NS - Halifax, PEI, Cape Breton

Apr 17th, 2005, 09:59 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4
NS - Halifax, PEI, Cape Breton

My mother and I are planning a trip to NS in July. Her mother was born on PEI and father in Halifax yet she has never been to either place. We will travel from Boston - thinking of taking the CAT (high speed ferry)from Maine or flying into Halifax. Then renting a car.

We will have 7 days total. Looking for advice on where to stay and how long in each area? Have heard mixed reviews on PEI, but having the family history connection makes this a must do. Do you think we could fit in Cape Breton as well or will that just be too much.

My mom is a very "young" 71. We will be interested in driving the scenic areas, a day or two on the beach, excellent dining, etc. Any advice is appreciated.
damfarm is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 10:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 143
If you take the CAT ferry, you can have a full but doable week driving along the South Shore to Halifax then to Prince Edward Island and either drive all the way back to Boston through New Brunswick or circle through the Annapolis Valley to take the ferry again. I would count out Cape Breton in this scenario -- it takes 8 hours to drive from Yarmouth to Sydney, so that's too much driving if you want to enjoy the sights.

If you search this site you'll find opinions on the CAT ferry vs driving.

But if you fly to Halifax and rent a car, a quick survey of Halifax-PEI-Cape Breton is doable in 7 days as long as you and your mother enjoy driving. For scenery the Cabot Trail is tops in my books.

Have you checked out any of the PEI or Nova Scotia geneology sites? There is a wealth of information going back hundreds of years, for example census maps that show the location of each family's farm in PEI. Very cool to see EXACTLY where your ancestors lived!
lovesprada is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
i think 7 days is too little of time to include cape breton. if you take the cat ferry over, enjoy the drive up to halifax including mahone bay, peggy's cove, lunenburg. it's about 3 1/2 hr drive between yarmouth & halifax NOT including stops. spend a a few nights in halifax, drive over to pei via the confed bridge and possible stop along the way to enjoy the bay of fundy. visit charlottetown on your way to the cavandish beach area for a couple of days of beach time. return to nova scotia (via the bridge or the ferry) and drive to digby for your final night or two. last day drive to yarmouth and catch the cat.
ltt is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
If you only have 7 days and want to go to PEI, Halifax and Cape Brenton, it's doable, but only if you fly direct to Halifax and rent a car there.

If you take the ferry, you first need to get up to Bar Harbor, which is quite a drive from Boston already. And time on the ferry, plus drive from Yarmouth to Halifax. It makes no sense.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,458
Hi, I can fully understand the sentiments of such a trip with your mother, and it sure seems obvious that you should visit both PEI and Halifax along with whatever you can take-in on the rest of the journey.

First thing I want to do is suggest the CHANCE that the pea-soup-thick FOG in the area CAN potentially make scenery disappear. I favor the idea of having an extra day that doesn't have any commitments for the chance that FOG ruins things.

That said, I'd fly to Halifax, rent a car, and immediately head north to the Cape Breton journey.

Maybe you'll get out on the road by, say, 2pm after flying early in the day, and you can drive northward for a while, perhaps along the Atlantic Coastal highways for enjoyable views. Then at some point determine where you'll stay that first night, up toward Sydney or not far away.

Day two you drive your mother around the Cape Breton loop and find some out-of-the-way eatery for lunch. As you come around the west side of Cape Breton and then south, simply make your way to the west via Antigonish, then New Glasgow, Amherst, Sackville, and toward the Confederation bridge.

From Sydney, NS to Amherst, NS is reportedly 230 miles direct, BUT you want to go the LONG WAY around Cape Breton!

Then another 70-ish miles from Amherst to Charlottetown via the Confederation Bridge.

IF you're lucky you might make Charlottetown by the end of day two, but it would require a lot of driving. (keep in mind you'll be in areas where driving and sightseeing from the car are most of what there is to do)

IF you do arrive in Charlottetown late in the evening/night on Day two, perhaps you can stay a couple of nights in that city, using day 3 to go to your mom's birthplace and let her visit places she remembers. I think the entire island is only 175 miles from tip to tip, so most anyplace there is a day trip from the population center of Charlottetown.

So now day 3 is over, and you wake up in Charlottetown on day 4.

Take mom out to breakfast and then tell her coyly that you'll buy breakfast if she foots the toll charge to leave PEI on the big bridge.

(trust me, you're getting the better deal) <it was $37.50 Cdn. PER CAR when I was there - you only pay outbound from PEI>

(yes, Thirty-seven fifty)

If mom wishes to see more on PEI on this day 4 then spend some time indulging her, otherwise get away at your leisure and aim toward Sackville/Amherst

NOTE: IF you are so inclined, there is a worthwhile tourist attraction at Hopewell Cape, NEW BRUNSWICK, whilch isn't that far from Sackville, BUT to get to it you apparently have to drive up to Moncton and then back down.

But do have a look online at "Hopewell Cape" and see what you think. (type that into Google)

Otherwise, from Amherst, I recommend driving due south to Parrsboro on the Bay of Fundy and treating mom to that scenic drive as you progress eastward toward Truro.

On the OPPOSITE SIDE of the bay from that road, is where you'd find the very highest tides in the world, and it definitely makes sense to keep track of when low tide might happen as you're in the area. You can walk waaaaaaaaaaay out into the sand at low tide, and ships in the area sit on the ocean floor at low tide, and they can be 30 or 40 feet up the dock six hours later.

(if I were in the area by myself I'd do more exploration at the Bay of Fundy, but I'm assuming that you and mom will want to get back to Halifax fairly soon)

Truro to Halifax is a quick straight shot of about an hour all on a big highway/freeway.

Amherst to Halifax is 160 miles direct but again, I'd definitely duck down to Parrsboro, on the Fundy shore, taking a bit of a longer route.

So it still seems reasonable that you could be back in Halifax by nightfall of Day 4.... and even if you keep a "fog day" in your itinerary, to be spent waiting out the fog, OR on anything you choose, you'd be back in Halifax by nightfall of day 5.

Then explore the city for your last couple of days and possibly take a side trip out to Peggy's Cove for lunch or dinner.

About your PEI reviews... yes, I do think that life is kinda slow there, and the miles of driving on the island may put you to sleep, but there is a lot to be said for a place in this world that society doesn't have reason to over-run, for it not being on the WAY to anywhere else.

I think you can have a great trip and that you and your mom can gain a great deal just from the beautiful scenery along the way.

Keep us posted?

NorthwestMale is offline  

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