Thursday, October 13, 2016

Operation Vacation: Maritimes Canada

September 2016

Three weeks after dropping off Nate at college in Texas, I found a way to stop being sad.


We had been planning this one for a long time, to the Maritimes provinces of Canada -- Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and a little bit of New Brunswick. We've been back for several weeks, and I just looked back through our trip photos again. They give a fairly accurate breakdown of our vacation:
50% Nature, 25% Lighthouses, and 25% Beer. Yeah, that sounds about right.
Here are a few more details...

We went with another couple, our friends Bill and Rhonda, who were up for adventure as well. We flew into the seaport town of Halifax and based there for a couple days. (Our luggage flew in a day after we did. No biggie.) We enjoyed the waterfront area of Halifax, and the tour of Alexander Keith's brewery was a highlight. From Halifax, we daytripped down to the adorable but wildly overrun fishing village of Peggy's Cove, as well as Lunenberg, similarly charming.

Peggy's Cove lighthouse, at an angle that betrays the 10,000 people swarming around its base.

Lunenberg. Cute cute cute.

After a couple days in Halifax, we started our road trip north to Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail, a 300-kilometer (oh yes, we are on kilometers now!) driving loop of stunning natural beauty. We donned our hiking shoes and trail maps here and made frequent stops to venture out into the wilderness. Two favorite trails were the Skyline Trail, where our trekking effort was rewarded by a stomach- and jaw-dropping vista at the end... 

...and the White Point Trail, which we wouldn't have found if not for the tip given by our B&B host. This trail follows a slice of land jutting out at the entrance to Aspy Bay. It's unspoiled and remote, and makes you feel like you're standing at the edge of the earth. A grave of the Unknown Sailor adds a somber touch. Hard to describe and even harder to capture in a photo, but it was a highlight for all of us.

After Cape Breton Island, which was a two-day affair, we ferried over to Prince Edward Island ("PEI") for more lighthouses and a visit to the Anne of Green Gables house. We really just skimmed the surface here and could have added another day easily. 

Our final destination was the Bay of Fundy, which I've wanted to see for probably 20-25 years. I watched some kind of National Geographic special on Fundy a long time ago and have not been able to shake it from my head. It's an enormous bay between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that experiences the largest tidal changes of anywhere in the world -- it can be up to 50'. FIFTY FEET. (Ahem, 15 meters.) Twice a day. We decided to view Fundy from the Hopewell Rocks area. I got up early and went a little after sunrise, which was low tide on this particular day. (There are about 6.5 hours between each high tide and low tide, so each day's schedule is different.) You can walk along the ocean floor and among the rock formations at low tide, and then watch the water slowly but noticeably come in. Just amazing.

The week went quickly, and we covered a lot of ground. We stayed at small inns, B&Bs and a cabin/cottage during the week, and with the current exchange rate, it was all quite reasonable. Our accommodations probably averaged around $100 US per night. 

We ate a ton of seafood, drank a little beer, and enjoyed the music-immersed culture of this part of Canada. I had a lot of fun putting together a 7-hour-long playlist for our driving time of only Canadian artists, including everyone from Bieber and Alanis to Rush and The Weeknd. BTO. Gordon Lightfoot. Oh, it was eclectic. 

Thanks Canada! We're kinda smitten with you.


  1. Yay! Loved our trip to Canada with y'all. Thanks for all the work you put in planning it. -- Bill and Rhonda

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