The Beautiful Cabot Trail, Cape Breton

Sunset on the Cabot Trail

 

Personally, I think the best time to tour the Cabot Trail is once the leaves turn color, but recently we took the opportunity to introduce some friends from Holland to it’s beauty.

We were only joining them for part of the trip,so we picked up the RV they had booked at CanaDream in Waverly, and headed out.

Day One

We only made it to Port Hood-and only stopped there because it was the closest thing we could find for a camping spot. We drove into Sunset Sands RV Park at around 8pm.No one was around to help us so we helped ourselves to a site. A telephone number posted on the door led to a voicemail. It was easy to see the park catered to mostly seasonal people, but I was disappointed at the work involved in trying to connect with someone-anyone- so we could sort out payment and such.

It was waterfront and windy-but it’s Cape Breton after all.

Port Hood, Cabot Trail
Port Hood, Cabot Trail

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6 Great Ways to View The Fall Colors

Kejimkujik in the fall

I love fall-everything is  brighter and crisper. No humidity. No mosquitoes. It makes me feel like actually DOING something. Not work. No. I mean fun things.

And there are a lot of choices. Hikes. Kayaking. Just a drive with a stop for a quick fall picnic.

This year, the leaves are  a little late turning. But give it another week or so and everything will be gor-ge-ous.

So, here we go

Drive this Fall

If you are out for a Sunday drive, a beautiful spot -even without the reds and yellows of fall is the drive along White Rock Road in Kings County.

Grape vines line the southerly slopes of the hill and the Gaspereau River snakes though the valley at the bottom. There aren’t really good pull of spots along there so take care when getting out to get  a photo.  If you’re heading to Benjamin Bridge Winery,the driveway to winery is a great place to snap a picture .

How to get there.

At Exit 10 on Highway 101, and continue into the town of Wolfville. +Turn up Gaspereau Avenue ( across from Tim Horton’s ) and continue along that (about 3.5 km) until you see Gaspereau Vineyards on your right, Turn right there-you are on White Rock Road. Drive along about 8km, until  just before the crossroads, you will see Ridge Rd on your right.Travel back east along that for more fall beauty and a stunning view of Port Williams , Greenwich and  the Minas Basin.

Fall snapshops of vineyards on White Rock Rd.
Fall snapshots of vineyards on White Rock Rd.Just a teeny bit of color so far…. Susan Carey Photo

Church Street, Port Williams to the Look Off
Apple Orchards, Wineries, Cheese, farm and dyke land, topped off by this view below. Stop at Fox Hill Cheese for some gelato.

How to Get There:

Take Exit 11 and go down to the set of lights  and go straight through them-after they turn green of course,that is Hwy 358. Once into the village of  Port Williams, turn right on Church Street and just follow that around the loopuntil it connects back to Hwy 358, then head north to the Look Off

Fall Colors at the Look Off
Fall Colors at the Look Off

 

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The Mighty Bay of Fundy

Medford Beach, Bay of Fundy

Nova Scotia’s Mighty Bay of Fundy: Part 1 of a 8 Part Series: Nova Scotia, My Heart and My Home

Medford Beach, Bay of Fundy
Medford Beach, Bay of Fundy

 

Years ago, as a newly wed, my husband was offered an interview with a company in British Columbia. That interview hinted at wonderful opportunities and a good life.

How did I take this exciting news?

I cried. I cried for days at the very thought of moving from Nova Scotia.

Finally, my husband cancelled the interview.

 

And, after all this time, I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere but this beautiful province. Why would I? As a child, there wasn’t much opportunity to explore. As an adult, I am sure as hell making up for that. Even so, I could never experience all I wanted to do, see, taste and smell in one lifetime in Nova Scotia.

Every shore is different. Every shore is a natural playground all its own. I love being so accessible to rivers, lakes, the Atlantic and my personal favorite-the mighty Bay of Fundy. After all, it was practically on my front door step.

As a child,I learned to swim in the rust colored water of the Avon River.

I walked the ocean floor before it became a THING, and  sunk in red mud up to my shins, scraped my toes on barnacles and ruined white tee shirts that will never again be even close to white.

Of course, many flock to the Bay of Fundy solely to witness its amazing tides, which can reach as high as a then 5 story building, and come in as fast as a running horse. Tidal bores, flowerpots, fishing boats resting on a bed of mud. It’s all good.

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George’s Island-More than Just Snakes

 

George's Island
Doesn’t this just make your skin crawl?

Celebrating Canada’s 150 birthday means parties and special events this entire year. I mentioned in an earlier post on Nova Scotia’s National Parks & Historic sites that I’m doing my best to get to some of these.

During Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Festival such an opportunity presented itself.  George’s Island was opened for tours, a concert and a Taste of Nova Scotia event were held there.

What could I do-I bought tickets to the tunnel tours and hopped on the ferry.

George's Island
Drummer Boys

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Those Hidden Gems-Black Rock Trails and Lighthouse

 

Black Rock TrailsRecently we all hopped in the car- husband, dog and me- and set off for a Sunday drive. Now you may know me well enough by now to know I am not a sit in the car and drive around type of gal, but more of a let’s see what we can get into, err, I mean do, woman.  This may or may not cause ‘heated’ in-car discussion. Not with the dog-she always wants to do things. Nuff said.

That Sunday was no different.  We headed up Middle Dyke Road off the 101 and then west on the 221, swinging up the North Mountain towards Black Road, thinking we may find a good place to get to  the beach.

Black Rock Trails

But upon entered the community, a small a sign invited us to  enjoy the trails.

Woah-what trails were these, now?

