Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cape Breton National Park

We'd already enjoyed some beautiful scenery on the way up to Cheticamp, as we followed the Cabot Trail north. I didn't know enough about Canada's first national park in the Maritimes to have any expectations, but within the first ten minutes of our drive through Cape Breton National Park, I was surprised and delighted at every bend as dramatic mountains spilled down to the ocean. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Virtual Ride around Cape Breton National Park

Here's some video footage of our trip around Cape Breton, set to local music. Skip to minute 2:00 for the most dramatic scenery!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Cabot Trail's "Sunset Side"

My tags and the fact that I'm in the middle of a trip series kind of spoils the surprise, but if you saw the above picture out of context, where would you imagine it to be? Scotland? Ireland? Brittany? I certainly had no idea that Canada had such a place in Cape Breton.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Wining and Dining in Nova Scotia

I'd never been to Nova Scotia, so after we dropped my brother off at the airport in Moncton, New Brunswick, we headed east for a couple of days. My mom had suggested one of two itineraries - either south to Halifax and Lunenburg, or east to Cape Breton - I chose the latter. As we crossed the narrow strip of land that attaches the province to the rest of Canada, the landscape was not what I'd imagined Nova Scotia would look like - low, flat, and marshy, with plenty of windmills alongside the road. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Afternoon Tea at Dalvay by the Sea

Afternoon Tea didn't get off to the best start.

But first, let's back up a little and talk about Dalvay by the Sea and why it's worth visiting. It was built in 1895 as a private "cottage" for an American named Alexander Macdonald, proving that there is a long and proud history of Yankees building gaudy houses on the island.  At least Macdonald  had a name that fit right in - being Scots-born - and for the next ten years, the $50,000 house continued to help the local economy, with operating costs running about $10,000 per summer. After Macdonald passed away, his family lost their money and the house, and it went through a series of investors before being sold to, and turned into a hotel by the Canadian government in 1938.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Beach Day at Basin Head

Prince Edward Island is home to some of Canada's most popular beaches. While Canada + swimmable beaches might sound like an oxymoron, the gulf stream actually makes the water here warmer than most of the Atlantic seaboard north of the Carolinas.

You'll find popular beaches near Summerside and Cavendish, but my family's favorite place for a 'beach day' is a bit off the tourist trail. Basin Head Provincial Park has the best amenities of any beach of the eastern side of the island and was voted 'best beach in Canada' by a couple years back. Here are a few reasons why...