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mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 10:11 AM

The next step of the planning process for me is to look at alternatives for rainy days (for me, that means to either go somewhere where it's not raining or hit up a museum or shopping, or in worst case scenario - switch up the future itinerary and use the bad weather as driving time to get to the next place early). I am flexible with the itinerary once I'm on the road. It's just nice to be able to plot out an itinerary to the point that I can start reserving rooms.

OceanBreeze1 Jun 29th, 2009 12:22 PM

It does not make sense to go from Ingonish, to Port Hawkesbury & then back to Mabou.( see Canada post)

mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 12:28 PM

Yes - the plans in Cape Breton are not really worked out yet. I just put those things in there because they are events that I came across. They are not definite and I'm looking for things that fit in better distance-wise.

emalloy Jun 29th, 2009 12:35 PM

Why aren't you flying in and out of Manchester, NH or Portland, ME. or in one place and out of the other. I know it costs more to do the drop off thing but do look into starting your trip farther north. Many Massachusetts folks use the Manchester airport.

texasjo Jun 29th, 2009 12:47 PM

Portsmouth would be a good stop for first night. In addition to Neddick Light, Portland Head Light is a must. Please take a few minutes to stop by and you'll be glad you did. We are just back from road trip from Boston to Maine with primary focus being scenery and lighthouses. Those two (which we'd visited before) and West Quoddy are among our favorites anywhere. We saw so many and loved each one but I won't add others to your already crowded list :) Campabello is definitely worth your time and East Quoddy is beautiful if the fog doesn't roll in. We barely got a photo and quickly could not see anything. In Lubec, we stayed at Home Port Inn and enjoyed it very much; they have a fine restaurant there. Drive the scenic byway to Schoodic Peninsula and take time to drive to Schoodic Point for a walk on the rocks and big splashes.

mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 12:53 PM

emalloy - The ticket to BOS was purchased based on cost factors. RT between DFW & BOS was $169. RT to anywhere else I checked in the region was over $550. I looked at small airports as well as large...and tried creating my own connections through WestJet. Nothing beat (or even came close to) the $169 for BOS.

And really, the drive from Boston to Portland is only about 2 hours if you bypass the coast...wasn't worth paying three times as much for a plane ticket.

mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 12:58 PM

texasjo - Thanks...Sounds like you did see much of what I plan to see. Portland Head is definitely on my list. If you post a trip report, let me know...I'd love to read it.

LaurenKahn1 Jun 29th, 2009 03:39 PM

There are three routes across NS, as I recall. Going either along the north or south shore the roads are slower. The route that goes across NS is the most direct.

I still think you have planned way too much driving and will inevitably find out you cannot do your schedule. As I recall, Yarmouth to Sydney (most direct route) is about 12 hours to give you an idea. I know you are going around the north way, but the driving is no picnic.

I do think your plan to stop and stay in Baddeck is a good one. There are lots of options there for housing. If you don't have reservations anywhere in NS, stop at tourist information and they will find you a place to stay. There are lots of bed and breakfasts in addition to motels.

My problem with your schedule is that it will all end up as a drive by and you will be exhausted. What I would do is leave options open in case you find out your schedule is too ambitious.

In two weeks, when I did it (and this is 1993 now), I drove from DC to Portland to meet the ferry and put my car on the ferry to Yarmouth. On the second day I drove to our home exchange outside of Halifax in Bedford. We did one driving trip to Cape Breton combined with at least one night on PEI to visit all the "Anne" sites and see the "Anne of Green Gables" musical. My daughter was into the books at that time. I believe we were out a total of 3 nights but, of course, cannot remember where we stayed at this point.

To go home, we took the Scotia Prince from Yarmouth (went during the day going back). The overnight ferry from Portland ran every day when we went and we took that as it was less driving than going to Bar Harbor. The ferry we took took 11 hours (not the current catamarans).

We drove home to DC, I believe, from Portland in one day. I remember the car's air conditioner broke down as we got on the New Jersey Turnpike. Yuk!

The things we remember from trips.

My trip to ME was totally separate from the NS adventure. Aside from Campobello and St. Andrew's I have not been to NB.

If you like white water rafting, raft the tidal bore as it comes in on the Schubenacadie River. The river is a mudflat at low tide. Really something to experience, but make sure you stay overnight afterwards because you will get filthy and need a place to clean up. The trip is timed to coincide with the tidal bore. Really fantastic! My son still talks about it. He got thrown in and he thought it was wonderful (you wear lifejackets). Actually, I think he sort of threw himself in. He was back in the boat before we knew it had happened.

