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Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

Big Pine Key...
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Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

We just got back from a fantastic trip, and want to thank all of the contributors who unknowingly helped us put together this brief but memorable vacation. It's not easy with so much to see and do and drive to!

I will try to condense this as much as possible; see my reviews for more information on several items.

We are a couple in our 50's traveling without children; looking for the legendary food, wine, scenery and quiet adventure of Nove Scotia. We also like art and fine craft, nature, and genuine local flavor. We visted from June 12-19, 2010, and found it overall to be before the regular season, before the schools let out, and uncrowded. We enjoyed solitary walks and having restaurants and inns nearly or totally to ourselves (unlike what we were used to just south of the border). Yet the days were mosty sunny and 75 degrees. I hope I don't find you all there next June because I wrote this, ha.

Day 1: Flew in from South Florida to Halifax, rented a car and drove to Braeside Inn, Pictou, for the night. Dined at their restaurant and walked the town.

Day 2: Took the 8 am ferry (short car line, no reservation needed) to PEI, drove the scenic south coastal route and arrived in Charlottetown by 10:30 that morning. (Personally, we found the city to be a lot less charming than the surrounding countryside.) Continued north to Cymbria near Rustico to see the Gaudreau Woodworking shop. It was now more ceramics, but all crafts of extremely high caliber, and an interesting shop tour. Stopped by the National Park, saw beautiful dunes, continued west to Port Hill Ships Museum. The museum part was okay and the Yeo House, included in admission, was more interesting, with a mother and daughter as guides in costume giving spinning and carding demostrations for fun. Arrived at West Point Lighthouse Inn around 5, found dinner in O'Leary's Rodd Resort 30 minutes away. Really enjoyed staying IN a lighthouse!

Day 3: Meandered toward Cap Egmont. Spotted the amazing cathedral and cemetery on the beach at Mt.Carmel, unreal. Had a lovely time and tour at Maisons de Bouteilles (Bottle House Museum) in Cap Egmont, where this guy built houses out of liquor bottles; you gotta see this. Also a great gift shop with lots of Acadian items and music CD's. Took back roads to the Confederate Bridge and drove to Joggins Fossil Cliffs. Note: there are very few food sources on that route, only convenience stores for chips, etc. We were starving and relieved to overeat at the Fossil Cliffs' excellent cafe. We had dawdled on the way and missed the low Bay of Fundy tide, but found a couple of feet of beach to look for fossils, and visited their excellent museum. Bring a warm jacket. Then onto Parrsboro for the night, chosen because we did not want to spend all of our time in the car and arrive home exhausted from a vacation. BTW, our GPS put us on Boar's Back Road, due south to Rt. 2, instead of the parallel Hwy 302. Boar's Back is a DIRT road, but smooth enough that we stayed on it down to 2. Great room at Parrsboro's Evangeline's Tower and tour of a unique town, with a very tidal beach. Loved the rock & mineral store.

Day 4: The long and winding roads, Rts. 2 and 215 around the Bay to the Wolfville area. It is long, but absolutely stunning as you watch the tide along the way. Again, no food, so eat a big breakfast. We crawled into Newport Landing, off 14, to see the ship museum and mostly the tearoom. We almost cried when they said they had only soup that day, and set our hopes on our next planned stop, the Fox Hill Cheese House all the way in Port William. (There are restaurants at Exit 5A off of 101.) We found the addictive Port Restaurant and also ate some cheese samples and gelato. Fantastic stay at the Olde Lantern in Grand Pre. Excellent dinner at Acton's in Wolfville.

Day 5: For a Fundy experience if you have only one: Hall's Harbour. Seeing it empty and fill is an experience. Superb dinner at Grand Pre Winery next door to Olde Lantern.

Day 6: Drove to Lunenburg in the rain. Went to the Maritime Museum and ate great at Magnolia's but did not linger at the scenic places because they were shrouded in rain and fog. Checked into Anchors Gate B&B, Bayside.

