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Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Colorado
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Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Hi!..we want to fly into Portland and drive up the coast of Maine, into New Brunswick and ferry to Nova Scotia...we would like to time this trip close to our anniversary (Oct 16) but mostly want to hit the peak fall foliage colours..(husband has never been to NE--he thinks aspens in Colorado are a big deal-ha)...here's my thinking: we should probably START in Nova Scotia and head down as the leaves probably change sooner in NS than Maine coast since it's further north...anyone know anything about peak times for fall colours?...

I checked "mainefoliage.com" but they don't start reporting until Sept and don't give estimates of probable peak times....I know it's slightly different every year, but when's our best bet?...we can take our trip any time and are planning on two weeks

also, i have not lived in the NE for 30 years...how COLD are we going to be driving up the NE coast in, say, late september-late Oct?...I'm remembering sweaters and light jackets that time of year, with heavier jacket if walking along beach...am I right?

will there still be many places, inns, restaurants open?..still good seafood?..will prices be a little lower than peak summer months?

I think I can figure out which towns to visit from other forums...and I'll post this question on the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia forums too....thanks, Ana

Bar Harbor, Maine
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1. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Apparently you already know that the Cat, which ran from Portland or Bar Harbor to NS is no longer running.

I can't really say much about which way to go. Here on Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, etc.) the peak of fall foliage usually comes very close to Columbus Day. I can't speak for Nova Scotia. The north-south thing isn't all that important here on the coast---the marine environment tends to keep things warmer here relative to inland areas and that tends to stretch out our fall season.

You've hit it about right with respect to clothing. You might also take a look at: http//www.wunderground.com/tripplanner/index.asp Enter the location and range of dates and you will get all sorts of climatic information

What remains open will depend largely on where you are (brilliant insight, no?). Here, things like lodging and restaurants tend to keep going until late October. But as you already have decided, the NB and NS forums can provide more information for their areas..

p.s. as a sometime plant ecologist in an earlier life, yes---the aspens in Colorado and elsewhere in the west <are> a big deal.

Edited: 01 May 2010, 01:11
Central Maine
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2. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Don't know enough about foliage patterns in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia to help with that part of your trip....but do have a little historic information for last year's foliage pattern. It may give you some idea of what one year's foliage pattern looked like....

On the following dates, the Maine Department of Conservation's "Maine Foliage" website described the following foliage conditions along the eastern Maine coast ("Downeast") in 2009:

September 23 10-30% color change

September 30 "Moderate" color change

October 7 50-75% color change

October 14 75% to peak color

October 21 Past peak color

Of course, as already noted, conditions change from one year to the next -- hard to know what 2010 will bring for foliage. And even if you happen to arrive "past peak", that doesn't mean there won't still be color around -- it just won't be as extensive or brilliant....

Should make a great trip if you hit the foliage right -- and a good one if you miss it....

Nova Scotia
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3. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Hello AnaEvergreen

I would say that Nova Scotia is approximately 1 week ahead of Maine in the prime foliage season. Our Thanksgiving weekend, which is the same weekend as your Columbus Day is generally the busiest weekend of the foliage season here in Nova Scotia, especially in the Cape Breton area, which is breathtakingly beautiful in the fall.

I would recommend that you narrow down your dates and seriously start making some reservations for your accommodations. You will find some places are booked up to a year in advance.

Colorado
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4. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Thank you for your replies...very helpful info especially last year's dates...and recommendation to start booking answered my next questions...was wondering if we could just book as we go, as we have done on several road trips, because we really like this flexibility...apparetnly, you think we should book everything ahead?...we are not super picky about accomodations so even if most highly recommended B&Bs etc are booked, do you think it will be impossible to find a room?...I was thinking of maybe booking just a few "destination" accomodations, then winging the rest...what do you think?

also, is fall foliage considered "peak" season for tourism and thus high prices?

just curious, has the CAT stopped running altogether, or just not running that time of year?...if we drive as far north to New Brunswick, is it possible to cross over to Nova Scotia withOUT a ferry?, i.e. is there bridge anywhere? (please don't laugh...really don't know)....thanks Ana

Bar Harbor, Maine
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5. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Booking: K.C. or someone over there can speak for Nova Scotia. Here, it depends on what sort of lodging you want. Once we are past Columbus Day weekend, the demand drops off a bit. If you have your eye on a specific B&B, though, I would book it.

Again, after Columbus Day, you might find some bargains on lodging (relative to the summer season) and the shops will start having sales. We have been "discovered" by the leaf-peepers, however.

As far as we know, the Cat will not be running at all this year. You can cross from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia via the St. John-Digby ferry:

http://www.acadiaferry.com/

Other than that, you have to drive. No bridge.

Nova Scotia
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6. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

Hi AnaEvergreen

I would recommend booking here in Nova Scotia as well. Foliage season is peak season here too, especially in Cape Breton. It will not be impossible to find a room but certainly you will be limited. It also depends on where you plan on visiting in NS. Halifax has lots of rooms, the Annapolis Valley has beautiful B&Bs. Cape Breton would be tricky without reservations. As cwvoigt pointed out, you can take a ferry from St John NB to Digby NS or you could drive up the the coast of Maine, into New Brunswick and drive into Nova Scotia. If you look at a map of NS, the ferry to Digby will bring you into the Southwest portion of the province. If you drive from New Brunswick you will be more centrally located into Nova Scotia

Bar Harbor, Maine
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7. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

My honest opinion: I'd take the St. John/Digby ferry. It's a really nice trip. As you sail into Digby, you go through a cut between ridges of green and come into a large, sheltered harbor. Be sure to catch the dramatic tidal bore at Truro. It is a standing wave as the tide changes in the Bay of Fundy and the rivers reverse direction. Happens twice a day.

Halifax is nice. Wolfville has good B&Bs and restaurants but is small enough to feel very friendly and comfortable. Cape Breton is awesome. Any way you could fly into Portland and home from Halifax?

I wouldn't worry too much about timing fall foliage exactly. It stays quite nice for about two weeks.

8. Re: Maine coast and Nova Scotia

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