S: OUR NOVA SCOTIA TRIP - JULY, 2012
FC: NOVA SCOTIA 2012
1: NOVA SCOTIA | NOVA SCOTIA | ARRIVED JULY 6, 2012 | ... is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province of the four in Atlantic Canada. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest province in Canada, with an area of 55,284 square km's, including Cape Breton and some 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2012. the population was over 945,000, making Nova Scotia the second-most-densely populated province in Canada.
3: Do you know someone who lives in Nova Scotia? That was often the question we were asked when we told people we were going to Nova Scotia. When we said, "No, it's just a place we've always wanted to go," most people agreed that they have always wanted to visit Eastern Canada too. Anyone who had been there before us had great things to say about their visit. So, armed with recommendations from others and our 'Top Ten List' of things we both wanted to see, we were eager for our trip to begin. Although we have been fortunate in our years together to travel to many different places, particularly the Caribbean and Mexico, neither of us had been east of Toronto (Tania) - Montreal (Ted). We knew that there was a lot to take in, and even with a carefully planned itinerary we wouldn't be able to see it all. There was a lot of history in nearly ever city, town and village. We had a long list of art galleries and shopping spots. We wanted to drive the Cabot Trail, see Peggy's Cove, relax at the Halifax Jazz | Festival and travel to the Bay of Fundy. An important part of any 'Stilson' vacation is the food and there was no shortage of seafood restaurants that awaited. It was going to be a fun and busy trip ... custom-designed for Ted & I. Our planning began early in 2012. We knew this was the trip we wanted to do this year. We booked a lovely cottage near the sea about 40 minutes outside of Halifax, just pass Musquodoboit Harbour, and started plotting the other points of interest we wanted to explore. I had shared the plans for our upcoming adventure with my Grandad. A few months ago, in late March, he passed away. He was very excited about our trip, so when he left all his granddaughter's 'a little something' we thought our vacation to Nova Scotia would be a good place to spend it. We raised our glasses many times and thought of him fondly throughout the trip. Thanks Grandad! So, after a rather emotional departure as we left our six-month-old pup, Chloe, at the kennel and instructions for the boys we were off on our first Eastern Canada holiday. | Thank God for our unlimited mileage rental car. We logged over 2,200 km's on our trusty 2012 Toyota Corolla ... vrooom, vrooom!
4: 20 different types of whales come into the Canso Causeway bay each year. As we drove across the causeway we noticed a number of cars pulled off to the side of the road, so we stopped to see what was happening. It was a rare sight, or so the papers said the following day. There were over 50 Pilot and Minke whales feasting on Mackeral and squid. Pilot whales are notorious for getting stranded on beaches, but no beached whales today. It was a rare and beautiful site. What an amazing way to start our visit to Cape Breton! | Entering Cape Breton via the CANSO CAUSEWAY
5: GLENORA DISTILLERY
6: Exploring Cape Breton Island & The Cabot Trail It has been called one of the world's most scenic drives. There are no words that can truly describe this magical place. You must see it in order to fully appreciate its beauty!
8: CABOT TRAIL We found the trail to be very peaceful. We could easily drive for 15 minutes without seeing another car. The scenery was breathtaking. Great food, art and conversation in the car added to the full experience. Memorable moments for sure! | Cod by Terrance Fortune
9: One Cow Down by Williatte
10: OAKWOOD MANOR B&B One ofCanada's oldest | We stayed at the quaint and peaceful Oakwood Manor - just a short drive off the Cabot Trail in Cape North. The manor was built in 1930 by the owner's father. The interior has a unique nautical feel because of the inlaid oak and maple. We stayed in the suite to the right of the house. The perfect place to hunker down after a long day of driving and exploring. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast the next morning as well as some stimulating conversation with an American couple from New York city.
12: WHITE POINT | Cape Breton | July 7, 2012
13: This young man's name is Daniel. He is the son of a lobster fisherman and was happily jigging for Mackerel when we arrived. He talked with Ted about living in White Point and how he loved eating lobster. His oldest brother had sadly moved away and Daniel said, "That's the thing about living on an island ... not everyone gets to stay."
14: White Point | Cape Breton
15: LANDING A MACKEREL With Daniel's help, Ted was able to jig a Mackerel up from the cold waters off the dock. Two different locals told us to head to White Point and we're glad we did.
17: Cabot Trail | The history of The Cabot Trail goes back a long way. The Micmac natives inhabited the area prior to the arrival of John Cabot in 1497. It was eventually settled by the Scottish, Irish, French & British. Cabot Trail has a rich and colourful history. The trail road started being used in 1927. In 1932 it took 10 hours to travel from Cheticamp to Cape North - a distance of only 50 miles. The Cabot Trail loop is now 298 km. long. Our journey took us through the charming communities of Cheticamp, Pleasant Bay, Cape North, Ingonish, and Baddeck. One day we'll return to explore Sydney and Louisbourg.