Day 7: This was to be our Halifax day, but we opted to retrace some of the Lighthouse Route because the sun reappeared. For the authentic scene, try that New Harbor mentioned elsewhere, also Fox Point. And, Peggy's Cove was so photogenic at 9:30 am before the tour buses arrived. We drove to Halifax in the afternoon, did the waterfront and Maritime Museum (4 stars), great dinner at Chives before checking into the Hampton Dartmouth.

Day 8: We actually had time to drive back into the city and walk around the Citadel before driving to the airport for our departing flight. I can't believe you read this far. And we actually are not overweight.

Advocate Harbour...
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1. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

Thanks for posting the trip report. Its too bad you were using that GPS though, if you would have made it down to Advocate Harbour, 40 minutes from Joggins, you could have indulged in some of the finest food in Nova Scotia, actually rated as the best here on TA at the Wild Caraway.

You must have been wondering coming across the Boars Back! It is a excellent fall colours drive though. Don't imagine you saw many cars on that road. We have had visitors have similiar experiences in this area, probably best to just use the maps as the GPS takes the shortest route, which up here is usually some logging road. If you would have taken the paved road through Advocate you would have been able to eat at the Wild Caraway or the Cape d'Or lighthouse and taken the scenic drive from Advocate to Port Greville and then on to Parrsboro - oh well, have to make another trip! New Harbour is a nice spot, one I always visit when on the south shore, glad you were able to find it. Nice to hear you enjoyed your overall expereince!

Big Pine Key...
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2. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

We had only 8 days, and will spend more time in your area when we can at another time. As it was, we logged nearly 1700 km. We found the dirt road part amusing more than anything, and will at least know now when the map reads "Connector Road" that it could be another "locals' shortcut".

Nova Scotia
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3. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! I loved reading every line, and those back roads made for some lighter moments that you will no doubt smile about for years to come.

You managed to see a great deal of our beautiful province and PEI. You can see why we are so proud of our Maritimes.

Please come back for another visit!

Big Pine Key...
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4. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

Yes, you can be proud of your Maritimes, for many reasons. And one reason I could not emphasize enough - the welcoming, caring attitude of everyone we met, regardless of the situation. It's people like you who have us already planning a return visit, when we had initially intended to visit only once.

Nova Scotia
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for Nova Scotia
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5. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

I really enjoyed your report. I too have had GPS problems in this area. If you have it programmed for shortest route you can get on some isolated back roads.

However, you did get to see and do a lot and you made some excellent restaurant choices.

Naples, Florida
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6. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

I very much enjoyed reading your report. I live in New York City and am planning a trip to Nova Scotia (and perhaps PEI) from August 3 through August 9. My flight arrives at Halifax very late on Monday, August 2 and my return flight is very early on Tuesday, August 10. So I will be there for seven (7) full days. The only tentative plan I have at the moment is to spend a couple of nights at the Trout Point Lodge, not far from Yarmouth. I am requesting suggestions as to what else I should see. For example, if I have to choose between (a) driving the Cabot Trail around Cape Breton Island, or (b) taking the ferry from Pictou over to PEI and spending at least one night there, which should I choose? My female partner and I enjoy scenery, culture and history more than shopping, but I am just now starting to calculate driving distances because we do not want our vacation to turn into a driving marathon. I would greatly appreciate suggestions on (i) sights not to be missed; (ii) hotels or B&Bs; and (iii) restaurants, especially for seafood. I will also post this on the Nova Scotia forum.

florida
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7. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

Thanks for post. We are heading to NS a week from today. We will be staying at the Old Lantern Inn so happy to see your post and information about dinner at Grand Pre' Winery. How far is Hall's Harbor from Old Lantern Inn?

Thanks,

Casa

Halifax, NS
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8. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

Hello casamurray, my name is Donald and I am from Nova Scotia tourism.

It is approx. 45 minutes from Grand Pre to Halls Harbour.

I hope that helps.

Cheers,

Donald

9. Re: Trip report: Nova Scotia and PEI highlights in 8 days

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