Road Trip Niagara-->Nova Scotia

Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Road Trip Niagara-->Nova Scotia

Hello Everyone,

I am in the process of planning a trip from Niagara Falls to Nova Scotia and back. We have a total of 19 days for travel. I would like some help tweaking my itinerary Here it is so far:

Niagara-Montreal stay one night in old montreal (more of a rest stop...have been several times)

Montreal to Quebec City to stay 2 nites

Quebec City to St. Andrews,NB to stay 1 nite

St. Andrews to Alma, NB for 2 nites

Alma to Summerside PEI 2 nites

Now here is where things get dicey I cannot decide where our first stop on the Cabot trail should be....Baddeck or somewhere near Mabou (on the ceilidh trail). We were thinking we would stay at either for 1 nite before continuing up to Pleasant Bay where we would stay 2-3 nites and day trip from there around the trail.

From cape breton we will drive to Peggy's cove and stay for 2 nights with day trip to halifax. Then head back home through Maine-Vermont-NY state.

Can someone help me: 1) clean up the Cape Breton portion of our trip -suggested first stop and then suggested 'home base' near pleasant bay

2)any suggestions on must see things in PEI

We are more nature nuts looking for beautiful scenery and getting the local feel then anything else. Any help is much appreciated!
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 01:59 PM
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Are you allowing adequate time for the Maine, Vermont, NH, NY part of the trip?

BAK
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 03:18 PM
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LJ
 
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You need to add a day in Baddeck to 'do' the Cabot Trail...it really deserves more than the 5-6 hours it takes to actually drive it and Baddeck is a good place to locate yourself.

Also you have not included Louisbourg and it would be a great shame to come all that way and not visit this great fortress.

YOu could simply cut a night out of Alma, NB unless you have family or other reason to stay for two.

I admit to being prejudiced, but I would leave out PEI entirely and lengthen the time you have in Nova Scotia for a more leisurely time in Cape Breton and more time in Peggys Cove/Mahone Bay/Lunenburg (The Lighthouse Route) and Halifax.

Fond as I am of PEI, it is well off your route and that is what I would likely sacrifice to leave more time for NS.

Your trip back to NF via Maine/NH/Vermont/New York is one we know well having travelled back and forth from NS and Maine to Toronto for 30 years now...do make it 2-3 nights on the road minimum so as not to exhaust yourself and to enjoy the great scenery along the way.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 06:46 PM
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Thank you so much for your responses.

LJ:

We were thinking of staying in Baddeck for the first night as it will be about a 5 hour drive from PEI (we would like to include it if possible). Then travel the trail clockwise making a stop and staying in the pleasant bay or ingonish area of the trail for 3 nights. Is there some reason that we could not or should not do the trail from that area? Musts for us include a whale watching trip, skyline trail and other hikes within the national park, cape smokey, meat cove and would be great to get a feel for local culture.

We have allocated 2 nights in Alma to allow for visits to hopewell rocks and Fundy National Park. Also, felt it may be good to have a couple nights to rest before driving again at this point of our trip.

BAK:
We have tentatively arranged our way home as such:

Peggys Cove to Bangor,ME stay one night to rest

Bangor, ME to Stowe or Brandon, VT one night

Vermont to Lake Placid, NY stay 2 nights before returning to NF.

Thanks Again!
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 07:32 PM
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Hi Travel_Mouse,

Just a couple of thoughts. On your first day out, why not push on to Quebec City as opposed to doing the short hop from Montreal the next day? Also, would you consider bypassing St. Andrews or is there family connection/something important there that makes it a must-do? I ask because it's a fair hook out of a more direct path to Cape Breton. If PEI's a must-do in your book, I'd say go Summerside-Baddeck (getting there mid-afternoon), enjoy the sights for the rest of that day and mooch around some more the next morning if that catches your fancy. Baddeck-Pleasant Bay is an easy drive but I don't know that I'd base out of Pleasant Bay; better to continue on down the Trail an hour and maybe make Ingonish your stop point for the first Trail day. Ingonish-Louisbourg-Port Hawkesbury is about 4 1/2 hours driving + whatever time you spend looking around and visiting/hiking. 3 hours more puts you in Halifax.

I'd second LJ's Lighthouse Route suggestion; I did Halifax-Mahone Bay on the highway not knowing about the coast road and if there's one thing I'd change, it's that. Continue on to Lunenburg and make that a slow day. From Lunenburg, you could go to Digby and catch the ferry to St. John, NB.

Picking up on your whale-watching intentions, you also have an alternative in Digby Neck. There's a thread discussing it here:

http://bit.ly/XBOSqB

HTH
u
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 01:44 PM
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Thank you for your input. We may consider cutting out Montreal or St.Andrews to allow for more time along the lighthouse route.

