?s about my Cape Breton itinerary

Mar 30th, 2004, 05:53 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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?s about my Cape Breton itinerary

My partner and I plan to spend six days on CBI in late August. The things we most want to do are hike in the hills, forests, and coasts; listen to Celtic music; visit Fortress Louisbourg (I'm a big fan of all things 18th century militaria); and hopefully go sea kayaking, take a boat tour to Bird Islands, and maybe go on a whale watch (we've both done that before, from Cape Cod and Big Sur, respectively, so that's at the end of the list).

This is the itinerary we've mapped out so far. I'd love suggestions on the route from locals or experienced CBI travelers as well as help with selecting lodging for our last four nights.

Friday--Rent car in Halifax (having flown in the night before), drive to CBI along the south coast of Nova Scotia, continuing on to Louisbourg. Spend night at Heritage Inn in Louisbourg. Any suggestions on places to stop for lunch or sightseeing along the south coast of NS?

Saturday--spend better part of the day touring Fortress Louisbourg, then drive to Baddeck for the evening. Spend night at Lynwood Inn in Baddeck. (Maybe stop by the St. Ann's blueberry festival if early enough.)

Sunday--head up the northeast coast of CBI, stopping for a boat tour to Bird Islands and maybe some hiking, and then on to our northern park-area base for two nights. Should that base be the Markland Resort in Dingwall or Seascape in Ingonish? Both look nice and proximate to a variety of trails for hiking and harbors for beachwalking and kayaking. Any recommendations?

Monday--spend day hiking and touring in the national park and the northern tip of the peninsula.

Tuesday--continue counterclockwise around the Cabot Trail through Cheticamp and south to our second two-day base in the prime music and pretty-rolling-countryside district. Should our base there be the Normaway Inn in Margaree Valley or the Mabou River Inn in Mabou? Both areas sound pretty. There's reportedly a ceildh (sp?) at Mabou Community Hall that night and a fiddle concert at the Margaree Valley Barn the next night. Which inn would you recommend?

Wednesday--spend the day touring and hiking in the Mabou/Margaree area. Spend second night at place above.

Thursday--drive back to Halifax, drop off car, and fly to Montreal at 6 p.m.
ChrisS is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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My mom, daughter, and I went to Nova Scotia last summer and loved it! We did not go here, but Sherbrooke Village, a living history museum, is a possible stop along the south shore enroute to Louisbourg. On CBI itself, Highland Village in Iona (1 hour southwest of Baddeck) is a fascinating look at Scottish history, with lots of demonstrations and historic building ages progressing from the 1700s to early 1900s. When in Louisbourg, you'll want to take the guided tour (I think it's 2 hours and is well worth it). Also, there is a theater in Louisbourg which replicates a Shakespearean theater and features Celtic music -- can't think of name.
laurafromtexas is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 07:28 AM
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The theater is called Louisbourg Playhouse (current website is www.lyricsandlaughter.com and website in the works is www.louisbourgplayhouse.com) Also, on the drive back to Halifax on final day, stop for lunch at the Sunshine Cafe in Antigonish -- the most delicious food we had during our 2-week trip to Nova Scotia and PEI.
laurafromtexas is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 08:46 AM
  #4  
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Thanks so much, Laura. I've heard good things about Highland Village in Iona, and since I'm such a history buff and Scotiaphile (if that's a word), I'll add it to my list.

Thanks too for the info. about the Louisbourg Playhouse. The Lyrics and Laughter show should be running the Friday night we arrive in L'bourg and it sounds like just my sort of thing. I'll try to get tickets.

Nothing like good tips from those who've been there!
ChrisS is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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Enjoy your trip! We'll be going to Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper this July -- anything to get away from the hot Texas summers!
laurafromtexas is offline  
Mar 30th, 2004, 04:56 PM
  #6  
 
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My 17 year old son and I visited Louisburg last June and really enjoyed it. Don't know how the weather varies in Aug, but it was considerably colder in Louisburg than 2 miles inland. When my son got out of the car, he insisted that he'd be fine without a sweatshirt but I ended up buying him one inside the fort because he was freezing. Make sure you visit the baker-he was great! (and try some of the wheat bread-we walked around breaking off pieces). I second the opinion that you should take a tour. I think this is essential to gain the overall understanding/ambience of Louisbourg.

We stayed in Lynwood Inn for one night and it was fine. A very large, non-descript inn. We enjoyed the Bell museum (where we spent about an hour), an evening boat tour of the lake, and dinner at Mello Yello.

Loved the hiking in Cape Breton Island. Our favorite hike was the Middle Head Trail originating from the Keltic Inn. We spent one night here and loved it. I had read mixed reviews, but our room was great (decor varies so ask to see another room if you don't like the first) and overlooked the bay. Because the penninsula is so narrow rooms on either side overlook water, as does the dining room. The swimming pool was very attractive. Food was fantastic and I think I'm fairly selective. I found a good rate on expedia (which required advance payment) then called the hotel which was willing to offer the same rate with a 24 hour cancellation policy. We only booked one night but enjoyed it so much that we tried for a second night once we were there. Unfortunately, it was not available.
stillhouse is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 04:01 PM
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We stayed at the Normaway a few years ago and loved it. Once a week (either Wednesday or Friday, depending on the time of the year) they host a "barn dance" or ceilidh and it's great fun. When we were there, the ceilidh featured the dean of Cape Breton fiddling, Buddy McMaster, along with another half-dozen performers. That same night, BTW, Ashley MacIsaac was playing in a bar in Cheticamp, and Natalie McMaster, Buddy's neice, was playing in either Judique or Mabou, just down the road. I suspect that the Margaree Valley Barn you mention is in fact the barn at the Normaway.

I don't know the Mabou River Inn, but Mabou's a pretty town on the coast.

You'll find it's a long day's trip from Halifax to Louisbourg via the coast, but if you do go, the village at Sherbrooke is worth seeing. There aren't many other sights worth seeing along the road, and not many places for lunch, unless you want to picnic. I would probably take the Trans Canada, at least to Port Hawkesbury, and then either side of Lake Bras d'Or to Louisbourg.

While you are in the Mabou/Margaree area, don't miss the Glenora Distillery, the only single malt whiskey distillery in North America. They also have accommodation, so you might want to consider that as an alternative to Mabou or Margaree.

While touring the Cabot Trail, the detour out to Meat Cove is well worth it, if you have the time.
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 04:16 PM
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Glad to hear Meat Cove being recommended. Keep in mind that the last several miles is unpaved, barely wide enough for two cars to pass, and you're virtually on a cliff. It's really the end of the road.

Be prepared, or turn around at Bay St. Lawrence.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 31st, 2004, 06:01 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I forgot to mention that we also spent a night at the Normaway Inn. I loved the cabin and the lodge living room. They have a barn dance once a week and musicians other nights. Unfortunately the night we were there they didn't show up! We still had a great time talking with other guests by the fireplace.
stillhouse is offline  
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