Short on time in Cape Breton

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Feb 14th, 2018, 09:09 AM
  #1
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Short on time in Cape Breton

Please help! I am traveling with my mother July 6-15. We want to see parts of Nova Scotia and PEI. I talked my mom out of a cruise so we could see more, but now I have to plan our trip. We already have two nights booked in Halifax. We plan to see Halifax, Peggy's Cove and hopefully a morning tour on the 8th of Oak Island (if we can get tickets.). Then we want to head straight up to Cape Breton. Here's the kicker...we will only have the afternoon/evening of the 8th and the day and evening of the 9th (and possibly the morning of the 10th) see Cape Breton. We want to be in PEI and checked into our room by the 10th. We can either take the ferry or the bridge. While in Cape Breton, we are most interested in Scottish sites/activities. My mother is in her late 70's, so we won't be doing any hiking/cycling, but I had hoped to drive at least part of the Cabot Trail. My mother wants to hear music and is interested in the Celtic school in Saint Ann's and I'm interested in stopping in Pictou (I'm a Scottish history major.) Suggestions of where to base ourselves or should we stay in two places? We can also do ferry or bridge back from PEI on the 14th. Suggestions on that would be helpful as well. That night we'll need to stay closer to Halifax airport. Our flight on the 15th is at 1:00 ish pm. Any suggestions of a interesting town not too far away from Halfax airport that is on the way from PEI? Thank you ahead of time for any suggestions. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with my travel book and all the amazing options. I know we really need more time to do the place justice.
meerkatwombat is offline  
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Feb 19th, 2018, 04:03 AM
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I'm hardly an expert (did a two-week vacation in NS and PEI last October), but since you haven't gotten any responses yet, I'll put in my 2 cents. First, the ferry over to PEI and the bridge back to NS will be cheaper, plus it makes more sense to do the ferry over if you're coming from Cape Breton. We stayed three, or maybe it was four, nights in Baddeck. It's easy to visit the Gaelic College from there. We did the whole trail in one day because of weather considerations. We would have preferred to split our stay in Baddeck and Cheticamp, but we were there for Celtic Colours, and even though we booked fairly earlier, we couldn't find accommodation that fit our needs on the Cheticamp side of the island. In Baddeck, we stayed at the Silver Dart Lodge.

We didn't get to the Highland Village Museum in Iona, but it likely would of interest to you. Oh, and if you get the Cheticamp area, don't miss Aucoin Bakery!
dreamer320 is offline  
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Feb 21st, 2018, 01:00 PM
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I wholly approve of your (talking mom out of the cruise in order to see more).

You DO have a good backbone for a plan, and a keen-enough awareness of your options to give it a real go.

I would definitely drive the entire Cabot Trail - particularly as you won't be slowed by thoughts of hiking.

Baddeck to Baddeck is 4.5 to 5.5 hours of driving time... and you add lunch somewhere, and a couple of other stops to stretch and look around, and it should make for a fine day with your mom.

Oak Island to Baddeck is 4.5 to 5.5 hours as well.

In July it stays light out long enough so that you can have a reasonable driving trip on the afternoon of July 8 en route to Baddeck.

For many people, I would encourage 2 consecutive nights in Baddeck, BUT for you... I would gently urge that night of July 8 in Baddeck, then the Cabot Trail the next day, followed by a major effort to reach the Pictou area by nightfall... but that makes for a 3 1/2 hour drive from Cheticamp.


Baddeck-Ingonish-Cheticamp-Pictou needs 6.5 to 7.75 hours JUST for DRIVING.

Baddeck is 12 miles from St. Ann's... SO there is hope...
(about the music)


You could then use much of the 10th to gain what you can from Pictou (perhaps even after sleeping in a bit)... with a ferry crossing awaiting you whenever you get around to it (well into the day).

No place on PEI is THAT far from any other, so once you're off the ferry, any path should be tolerable time-wise.

You don't mention too much about (how time consuming are) your PEI plans, but IF you've never been to the Maritimes before, a good bit of nature to see is Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick at LOW tide.

(how does your mother do with stairs??? - If she can handle a stairway (well), then a walk down onto the beach at Hopewell Cape is a good idea.)

(FYI - Charlottetown to Hopewell Cape to Halifax is 307 miles and 6 to 7 hours of driving time)

Alternately you could favor the ferry back to NS on the chance that there is some aspect of Pictou which you didn't have time to cover earlier.

(laugh) I think your entire plan would be FINE if only you could smooth-out the days to where you required only the SAME, steady amount of energy for each scheduled day. (instead of switching from 'hectic' to 'easy' to 'hectic' and back)

I hope you can fit-in everything you wish to experience.
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