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Solo traveler seeks suggestions for Maritimes and Quebec city

Solo traveler seeks suggestions for Maritimes and Quebec city

Jan 23rd, 2013, 12:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 4
Solo traveler seeks suggestions for Maritimes and Quebec city

I am a retired woman and will be traveling through above mentioned areas in June. I have 3 to 4 weeks. I'm looking for scenery but also charming towns and advice about solo travel.
soloport is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 84
Are you travelling by car? The Cabot trail around Cape Breton is a great day trip. There is a nice hotel/motel on Bras D'or Lake in central Cape Breton, sorry I can't remember the name. Depending on your interests, the Fundy Geological Museum on the NB side of the bay of Fundy is good. Find somewhere to watch the tide, check with locals as to expected tide height and the best places to watch the tidal bore. There are whale watching tours along the Atlantic shore, probably still quite cold in June. New Brunswick, Fredericton is the prettiest, or look at the small seaside towns on the NB/ Maine border, like St Andrew's by the Sea. In Quebec, old Quebec city is a must, the only walled city in NA, do you speak French?
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Wow, 3-4 weeks gives a good opportunity to really soak-up the area.

You should probably first give us hints as to where your trip will begin and end, and from that maybe we can tailor something specific to your interests and constraints.

Perhaps even a hint of where you're from, so that we might lean more and more toward, say, water scenery or land scenery, in part based on what you're used to.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 24th, 2013, 07:12 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Thanks to both of you for your input!

I am traveling by car which, based on other posts on this forum, suggest I rent out of Burlington, VT. I have checked their rates and they truly seem to be the best. So, with this in mind, I will be traveling to and from Burlington in 2 or 3 weeks; my decision is based on how expensive the trip will be. I don't want to stay in spendy inns or hotels, just comfortable and clean, but right in the middle of the action as opposed to isolated.

I'm from Oregon and very familiar with our beautiful Oregon coast, but do love coastal towns. I also am an amateur photographer and will be looking for interesting scenery and places. But mostly, I love to meet and visit with local people.

Regretfully, I do not speak French.
soloport is offline  
Jan 24th, 2013, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Hi, soloport,

That sounds like a good plan. You are really going to enjoy photgraphing the spectacular coast of Nova Scotia as you climb the Cabot Trail. Wow! I have "done" The Cabot Trail so many times over the years yet it always takes my breath away. I like to do The Cabot Trail in a counter-clockwise direction starting in Baddeck.

You may also be interested in touring & photographing the Fortress of Louisbourg and you can easily do that on a "day trip" from Baddeck.

I am curious as to your reason for selecting the month of June as your travel time. June can very cold in Nova Scotia and on Cape Breton Island. I was in Cape Breton for a week in June the past 2 years and the weather was miserable both times: cold and rainy. I had to go during that time frame but if I had had a choice, I would have seleceted some time in July, August or September.

Don't wory about not speaking French. You'll be fine.

OceanBreeze1 is online now  
Jan 24th, 2013, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 176
Hi soloport,

I'd recommend a tour you can rent out of the Inverary Resort in Baddeck that I found very useful and interesting during my solo trip their Fall of '11. I won't mention it by name as I've been smacked for being a bit too enthusiastic about it previously.

UTour is offline  
Jan 24th, 2013, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,513
A favourite for me in Quebec City is the daily changing of the guard ceremony by the Royal 22nd Regiment (knicknamed les Van-Doos) at the Citadel adjacent to the Plains of Abraham. The fort, and the regiment, are laden with Canadian history, some of it on display in its museum. The regiment's magnificent billy-goat mascot, always named Batisse, joins in the parade, serenaded by the regimental march which is one of the country's great melodies. Unfortunately the ceremony doesn't start until June 24. And if it is raining in the morning, it's cancelled; their tall fur hats do not like moisture.
Southam is online now  
Jan 26th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Thank you all for your replies! I'm trying to figure out if I can go a bit later, but like the rest of life it's complicated. Coming from Oregon, I definitely am use to rain, but would prefer to have a trip without it! Thanks for all your suggestions and I will look into a tour out of the Inverary Resort in Baddeck.
soloport is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
i did a solo road trip but i camped most of the time. i'll give you a few suggestions...new brunswick - fundy national park was beautiful...saw hopewell rocks at high tide one day (only stayed about 1 hour), then returned the next day for low tide to appreciate the difference. would not return to saint john - didn't care for the city. kouchibouguac park is a nice place for a 1/2 day.
nova scotia...pictou is a nice little town...halifax i stayed at the weaverly inn which was cozy and great location...cape breton...i'd recommend spending at least 2 full days driving it. i stayed in cheticamp campground drove the trai the first day and returned to cheticamp. next day i did the trail again all the way to baddeck. the skyline trail is a nice hiking trail. stayed a few nights in baddeck, left early one day and went to fortress louisburg for a few hours and then headed back towards halifax (crashed the night in port hawsbury). a few days in halifax, down to digby via peggy's cove, mahone bay,area and then took the ferry from digby to saint john, new bruswick.
ltt is offline  
Jan 28th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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Soloport, I'm from WA, so I can relate a great deal to how it looks from out here and to the idea of seeing things as if you may not get back there anytime soon.

