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Halifax, Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia must do's after Maine
Old 09-05-2016, 04:08 PM   #1
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Halifax, Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia must do's after Maine

Any suggestions for Nova Scotia, Canada as to must see or must do type activities? My wife and I are low key, like wildlife, scenery, etc.

I already know we are likely taking the CAT ferry from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth after an already extended vacation. I also know we want to drive all the way up to the norther section to do the Cabot Trail as we love scenic areas/drives. What I don't know is much else about Nova Scotia.

Halifax worth spending time in? Is Yarmouth for that matter? Moderate to inexpensive places to eat and stay that are good (and non-chain)? Easy-ish hikes/waterfalls/etc?

I'm a bit of a loss on Nova Scotia as I am still planning the Maine section of the trip. Lodging may start to become an issue the closer to end of September/October but we have to be flexible so it is hard to book in advance.

Edited to add: Likely we will take a ferry back to Quebec (or PEI, although I know nothing about that province either) and head over to the Navigator's route along the St. Lawrence back to the United States (some 30+ hours of driving and 4 days later, )

Somehow I doubt I will be lucky enough to catch the Northern Lights on this trip, but those have been on my list of must do's for over 30 years. One of these days...

In case you are wondering, this is the trip so far:

1. Friday 9/10 (Travel to MN)
b. Dinner with the gang
c. Stay in Bloomington
2. Saturday 9/11 (RennFest)
a. Breakfast ES
b. RennFest
c. Dinner with gang?
d. Stay in Bloomington
3. Sunday 9/12 (Drive through Wisconsin to North Shore Michigan)
a. Stay somewhere around Newberry/goulds area before Sault Ste Marie
4. Monday 9/13 (Drive to Algonquin)
a. Scenic drive in North Shore (St Ignance to Naubinway and M-134 from Hessel to Drummond Island Scenic drive route?)
b. Maybe Mackinac to see the hubbub?
c. If early enough try to find Moose in the park
d. Stay in Huntsville most likely, or in Algonquin if can find a place
5. Tuesday 9/14 (Algonquin)
a. Moose finding in the a.m.
b. Hit the overlooks / small trails
c. Visitor center in Algonquin supposedly has good food
d. Limberlost trails if time / want to
e. look for Moose
f. Stay in same spot as previous night
6. Wednesday 9/15
a. Sugarbush hill maple farm 11 a.m. for tour
b. Drive to Montreal
7. Thursday 9/16 (Montreal)
a. 3 hour drive?
b. Fairmount Bagels Fairmount Bagel - Home
c. Canadian Maple Delights (year round maple syrup snow)
d. Montreal Walking tour or move to tomorrow morning
e. Stay in Montreal
8. Friday 9/17 (Drive to Trois Riveres area, hotel may be an issue)
a. Old Trois River walking tour on our own
b. La Mauricie National Park
i. Cascades trail 1-1.5 hours 2-km length of Les Cascades trail (near the Shewenegan picnic area?)
ii. La Tourbière trail 300meters so 15 minutes but boardwalk over floaty stuff and carnivorous plants
iii. La Cache Trail (30 minutes) maybe
iv. Scenic lookouts (several)
c. Quebec City: Red bus night tour?
d. Stay in Trois Riveres?
e. Three Kings road in reverse
9. Saturday 9/18
b. Head to Quebec City
c. Night bus tour
10. Sunday 9/19
a. Do the on off buss tour all day
b. Quebec Levis Ferry round trip is an hour-ish, maybe do at sunset
c. Ghost tour from tripadvisor MAYBE
11. Monday 9/20
a. More bus tour and/or the 1.5 hour tour
b. Falls
i. Montmorency falls
ii. Canyon Saint-anne falls
c. If time
i. Jacques Cartier National park
12. Tuesday 9/21
a. Head to Mooselake, Wi
b. Moose along the way
c. Stay in Greenville?
13. Wednesday 9/22
a. Mooselake
b. Lilly State Park
c. Moxie Falls 2 mile hike
d. and then moose 210
e. Back to greenville?
14. Thursday 9/23
a. Moose in am then head to Bangor
b. Stay in Bangor
15. Friday 9/24
Bangor a.m. then head to Camden/RockHarbor/Bar Harbor/orrs island/ freeport/portlan/ to be determined the next 2 weeks (including a 2-3 day drive back to the midwest)

[insert Maine plans here]
[insert Nova Scotia plans here]

Aggressive, maybe too much. If we have to slow down we will. This was a 2 week trip to Maine that grew into a 3 week trip to what is now a let's just do it all to see if we want to come back type of trip. LOL
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:36 PM   #2
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Goodness Gracious! You're a planner.

We flew to Manchester, NH, rented a car and drove to Sydney, NS on Cape Breton Island--as far as the roads went. Stopped going up in Moncton, NB and stayed in a B&B in a winery.

