where's a good stopover for this journey please?
where's a good stopover for this journey please?
From a few years ago, but hopefully helpful!
Great - that's really helpful
The closest center between Halifax and Quebec City, if you follow the Trans Canada Highway, is Fredericton, New Brunswick. On the freeway, it's 4 non-stop driving hours from Halifax and 6 from Quebec City. Fredericton best combines a wide selection of hotels and restaurants, a pleasant city (the provincial capital rather than an industrial town) and a region with many things for you to see.
There are a number of smaller towns along the St. John River valley northwest of Fredericton, but motel and restaurant selections in these locations are more limited (but not absent).
I'm supposing that you'll follow the route of the Trans Canada Highway. You could also go by way of Bangor and Skowhegan, Maine, or around Campbellton and northeastern New Brunswick, but they both take longer and are probably less scenic.
Assuming you follow the route of the Trans Canada, here's what to expect. From Halifax to Quebec City, the route is 4-lane motorway the entire distance with the exception of about 50 miles between the Quebec-New Brunswick border and the city of Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec. On the 4-lane, the speed limit is 70 mph (actually 110 km/h) in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and 65 mph in Quebec. Drive the speed other cars are going and you'll be fine.
Unless you're in a frantic hurry, get off the motorway frequently because there's lots to see that people who drive only on the 4-lane never get to know about.
Between Fredericton and Grand Falls, the St. John River wends its way past forests, farms and small towns, with every here and there a bridge or a dam. It's delightfully scenic, and in late September-early October, when the leaves are changing, it's spectacular. You see none of this scenery on the motorway, but it's easy to drive along the 2-lane highways that run parallel to the river.
Twenty minutes west of Fredericton is Kings Landing, a restored 1800's historic village staffed with re-enacters dressed in period costumes. From the Route 2 motorway, take Exit 253.
The longest wooden covered bridge in the world is at Hartland, New Brunswick, Almost 1,300 feet long, it's not just a tiny bridge over a rivulet. It spans the St. John itself. You can walk or drive across. From the Route 2 motorway, Exit 172 gets you to Hartland. If you're following the river anyway, you can't miss it.
At Grand Falls New Brunswick, the St. John cascades down a powerful waterfall. Exit 75 is the simplest way to reach the falls, although coming from Fredericton other exits are shorter but more complicated for me to describe.
New Brunswick Botanical Garden, located along the Madawaska River at St. Jacques. Take Exit 8 off the Route 2 motorway.
And this is just the off-exit scenery in New Brunswick. My favorite slice of Quebec rural charm is the village of Kamouraska and the St. Lawrence River shore nearby. To reach it, take Exit 488 if you're driving westbound on Quebec's Route 20 motorway. Drive down to the St. Lawrence River and follow its banks about 30 miles to La Pocatiere, before you rejoin the motorway.
Now for Nova Scotia. The main route north from Halifax follows the motorway Rt. 102. A few miles south of Stewiacke on the parallel highway 2 (Exit 11 off Rt. 102 motorway is simplest) is a sizeable Wildlife Park, stocked with local Nova Scotia animals rather than the lions, tigers and bears you see everyplace else. (Actually, they do have bears.)
If your timing is exactly right, you could witness the tidal bore, where the leading edge of the world's highest tides from the Bay of Fundy pushes up the Salmon River at Truro. Exit 14 off Rt 102 is best. JUST west of the 4-lane is a little stretch of weed-covered pavement leading to the river and an abandoned motel, the Palliser Motel. This large, popular spot is where you can watch the wave surge past, followed by the rapid filling of the mud flats with sea water. The event happens just twice a day. Here's a link to the Canadian Hydrographic Service for the exact times, which change from day to day and year to year. The phenomenon lasts only about 5 minutes, and sometimes can occur as much as ten minutes before the official scheduled time.
If you like old forts, there's one at Fort Beausejour, just inside New Brunswick after you cross the bridge from Nova Scotia. Take the first exit in New Brunswick off the Route 2 motorway. (Actually, the second exit. It's a cloverleaf interchange, and from Nova Scotia you'll want cloverleaf ramp under the bridge. Just follow the signs.)
Beausejour was built in the mid-1700s, when France and Britain were vying for control of this corner of the world. The British had a treaty saying they got Nova Scotia. OK, said the French, then we must own what lies beyond "Nova Scotia," and to reinforce the point, built a fort just inside New Brunswick. Today, Fort Beausejour is a complex of unremarkable forts, a large grassy hill, and a commanding view of the bay, which was the whole idea. It lies just a mile or so west of Route 2.
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