Given Burlington's location, it seems a no-brainer that you should begin with Montreal... and the amount of time to spend there depends in part on whether you've ever been to MTL before. Given the bigger picture, I think two nights is right for MTL.

My first personal suggestion, after that, is to spend plenty of time on the smaller highway #138 which parallels the #40 freeway from Mtl to Quebec City.

I think I would target the area between Trois Rivieres and QC for this, as to do a smaller path for the entire distance between Mtl and QC would slow ya down.

Take note that a bit west (southwest) of Trois Rivieres, out on an island in the St. Lawrence River, is the hometown of Olympics Bronze Medal skater Joannie Rochette, whose mother tragically died upon arrival for the Vancouver Olympics, before getting to see her daughter skate. (who else would point this out for ya?)

QC seems appropriate for 2 nights, but I'm already hesitant about using up too much time, too early.

In a perfect world we'd all have time to drive up the north shore of the St. Lawrence well beyond QC, and maybe ferry across somewhere up there, but in a perfect world, there never would have been a Rajneeshpuram.

SO cross at QC, and drive along the south shore... some nice scenery, especially late in the day with the sun in the western sky. I turned at Riviere-du-Loup, but there is no reason you need to do that... so maybe target Rimouski for an overnight 3.5 hrs. 200 miles from QC to Rimouski)... and, um, not everybody will speak English (the numbers on the value meals at McDonald's work wonders...).

Then down toward Bathurst, Miramichi... (research nearby tourist attractions for places to stop)... then perhaps the coastal route toward Shediac, NB and Moncton. Definitely the Tidal Bore in Moncton, and down toward Hopewell Cape before you do much of anything else.

Since you didn't mention PEI, I guess we'll skip that one (the novelty of a $42-ish toll bridge is almost worth $42).

Depending upon the timing, enter NS at Amherst and then take the northern route via Pugwash enroute to Pictou, but don't expect to get anywhere very fast. An overnight in Pictou and I'm sure the photography will be grand (barring FOG).

THEN it's time to head for Cape Breton, and perhaps you are suited to 3 nights up there, probably spent in Baddeck, but who knows, you might even boldly opt for Ingonish for a night or two. At any rate, at the first sign of clear weather, that's when you go for the Cabot Trail, as the fog in the area can be (a new experience).

If you have time to burn, then maybe try a slow, coastal path along the Atlantic shore (you can compare it to Oregon, if you want to). I warn you in advance that it goes really slow, particularly when you round a curve and first learn of a FERRY up ahead, that runs just once an hour - taking you about the distance you can hit a golf ball.

If not interested, or you don't have enough time, then go south on the main highway through Antigonish and Truro, before turning toward Halifax, which is worth 3 nights, if you have them to spare.

Perhaps during one of those days you make a day-trip to Peggy's Cove, Lunenburg, and Mahone Bay. Were I there with a lot of time, I'd drive the whole southern loop, but the reality is that you may want to curtail your branching-out, and make sure you are comfortable in your return to Vermont.

(I'm already at 14 nights - filling-in: 6th in Miramichi, 7th in Moncton)

Either during a Halifax day-trip, or on the way out of town, you should definitely stop and be acquainted with the highest tides on earth. Find a vantage point which entices you, and perhaps go to Hantsport/Wolfville area, and at least have a look.

If you are at all hiker, the 5-mile round-trip hike to Cape Split lands you right in the middle of the Bay of Fundy, with tides roaring all around.

On your way out of the area, go to Truro, and then drive to Parrsboro along the Bay shore before scootng out of NS via Amherst.

Maybe another night in the Moncton area, especially if you wanna see Hopewell Cape at high tide (after surely seeing it at low tide the first time you go. Maybe drive out via Fundy National Park, and then through St. John, for another look at life on the Bay of Fundy.

Finally, pass through Calais, Bangor, and Montpelier, VT on the way back to Burlington.

That (believe it or not) is just a general outline, to be toggled based on your own personal constraints. I think it would give you the full effect of most of it, and I'm sure you might trade a night here or there for a night elsewhere.