We found out a few kms down the  road at the Black Rock Community Hall.  Seems like there is a series of trails  hidden behind the hall-but not secret-everyone apparently knew about these Black Rock Trails.Everybody  but me.
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Guided Meanderings on Oak Island

Oak Island WanderingsI have a secret. Please don’t throw tomatoes at the computer, but….I don’t watch ‘the Curse of Oak Island.’ There, I’ve said it.

Which made the tour I took today a bit awkward.

Who was that nondescript bespectacled man signing autographs? Turns out he was our tour guide and beloved character on the Curse of Oak Island  series, Charles Barkhouse.
Oops.

Old Island Wanderlust

 

There’s a good chance I was the only person on the tour that hadn’t watched  a entire episode of the show, and that’s including my entire family-who seem to be rabid fans. Who knew.

Both the ‘Official Website  of Oak Island, Nova Scotia’  and the ‘Friends of Oak Island Society’  website were (and are) suspiciously bereft of information regarding ticket sales, but my sister managed to get 6 tickets for the  tour-and man, tickets are not easy to get.Private tours are about $300 for 10 people, while the public tour was a deal at $30. Both tours were sold out in less than an hour. You need to be on your toes to get these tickets, people!

We booked the public tour-I’d say there were about 25 people, making it easy get close enough to snap pictures and to hear the tour clearly. Charles was such a wealth of information that my scant knowledge of the island didn’t  matter.  By tours end, I knew about Borehole 10X  (looked down into it actually), the so tragic  deaths of  Robert Restall, his son Bobby, Karl Graeser and Cyril Hiltz. and the cabbage farmer who  shipped his produce across the way to Tancook Island.
Charles is an exceptional storyteller and seems genuinely passionate about the Island, it’s history and of course the treasure that may be lurking beneath. How can I tell he loves doing this? Charles didn’t disappear immediately after the tour,good-naturedly fielding the constant bombardment of questions and requests for pictures and autographs (yes,I got one)

And this was his 3rd 2 hour tour of the day.

Oak Island Meandering
Oak Island is home to the longest running and most famous treasure hunt in the world. The treasure hunt began in 1795 with the accidental discovery of the “Money Pit“.

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Delaps Cove Wilderness Trails-The Bohaker Trail

Delaps Cove

It”s been years since I’ve done the Bohaker Trail in Delaps Cove in Annapolis County . I remembered it was  a fairly short hike and that there was a point along the trail where one could see the Bay of Fundy and a waterfall at the same time. The trail was indeed short-just over 2 km, and that includes a careful decent to the bottom of the falls.

Once again, a perfect day. No bugs. No rain. No blistering heat. The rainfall the day before left some wet and mucky sections, but nothing we couldn’t get past.
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Bring Your Bike to Big Tancook

Bike Tancook Island
Biking on Tancook Island

One of the best things about bringing your  bike over to Big Tancook Island is -you get to the food first. You can roll right off the ferry and pump you legs up the hill past the couples, the families and the old folks with walkers and canes.
I jest,of course. While it’s true Tancook has limited choices for restaurants, and while it’s also true food is usually everyone’s first stop, you could just as easily whiz by them and take a swing around the island itself.
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How to Pack a Carry-on for 5 Days Travel to Newfoundland

How to Pack Light
Travel Light

We leave on the 19th for five days in Newfoundland ​I have been thinking hard about what to  pack.  The main reason we are going especially in the Newfie season of ‘Sprinter” is to  see an iceberg-checking one more thing off my Bucket List. I hope.
I have a little prejudice against paying for checked luggage-especially when we are going for only five days. We are each taking a duffel bag type thingy plus a backpack.
We decided against filling  those five days to the brim-leaving time for unexpected adventure is always fun, but we did book an iceberg boat tour out of St.John’s,and  plan on using our free National Parks Pass 150 at Terra Nova National Park . Maybe  we ‘ll even get to do a bit of cod fishing.
We’re splitting our time between 2 nights   in St.John’s and the other 2 in Charlottetown, near the park. Day 5 is a we – need – to – start – heading – back – towards -the-  airport day.
So what will I pack? Considering it’s likely to be cold, guaranteed to be windy and may be rainy or even snowy (why are we going  this time of year again? Oh yeah, Icebergs  )
I consulted the internet and a friend who lives in Newfoundland
Here’s what made the list.
Waterproof hiking boots. (wear on plane)
Jeans and top (wear on plane)
Warm Jacket (wear on plane)
Lined wind pants
Sneakers/comfy shoes for walking around town
( I love Crocs -they are so comfortable and do not bother my bad knee at all.Pack light
Warm hoodie
Long sleeved tee  shirt-natural fabrics are warm and great for layering
2 short sleeved tees one  a little dressy(polyester resists wrinkling, and hand washed/dries easily)
Tights for wearing under stuff (like wind pants)
Casual slacks that go with all your tops
warm gloves
Warm hat Pj’s
3 sets undies
5 pairs warm socks (cause I hate cold feet)

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We Hiked Cape Split-and Lived to Tell About It.

To all the visitors who asked me about Cape Split at the Visitor Centre.
I lied.
It’s much more hilly then I remembered.
Last weekend, a friend and I hiked Cape Split.

Hiked Camp Split
Personal art

Cape Split Provincial Park Reserve is a 447-hectare with a 12.5 km  trail rimming its northern edge. There are signs at the beginning and all over the web that insist this trail is 16 km..but I measured the sucker with my Tom Tom  and it was just over 6 km each way. I hobbled the trail with my arthritic knee -believe me, I would warn you if it were longer.  I am guesstimating it took us about 5 hours..but we dawdled . We climbed trees. We took pictures. We tried to break into a locked washroom. (Shh). We were slow hiking up the hills- there was mutinous mutterings coming from behind me- and just as slow coming back down them. To my credit, I didn’t take a header or land on my backside.
It was a perfect day. The threatened 5 mm of rain did not appear.

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