I would love to return to NS at some point. Anyone want to home exchange in DC? Not this year, though. This year I am off to Finland on an exchange.

mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 03:56 PM

Oh ok...No, I'm not taking the ferry, so I am missing the entire portion of NS that goes from Yarmouth to Halifax. I'm keeping north of that. You can drive into NS through New Brunswick. You'd have to look at a map - I think that my "north way" and your "north way" are completely different. I think that you have the Yarmouth-Wolfville-Truro-Halifax drive in mind. I'm not headed that way at all. I'm doing the Moncton-Truro-Port Hawkesbury route. In other wordds, I'm driving up and around the north end of the bay of Fundy as opposed to crossing the Bay of Fundy and starting in way south NS (Yarmouth).

I'm not real big on the tidal bore river rafting idea...maybe if I had kids. But with just me, I'd be more interested in watching others than doing it myself. (I'd rather take a picture from shore of someone falling in than falling in myself.) I don't think the short time that I'll be in Truro coincides with the tidal bore, but I haven't really researched it after changing the date either.

And, girl!! You are talking about a lot of driving on my trip!! It seems like you took some long out-of-the-way drives for just one night!! =)

I will be flexible with the plans...I'm just trying to get an idea of the possible. Nothing is definite until I've already done it.

LaurenKahn1 Jun 29th, 2009 04:08 PM

We had days on that trip where our drive was from Halifax to the light house just outside Halifax.

The home exchange was for 2 weeks. After we got to Halifax, aside from the drive to Cape Breton and PEI, we did not do a lot of driving. The driving was simply getting there and back.

I know you can get from Boston to NS driving. To get from Boston to St. Andrew's NB is about 8 hours, I think.

On the drive to the ferry, we did not do it all in one day. We stopped overnight in CT. I remember we stopped at Old Sturbridge Village, MA. I can't recall whether we did that going or coming home. I believe we drove straight home from Portland in one day. When the a/c broke in the car, any thought of stopping overnight somewhere went right out the open window.

It's your trip. You asked. I said. You want to do something I don't think is great, hey, it's your trip. Go for it! Please come back and give us a trip report when it is all over.

mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 04:47 PM

<You want to do something I don't think is great, hey, it's your trip.>
I appreciate your input. I'm just not sure I'm understanding exactly what you are telling me would be better. I think it's essentially to pick a spot and explore it for 10 days, but I've already explained that's not what I'm looking for in this trip. So, I guess all I can say at this point is that I'm thankful that we all do get to have our own opinions. I'm certainly open to constructive feedback (which is why I posted), but I'm either not understanding or disagreeing - and oddly, I'm not sure which.

I will definitely post a trip report. Thanks again for your help! I wasn't trying to be critical...just trying to understand.

LaurenKahn1 Jun 29th, 2009 04:58 PM

To each his own. I wouldn't recommend all the driving you are doing, but, as I said, it is your vacation.

When I planned my vacation I had no idea how much driving there would be. If I were to do it all over again, I would have cut out PEI. The problem was that in 1993 my daughter would have killed me if I did that. To her the trip was all about "Anne of Green Gables". So, we had to go to PEI.

The Celtic Festival sounds wonderful. Make sure to get the "Doers and Dreamers" book from NS tourist information. Order it ahead of time. That book is the bible of any NS trip.

mrkindallas Jun 29th, 2009 05:01 PM

Maybe you were just reading the original post at the top before I revised the trip somewhere in the middle of this page. ?? If that's the case, then I agree that my original plans were ranging from improbable to impossible. I think that I made a decent revision, but it will still not be anything like the trip that you had. I do understand having a home base and exploring out from there, but without kids or anyone tagging along, and without lots of stuff weighing me down, I'm more into the stop here one night and move on type of adventure for this trip.

dbldidit Jul 1st, 2009 09:32 AM

Hi Dallas gal - I live just north of Boston and my husband, pup and I are planning a similar trip in a couple of weeks. We are driving straight to Bar Harbor/Acadia and staying 3 nites (we need to realx for a few days, as I am a teacher :), then up to NB to stay in Fundy for 3 nights and then over to NS on the north side - staying overnight at Stonehame (Scotsboro) before driving to Cheticamp (2 nites) and back through NB (St. John's- Check out the Homeport B & B) and then Campden ME. The reason we are doing 15 nights is because the driving is much longer and tiresome than it may appear. (We did part of Texas 2 years ago and loved it - think I 35 San Antonio for typical New ENgland traffic I'm afraid - I'm sure it'll be netter in Canada)- I think you still may be overly optimistic - I didn't get the best feedback about Meat Cove - are you planning the Skyline Trail to hike? We are staying at Merry's Motel in Cheticamp - we are booked in dog friendly places - I like to plan and pick a point to go to , but my mother-in-law was trapped on a Nova Scotia/PEI car trip with her sister-in-law a few years ago and they drove forever and often arrived just before ares were closing - it gets dark earlier than you think in the North East in the Fall- I advise you check out some sunset time to enjoy on the beach and the tides are very important for view certain areas. Just wanted to help you out. Enjoy your trip. dbldidit

OceanBreeze1 Jul 1st, 2009 12:27 PM

dbldidit, are you going to do The Cabot Trail when you are in Cape Breton?

mrkindallas Jul 1st, 2009 09:01 PM

dbldidit - Thanks for the input! Yes, I am planning to hike Skyline Trail.

