp
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 08:10 AM
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Hi Travelsaint.

In answer to your question:

a) July good time of year: YES, although you're definitely in the heart of tourist season (Coming from Montreal, I prefer May, but weather can be too chilly for some)

b) I'm sure you could find something almost a month in advance, but you are looking around July 4th, so I might not wait until the last minute.

c) major tourist hot spots near Halifax: Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, Historic Properties & the Citadel in Halifax.

d) I would stay in Halifax within walking distance of the harbour. Once your car is parked, you have lots of great streets, fantastic restaurants/shops and a beautiful public garden to explore on foot.

I've never been to Yarmouth/Digby so I have no idea about accommodation, etc... there. I'd say it's maybe 4 hours drive Yarmouth-Halifax, but others may know better.

I visited Nova Scotia for the first time 2 years ago May; the South Shore has some gorgeous varied scenery but ultimately Halifax was the highlight for me with its history and energy... plus, Point Pleasant Park and the Public Gardens are fantastic. I see you're looking for touristy things to do, but I recommend getting off the beaten track if you can there.

Enjoy! Halifax is a great small city!

DAN
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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Hello Dan

Thanks for this piece of information. Really gave me a lot of ideas.

Just wanted to ask you ...South Shore...is this a scenic drive from Halifax. If so...how from halifax?

also you mention stay near the harbour...any suggestions on good apartment hotel style places with harbour views?

Thanks
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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There is usually a really big busker's festival in halifax every year, not sure if its July or August. Also, there is a casino, usually you can get pretty good deals for hotel a the casino hotel (which used to be a sheraton), it top quality for halifax and sometime you get a room for 70-100 cdn. The tour of the Alexander keiths brewery is nice/fun and right downtown near the waterfront. There are a lot of nice patios to eat near the waterfront. I spent 6 weeks last summer in halifax for a course, so if you have any specific questions, don't hesitate
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Hi ts03

The parts of the South Shore I saw were Peggy's Cove, Chester, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg and the in-between. Each town has its own character; you may want to take the smaller roads one way from Halifax and take the main highway back from Lunenburg. A lovely drive with diverse bay views and vastly differing terrains depending on proximity to open ocean, degree of harbour shelter, etc...; a great day trip that gives an idea of a little of Nova Scotia's diverse landscape.

Others with more Halifax experience may be able help you with apartment style hotel by harbour; I stayed at a B&B that was about 15-20 minutes walk to the harbour.

Bon voyage! DAN
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Old Jun 10th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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the Buskers festival is in August. 8/4-8/14 to be precise.
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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 04:58 AM
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Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the responses and sorry for not having responded sooner. I have been doing some of my own research but have to be honest I am totally lost...so need all the help I can get..

Here is what I know

(a) I will be there for 6 days
(b) I want to stay in Halifax for 3 days (no particular reason)
(c) I want to travel the South Shore...does this include Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Peggy's cove...

So here are my questions

(i) Can all the three above places be done in 1 day or does it require more time?
(ii) do I need more or less time in Halifax?
(iii) what to do with the remainder of the time...i.e. the remaining 3 days...go somewhere else or continue to stay in Halifax?
(iv)What else could we see for the remaining 3 days?

Your help will be highly appreciated.



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Old Jun 14th, 2005, 12:12 PM
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I struggle to adapt my thoughts on Nova Scotia to those having to care for an 18-month-old, but despite that I still wanted to say a bit about the Bay of Fundy.

It seems that the car allows both you and your wife to move about and see things, while being mildly convenient for the care of your child. Nova Scotia has so much you could view from the car, without having to get out and hike all over the place.

I think you should at least consider a timely trip inland to the Bay of Fundy not far from Truro. Walking waaaaaay out in the surf at extreme low tide isn't too strenuous and seeing the ocean-going vessels docked ON the ocean floor at low tide really smacks you with a true sense of the major tidal variations in the area.

