Questions about Cape Breton

Sep 28th, 2003, 05:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Questions about Cape Breton

A couple of questions about Cape Breton Island, where I'll be vacationing in mid-October.
(1) Woe is me, I am allergic to fish and seafood. I know, what a strange place to travel with that malady. But are there other things to eat at the local restaurants, or will I starve? Salads? Chicken? Please don't tell me I'll have to pack brown-bag lunches from Chicago.
(2) This will sound wimpy, but how dangerous or difficult is the driving in the mountainous areas around the island, such as the Cabot Trail national park area? I have read about treacherous, sudden switches in the road that you have to watch out for. I have no experience driving outside of cities or even in rural regions and it seems a bit intimidating. Any advice? Should I avoid any areas?
(3) My main reason for coming is taking photos of scenic areas. Can anyone recommend some very specific spots that shouldn't be missed to capture pictures of beautiful natural scenes?

Thanks, Bob
americanbob is offline  
Sep 28th, 2003, 06:20 AM
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Hi, Bob,

My husband and I visited Cape Breton twice; the first time we traveled clockwise, the second counterclockwise. It is one of our favorite places!

1] You will have no problem finding menu choices other than seafood.

2]I don't think that the drive around Cape Breton is particularly dangerous, assuming that you drive with care, but we did find sections of it a bit scary. I wouldn't describe the area as "treacherous", unless the weather conditions are poor. My advise is to do it anyway! I HATE heights, but the views are spectacular and worth the price of some degree of discomfort. We did see a car or two that overheated on the steep incline, so put your car in low gear if you decide to drive counterclockwise.

Some people seem to prefer driving the route clockwise; we thought the route was equally scenic in either direction.

I found the scariest driving to be a seperate jaunt to Meatcove {I think that's what it is called - great photo ops}. Wonderful views, but a whiteknuckler!

3]You don't need to go out of your way for great photo ops - they're along the drive. If you are traveling with a companion, you might wish to designate one of you as the photographer, as there are opportunities for photos at areas other than designated stops.

The Skyline Drive hike {2 hrs or so} is our favorite for scenery and possible moose sightings. In October, you shouldn't have to battle crowds on this popular hike. We also liked the Coastline Trail for beautiful ocean views, tough on this one you will do a lot of scrambling over rocks.

Have a great trip!
Molly2 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2003, 06:23 AM
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I really should review what I write before posting! Meant to say the "Skyline Trail" - it is not a drive, but a trail ALONG the drive.
Molly2 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2003, 08:40 AM
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There is lots of non-seafoord items at reaturants unless you go to a Lobster Supper. For example, Keltic Lodge up at Ingonish Beach has lots of non-seafood.
In terms of the drive I would go counterclockwise as the best views are earlier on and there are lots of carft shops in the early going.
SusanD is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 07:29 PM
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Another ttt for rubigayle.
Borealis is offline  
May 8th, 2004, 07:02 PM
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Hi, I am a Cape Bretoner so I'll try to help you out.
(1) There is the option of non-seafood everywhere here (except for stuff like Lobster a previous poster said).
(2)Driving. Smoky Mountain (along the Cabot Trail) is high and steep but just remember to use low gear). The roads are pretty windy in places so just take care.
(3)Photo op places - well there are lots here. Ingonish is full of great photo ops. Whether you are at the beach, at the Keltic Lodge located on a beautiful peninsula, the hiking trails in Ingonish or Cheticamp, little brooks here and there. So much pretty scenery. You have to see it to believe it. Sometimes on hiking trails you have moose and eagle sightings. I did a whale watch tour last summer and we even saw dolphins. absolutely amazing.

If you spend any nights in Ingonish make sure to check out the entertainment at the Glenghorm's pub. Small place but always a good time.
AllTeeth is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 04:39 PM
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My wife and I spent 5 days at Glenghorm Beach Resort in Ingonish (Eeen-Gooo-NISH) during August 2006. Cape Breton is one of the treasured destinations for tourists seeking cool summer weather, whale and wildlife watching and photography.
Our first surprise was the remoteness of Cape Breton and the absence of "box" stores and commercial centers. The only grocery stores are small, individually owned convenience stores (plus small Co-op's) with limited hours (they close at 9 PM). There are many restaurants with all types of food with similar hours. Do not arrive without lodging reservations unless prepared to camp.
The roads of Cape Breton are scenic and superbly planned with the usual pavement damage one might expect from harsh winters. There is light traffic even in the tourist season. The Cabot Trail seaside highway can rise to 1,000 feet and clouds and fog can be present. Passing lanes are frequently present.
All the scenery is spectacular, but most of the brochure photos are from the St. Lawrence side of Cape Breton from Pleasant Bay to Cheticamp. Inland from Pleasant Bay are places where locals and others view moose along the Cabot Trail. We saw a bull moose crossing the highway near Neils Harbour.
The best whale watching may be from Bay St. Lawrence. Typical boat prices are $25 (Canadian) per person. We paid $40 per person to sail on the "Tom Saylor", a 52 foot sailing schooner. There were only 6 passengers and 2 crew members so the photography was easily accomplished without moving about. We saw pilot whales on August 6, 2006.
The choices of watercraft to view whales include rubber zodiacs, sailboats and fisherman-sized motor boats.
The Glenghorm is an excellent choice for lodging and restaurants (the "Thirsty Hiker Tavern" also serves food after 9 PM plus offers talented singers nightly). Americans with "Greenbriar" tastes may be disappointed with the Glenghorm ordinary (but spacious and clean) rooms. The Glenghorm is equal to anything in northern Cape Breton.
The Fortress at Louisbourg is on a scale with Williamsburg, Virginia. The historical experience is enhanced by requiring visitors to take provided buses to the entrance some quarter mile from the fortress. Like the Citadel at Halifax, the Louisbourg Fortress has several military ceremonies each day. This side trip is a "must".
Gas is about $5.00 Canadian per gallon.
The Canadian dollar is now equal to the US dollar (i.e. the dollar is worth much less each year). Canada is not cheap, but is worth every dollar spent.
I hope this update is valuable.
Tarheelredneck is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 09:26 AM
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We recently returned from a trip to Cape Breton and loved every second. All the replies you've gotten are right on. The drive is spectacular; we did it clockwise and found the views breathtaking. Just take your time driving and you will not have any trouble. It starts out slow and the drivers are usualy going slowly as they also want to see the views.
There are lots of places to pull over for taking photos and video.
Put aside your fears, and you'll have a fantastic time.
glaird is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 01:36 PM
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A correction to a previous post.....the Canadian dollar is NOT equal to the US dollar. Although the rate flucuates daily, at today's exchange rate, $1 US equals $1.12 Canadian. Plus, as a non-Canadian resident, you can receive your tax back when leaving the country on all accomodations and any retail purchases over $50.
sailorgirl2001 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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I guess the "McLobster" at Nova Scotia McDonalds is out if you're allergic to seafood.

Oh well...

NorthwestMale is offline  

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