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20 Stops to Make on a Cape Breton Street Journey

20 stops to make on a Cape Breton road tripAlmost three a long time in the past, as a speechless child, I used to be couriered by CAT ferry from Bar Harbor (Maine) to Nova Scotia. I cried from starting to finish. Among the many issues I didn’t know on the time was that folks, and particularly individuals of touring persuasions, need to go to Nova Scotia in the summertime. Not a sq. foot within the province—Canada’s second-smallest—is greater than 50 miles from the Atlantic. Bucolic walks splinter by the handfuls up and round a mightily swollen coast. 12 months-round, celidhs—conventional “kitchen events”—roar with life.

I got here to understand all this in my grownup years on a looping summer season highway journey round Cape Breton, the mitten-shaped island of Nova Scotia’s northeast. It contains a few fifth of the province’s complete land space. Cape Breton can be dwelling to the world-famous Cabot Path, named over time amongst “49 journeys that’ll change your life” (CNN), the “world’s high 10 coastal drives” (Toronto Star) and the “world’s 10 most lovely highways” (FOX Information). Georgie Jet wrote about it final week.

For a June journey, you can’t do a lot better than Cape Breton. Hire a automobile in Halifax (the Nova Scotian capital) and comply with the trickling freeway system 2.5 hours northeast by way of Freeway 104 to the Canso Causeway—gateway to Cape Breton. From there…

Canso Causeway
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45 minutes by way of the Ceilidh Path/19N
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The Crimson Shoe Pub, Mabou
There’s no place on Cape Breton extra welcoming than Mabou’s cozy Crimson Shoe Pub. Seize a clam chowder and a pint of Alexander Keith and toast your arrival within the smiling firm of kindred, seaward souls. Return for stay music any night time of the week.

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1 minute by way of Mabou Harbor Street
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Mabou Farmers Market (Sundays solely), Mabou
Each summer season Sunday from 11am to 2pm, treasures of the native sea and land fill stalls on the Mabou Farmers Market. The Mabou Athletic Centre is the place to seek out hand-knit sweaters, native honeys and syrups, buttery baked items, fresh-caught fish, originals from regional artists, and extra. For those who like oysters, strive Sam’s Level Oyster Co.

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10 minutes by way of the Ceilidh Path/19N
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Glenora Distillery

Glenora Distillery (Credit score: Georgette Diamondis)

Glenora Inn & Distillery, Glenville
OVERNIGHT POSSIBLE
In Latin, Nova Scotia means “New Scotland,” an allusion to common Scotland’s declare to the territory within the 17th century. The French later stepped in to commerce fur and such, and two-plus centuries later the cultural air incorporates notes of each traces of lineage. From the Scottish camp, that features good Scotch-style single-malt whisky. Glenora Distillery‘s Glen Breton Uncommon is sweet sufficient to have been anointed amongst Scotsman Ian Buxton’s “101 whiskies to strive earlier than you die.” The home uisce beatha is the spotlight of the hourly (9am-5pm, on the hour) tour, which runs $7 a head. For $130/night time, you possibly can drink extra and keep via morning.

The Battle of the Glen: The Scottish Whisky Affiliation as soon as introduced a lawsuit towards Glenora for its use of the phrase “Glen” in Glen Breton Uncommon. A protracted saga involving a number of appeals concluded with Glenora profitable the everlasting proper to the identify in 2009. Glenora’s Battle of the Glen is a 15-year single-malt honoring the lawsuit’s defeat.
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10 minutes by way of the Ceilidh Path/19N
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Cabot Cliffs, Golf Digest‘s #9 course on the planet (Credit score: Cabot Hyperlinks)

Cabot Hyperlinks, Inverness
OVERNIGHT POSSIBLE
Atop cliffs of sharp gray rock, Cabot Hyperlinks is the extraordinary internet hosting resort of two—two!—of the world’s 100 finest golf programs as ranked by Golf Digest: Cabot Cliffs (#9) and the marginally older Cabot Hyperlinks (#43). To play each, and/or to battle every once more amid sometimes-fierce winds, you possibly can shack up in one of many 72 lovely rooms (from $195 CAD/night time) of salt-tinged cedar, clear traces and Atlantic views.

