October Trip

Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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October Trip

Hey all you Canadian experts!!! Please advise me on the following items. Hubbie and I are planning a trip to eastern Canada October 2 thru October 20, 2009. We would like to fly to ?, pick up a car for a one way rental and drive home to Michigan. Must see's include Cape Breton, The Hockey Hall of Fame and Niagara Falls. We like slow travel and are very into nature and the beauty of area. We prefer B & B's as opposed to hotels.
Any help is appreciated. chb
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 01:48 AM
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That's a lot of ground to cover. You may want to first check out the cost of rental drop off and whether it is possible to do so from Canada to US.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 05:26 AM
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For pretty quick "slow travel" you'll need three days to get to Cape Breton from Niagara Falls, and another three days back to Toronto, assuming that is your airport of choice.

Toronto to Montreal Day One.

Montreal to Moncton, Saint John or Fredericton Day Two.

Moncton to Cape Breton Day Three.

These segments do not give you time to see the sights in Montreal, Quebec City, the small towns along the St. Lawrence, etc.

Are you flying from somewhere that has flights to many Canadian cities, or just to Monteal and Toronto, where most international flights land?

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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Since you want to see Cape Breton, you could fly to Halifax or Sydney, Nova Scotia and travel east from there.

Flights would possibly be Windsor, Ontario to Halifax or Sydney with a Toronto change of plane.

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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 07:19 AM
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Tanya has a point-the drive from Halifax to Toronto cannot be accomplished in less than two days and you would probably want to slow it down and take 4 if you are truly into 'slow travel'.

Having said that, barring problems with cross-border car rental rules (which I know nothing about, but others will) I would be inclined to fly into Halifax, rent a car after spending a day discovering that fine old city. Then head to Cape Breton,'do' Louisburg and the wonderful National Park, spend 2-3 days up that way and head back toward Halifax.

Use up the rest of that first lap exploring the South Shore of Nova Scotia: Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay and esp. Lunenburg area are all fantastic that time of year.

Then meander across NS, to NB and on into Quebec, perhaps spending a night in some of the following: St. John, Riviere de Loup, Quebec City, Kingston (Ontario) and on into TO.

Then use the remaining portion of your time based in TO which has so much to see beyond the HHF. You would be wiser to dump the car (you can take a great bus tour of Niagara Falls and NOTL from TO) and fly back from TO. It might even save you money to fly back from Niagara Falls Buffalo versus adding on another week of car rental.

In any case, you have picked a wonderful time of year and a great part of the country-you won't see it all but your itinerary is not too bad, IMHO.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 08:18 AM
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Look at how much I don't know...We live just outside of Detroit and have several friends who live in the Windsor Chatham area. It would be no problem to leave our car at a home in that area. Get a ride for the 1/2 hour back to Metro Airport and fly to our destination or I guess we could fly from Windsor. pick up a rental car...travel and drop the car off in Windsor, pick up our car and cross the border back to the States.

It is hard for me to judge distance because Canada is so big and I am having a hard time finding a detailed map. I have contacted the Nova Scotia tourism dept for maps.
But I might have too large of an area planned.

Any additional thoughts are appreciated

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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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I would choose one area - either do the maritimes (NS, NB, PEI) in one trip or Ontario/Quebec. Two weeks isn't enough time to do justice.

Niagara area is lovely in the summer, lots of boating, markets, wineries, etc. TO is a great multicultural centre with so many things to see. I love Kensington Market. Montreal warrants more than a couple of days and Quebec City at least two if not more time. Also the Eastern Townships in Quebec shouldn't be bypassed.

If you choose the Maritime Provinces, simply fly in and out of Halifax. You could spend a week in Cape Breton alone.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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I also would tend to do this as 2 separate trips. Niagara and Toronto are a couple hours apart and both about 4 hours drive from Detroit. You could theoretically see both over a long weekend, although you may want to take longer.
Cape Breton is about 1500 miles from Detroit. We live 2 to 3 hours east of Detroit and when we visit Atlantic Canada (every 3 to 5 years) we usually plan on at least 12 - 16 days (driving both ways). Cape Breton is spectacular and you'll enjoy the beauty and nature. But there are additional nice spots to visit on the East Coast.
In any event, get the free Doers and Dreamers Guide published by the NS government (easily found online). It includes details of just about every accommodation including B&B's as well as descriptions of cities, towns, parks and sights. The Canadian National Parks website will give details on Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Halifax is a great small city, vibrant Harbor district. Lighthouse Route southwest of Halifax has beautiful historic towns (e.g. Lunenburg, Mahone Bay), quaint fishing villages and off-the-beaten track beaches (cold water, but great beachcombing-birdwatching-picnicking). Brier Island near Digby and Grand Manan Island off New Brunswick are very quaint and out-of-the-way and famous for whale-watching tours (check seasonality).
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Your plan re car sounds reasonable because I don't think you can leave a rental from one country in another (importation rules etc.)

For maps and distances, try www.mapquest.com or www.maps.google.com - both of these have a "directions" function which will give you distances and driving times from one place to another (I find the mapquest driving time estimates uncannily accurate, at least for my area). I especially like the google maps for overlaying a map with satellite imagery... you can learn way more about a destination that way. I discovered it when I was planning a trip to Germany and wondered what kind of area a hotel in Hamburg I was considering booking was in.... from the satellite imagery, I could see that it was very leafy and treed rather than a concrete jungle; the hotel and area turned out to be perfect and just what we were looking for.

I am, admitedly, a map junkie but the first thing I do when planning a trip is use these map sites.

For B&B listings, this is the best national directory in Canada:

Also check the provincial tourism sites, and google any provincial B&B associations. (There are also links to these on the bbcanada site.)
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Old Jan 27th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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I really agree with Tanya regarding the shortage of time. Most people don't understand how large Canada is, and one can easily use up lots of days driving.

If you choose to spend time in Cape Breton, I suggest the "Top of the Island" as a destination if scenery, wildlife and a variety of outdoor pursuits are your goal.

There's a good website at northerncapebreton.com that has lots of pictures and general info.

First, though, is to figure out what you want out of this trip and then research the part of Canada that would deliver it.
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