Halifax is a neat city and it can probably entertain you comfortably for a few of your days. Many areas have lots of eye-catching food, shopping and other activities grouped very closely together.

From Halifax that southern coastal route is also quite stunning on a gorgeous sunny day.
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Old Jun 20th, 2005, 07:39 PM
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Hello All

So after all these days and researching I am still confused and lost...so I will try out one more time to see if I can get some help

This is what I am thinking will be a fun trip with a 18 month old..

Day 1 - Drive to PEI from Halifax
Day 2 - Stay in PEI
Day 3 - Stay in PEI
Day 4 - Drive back to Halifax
Day 5 - Go to Peggy's Cove/Lunenberg/Mahoneys Bay
Day 6 - Go to Truro and Bay of Fundy
Day 7 - Check out Halifax, the titanic meseum and Citadel
Day 8 - Fly back to home


My question
(a) How far is Halifax from PEI by car?
(b) What are the must see places in PEI?
(c) What is a good location/place to stay in PEI?
(d) I have to give up on Annapolis Royal and Cabot Trail...would it be better to do these then go to PEI??

Please let me know..i need to urgently book..so all help will be appreciated..

Thanks
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 01:55 AM
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Well, PEI is a lovely destination, however you really don't need to leave the Province of NS to experience great beaches, etc.

Lunenburg is about an hour's drive from Halifax on the Trans Canada Highway. Taking the back roads following the coast line will take longer with stops. You can certainly do this in one day down and back. There are lots of spots to stop with your little one to run (great provincial parks).

Lots to explore in Halifax for three days. If you are there on Saturday, make sure you hit the Farmer's Market in the Brewery Building on the Waterfront - you won't be disappointed! Cambridge Suites would be a great spot to stay with your little one with more room to move around. Plus you are in the heart of downtown Halifax. The Public Gardens is a great spot to feed the ducks and all kids enjoy this. Pete's Fruitique is just around the corner so you are able to get fresh fruit, baked goods etc. for your room. PLUS lots of spots to eat.

As for another spot to visit? Wolfville area - Grand Pre, Canning Lookoff, Oaklawn Zoo, Hall's Harbour (for a lobster dinner on the wharf). This is also a day's trip from Halifax (about one hour each way on the highway).

Someone mentioned the Fundy Shore - about two hours from Halifax you can take a scenic drive along the coastline towards Parrsboro. Make sure you stop at Raspberry Bay Stone, Joy Laking Gallery and the Dutchman Cheese Farm. If up to it, drive past Parrsboro towards Cape d'or.

One last suggestion would be to head to Pictou/New Glasgow for a couple of days. Great warm beaches (Melmerby is a provincial beach) and lots to see and do. You could do the Sunrise Trail from here towards Tatamagouche and then cut across back to Truro. Again, lots of neat spots to stop and explore - even with a small child.
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Old Jun 21st, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Hi,

I have been to both PEI and on the Cabot Trail and mostly BECAUSE you have the 18-month-old, I am thinking that you would get more out of the scenic tour of northern NS than you would from PEI, which is mostly rolling flatlands (can flatlands roll? or is it only hills that somehow roll?).

Mind you, PEI has plenty of coastline, but most time spent there would likely be in transit on inland highways or in the city of Charlottetown itself.

Charlottetown is cute and small but you'd have to find enough to do there to justify the $37.50 (when I went) TOLL on the bridge coming off of PEI. (mix of reality and humor in my words)

According to maps.msn.com

A Halifax-to-Charlottetown DRIVE requires 202 miles or 3 1/2 hours, but if I were doing it, I'd drive to Truro, AND THEN ALONG THE FUNDY SHORE TO PARRSBORO, and then up to Sackville, etc. That would add time and distance to the trip, but that is where some enjoyable scenery can be had.

To me, a trip to PEI in your situation depends entirely on how much mileage you'd get out of saying: "I've been to PEI".