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29 minutes by way of 19N and 219E
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Lobster Pound Bistro, Belle Cote
OVERNIGHT POSSIBLE
The hefty lobsters populating Nova Scotia’s clear waters are filled with taste and shouldn’t be missed absent critical shellfish allergy symptoms. Dinner on the on-site lobster pound at Island Sundown Resort (in season) facilities round a full buttered lobster, sides of inexperienced and beige, and a salt-water-drenched tour of the waterside equipment of lobster consumption. Cottages could be stumbled again to for as little as $180 CAD/night time.

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12 minutes by way of the Cabot Path
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Mi-⁠Carême Interpretive Centre, Grand Étang
Tucked towards the western shoulder of Cape Breton, miles previous the place Route 19 bends east and the Cabot Path takes over, is the Mi-⁠Carême Interpretive Centre, an intimate workshop and dress-up barn celebrating the Acadian custom of Mi-⁠Carême (like a sister of Mardi Gras). Our Cape Breton insider as soon as described the middle with, “Gah! Simply go, if I let you know an excessive amount of I’ll spoil it for you.” Entry is $5/particular person, whereas the stillness of the lobster-trap-dotted Atlantic exterior is free.

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30 minutes to 2 hours by way of the Cabot Path
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The Skyline Trail

The Skyline Path

Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park
The Skyline Path, Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park
The 186-mile Cabot Path opened in 1927 as a purposeful roadway uniting Cape Breton’s impartial coastal communities. Right now, it’s among the many world’s finest drives to take slowly, with dramatic twists and bends and bushy inexperienced mountains that roll instantly into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A couple of third of the path winds slowly throughout the boundaries of Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park, whose 26 mountain climbing trails and 24 lookouts provide themselves to all in pursuit of nice pure magnificence—plus moose, bald eagles and seasonal whales. As a result of it’s a nationwide park, a park move ($7.80 CAD/grownup…) should be bought upon entry.

The Skyline Path is 7.5km (5 miles) of shimmering inexperienced magnificence. It’s seemingly the spotlight of the park, not less than for muscle tissue of common efficacy. Two to 3 hours will get you to the bumpy highlands on the water’s edge, the place a plunking boardwalk escorts new arrivals to heavenly outcrops battered by salty winds. It’s a should on a dry day.

Captain Mark’s Whale and Seal Cruise, Nice Bay
Nice Bay is a brief drive north of the park, however not in spirit. In 28-foot zodiacs, Mark and Tina of Captain Mark’s Whale and Seal Cruise pursue whales and dolphins towards a backdrop to recollect: the dramatic rocky seam the place Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park meets the ocean. The geometry is jaw-dropping. Weaving via effervescent marine life, with the agility of a superpowered inflatable, is a good way to spend two hours ($40 CAD/particular person).

Extra hikes, Cape Breton Highlands Nationwide Park
Within the park, water, solar safety, strolling sneakers, and time are extra necessary than fastidiously curated path plans. Hit the Skyline Path, and from there let the land and park indicators lead you for good outcomes. The Parks Canada web site has a useful and difficulty-coded information to trails within the park. That stated, just a few highlights:

  • Benjie’s Lake: 1-1.5 hours to an elevated lake frequented by moose
  • Jigging Cove: 2-Three hours round a man-made lake
  • Ingonish Seashore: simply drive proper up
  • Center Head: 1-2 hours down a slim peninsula and again
  • Franey Path: 2-Three hours to a 360-degree lookout; powerful
  • Meat Cove: 1.5-2 hours of beautiful views; northernmost level in Cape Breton; exterior the park

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1-2 hours by way of the Cabot Path
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North River Kayak Excursions, Baddeck
Cape Breton’s a whole bunch of miles of rocky coast are lapped at by crystal-clear, closely birded waters. In the summertime, a kayaking journey ($69 CAD for a half-day) is usually a gateway into many extra adventures. Simply drive your kayak right into a desired shore and stroll round a bit. North River Kayaking‘s guitar-playing founder (Angelo) convey charisma, bearings and what I recall as buttery do-it-yourself scones to the fold.

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37 minutes by way of the Cabot Path
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Alexander Graham Bell and a boy, from the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site

Alexander Graham Bell and a boy, from the Alexander Graham Bell Nationwide Historic Web site

Alexander Graham Bell Nationwide Historic Web site, Baddeck
The inventor of the phone—and one in every of historical past’s extra underappreciated polymaths—adored Cape Breton. On the Alexander Graham Bell Nationwide Historic Web site, Bell’s work and humanity are offered within the delicate gentle of the setting that nurtured him into one in every of historical past’s nice characters. I don’t love all museums, nor all houses of historic figures, however this one was a pleasure to discover. The White Glove Tour ($12.27) enables you to get actually hands-on.