I guess my expectations were high for N.S. All the great musicians don't show up until July, and we were there late May. The whole province has been logged, and the forest wasn't very mature. We took all the scenic highways, and it was pretty country. After 15% sales taxes and $12.99 per six pack beer, we were actually glad to get back to maritime Maine.

We found the roadside lobster shacks and beautiful small port cities in towns like Camden, Maine. Next trip, that's about as far north as we'll be going.

Before traveling anywhere, I do read about the region--mostly on Wikipedia. But after years of over planning, we didn't do half the things I spent hours and weeks planning for. Now, we just roll with the flow.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:07 PM   #3
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Yeah, I've been accused of that (planner, organized, etc.) before.

We took a trip last year by the seat of our pants, basically just a direction and a few weeks, and it wasn't the best though. Not disastrous, as we were not sick and it sure is better than work. But where we thought we'd see the ocean on scenic drives (east side of Florida) it was all built up, things were pricier than we had thought, food at places we selected was subpar, and small disasters ranging from a skunk getting in the room and spraying in Kentucky to days and days of rain it wasn't what we expected. We liked the Everglades though. They did a good job with their boardwalks/overlooks making them short but also showing you a lot. And finding alligators was fun.

With Maine I may end up winging it a bit. The coast from Portland to Freeport to Rockland to Camden and of course Bar Harbor seems to have so much going for it we can probably just wing it.

Hmmm, NS has been logged that much? That is sort of sad.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:25 PM   #4
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May as well deke over to New Brunswick, the Bay of Fundy and the Hopewell Rocks:

Hopewell Rocks | Bay of Fundy Attraction | New Brunswick

Tourism NB – Hopewell Rocks | Tide Tables
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:02 PM   #5
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If going from Yarmouth to Cape Breton you will go thru Halifax (as all the roads from the southern part of the province go there). Then you have to decide to take the coast drive north from Halifax or the Inland Trans Canada Highway. Both reach Antoginish where the roads merge to cross to Cape Breton.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:13 PM   #6
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Peggy's Cove NS, if you like small fishing villages. Famous place for some reason. Careful of rocks as every year people get swept off and drown. I remember it as very picture friendly.

"
Just an hour from Halifax, Peggy's Cove and the lighthouse may be reached on Highway 333 from Halifax or Highway 103 from Halifax to Exit 5 and then Route 333. Bus tours are welcome. "
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:02 PM   #7
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If you are willing to go as far as the Cabot Trail, then you can stop by Baddeck to visit Alexander Graham Bell Museum. I learned more about Bell that I did not know. This Scottish native worked on more than just the telephone.

Also on the Cape Breton is the Fortress of Louisbourg, another worthwhile historical site to visit.

In Halifax downtown, the Citadel is of course a must, but the nearby downtown area and the waterfront also offer restaurants and nice walks, all within a couple of miles.

The downtown of Saint John, New Brunswick, is interesting, and so small we toured it on foot as we do many European cities. And there's a cemetery right in downtown where some American loyalists were interred. These were people not happy with the American Revolution, and so ran off to Canada. The tombstones were so worn out, I could not read any inscription. A few miles away is the geological curiosity of the "Reversing Fall", caused by the highest tide in the world at the Bay of Fundy.

If you have the time to go a bit further north, make sure you visit the Acadian Historical Village at Caraquet. The people there are cousins of the Acadian French that were chased by English speakers down to New Orleans. No wonder there's still some uneasiness there between English and French speakers.

Two years ago, we took an RV trip that took us through Buffalo, NY, the Niagara Falls, Thousand Islands, then made a clockwise tour through the area, stopping at Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, then went down the St. Lawrence River to get to the places mentioned above, before returning through Maine. It was a trip I wanted to do for a long time, even though I had been to Montreal and Quebec a few times, and it was great. When you have time in retirement and with an RV, you can spend more time "bumming" around town. I may do that again, as there are places I still miss.

We stayed at many small historic Canadian towns, like Lunenburg, St. Andrews, etc... In Maine, I took a detour to go to Campobello Island which belongs to Canada but accessible from the US by a bridge. The border station there opens 24hrs, year round, and there can be so little traffic off-season.

PS. It was a 2-month RV trip.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:45 PM   #8
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Sunnyvale Trailer Park is just outside of Halifax.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:57 PM   #9
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About 26 years ago, we took the ferry from Portland, ME to Yarmouth and drove around the circumference of Nova Scotia for 2 weeks, staying in bed and breakfasts along the way. We loved it there. Among the things we most enjoyed were the following:

1. Rafting up-river on the Shubenacadie River. Located at the head of the Bay of Fundy, the tidal inrush is so strong that it actually drives you upriver several miles. I can't recall the rafting company, but if you go on-line, you'll find one.

2. Staying in Annapolis Royal. A beautiful historic town. We enjoyed the historic homes and gardens and had the best Digby scallops in a local restaurant.