We were thinking of the St. Andrews/Alma-->Summerside route as the journey along the Bay of Fundy area interests us more from what we know so far. No family in St. Andrews but it looks to be 5.5 hours from Quebec City and we anticipate wanting a rest by then.

I am interested in knowing your opinions re: staying a night in Bay St.Lawrence (Burtons Sunset Oasis) to explore Meat cove and take in some whale watching in pleasant bay before continuing on to ingonish for our final 2 nights on the trail.

Your help is appreciated ever so much.
T.
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 02:52 PM
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How're you planning to get from Peggy's Cove to Bangor? By way of the Digby ferry or drive back around?

u
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 07:04 PM
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Hi again,

Our plan is to drive back around. Don't feel the ferry saves that much time vs. driving?
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Old Jan 17th, 2013, 07:47 PM
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I didn't actually get into Meat Cove the time I was there; I did Baddeck-Pleasant Bay and stayed at the Mid Trail Motel which appears to have about the same rating and similar views out onto expanse of ocean.

As a general rule of thumb, I'm not one for backtracking over covered ground but if there was a stretch of road to break that rule for, this'd be it.

Looking at it on a map,

http://bit.ly/VNDzgD

you can see you're pretty close in all 3 points: Pleasant Bay, Meat Cove and Ingonish (about 1 1/2 hour drive from one extreme to the other. "D" on that map is this roadside stop-off here: (Google Streetview)

http://bit.ly/RxcAov

and the scenery is spectacular (Streetview doesn't do it justice). As you can see, the grade is fairly steep but the scenery on the Pleasant Bay-Ingonish stretch was my personal favourite of the entire Trail. So you could certainly do a lot worse than doing Pleasant Bay-Meat Cove two or three times.

Definitely make sure your brakes are serviced (I dropped my rental into 2nd gear for a fair bit of the downslope just to go easy on the brakes).

As for the Lighthouse Route, are you planning on doing it from Ingonish or stopping off first in say Halifax or Truro?

u
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Old Jan 19th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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We will stay in Peggys Cove and then do the lighthouse route from there. All of your input has been do helpful!
T
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Old Jan 19th, 2013, 10:37 AM
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Sorry, TM-I missed your question: no, there is no reason not to continue on with your plan with Baddeck. There is a Ceilidh in an old church hall in the middle of town that is widely advertised and is a MUST. So, by all means, take in Baddeck and use it as a starter for the Trail. We had trouble finding a good (sit-down)restaurant in Baddeck, but the Herring-Choker was great for sandwiches and baked goods for a picnic for the trip...really useful if you are planning to explore Meat Cove et al.

I am delighted we persuaded you to include the Lighthouse Route, it is most worthwhile...when you get closer to fine-tuning come back on and ask re:food (my personal travel passion) and I can help with restaurant suggestions throughout NS.
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Old Jan 20th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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Thanks LJ! I think we will work on getting an itinerary down and then come back for some feedback and fine tuning as you suggest
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Hi Everyone,

I'm back with our plans finalized and now looking for suggestions re: food, must see things or off the beaten path sights etc!

Here's the plan with a rough idea of what we think we would like to do in each area:

Niagara to Montreal 1 nite in old MTL

2 nites Quebec City (stroll around old town, check out restaurants, pubs, Cafes)

2 nites Alma, NB
(Hope well rocks. Magnetic hill, ? fundy national park)

2 nites Peggys Cove, NS, (day trip to lunenberg)

1 nite Halifax (historic properties, harbour, possible trip to lawrencetown beach for surfing)

Cabot Trail: 1 nite Baddeck, 1 nite Pleasant Bay, 1 nite Meat Cove, 1 nite ingonish ( plan on ceilidh in baddeck and whale watching as well as skyline trail from pleasant bay, beach day on ingonish beach)

2 nites Covehead, PEI ( brackley beach ceilidh, national park)

1 nite Bangor,ME (rest)

1 nite Sudbury, VT on working farm

2 nites Lake Placid, NY (hike mt Jo, Olympic centre-bobsledding)

Thanks for all the help so far!!
TM
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Old Mar 23rd, 2013, 02:18 PM
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For a rest stop on the way between Halifax and Cape Breton, you should stop at the Dragonfly Cafe near Antigonish. It has the best coffee and baked goods anywhere between Cape Breton and Halifax. I used to make that drive a few times a month, and I would plan my departure time to make sure I'd be at the Dragonfly before it closed (at 3 pm in the winter - ridiculous!)

It's a low red building right on the side of the highway near Mother Webb's, and you have to keep a sharp eye out for it or you'll miss it.
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