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15 minutes by way of Large Baddeck Street
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The Chew Home, Baddeck
The Chew Home is a 12-seat restaurant serving domestically foraged flavors inside an outdated farmhouse Thursday to Sunday, Might via December. Chef Bryan Picard’s legendary and fairly priced ($70) tasting menus flip over 5 new programs every month, and studies of disappointment are close to unimaginable to come back by. It’s Cape Breton’s, and perhaps Nova Scotia’s, finest meal. Reservations for 2019 can be found beginning January 5 (e-mail eat@thebitehouse.com or see extra on the positioning).

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13 minutes by way of Large Baddeck Street
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Inverary Home, Baddeck
OVERNIGHT POSSIBLE
The Inverary Home survived a hearth in its important lodge this summer season and lives on to welcome company, because it has for the previous 70 years. Set throughout 11 acres of rolling inexperienced are cosy cabins with flat-screens and Wi-Fi, fireplace pits, and presumably a pleasant, romping canine. All look over the glassy Bras d’Or Lake. The home burger, which can or could not have earlier than this summer season been cooked within the cabin misplaced to fireside, is an effective one.

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11 minutes by way of 105W
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Large Spruce Brewing, Nyanza
Large Spruce Brewing‘s ales (like Kitchen Social gathering Pale Ale) are complemented by piney views from the tasting patio and, Thursday via Sunday, stay music. There’s additionally a meals truck many days, specified additional on the Fb web page.

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11 minutes by way of 105E
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Baddeck Lobster Suppers, Baddeck
An enormous plated lobster hangs above the doorway to Baddeck Lobster Suppers, inside which the fruits of the salty Atlantic virtually spill onto tables. Lobsters, crab, salmon, and extra are pumped scorching out of the kitchen with all-you-can-eat mussels and chowder.

Discover scallops someplace: The scallops you’ll discover in Cape Breton—Digby big scallops, named after the seaside city of Digby—could also be one of the best on the planet (they’re additionally more and more harvested sustainably).

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1 hour by way of 105E
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Doktor Luke’s, Sydney
Cozy favourite Doktor Luke’s is a good spot for a caffeine increase. The ice frappes “are to die for” within the phrases of Yvette Rogers. There are teas, scorching chocolate, scorching cider, and baked items, too.

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22 minutes by way of Freeway 4E
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Colette’s Household Restaurant, Glace Bay
The worn seats at Colette’s are as cherished as any on the island. Drop in for a sandwich buried beneath fries, or—for a style of the island—a Scottish toast (French toast dipped in oats and brown sugar). For lunch or a giant breakfast, you possibly can’t beat the worth at Colette’s.

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2 minutes by way of Brookside Road
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Glace Bay Chip Wagon, Glace Bay
Hand-cut fries, perhaps one of the best on the island, are served steaming scorching out of a white-and-royal-blue truck at 1 Water Road in Glace Bay. From line, the narrows of Glace Bay Harbour and the sweeping open ocean lap inside view. The tidal shallows of Large Glace Bay Migratory Chook Sanctuary, the place Canada geese and piping plovers congregate, usually are not far. See the wagon’s Fb web page for hours and updates.

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1.5 hours by way of 4W
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Level Michaud Seashore, Fourchu
Hanging off the island to the southeast, previous Saint Espritt, is large, broad Level Michaud Seashore. Convey sandwiches, recent blueberries and a bottle of one thing from Eileanan Brèagha Vineyards (in Denys) and settle into the sunkissed sand. Let the hours slip off undetected into the infinity in two dimensions.

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1 hour by way of 247E
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Cap Auget Lighthouse (from Unsplash)

Cap Auget Lighthouse, Arichat
Yet another lighthouse earlier than the highway leads off the island, by way of a flip via the calmly populated (~four,000 individuals) Isle Madame…

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52 minutes by way of 104W
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Canso Causeway

Till subsequent time, Cape Breton.


For extra on Cape Breton, go to cbisland.com.

 

Ian Livingston

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