3. Visiting the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck. Parks Canada - Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site - Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

4. Visiting the Glenora Whiskey distillery. Whiskies — Glenora Distillery

5. A boat tour to see the Puffins. Puffin Boat Tours Cape Breton Nova Scotia - Puffin Boat Tours Cape Breton Nova Scotia

6. Visiting a coal mine under the Atlantic Ocean in Glace Bay. Miners Museum – Glace Bay Nova Scotia Canada

7. Visiting the historic Fortress of Louisbourg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortress_of_Louisbourg

8. Sunset schooner cruise out of Halifax. We went on the Bluenose, which is the schooner on the Canadian dime. I don't think it is still doing it, but there are other schooners out of Halifax that will take you out for dinner and drinks. Look online.

9. The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg. https://fisheriesmuseum.novascotia.ca/visit-us
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:58 PM   #10
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Sunnyvale Trailer Park is just outside of Halifax.
I do not watch TV, so did not know about this RV park.

The OP does not travel by RV, but when I was in Halifax, stayed at Shubie Campground in nearby Dartmouth, across the bay.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:02 PM   #11
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It sounds like an ambitious but great trip. I've visited many of the places on a bicycle. Upper MI and Mackinac are terrific. Time in Montreal and the ride to Quebec City were great. Nova Scotia and Cape Breton were among my favorite bike rides and holidays. We just returned from PEI which was also a wonderful place.

You are going to have a wonderful time!
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:03 PM   #12
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... Sunset schooner cruise out of Halifax. We went on the Bluenose, which is the schooner on the Canadian dime. I don't think it is still doing it, but there are other schooners out of Halifax that will take you out for dinner and drinks. Look online...
Not the original Bluenose, I don't think.

The Bluenose II was stationed at Lunenburg, and I saw it at the wharf there.

Just looked on the Web, and there's now a Bluenose IV.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:06 PM   #13
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Not the original Bluenose, I don't think.

The Bluenose II was stationed at Lunenburg, and I saw it at the wharf there.

Just looked on the Web, and there's now a Bluenose IV.
Probably we were on a replica. I didn't care - it was beautiful and fun.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:37 PM   #14
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They are all replicas. I forgot all about the Bluenose, and meant to look up its history but forgot until now, and just learned the following.

The original Bluenose was wrecked in 1946. The replica Bluenose II was built in 1963, and probably the one you sailed on out of Halifax, and the same one I saw at Lunenburg much later.

A celebrated racing schooner, she was turned into a cargo ship and at the time of the wreck was carrying bananas out of Haiti. Sad, isn't it?
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:45 PM   #15
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Let's have an entr'acte here, and listen to some music.

Sorry the following song is not about the Canadian Maritimes, but about banana boat, so is not totally unrelated.

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Old 09-05-2016, 08:47 PM   #16
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One of the first things I learned at the US Naval Academy in 1977 was how to sail. I found it incredibly fulfilling to be out on the water, driven by nothing but the air and your wits. I have always loved sailboats. I've crewed for friends, but never owned one of my own. A shame, really, since my house abuts the boat yard and I have a full time view of the docks.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:42 AM   #17
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If you're thinking about going to PEI, the Confederation Bridge is a helluva drive.
I find PEI much prettier than NB or much of NS except Cape Breton.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:22 AM   #18
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Lots of great stuff to add all! Very much appreciated.

Umm, Gumby? You keep a diary or something? Not sure I can remember a trip I took 26 years ago in that detail! BTW, I am also using some of your post in the Maine thread (that I bumped into while searching). I think you need a wiki or sticky with all your best of trip notes.

For sure adding a lot form all these ideas!
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:30 AM   #19
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If you're thinking about going to PEI, the Confederation Bridge is a helluva drive.
I find PEI much prettier than NB or much of NS except Cape Breton.
I thought about going to PEI, but was running out of time. Yes, even a 2-month long trip was not enough. When I researched on the Web, found out that PEI was basically fairly flat, and potatoes were grown to supply 25% of the demand of Canada. So, I skipped it. Oh well, got to save something for next time.

Initially, I even thought about taking the ferry to Newfoundland. Nope, it would take an entire summer in the Canadian Maritimes, if I kept adding more destinations.
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:50 AM   #20
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... So, I skipped it. Oh well, got to save something for next time.

Initially, I even thought about taking the ferry to Newfoundland. Nope, it would take an entire summer in the Canadian Maritimes, if I kept adding more destinations.
Yeah, that is the hard part - knowing what to cut out as much as what to put in. You were using an RV, we are doing hotels (which is by far our biggest expense). I'd originally planned on tent camping as well, but the weather being so uncertain and nights chillier than my wife is used to camping here, and the car already going to be loaded down with so many clothes...pretty sure tenting isn't going to work.
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