I'll try to make this brief, but I will say the whole time we were there we were wondering why more people weren't there. This is a beautiful province. It was nice and cool in the height of summer (by contrast, temps were in the mid90s with humidity in the 50%+ range in Pennsylvania). And it was empty.
We rented a car in Halifax and drove a figure eight around Nova Scotia. We started off by heading to Peggy's Cove and the "most photographed lighthouse in North America." (I don't know how they count.) I kind of didn't want to go for that very reason, but the dude is the grandson of a lighthouse keeper so off we went. We did skip some of the other "must see" places, well, we drove by them but didn't feel compelled to stop. Okay, we were cranky and felt deep hatred for Lunenberg because of the parking situation. We accidentally happened upon one of the most highly rated restaurants in the area, where the dude had panfried haddock (which would become a theme) and his taste of my fishcakes and tomato chow hooked him. (I was frankly concerned he'd turn into a haddock during the trip.) We stopped in Yarmouth where we ate more fish.
The next day found us in the Annapolis Valley. You can see me here at Fort Anne. This is one of the places the French and British fought over; the fort changed hands seven times! We also visited the power station (more interesting than it sounds, and we met the friendliest people here. Also they showed us an osprey nesting nearby), the Historic Garden, and Port Royal, a 17th Century French settlement (reproduction).
We went hiking in Kejimkujik the next day. We took three different trails and walked about eight miles. We had stopped for water and Deep Woods Off on the drive over, and thank goodness we did. Because even with a healthy coating of deet, I ended up with several mosquito bites. I never get mosquito bites. But there was no one else out there to bite. Especially when we started on our third (and longest) trail and the heavens opened. It didn't dampen our spirits. But I'm not enamored of the photos the dude took of me on this leg of the journey! (You'll have to make do with this shot of the Mersey River.) The loneliness made it possible for me to find a couple of peepers--tiny little frogs about the size of my thumbnail. (This was sort of frog haven, because on other hikes we'd hear green frogs--which sound like a banjo string being plucked--and find green leopard frogs, which have great colors!)
For the most, part we stayed in B + Bs and inns. This was by far our favorite, A Seafaring Maiden. The view from our room was of Fort Anne and Annapolis Royal across the river. The room was beautiful and comfortable. The breakfasts were fantastic! And the hosts were outstanding. When Bill found out we were going to Keji, he pointed out other hikes we could do nearby. He also recommended a little hole-in-the-wall seafood joint.
We stopped at Grand Pre, which I discussed in the last post, where we learned about the Grand Derangement. Then we were back to Halifax for an overnight on the waterfront. We spent some time at the Citadel, where students reenact two periods of soldiers at the fort (below). It was really very interesting. We also visited the Historic Properties and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic--where we learned about the largest manmade explosion before the development of nuclear weapons. After lunch we headed up to Cape Breton, the longest drive of our visit.
Fortunately, we were staying in the inn attached to a whiskey distillery because the rain was pretty severe on the drive up. When we got to the roundabout just over the causeway, the dude asked me why everyone else seemed to be going in the opposite direction. "Oh," I said brightly, "besides staying at a whiskey distillery tonight, if you drive this way to the Cabot Trail, you'll be driving on the inside." The dude high-fived me. (He's afraid of heights.) (Best wife ever application, in one sentence!) After a pub dinner, we were treated to a ceilidh. Although the dude is Scottish, he wasn't very keen on attending. But we both enjoyed it very much!
You've probably noticed that the weather has steadily deteriorated over the few days we've been here. So we were on the Cabot Trail, often cited as one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Well, it rained. Poured actually. And when it wasn't raining, it was pretty foggy. This was our view on the Skyline Trail. (Go ahead. Click through. It doesn't always look like this!) Still, it was a lovely walk out and we made the best of it.
We stayed in Ingonish, where you can see I enjoyed the beach. (I'm wearing a fleece under the rain jacket!) We took some lovely walks here so don't feel bad for us!
For example, we walked around this freshwater lake. There is a narrow beach that divides the ocean above from this lake. It was an interesting phenomenon and a lovely area. On our way out of the park, we climbed a steep but mercifully short trail to get these views. And yes, the weather improved briefly!
From Ingonish we headed down to Baddeck where the dude finally got to walk around one of those wooded islands. (He'd been so curious about them the whole time!) We also visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, where we found out he did so much more than invent the telephone! He was a very interesting man with many irons in the fires and interests in linguistics, deaf education, and aeronautics.
We ended up back in Halifax for our flight home, but took a nice relaxing turn about the Public Gardens (a Victorian Garden).
It was a wonderful trip, and I hope I've piqued your interest in this little province!