PEI has some appeal given how well preserved its smallish-ness is, for there having been few ways to get there before the big bridge was built.

Yet once you arrive, that smallishness that is its appeal, doubles as a drawback.

FYI - PEI is known as a great destination for bicycle enthusiasts, who can ride along mostly flat countryside for miles, with very little car traffic hindering their travel. To you, this suggests that there isn't a lot of stunning scenery inland given the topography. So the coasts are mostly "it" for local sightseeing.

The Cabot Trail, by some contrast, puts you up high where stunning scenery can be viewed depending on the weather.

It is my gut instinct that you can and would do a better job for you and your passengers if you stuck to Nova Scotia and saw a couple of additional parts of it, vs. the trip to PEI.

You'd probably see more of Halifax that way too, for not being on such a binding time schedule.

I just hope that you can find ways to keep the 18-month-old somehow content in the car. Of course there are going to be some difficulties and struggles in doing just that, but I am sure that you can see lots of Nova Scotia scenery without leaving the vehicle.

At least the risk potential of someone's vacation being completely ruined by unforeseen baby-related factors is lessened if you plan much of your time spent to be in the car.

If staying in Halifax for a couple of nights, I would look into trying www.priceline.com on the chance that you might score a room at the Westin Nova Scotian for something near to $40 U.S. per night.

(I just checked www.biddingfortravel.com and saw someone scored that hotel at that rate as recently as May 26/28, 2005)

My gut instincts about your itinerary have me inclined to change this:

Day 1 - Drive to PEI from Halifax
Day 2 - Stay in PEI
Day 3 - Stay in PEI
Day 4 - Drive back to Halifax
Day 5 - Go to Peggy's Cove/Lunenberg/Mahoneys Bay
Day 6 - Go to Truro and Bay of Fundy
Day 7 - Check out Halifax, the titanic meseum and Citadel
Day 8 - Fly back to home


to this:

Day 1 - Fly to Halifax, book hotel there for 2 nights... drive to Peggy's Cove for dinner if the weather is nice

Day 2 - Explore Halifax and perhaps gather local ideas about specifics to see on the rest of your trip

Day 3 - awake in Halifax and get a reasonably early start with the intention of bedding down in the Sydney/Baddeck area for the next two nights. (IF baby seems on good terms with the whole ordeal by this time, then opt for the north-of-Halifax coastal drive on the way up) (cut inland at Liscomb on hwy #276)

Day 4 - Awake in Baddeck/Sydney AREA, and make a day of circling the Cabot Trail loop and stopping wherever you are inspired to stop. (maybe baby dictates this for you) (make use of what you learned in Halifax and other spots for specifics about where to eat, etc.)

Day 5 - awake in Baddeck/Sydney and then take the speedier highway route back down south considering stops/detours to spots like Pictou and others along the way.

(depending on available daylight and the tide tables, maybe loop from Truro down toward Wolfville and then back inward to Halifax - if you actually get to Wolfville, there is a lookout on the way toward Scots Bay that serves up a nice view of the Minas Basin and the effects of the tides down below.)

Bed down back in Halifax that night.

Day 6 - Awake in Halifax and make what might be just a day trip down the southern coast... perhaps with Lunenburg and Mahone Bay as your destinations. (if there isn't much there to pique your interest, then keep driving farther south before reversing course. Otherwise spend time in Lunenburg, etc.)

(back to Halifax for the night)

Day 7 - maybe leave it open to things you discover or learn along your trek, probably something in the Halifax area. (maybe include the passenger ferry round trip across the Halifax harbor to Dartmouth - just stay on the ferry for the scenery, rather than getting off in Dartmouth) (I did that in the rain and fog and mist, and it was charming!)

Day 8 - fly back home


I hope that you find Nova Scotia as charming as I have found it, and that the dreaded FOG doesn't creep in at the most inopportune time to spoil the fun.

Enjoy your trip!

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