Hope this helps it become more clear.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 28th, 2013, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Solo: Northestmale has done such a thorough job, I am left without much to add! However, as you have indicated that you are interested in small towns and are on your own, I will just reinforce the reference to Paggy's Cove-Chester-Mahone Bay and Lunenburg (the South Shore of Nova Scotia).

Not only is this very picturesque territory (Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site) but the area seems to be especially welcoming to solo travellers.

DH and I live half-way between Lunenburg and Mahone Bay: both have more than one lively little independent coffee places where you will be served a great cup and locally baked things. But, best of all, I don't think I have ever been to The Biscuit Eater or Joanne's (Mahone Bay) or The Laughing Whale (Lunenburg) without striking up a conversation. Small town coffee shops seem to specialize in this kind of social networking!
LJ is offline  
Feb 6th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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Thank you all for the great suggestions! Thank you especially NW male! The suggestions are just what I was hoping for.I am definitely a hiker and the 5 mile hike around Cape Spilt sounds like a must. I have all these replies printed out now and will map out my "journey" accordingly. I will give a trip report next summer after my return! Thank you all again!
soloport is offline  
Feb 10th, 2013, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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FYI (and to 'calibrate' what you're reading)... I am NOT a hiker, but I knew I wanted to take that hike.

You drive toward Wolfville, NS, and then to Scots Bay, and then as far out on the cape as you can, to a provided parking lot. From there it is 2 1/2-miles to the end of Cape Split, where the (perhaps less adventurous) end up on a windy bluff, with water on 3 sides down below. (there is protection from the wind {but not the skies?} a few yards away from the end of the bluff.

Those more adventurous would time their trip perfectly before ending up at ground level, and perhaps going out to the split part of Cape Split. Timing is everything on the lower, non-stanard journey, for if you don't allow enough time, you could get trapped for many hours by the tide, and completely exposed to the elements. (Clarity: this is ONLY the case for those opting for the non-standard option at Cape Split. The typical person takes the literal high road and doesn't have to sweat any of that).

Most hikers are more prepared than I was (with various supplies, etc.). I merely brought a bottle of juice and a change of socks - and didn't resort to the socks until returning to the car after 5 hours - admittedly they felt great then! (if I went again, I would opt for little more than I brought, FYI) A "picnic" on the bluff out at the end of Cape Split is definitely possible.

PS - As much water flows between Cape Split and the opposite shore during an average day as flows through all of the rivers on earth, combined, during an average day.

If you need further clarity on anything, we're here... intermittently.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Feb 12th, 2013, 09:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you are a knitter (I know, sounds like an odd thing to mention) but if you do happen to be into knitting, Mahone Bay which is lovely for a whole bunch of reasons, also has a great place to stop by for solo travelers.

On Tuesday afternoons from 1-4, "Have a Yarn" on the main street of MB holds a tea and cookies Open House. It is free, just bring your knitting...there you will find hospitality, meet the locals and probably come away with more invitations and information on the area than you could possibly use in a single visit.

Just today at this weekly knit-in, we had a letter from a visitor from last year, a gentleman from India who is coming to the area again this year...he, in turn, hosted one of our gang when she visited Goa, his home.

I mention this only because, as a solo traveler from-time-to-time myself, I am always looking at (safe!) ways to connect with locals when I go on my own.
LJ is offline  
Feb 17th, 2013, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 65
Make sure your American rental will have insurance coverage in Canada, particularly Quebec.

I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to take in PEI. It is a beautiful little province.
KMacK_ca is offline  
Feb 18th, 2013, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 15,440
I definitely recommend stopping in Montreal and Quebec City for 2 nights each. they are wonderful cities and very different.

We live in north central VT and sometimes leave for Montreal on a Friday evening, stopping part way. You might want to take the same approach after picking up your car in Burlington. The North Hero House on the Champlain islands in VT is a nice inn with good food and a lovely view of the lake.

Montreal has lots of B & B options as well as larger hotels. We have enjoyed the Auberge de la Fontaine in the Plateau area.

The drive between Montreal and quebec on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence has nice scenery and small towns along the King's Road (Chemin du Roy). This is the Highway 138 mentioned in an earlier post.

My suggestions for things we have enjoyed in Quebec City are in my TR from May 2011

I don't have any current recommendations for Nova Scotia--just memories of beautiful scenery in Cape Breton where my paternal grandmother was born. A return visit is definitely on our list of trips to take when we retire and can take a long car trip. I think the route described above going up the St. Lawrence to Riviere du Loup then across New Brunswick and into Nova Scotia makes sense.
Vttraveler is online now  

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