Monday, September 15, 2008

Nova Scotia

I'm going to do two or three posts about my holiday instead of just one -- today: photos from Nova Scotia, plus lots of links in case you're planning to visit.

lighthouse at Peggy's Cove

On the day we left home to start the trip, we drove to Saint John, New Brunswick; the next morning we took the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia, and drove across to a campsite near Peggy's Cove. This was my first trip to Atlantic Canada, and I found it just as spectacular as I'd hoped. The coastline was lovely, the ever-changing ocean was dramatic, there were pretty lighthouses all over the place, and the people have one of my favourite accents ever.

Peggy's Cove

We spent some time in downtown Halifax, which included the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (with its excellent exhibit on the Halifax Explosion of 1917) and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (with a whole gallery devoted to Maud Lewis!), but unfortunately not Pier 21 (next time!).

From the Halifax area, we headed up to Cape Breton Island, with Hurricane Hanna hot on our heels. We found a room for two nights in Sydney; it rained, and there wasn't much to do, but we did encounter the local flea market and spent $20 there on knick-knacks and fudge. (I have absolutely no self-control at flea markets, and I may even have purchased vintage salt & pepper shakers shaped like naked ladies.)

sheep within the Fortress of Louisbourg

The rain passed, and we headed to the Fortress of Louisbourg, which was great. Reconstruction of the fortress began in 1961, partly as a make-work project for unemployed area coal miners; what's there now is about a quarter of the French town as it would have looked in the 1740s. I love stuff like that -- people wearing historical costumes, "soldiers" firing cannons, women making French bobbin lace, etc.

lighthouse in Louisbourg

We also went to the Cape Breton Miners' Museum in nearby Glace Bay, which was excellent. We took the tour underground, with a "retired" coal miner named Abbie, where we wore hardhats and hunched over to walk through dark tunnels just 4.5 feet high. When I feel like my work is too hard, I'm going to think about being a coal miner and get over myself.

view of Cape Breton's east coast, from the Cabot Trail

From the Sydney area, we set off on the Cabot Trail, which involves driving up and down mountains almost all the way around the coast of Cape Breton. It was a grey day, but the views were dramatic nonetheless. We drove as far as Chéticamp that day and decided to stop there and stay at a motel, since another storm was coming. We went to La Co-opérative Artisanale for an Acadian supper -- mmmm, cod fish cakes; eww, canned peas -- and after eating we went into the attached gift shop, which was filled with traditional hooked rugs. I fell in love with them, and when the woman working there showed me how the rugs are made, I had to buy a small kit. (More on that another time.) Chéticamp was super-charming, and it was also the beginning of the most stunning section of the Cabot Trail. We didn't stop too often for photos, but there were lots of Oohs and Ahhs.

off the Cabot Trail, south of Chéticamp

After a quick detour into a wool shop on a farm in Mabou (more about that another time, too), we drove on to Caribou, where we caught the ferry across to Prince Edward Island....


lori z said...

oh, such beautiful pictures. it makes me want to go back so badly!

Vicki Knitorious said...

Oh, Alison, your photos are LOVELY!! That area is on my very short list of musts. Thank you. Looking forward to more.

Anonymous said...

I'm from a village near Louisbourg called Main-a-Dieu. Most of my family lives on the road on the way up to the Louisbourg lighthouse. I'm glad you had fun!

claudia said...

Nice pix. I have almost the same one of the lighthouse at Peggy's Cove from a trip years ago.


Steph said...

It did turn out to be a nice weekend, despite Hanna, eh?

Looks like you guys had a great trip. Can't wait to see the rest. Can't help but wonder if it involves yarn store visits!

La Cabeza Grande said...

Enticing photos, Alison! I most definitely have this destination on my travel list.

AliP said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed my home province. Its a pretty great place.

Julia in KW said...

Your vacation sounds similar to our's this year - we also went to Cape Breton - to the farm in Mabou(where I bought wool) and to Cheticamp (where I bought a hooking kit and a small loom - it was fascinating)...I was hooked, too! Glorious views!

TheBunny said...

Oh I'm enjoying your pictures and descriptions. This is one of my dream vacations so thank you for sharing!

Laura said...

Well! I certainly wasn't planning a trip to Nova Scotia. BUT NOW I AM. Thanks a lot!


Anonymous said...

I lived in the Maritimes for 5 years, and wanted to climb through my screen when I saw these pics. Instead I cried a little inside.

There's a hilarious webcomic artist from Mabou who went to my alma mater - Kate Beaton ( If you're thesis-proposing, her stuff is GOLD for procrastination.

kate t.

Cassy said...

Gorgeous scenery. Nice job photographing it!

Laura said...

Wow, those pictures are just beautiful! I have always wanted to visit there. Thanks for sharing & I really look forward to seeing the rest of them!

Veronique said...

Gorgeous photos! Glad to see you had enough fun for 3 posts :)