19: I always feel so lucky that I married Ted - and for many reasons. His artistic eye captures the magic of Cape Breton beautifully. The blue waters of the Atlantic crashing thunderously onto the rugged rocks with the open sky and rolling green hills are not something that I will easily forget. It has been a delight to meet Eastern Canadians. Although we share a country, we had never been able to envision how our neighbour's to the east live. what struggles they endure and how their history has shaped them. They are as warm, welcoming and hospitable as everyone told us. Oh Canada!
20: Highlands Links Golf Course ... is the number one rated public course in Canada and ranks in the top 100 courses worldwide. It was designed by Stanley Thompson in 1941. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time for Ted to play but we did poke around the ProShop and had an informative chat with the assistant pro. Golfing in Nova Scotia ... one more thing to look forward to when we return here someday.
21: Baddeck ... is located in central Cape Breton. It is set along the beautiful Bras d'Or Lake and offered plenty to see and do.
22: SEA WIND LANDING COUNTRY INN This was a great little find. Located on a 20-acre peninsula, adjacent to the colourful Acadian village of Charlos Cove. The innkeepers were very hospitable, the food was incredible and the scenery spectacular. Too bad it was only a one night stop, as we both could have stayed longer at this peaceful and tranquil inn by the sea.
24: CHARLOS COVE | Cape Breton | July 8, 2012
25: We got up on this morning and went for a walk before breakfast. We stumbled across a church and noticed that over eighty percent of the names on the crosses were Richard. It was our first introduction to Acadian history. We later learned that the town was settled in 1760 and was named after one of the first settlers, Charles Richard. After the deportation, the Acadians were allowed to return to Nova Scotia but settled in the most remote areas. You get a real sense of how these small, close-knit family villages relied so strongly on each other in order to survive the harsh conditions.
26: PORT BICKERTON LIGHTHOUSE It was a windy day when we arrived at the Port Bickerton Interpretive Centre. They only accepted cash ($6.00 total). We hadn't seen a bank machine for days and barely scraped together enough change to gain admission. The views from the lighthouse were spectacular! This visit made us appreciate the rugged, isolated life of a lighthouse keeper and his family.
27: HALIFAX Our full day in Halifax was a great one and custom designed just for us. We started at the Pier 21 Museum where we heard stories about the over 1 million immigrants who came through this port. We then went on to enjoy a young group of musicians from Cuba at JazzFest and then onwards to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and a fabulous seafood lunch to end our day.
28: HALIFAX The Harbourwalk was a lovely area filled with shops, galleries, food and, of course, the busy harbour. Ted was very happy when we saw Tommy the Tugboat. We did the obligatory stop at Alexander Keith's Brewery but found the Garrison microbrewery to be better. The weather was very warm, so we picked up a few groceries, some Garrison beer and headed back home for a cool and relaxing meal on our gazebo.
29: Exploring | HALIFAX
30: PEGGY'S COVE
31: ... a picture is worth a thousand words.
33: Blue Rocks | Magic Hour by quilt artist, Laurie Swim
38: Our quiet, relaxing, picturesque home away from home ... JEDDORE, N.S.
42: Folk Artist BARRY COLPITTS | Barry Colpitts has been carving since 1989 and his work has become very popular with collectors throughout North America. Many of his carvings are of mermaids or include mermaids. His brightly decorated house has become a popular attraction for local people and tourists alike. Barry has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles and his environment was the subject of an episode of the Life Channel's "Weird Homes" in 2001. His work has been shown nationally and he was one of 30 finalists out of more than 800 entries in the Imago national art contest in 2002. One of his paintings was purchased by the Nova Scotia Art Bank in 2007. Barry's artwork was featured on the 2009 Nova Scotia Folk Art Festival poster. His latest carved chair has been added to the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
44: SHORE CLUB The Shore Club is a third generation, family-owned business that has become one of the 'must places to eat' in Nova Scotia. Great atmosphere, all the mussels you could eat, 3 sizes of lobster to choose from, lobster-eating technique taught by a friendly waitress and lemon meringue pie for dessert. What a nice way to spend an evening after a long day of exploration.
46: DAY'S END Tall-masted schooners arouse the bay, are messages in the inlet quietly nudging darkened silhouettes, like pages from a diary their worlds to ponder, and dreams to encounter. Shoreline’s a hilly ridge rippling at water’s edge, as sunset splays one last outburst of gleam, her warming breath serene. Lay your troubles aside while earth turns a tired cheek- her last gasp of solitude, a soliloquy of peace.
49: NOVA SCOTIA Mist the dawning day, by the sea at Peggy's Cove. Rise the fields with morning sun - a seagull's hunt takes hold. Gentle summer breezes of a vibrant land so pure. Dramatic skies, which fall and rise, near Indian Harbor. Nova Scotia takes command, a breathless place so true with brilliant views at every point, of traveling you do. The people, proud and virtuous, as wholesome as their land - Cape Blomidon to Ingonish, bagpipers play for clans. Boats moor the inlet fishing village, the sea bears fruits of joy. The rivers dance fresh Salmon - the Spring reveals their story. Take my ashes to Cape Breton or to the clear Bay of Mahone. For when I depart - the tide has my heart ... Nova Scotia is my home.