What have you heard about Meat Cove? I was also planning to do one of the hikes in that area. I haven't come across more than one negative review of Meat Cove, which was from someone who wasn't particularly thrilled with much of Nova Scotia it seemed, so I discounted that review. The pictures that I've seen of the area are stunning. I certainly am not expecting that there will be much around other than nature...and am not looking for luxurious overnight stays.

Merry's Motel in Cheticamp is also high on my list of possible overnight stays. I've read a lot of good reviews. The Homeport B&B also looks like a nice stop. There are so many interesting inns and B&Bs in the area that it is difficult to pick. I've never stayed in a B&B before, so that will be a new experience for me. I'm planning on staying in B&Bs and small family run inns every night (except the first since I'm arriving so late).

I do have sunrise sunset calendars for my locations and have made a note to remember to print out the tide schedules and maybe tidal bore schedules.

I hope you post a trip report - or at least update me on your experiences (good and bad)...and that you all have a great trip - including the pooch (wish I was able to bring my two - they are well-behaved and love road trips, but they are big dogs and would be too much for just one person to handle for that long on the road =( ).

dbldidit Jul 2nd, 2009 07:01 AM

Hi - we definitely are doing the Cabot Trail! My hubby dislikes crowds on vacation , so we joke that we always "Just missed the festival!" :) Taffy is trained to look out the window tethered to her car bed! I didn't mean to be negative re meat cove, it's just a long trip i think - check out this traveler's notes : - he suggests staying overnight there - I think ALL coasts are beautiful 0 that's way I love living driving distance to the coast my whole life. We will also take the hoteliers advice about the best walks/hikes/views. I do plan to report (I obsess the week I return creating our memory book) I must state strongly that Columbus Day is a HUGE holiday around here - many who can take the Friday off and going to NH or ME or western MA is big -generally the peak is more near MA but you can never tell- there are many colleges around here and I think that is a big parents/homecoming weekend/football thing as well. that first night - hotels next to Logan are not exactly in Boston proper. Maybe shuttle to a hotel and then public transportation into Boston for the day and then rent your car back near your hotel?

mrkindallas Jul 2nd, 2009 04:17 PM

Oh...Yeah...I actually came across that website and read their entire trip report. I think that if you are already on the Cabot Trail loop, then it's not that much more distance (considering how far you've come already). It sounded like a 30 minute drive for 16 miles from their trip report. My understanding from other websites is that the last 10 miles are unpaved, but not horrible to drive on. Google Maps actually puts the drive at about 18 miles, 45 minutes from Cape North, which is where you would turn off of the Cabot Trail - still close enough for distance/time not to be an issue for me.

I've decided to cut out the back country driving through Maine on the way back, so I'm no longer concerned about the slow backroads that day. I'm sure that Columbus Day traffic headed back into Boston will be a nightmare even on the highways. So I'll just be prepared for a day of road rage and slow driving. Worst case scenario is that I get back so late that I have to stay up the rest of the night in order to not miss the plane. I've done that once before while doing a Washington, DC - Baltimore - NYC trip. I fell asleep as soon as I got on the plane...woke up an hour later and we were still sitting on the runway. I was actually thankful for being so sleepy that day.

dbldidit Jul 18th, 2009 06:00 AM

Hi mrkindallas - here we are in Nova Scotia - it took us 6 hours to drive from north of Boston to Bar HArbor - on a Monday morning with no traffic (and my hubby drives long distances all the time for work). We stopped at the lovely tourist info in BATH, MAINE - cute town, but then got back on the road and hit the "bottle neck" at Wisscasset (sp?) Stopped at the dock at SPRAGUE"S for the absolutely BEST lobster roll ever (all lobstah!) BAr Harbor town is a bit touristy, but Shore Line walk and we had access to a private beach to walk - really cool (remember these beaches are not like FLA, they are almost all rocks and shells, sp wear your Keenes or other gripping water shoes) Cottage St Bakery and Deli just outside of the main drag in Town is the place for breakfast (dogs can stay with you on the heated patio). Then we drove up through New Brunswick (we will stay in St. John on the return)- be aware, after MACHIAS (and EAst MAchias) in MAine there is almost nothing for hours until closer to St. JOhn. We passed through immigration at Calais, ME to St. Stephen NB, where we stopped at the first ATM and got some CAD. It was about 6 hours to our place near Alma in Fundy - Hopewell rocks a must at low tide. One more night here until our next leg in Mid NS.

mrkindallas Jul 18th, 2009 07:06 AM

Thanks for the update! I am looking forward to that rocky shoreline...where I hope to find some beautiful seaglass. The drive times are about what I expected - and I'm surprised considering that you are contending with summer crowds. Looking forward to future updates! Have a great time!

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