Canadian Maritimes, Summer 2023 – PART 3

I’m sorry for leaving you on PEI for so long but it’s a lovely place to spend some time! 🙂

The next stop on our trip was to Cape Breton Island which is in northern Nova Scotia. The Cabot Trail runs around the (mostly) perimeter of the island. When 1st planning the trip, we had planned to spend 1 night near the island and spend 1 day seeing half, and a 2nd day seeing the other half.

Due to an important event which came up after we had our lodging arrangements (but thankfully not flights) made, we had to shorten our trip by 1 day. That took out a day of Cape Breton and we vacillated about whether it was worth it to drive from PEI (it includes a 1.5 hour ferry trip) and about 5 hours of driving. That gave us 1 day to drive the Trail and get to Halifax where are next 3 nights would be.

I’m glad we decided to do the loop because we would have always wondered what we missed. But I’m also disappointed that we really didn’t have time to actually see much. There are many hiking trails there. Not that any of us were really into hiking but the Skyline Trail was 1 I definitely wanted to do. It would have been a good place to do a whale watching boat ride. There are a number of small towns along the way and with them businesses that would have been fun to patronize.

Backing up a little, we checked out of our apartment on PEI and headed across the island to Charlottetown. Even though we had been there for the play, this was our only time to do any touring. We stopped a farmers market and bought a few things including island potatoes to incorporate into our cooking that night. We parked at the harbor front for an hour or 2 and each kinda headed out and did our own thing.

I spend about minutes enjoying the 70* breeze and watching the boating school (?).

Saw the monument in honor of the Irish settlers.

And got a cone from a Cows shop, THE place to get ice cream on the island, according to many! 🙂

We had another 30-ish minutes drive to the Woods Island ferry port. We arrived in enough time to see the nearby lighthouse, Woods Island Light.

I had made reservations ahead of time to guarantee a place. You don’t have to make reservations but if you don’t and it happens to be a busy time, you get to board after all of the those with reservations. We were the 1st to board on the bottom level of the boat.

We were able to head upstairs pretty quickly to the restaurant for lunch. Poor kitchen people were still cleaning up from the last boatload and here come a bunch of hungry people! Hey, poutine waits for no man (or woman)! I had my 2nd and final serving for the entire trip. Yum!

We still had plenty of time to hang out on the outside decks before we landed in Caribou, NS. There wasn’t much to see besides water and 1 passing ferry but we’ll take sunny skies and breezes any day!

We still had a ways to go to our cottage on the bay in Cheticamp, Cape Breton. We made 1 stop for groceries but otherwise kept moving. It was nearly sunset when we arrived.

Not pictured are the forty-eleven hundred mosquitoes plaguing me!

We stayed at at Pilot Whales Chalets, in a spacious 2 bedroom “chalet”. They were great to work with on reservations (made through email) and we didn’t have to pay anything until arrival. We had a full kitchen and a quick supper of roasted marinated pork loin, and roasted veggies wrapped up the day.

We left in time to stop at a 2-part museum in Cheticamp. One part was history of the area. The other part was a hooked rug museum. Wait until you see some of the masterpieces!

French is still a very prominent language on Cape Breton Island. I’m sorry to say that I have forgotten the history of the area but you can easily find it online if you’re interested. Until nearly 70 years ago, the only way to reach mainland was by ferry. I’m imagining life could have been pretty hard in a fairly cold environment. Interesting side note: the Appalachian Mountains start in central Alabama and runs through Cape Breton and ends further north in Newfoundland & Labrador.

As for the rug museum, check these out!

The crucifixion scene was 9′ across, used 510 colors and took 11 months to make in 1964.

Click on these to see more detail!

The young man at the museum did a great job of showing us how the looms work, as well as giving history and information on the rugs displayed.

We also stopped a French bakery on the way out and the chocolate croissant was amazing!

We only stopped long enough here and there to grab some pictures.

The water has flattened and smoothed these rocks.

Imagine how magnificent this would look in the fall with color change!

We stopped in Neil’s Harbour and ate our lunch beside the lighthouse/ice cream shop. It was almost chilly enough for a jacket. The beginning of August, no less!


We stopped at a little park on the east side.

We saw some heads bobbing around in the water. They were seals!

There is a golf course and resort on the east side as well and while we didn’t stop to hit the links, I did get a picture to share with you. It’s out on a peninsula and has gorgeous views!

So, as you can see, we didn’t see a great lot of the island. There was a good bit of driving that did not have coast views and there many trees! My advice is to not do it in 1.5 days, especially if you have kids along. Sitting this much was already a bit for us as we had to drive to Halifax yet!  It was a long day! Some people say to take a whole week to enjoy it.

More on Nova Scotia coming later.