We awoke to rain and wind as we were on the western edge of a major hurricane passing through the western part of the Northern Atlantic. We were lucky with only lots of rain and wind, because the hurricane hit just north of us on the eastern coast of Newfoundland.
Today was a catch-up day, with time for shopping, hanging out, fishing, or any thing else that suited our fancy.
Alexander Graham Bell, most famous as the inventor of the telephone, chose to build his Canadian residence in Baddeck on Cape Breton. According to Bell, "I have travelled the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps and the highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all." The Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site is a 25-acre park overlooking the Bras d’Or Lakes, a saltwater inland sea. This complex, with its three exhibit halls, contains the largest collection of Bell’s artifacts and inventions, including replicas of the first telephones and a full scale model of the HD-4 hydrofoil craft. Bell invented many, many things but considered the hydrofoil his most important. We spent a couple of hours visiting the complex, a good rainy day activity.
Kay and Sandy tried to shop in the wind and rain, while John visited with a local "guide" to find out more about trout and Atlantic salmon fishing in the Margaree Valley. He reported back that the guide said one prominent fisher had fished the area 27 years without catching an Atlantic salmon—glad we didn’t book a trip! We all had lunch at the Yellow Cello, a local hangout, and it was decent fare.
Lunch was followed by a drive to Cheticamp, where Kay and Sandy toured a hooked rug museum, and we all toured an old Acadian Catholic church. Cheticamp is a unique Acadian village on the west coast of Cape Breton. It is now a fishing community on the Cabot Trail at the western entrance of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The downtown area overlooks a large protected bay on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It has about 4,000 residents, most of whom speak French as well as English. It is absolutely Acadian in culture, and the largest French community on Cape Breton Island. We returned to Baddeck, and had dinner at the Telegraph Inn. They had music, but it was more of a dinner type music.
We left there and attended a ceilidh in town. The young fiddler, Mike Hall, was a native of New Brunswick, and was extraordinary, providing lots of information about Celtic music and ceilidhs intermixed with his playing of reels, jigs, strathspeys, and waltzes, all Celtic music tunes. He said he had some 2500 tunes in his repertoire. Some of the more daring visitors were given a square dance lesson as the Celtic music played. This was one of many highlights of our time on Cape Breton Island.
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