After a good night’s sleep at the bed-and-breakfast, and a great breakfast in their dining room, we filled up with gas ($1.41 per liter, and almost 4 liters per gallon equals about $5.60 per gallon) and began our drive east and north to encircle Cape Breton Island. The coastal road around the top two-thirds of the island is known as the Cabot Trail, and the area is the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Our start was slow, as we stopped at a couple of shops, and were fortunate enough to see a bull moose just adjacent to the side of the road.
We finally made it to the park entrance where we bought a "group" Canada Parks pass, because it would be cheaper than individual passes to all the activities we plan to visit over the next several days. We opted to drive in a counter clockwise direction, despite warnings that this would put us on the edge of the high cliffs along the ocean—these warnings proved to be unfounded. Even the drive at the beginning of the Cabot Trail provided awesome views, including a whale blowing in the distance.
We diverted to a secondary road at Nell’s Harbour, enjoying one of the most scenic portions of our trip, including driving through a small fishing village tucked away on the coast, replete with boats and stored lobster traps. Sandy wants to import these to the US and sell them to antique stores as collectibles! We saw some along side the road for $5, and they would sell easily in the US for $20.
At Cape North we diverted again, taking the sometimes paved and sometimes gravel road all the way to its end at Meat Cove, high above Bay St. Lawrence; we drove to the further most point north on Cape Breton Island! Meat Cove was a small village with only a few permanent residents, consisting mostly of a campground along the coast.
Driving south, we reconnected with the Cabot Trail and began driving southwest, stopping at Chulps Beulach Ban Falls, before turning west. Though not impressive at first, the falls was surprisingly high.
At Pleasant Bay we hit the west coast, at the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We stopped a couple of times along the road at parking areas seemingly hanging just atop the cliffs and looked hard for whales, but did not see any.
Further south we exited the Cabot Trail at Cheticamp where we had dinner at the Acadian Restaurant. Kay, Sandy, and I had fish cakes, and John had meat pie. For dessert we had blueberry pudding, butterscotch pie, and strawberry rhubarb pie. The food was awesome.
Following dinner we drove back to the bed and breakfast, read, and retired for the night after a super good day.
This is awesome road trip, and is a must-see for anyone traveling to Nova Scotia. If we had unlimited time, it would have been great to do some bicycling, hiking, and kayaking.
Maybe next time…
And, despite warnings, we did not find the counterclockwise drive to be difficult or threatening in the least. Of course, after the Going to the Sun Road and Beartooth Highway in Montana, this was pretty bland.
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