Monday, September 2, 2013

Nova Scotia Ramblings - Day 4-6 Cape Breton Island

August 26, 2013

I posted about our first three days in Nova Scotia at this link.
Other photos can be found at these links.
Shadow Shot Sunday
Scavenger Hunt Sunday
inSPIREd Sunday

We woke to a beautiful day in Antigonish and after our usual breakfast at Tim Horton's we headed for Cape Breton Island.

  One more place on our bucket list checked off.

We start our trek of the Island on the Ceilidh Trail which offers stunning vistas of rugged coastline, bays and inlets, verdant hills and rolling farmlands as it follows the shore of western Cape Breton for 107 km (67 mi.) from the Canso Causeway to the Cabot Trail.

Our first stop was at the Celtic Music Centre in Judique.

The origin of the name Judique is disputed. Many people in Judique believe it is a First Nations (Mi'kmaw) word meaning water. However, the name is also said to mean a river or stream where the water turns swiftly forming eddies, and is French in origin.

Quebec visitors to Judique have apparently said that a “jou-jeu” is a spinning top and used for a game named jou. “Dique,” they said, “ is ‘dike’ and could relate to the dike system in the area.

Another possibility relates to Nicholas Denys, a local fisherman. One of Denys's sea captains, on a return trip to Arichat, was reading Scripture from the Book of Judith. He was passing along the coast of what is now Judique, and was overcome by the rolling hills and greenery of the area. It is said that it was recorded in his log with the name "Judic" which may have eventually became written "Judique."

Our next stop was in the seaside town of Port Hood. 

The next stop was for lunch in the town of Mabou. but first we had to visit the Mother of Sorrows Shrine. My husband is very patient with my church visits while away.

Lunch was at The Red Shoe Pub - check out all the red shoes on their website!

it is owned by the Rankin Sisters a famous Nova Scotia musical family who rescued the pub in 2005. Johnny Gillis of North East Mabou who sold it to the Rankins, came up with the name 'Red Shoe' as a tribute to Cape Breton fiddler Dan R. MacDonald. After doing some research, former owner Rob Willson realized just how much Dan R. had contributed to the music and culture and decided it would be an appropriate name for the pub.
When not performing on their own, the sisters run The Red Shoe pub in Mabou.

We sat on the patio and had an amazing lunch. One of the sisters spoke to us, the second from the left in video above and said that all their food was made from scratch on the premises.

Seafood chowder and mussels, who could ask for anything more!

After enjoying our meal and beverage it was time to move on to our reservation at the Glenora Inn, Canada's only distillery of single malt whiskey.
Check-in was easy, our room was lovely and the grounds were gorgeous. 

The stream that provides the water for the whiskey.

 We took the tour of the distillery. 

We had dinner in their pub, delicious fish and chips, they also have a dining room with the same menu.

August 27, 2013

The next morning we decided to have breakfast in the dining room. Big mistake, it was just awful service. it took over 50 minutes to get our food. The server could not multi-task, simply getting menus and then coffee was an effort. Tables sat with dirty dishes the entire time we were there.
When we did get our lukewarm bacon and eggs there was nothing about them to say that this was not just an average diner.
We checked out and I voiced my annoyance to the desk, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

It was overcast as we set out. We had reservations for whale watching in Cheticamp (as I thought) at noon. 
The drive through the Cabot Trail is magnificent.  You have to pay a fee to enter the national park.

I am not a big fan of narrow curvy roads!!

We reached Cheticamp and looked for the company/shack to no avail. Finally someone knew the company Fiddling Whales and said they were situated in Pleasant Bay forty minutes away.
We decided we'd make it there for the 2PM sailing.

We made some stops along the way as we had time. 

We got to Pleasant Bay around 1 PM so we sat and read waiting for Stan to come back. He arrived back around 2:15 and he explained that he didn't mind taking us out but they hadn't seen any pilot whales only a couple of Newfie whales so he didn't think it was worth going out. We opted not to. One thing NOT knocked off our bucket list.

By now we were hungry and had seen signs for the Chowder House in Neil Harbour advertised along the highway.

More seafood chowder and mussels!

The Lynwood Inn in Baddeck was our destination for the evening.

We ate on the balcony (we had been seated inside but it was too cold and felt like an old-fashioned funeral parlour with heavy furniture). I had the special whole lobster and mussels with a baked potato and vegetables for $22!!

August 28, 2013
I really wanted to visit Louisbourg but we weren't sure we could fit it in if we wanted to get back to Halifax on Thursday. But when we woke up, my husband had the great idea of us staying another night in Baddeck and doing Louisbourg today. That meant we could head out tomorrow and head directly to Halifax along the Trans Canada highway reducing the driving time.
We called the desk and were able to secure our room for another night.

After another Tim's breakfast at the busiest spot in Baddeck we headed out towards Sydney.

We chatted to a woman from Michigan who said that when she asked about somewhere for breakfast the hotel clerk said "there's Timmie's down the road". She said this was going to be her new expression for going for coffee, going for Timmie's.

It was extremely foggy and damp and we were worried that it would rain.

Once we reached Sydney we decided to get off the highway and go to Glace Bay, not worth it. It meant we ended up on back roads as I wanted to go to Main a Dieu a small town on the map. The name means Hand of God and reminded me of my niece with whom we saw Jersey Boys and we loved that expression used throughout "my hand to God".

We arrived at Louisbourg and boarded to bus to the Fortress.

According to Parks Canada website:
Step back in time to 1744! Experience Louisbourg, a thriving seaport and capital of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). The Fortress of Louisbourg was one of the busiest harbours in North America and one of France's key centres of trade and military strength in the New World. Today, the site is an exciting and entertaining lesson in history.

This is not an exaggeration, the fortress is a vibrant active town. All the actors are bilingual and do an excellent job portraying the characters that would have lived at the fort. 
Click here for a detailed post on the Fortress. These are just some of the highlights.

Back to Baddeck for an appetizer at the Bell Buoy.

We had dinner again at the Lynwood inn and we both had the mussels and lobster. Bad photo, cell phone.


  1. A wonderful post and really enjoyed all of the lovely photos. We have traveled that area once in the past and thought it was so lovely. Mentioning the mussells made my mouth water. Nothing better than Nova Scotia Seafood!

  2. You have me wanting to return to Nova Scotia. They have the best seafood.

  3. Wonderful seaside shots and yummy eats! I enjoyed traveling with you.

  4. Wonderfull reportage, love much this country, greeting from Belgium

  5. Gosh I so want to go there - so much to see and do and the air looks so fresh and clean (not the foggy photo, but the rest!) Lovely post

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