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Cape Breton Island

Berlin, Germany
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Cape Breton Island

We leave Pictou on 12th October and have to be back in Halifax on 16th evening. Is Chéticamp a good place to head for? Can we use it as a base, or is it best to keep moving round the island? Is Baddeck perhaps a better option? We don´t want to drive every day but would like to enjoy the beautiful scenery we´ve read so much about.

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Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Cape Breton Island

I really like Baddeck as a place to "stay." But it just depends on what you want to do with your time on the Cabot Trail and what the weather will bring in October. It only takes about 4-5 hours, without stopping, to drive the Cabot Trail in a circle from Baddeck. You will certainly want to hav a good visit in Cheticamp. And if the weather holds, you might like to stay one night in somewhere like Ingonish in order to hike in the National Park. I also think that accommodation around the Trail might be limited in October, compared to summer season. Are you thinking of visiting the Fortress of Louisbourg? That is an easy drive from Baddeck but it will be open only weekdays from 9:30 to 4:00. I would want to spend 3 hours there although I'm not sure how many demonstrations woukd be taking place in October. Also in Baddeck you will find the interesting Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

toronto
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2. Re: Cape Breton Island

"Good" may be a bit subjective, but we've stayed in Cheticamp and it's fine as a "base" for touring the Cabot Trail, hiking in the Park, exploring the Celidh trail, etc. But daily driving would be involved. Baddeck and the Ingonish area where we've also stayed on past trips are fine as "bases" also. But we always drive and day-trip pretty well every day we're in Cape Breton (we've visited 5 times) .

Of these 3 possible bases, I think only Baddeck offers enough to keep you right in town for any length of time, with a pleasant setting on Bras d'Or Lake and a number of restaurants, cafes, shops, scenic cruises and museum. It is however a relatively small town, and in my opinion touring by car is necessary to appreciate the varied scenery of the Cabot Trail (and possibly other parts of Cape Breton).

Cheticamp is an Acadian Fishing Village which also serves as a Tourist centre and jumping off point for exploring the National Park and Cabot Trail. The scenic Highlands section of the Trail, often depicted in photos, is near here, but you still have to drive to it. There are a few shops and several restaurants, some of which offer local Acadian or Celtic music at night, but not a lot else to do within town. The Ingonish area is a stretch of seaside hamlets with some beautiful ocean vistas but the "amenities" (dining, shopping) are rather strung out along several kms of shore. If you stay here, you might want to look into a Chalet rental on the water.

Perhaps moving around, staying over a night at each of the above, might suit you best. This will minimize your daily drives and you can take your time in between, stopping frequently to enjoy the scenery. If you want to take a Whale Tour (may be too late in season?) or hike a longer trail, you could spend 2 nights in one of these locations.

Halifax
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3. Re: Cape Breton Island

The Celtic Colours Music Festival starts on the 12 th- not sure if you planned that or not???

www.celtic-colours.com/festival-history/

If this is of Interest I would suggest 2 nights around Margaree/ Cheticamp and 1 in Baddeck.. there are many events in the Mabou/Inverness/Margaree

area. there is a complete weeks trip report for this years Celtic Colours. It gives a wonderful detailed report of all the sights and sounds if you are not familiar.

We could be more helpful if you let us know a little more of your interests

and must see's ?

Berlin, Germany
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4. Re: Cape Breton Island

Thanks very much everyone! It´s always helpful to hear from people who know the area. I had seen that the Celtic Colours Festival would be on, but the programme isn´t out yet. I just hope we can find events wherever we happen to be at the time. Chéticamp and Baddeck seem to be the places to head for, though. Do tickets sell out quickly or can you buy at the door?

Halifax
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5. Re: Cape Breton Island

They do sell out quickly, but you can book on line I think they usually go on sale in June or July? If you go to search box just below and where Cheticamp click all and then Celtic Colours there are quite a few forums from this year

One as mentioned above wonderfully detailed of all the tastes,sights and sounds for every day and the community suppers ahead of evening concerts!!!

Baddeck is a wonderful spot on the Bras D'or lakes, don't miss the Bell Museum I'm not one for museums but it 's fascinating and extremely well done -the view to Beinn Bhreagh and the lakes is Magnificent. If you enjoy picnics pick up some fabulous food at the Herring Choker Deli on the highway just outside Baddeck.

A great place to stay is the Chanterelle Inn just outside Baddeck in St Ann's or there is Inverary, Silver Dart and Telegraph house in town and numerous B&B's

http://www.chanterelleinn.com/

On the Cheticamp side my favorite is the Normaway Inn in Margaree, or the Marklands in Dingwall but there are many Inn's and B&B's and Keltic Lodge in Ingonish.

http://thenormawayinn.com/

http://www.themarkland.com/

Hope that;s useful!!!

Edited: 2:37 pm, December 13, 2012
Nova Scotia
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6. Re: Cape Breton Island

Here is the trip report Lulu mentioned.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g154967-i326-k58486…

I would like to stress that people see the lineup when it comes out and book their accommodation even before the tickets go on sale.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g154972-i830-k56896…

tripadvisor.ca/…43945131

I love the west coast area of Cape Breton and would advise you to look at staying there at least one night.

Berlin, Germany
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7. Re: Cape Breton Island

Thanks again for all the helpful tips! Can´t wait till next October!

Edmonton, Canada
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8. Re: Cape Breton Island

cheticamp was a good distance to stop at after taking a leisurely drive from halifax (stop at pictou...cute little plac) i camped when i was there...so can't comment on the accommodations in cheticamp but went into town for a night and did not find it very welcoming at all. i wouldn't return. however, having said that, i spent two nights in the area and then moved onto baddeck. because there is so much to see on the cabot trail, i wanted to drive it twice. first day, left the cheticamp area and drove half way, stopping for a hike along the skyline trail and then returned to the cheticamp area for the night. next day, did the drive again, stopping at meat cove and numerous other places before staying a few nights in baddeck. on my last day on cape breton, i left baddeck early and went to fortress louisbourg for about 3-4 hours and then drove to port hawksbury for a night (just as a sleeping stop) before carring on the next day for halifax.

Cheticamp, Canada
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9. Re: Cape Breton Island

Chéticamp is a great base for your visit. We are the Gateway to the most spectacular section of the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Our Festival de l'Escaouette runs through July and August (15th to 15th), yes a 4 week festival where you can find events every evening not to mention music and entertainment that you can find in local venues. We are a strong cultural community where our traditional music comes to life. La Place des arts Père-Anselme-Chiasson in Chéticamp is a theatre well recognized on Cape Breton island offering productions of exceptional quality. We have everything you need at your fingertips, from grocery stores, restaurants, accommodations, horse back riding, whale excursions, experiences in rug hooking, mask making, hiking and biking trails, boardwalk for that special evening stroll, beautiful beaches, incredible sunsets and yes, there is more! Visiting in the fall is spectacular, the colors come to life! In Chéticamp we have two shows during Celtic Colours and we also have "les fricots musicaux" which is free entertainment in local restaurants. What better way to immerse yourself in culture then to experience Acadian cuisine and traditional Acadian music in an authentic Acadian community on the incredible Cabot Trail...

Cheticamp, Canada
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10. Re: Cape Breton Island

lttt, very sorry to hear that you did not find us welcoming. Usually Acadians are known for their hospitality. ;0) We would like to invite you back, we have plenty for you to see and do. Bienvenue - Welcome.

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