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Driving the Cabot Trail

Peterborough, Canada
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Driving the Cabot Trail

I apologize if this has already been asked...I couldn't see a similar question. We're travelling to Cape Breton from Nova Scotia mainly to drive the Cabot Trail. If I'm understanding the maps, the actual trail circles from Baddeck to Margareee Forks north to CB Highlands National Park and south again to Baddeck. What I was thinking of doing was drving north along the coast (this is the Ceidleh trail I think) across the top of the park and south to St. Ann's and then travelling through Sydney over to Louisburg to visit the fort. Am I going to be missing major points on the trail if I don't travel through the Baddeck area?

Nova Scotia
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1. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

The short answer is yes. The drive in the Baddeck area is along Lake Bras d'Or and is very pretty.

If you can take the time, do this route, where I'll start you in Port Hastings as you arrive in Cape Breton. I agree about taking the Ceilidh Trail. You will miss going through the Margaree Valley but the route I suggest has you going along the lake. Iona is in a stunningly beautiful setting. You can also see the Highland Village Museum there.

http://goo.gl/maps/kmLUw

You have a couple choices from Louisbourg and they are all good.

Halifax
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2. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

Not sure how long you have, I am slighly prejudiced because one of my favorite spots is Baddeck.

It is right on the Bras D'or lakes you can take lake tours if interested, also Bell Museum is well worth visiting, and I am not big Museum person. Chanterelle Inn near by for wonderful scenery,acommodation and fabulous food.

You could go to Louisbourg as day trip from here, coming back via Iona and Highland Village.

.

An alternative to your plan would be to travel your return route along the Ceilidh trail. Ie from Baddeck travel up to Highlands Park and around to say Cheticamp or Pleasant Bay and if time permits spend one night and then head down through, Margaree, inverness, Mabou and Port Hood to causeway. Do stop at red Shoe Pub im Mabou if time permits.

Edited: 8:50 am, April 01, 2013
Sydney
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3. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

You will still hit all the high point. The area between Baddeck and where the trail meets the west coast is a lovely valley drive but you see just as much beauty traveling the rout you have planned.

Bay Saint Lawrence...
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4. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

One area that is often missed when on the Cabot Trail is the lovely region of The Top of the Island featured on the following website: http://northerncapebreton.com/. This region contains some of the most scenic regions of Cape Breton. You're doing a disservice to yourself if you do not at least take the time to drive this area and see some of the most picturesque fishing villages, such as Capstick and Nova Scotia's most northern community Meat Cove, functioning today in much the same fashion as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. The Top of the Island is also home to one of Nova Scotia's most prettiest lighthouses in Neil's Harbour, the best fresh Oyster's you can eat at the Hideaway Campground Oyster Market, and a handful of restaurants who boast some delicious chowder in the Province. Not to mention the myriad of whales which can be seen both from the road and the water, and the lack of development in this region, it really makes the Top of the Island the must-see area of the Cabot Trail. Oh, I forgot to mention, Cabot's Landing is also located at the Top of the Island, this provincial park (a four mile sandy beach dedicated to John Cabot's landing) is a hidden gem which is worth a visit.

New Freedom...
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5. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

Dear Captain Ray Fraser and other posts, thanks for the info. This year in July my family of four is planning a trip to NS. We will be using Baddeck as a base camp for five nights arriving from Hubbard, NS on the first night in NS. Day 2 travel to Mabou, back to Baddeck; Day 3 travel up the west coast of NS (and stay at Meat Cove, Day 4 Whale watch. Day 5 back to Baddeck. My college- aged girls love to search for beach (Sea) glass. Most posts list Ingonish as a great place. But am looking forward to just viewing the area. We really loved (trip of 2007) PEI, and will be staying there for 5 days also (prior to NS). Any insights about glass? And is Louisburg a "must see"?

Nova Scotia
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6. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

Jeff you need to start a new thread of your own. Go here and click on "ask a question": tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g154967-i326-Nova_S…

Bay Saint Lawrence...
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7. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

I like Louisbourg, but my family who visits from the Province of Quebec are quite disappointed with it. They say it doesn't live up to Old Montreal, let alone Old Quebec. I don't know if that is just a regional pride thing or not.

Any beach that is rocky on the Northern portion of Cape Breton, should have lots of sea glass on it. At least I remember finding lots of sea glass on those beaches when I was a child. The beach in Bay St. Lawrence used to have lots and my Grand Aunt, who ran a very small little Red School House Museum, used to collect lots of sea glass to mix with shells. I'll ask around to see if there are any other beach glass hot spots.

Now having said that, on Day 5 after your whale watch you could search for Beach Glass in either Bay St. Lawrence, Capstick or Meat Cove all within minutes of each other.

Bay Saint Lawrence...
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8. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

Within seconds of posting my question on my facebook, someone from Ingonish responded with Neil's Harbour beach as a great place to collect sea glass. Neil's Harbour beach is around 50 minutes from Meat Cove, 30 minutes from Bay St. Lawrence.

Nova Scotia
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9. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

Old Quebec city and old Montreal are living cities with many very old buildings.

Louisbourg is the partially reconstructed Fortress town dated to 1744. In July and August it has costumed animators (people playing the roles of actual people from 1744) to answer your questions. It is a step back in time and if you avoid going to the modern washrooms you are totally immersed into 1744.

So to me they are very different places.

Bay Saint Lawrence...
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10. Re: Driving the Cabot Trail

I'm from Cape Breton and said I like Lousibourg. In fact, my first class trip was to Lousibourg. I am just trying my best to be impartial and unbiased. More glass insights: people are telling me to avoid the popular places because they are picked clean. So I'd stick with off the beaten path beaches, like the ones mentioned above.