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8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

NC
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8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Looking for recommendations and feasibility in planning our summer vacation. Plan to fly into Boston (from NC) on Saturday June 29 and drive to Cape Breton, but not directly. Have to be back in Boston by evening of Saturday July 6th. So, d what route should we take the first day? We probably have about 6 hours we can drive. We want to see Peggy's Cove and environs briefly and have place to stay in Halifax for Monday July 1. (Can change that but thought fireworks over harbor and Canada Day here might be something to see. ) But now it looks like everything is closed on Canada Day including restaurants, so is this a bad idea? What is the best route from this area to Cape Breton. Want to see Cheticamp, Cabot Trail, gentle hiking, lots of photography, Interested in seeing puffins. can we fit this in? Where is best place to go? Want to spend 2 -3 nights on Cape Breton Island, mostly up near National Park. But what is/are good stops on the way back to Boston? What else should we "not miss". The whole area looks wonderful. Wish I had 2 weeks or more, but I don't :-(

Nova Scotia
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1. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Welcome to Trip Advisor.

You are going to be really pressed for time. Here is the most direct route to the entrance to Cape Breton from Boston: http://goo.gl/maps/XOBjo

That will be at least a two day drive. The border towns of Calais and St. stephen are about half way, but a prettier place to stay would be St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

You will need two days to drive back so you will have only four days to see Cape Breton. I would suggest you spend at least three days there and perhaps check into the Peggy's Cove/ Lunenburg area for a day on the way back. I would not make reservations for this latter part as long as you are flexible about where you stay.

Look here for the Nova Scotia website:

www.novascotia.com/en/home/default.aspx

Look here for previous trip reports: tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g154967-c157554/Nova-S…

Do a search below here for puffins and other things of interest.

Be sure to go to the Fortress at Louisbourg which will take the better part of a day. www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/ns/louisbourg/index.aspx

Edited: 19 January 2013, 18:14
Marietta, Georgia
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2. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

We did Cape Breton and PEI last October. We drove from the Boston suburbs to Truro, Nova Scotia.. If I remember right I believe that we left our hotel around 6:45 am or so, crossed the Maine/New Brunswick border right around 12 noon, I believe my husband had already changed the car clock and so it was Atlantic time and we got to Truro around 5:30/6:00pm. We went on to Cape Breton the next day and we rented a place in Chimney Corner on the western side of the island. Cape Breton is a long haul from Boston but worth it.

Halifax
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3. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Unless you are into marathon driving I agree with Maryann St. Andrews is a great place to stop lots of great places to stay and wonderful restaurants very pictureque.

As far as Canada Day goes there is alot of activity and if the weather is good, great to enjoy and fireworks over the Halifax Harbour in the evening, you have quite a bit of time yet to decide, from memory alot of restaurants are open. Just Googled but nothing yet for 2013, just 2012 when fell on Sunday.

Re Cape Breton the Marklands in Dingwall is great, if you like large resort type there is Keltic Lodge. Seascape Coastal Retreat has been recommended and has excellent reviews. Chanterelle in St Ann's is also wonderful.

I would also spend a night in Margaree/ Inverness area .I particularly like the Normaway Inn if you can time it they have Ceilidh in barn twice a week.

The Glenora Distillery is another great spot.

The Red Shoe Pub in Mabou is not to be missed for both food and entertainment.

With only having a few days and based on your interests above unless you are really fond of historical reenactments i would not take a day to go to Louisbourg but that is very much my personal opinion.

I twould take the day and go to Baddeck visit Bell Museum if weather permits have a picnic once you get all your great food from the Herring Choker Deli- great eats and home baking and then to Highland Village in Iona and loop back you could spend a night in that area or St Ann's.

Hope that gives you some ideas to work on.

Edited: 19 January 2013, 19:54
Fall River, Canada
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4. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Halifax is the best place to be for Canada day! Not all the restaurants are closed.... and there are tons of things to see and do!

Here is a link to events, this will change over time. check out photos from last year

http://hrmcanadaday.ca/events.php

Advocate Harbour...
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5. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Driving from Boston on the 29th June and being back there on the 6th July is a lot of driving. Only having around 6 hours on the 29th and driving most of the 30th you would be able to make the Canada day celebration in Halifax for the 1st. Then you would reach northern Cape Breton late on the 2nd. Your hiking and photography opportunities would certainly be rushed. I would leave out Halifax and head to Cape Breton or get out of the car and actually have a holiday before then, giving you an opportunity to not be rushed and enjoy some of the hikes and photo opportunities. (Unless you consider driving as a fun part of a holiday)

One of the most spectacular areas in eastern Canada for hikes and photography is the upper Bay of Fundy, which you can reach shortly after entering Nova Scotia in the Cape Chignecto/Cape d'Or area. The Eatonville entrance to Cape Chignecto Park has some fantastic easy hikes. www.capechignecto.net

Here is a youtube video that shows what its like in the area.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlmM3GUKwBM

Edited: 19 January 2013, 21:38
NC
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6. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Thank you for your response. Especially appreciate the link to the map and the suggestion re St Andrew as a first stop in our drive. I looked at their website and it does look like an interesting town.

NC
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7. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Lulu, thanks for all the detailed recommendations. Lots of the places you mention caught our interest in the guidebooks, but really wanted a 'real person" recommendation. I keep reading that July is the high season, so i assume we need to make all our hotel reservations in advance and know in which city we'll be each night......do you agree? Also, reading some about large black flies in Cape Breton National park at certain times? What's your experience?

Halifax
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8. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Glad you found suggestions helpful.

Re Reservations yes it could be busy as this year is 300th Anniversary celebration at Loiuisbourg so Cape Breton will be a popular spot for holidays, also on National Geographics best places to visit in 2013.

…nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

Re Black Flies usually their season is May and/or June if we have a cold spring, should be over by the time you visit. can't guarantee a few maybe left!!!

Re Accommodations better to be safe than sorry, particularlly some of the smaller comunites in Cape Breton once you have a general itinerary

you can always cancel usually 48 in advance without penalty. The major centres if not set on any one place probably could book a few days in advance

Edited: 20 January 2013, 12:18
Advocate Harbour...
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9. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

The black flies you have heard of are actually quite small. For people that haven't encountered them before they can be quite a surprise that such a small insect can cause so much discomfort. In wild inland areas you will encounter them throughout the summer, less so near or on salt water. Their eggs are laid in moving water, different than mosquitoes who use still water so there are often large amounts of the notorious northern Canadian black flies around streams and through out wooded areas. There are also the larger flies like the deer and horse flies, but not in large numbers. Best place to be in the summer is near the ocean, which isn't hard to do in Nova Scotia!

In built up areas and open coastal areas the perception about black flies going down in numbers in late June if the spring has been dry is right, but as a person that makes his living in the wilds of Nova Scotia I can assure you that wooded areas have large numbers of black flies right through the summer - your plans look like they will be in coastal areas so you shouldnt have a problem, but do bring some repellent.

NC
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10. Re: 8 days to drive Boston to Cape Breton; and in between

Lulu, Thanks for info and another great link!! Can't believe Nat'l Geographic chose this trip for this year!! But we are psyched. And ready to travel. WIll be booking our accomodations soon. Probably try that Margaree/Inverness area. From comments re black flies, it seems that sticking to a coastal area might be good insurance.....