This was our last day in Canada. We ate at the Delta Hotels Halifax, a Marriott. We had enough time to hike through the nearby Citadel Fort before driving to the airport. I can’t believe how much of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island we have seen in ten days. Handsome said he had a great time. The stress of work had intruded a few times. He took a few calls and texts from work.
THE CITADEL FORT
At the Citadel Fort, I spotted more red chairs. Hehehe.
Demonstration at the Citadel Fort in Halifax.
#sharethechair in Halifax.
GOODBYE RENTAL CAR
Handsome filled up the tank on the rental car on the way to the airport. I mentioned that $1.07 seemed cheap for gas.
“That’s per liter,” he said.
$1.07 per liter!
Before we left for Canada, we had added the international calling plan to Handsome’s phone for an extra $5 per day over his regular charge. It was worth it. We used Google Maps GPS to plot our routes. The phone charger adapter worked in the rental car, which did not have a GPS. The roundabouts apparently confused the GPS.
The GPS apparently loves the roundabout.
I was somewhat eager to return to work on the third book in my Compass Crimes Series. Though my idea of a vacation was reading on the beach or relaxing on a cruise, this whirlwind tour of Nova Scotia impressed me. The Canadians have shown tremendous patience and hospitality. Many volunteered to take our photo at scenic places. Handsome saw all the places he had chosen to see, so he was happy.
At the airport, the news blared the usual strife and mayhem. I tuned it out in favor of a good book.
The longest drive of our vacation in Canada was on the seventh day. On Thursday, August 10th, dear Handsome drove from Baddeck, Cape Breton, to Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia with one scheduled stop. Five hours total. From Truro to Windsor, along we took the scenic Glooscap Trail on the way to Hall’s Harbor.
Hall’s Harbor, Nova Scotia
We arrived at high tide to take photos and eat lunch. Fish and chips. The boats were afloat and not sitting on the ground. We debated whether or not to return the next day to see them at low tide. It would be an hour trip from our B&B.
The Cobequid Bay and Minas Basin looked like mud holes. They smelled like the South Carolina pluff mud.
Historic Queen Anne Inn in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
We drove to Annapolis Royal, arriving at the Queen Anne Inn B&B. Our room sat on the third floor. There was no elevator in this historic home built in 1865. The Innkeeper hauled our luggage up the stairs to room number 5.
Fort Anne at Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.
At Fort Anne.
After unpacking for our two-night stay, we walked to the wharf boardwalk lined with restaurants and shops. On our way back, we toured Fort Anne.
RED ADIRONDACK CHAIRS
On the walkway to the water, I spied a pair of red Adirondack chairs. Maury groaned but followed me out to them. A couple from Ontario took our photo. I have photos from many vacations that showed us one at a time. On a few vacations, I was behind the camera and thus, invisible. Photo op! #sharethechair
Red chairs at Fort Anne overlooking the harbor.
At last, both of us in the red Adirondack chairs at Fort Anne.
We then ate dinner at the Ye Olde Town Pub. I had a Caesar salad with shrimp. Handsome, tired of seafood, enjoyed a Reuben.
Back at the room, we laughed at the complete lack of counter space near the sink. The sink had separate faucets and handles for hot and cold water. Rather than boil my face, I froze it using the cold water only. It was numb when I went to bed. Historic plumbing made me appreciate modern plumbing.
The next day’s plan involved driving to the end of Digby Penisula for a few hikes and possibly a whale-watching boat ride. Without an advance reservation, we held little hope of availability of the boat ride.
On Wednesday, August 9th, the sixth day of our vacation in Canada, we embarked on the Cabot Trail, a 297-kilometer/185-mile loop around Cape Breton Island. Friends Jack and Desiree Foard had recommended driving counter-clockwise for closer views along the road, so we did just that.
MIDDLE HEAD TRAIL
Our first stop was at Middle Head Trail, considered a moderate-level hike. The views made the hike worthwhile. The eastern coastline included bays and cliffs.
Middle Head Trail
Our second stop was at Ingonish for a trail map, antacids, and what Handsome described as a “$20 Egg McMuffin” at the Bean Barn Café. We had run out of Canadian cash. We had to use U.S. currency at par. The smaller villages along the Cabot Trail didn’t have banks, or decent internet, or apparently, cash registers that calculated an exchange rate.
Sign in English and Gaelic.
The eastern coastal area of Cape Breton had road signs marked in English and Gaelic. We passed a Gaelic college. The area had been settled by immigrants from Scotland. We then drove through three construction areas and waited for flagmen to wave us through. The northern section of the drive featured uninhabited mountains to the north of the road and forested area south of the
Sign in Mi’kmaw language.
road. We also found signs in Mi’kmaw, the language of the First Nation.
Along the Cabot Trail we pulled over to take photos and met these folks. They were preparing to wheel down the winding road as part of a television show. They wore GoPro helmet mounts and a few professional cameramen were stationed on the road.
THE SKYLINE TRAIL
At last, we reached the Skyline Trail on the western coast. Touted in brochures as “Where the mountains truly meet the sea.” The Skyline Trail is a 9 km/5.7 mile loop. Most tourists take the left side of the loop to the boardwalk overlook and then retrace their path back to the parking area. This route is 7.5 km/4.7 miles. To hike the full loop takes a three-hour commitment.
We decided to take the full loop. Our friends Terri and Jim Johnson would have been proud of us. We once braved the long, hot hike through the dunes on Lake Michigan and lived to tell. They, too, had recommended the Skyline Trail.
We should have brought along bottled water. The trail led through forest and marsh. Others had spotted moose earlier in the day. We missed the moose. The remainder of the trail edged a cliff line. At two-thirds of the full loop, we found the boardwalk. It descended from platform to platform along the bare ridgeline with no handrails and steep drop-offs on either side. When I wasn’t watching where I stepped, the coastal views were spectacular.
Fifteen-foot fencing separated moose from newly-planted trees along the path. We met a parks worker who explained that the moose ate the last batch of trees planted, hence the fence. We dutifully closed the gates behind us.
We then drove through yet another road construction area to Cheticamp. The L’eglise St. Pierre Church would have made a lovelier photographic subject, but there was no way to photograph the entire thing without the power lines marring the image.
We then ate lobster at Le Gabriel Restaurant. It looked like a lighthouse. Our waitress Brenda Lee took our order from her wheelchair. Fitted with a tray in front, her motorized chair allowed her to work as efficiently as any other waitress. We ate with the zeal of starving field hands. The plastic bib rescued me from wearing butter.
RED ADIRONDACK CHAIRS
Found the red chairs at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.
For the remainder of the drive, we traveled through the forest with occasional views of the shore, all the way to Baddeck. After ice cream, we took photos in the red chairs at the Alexander Graham Bell museum. Since we were the only souls in the parking lot after museum hours, we couldn’t beg a stranger to take our photo together. I’ve tried the hand-held selfie photos, but my arms are too short. My past attempts at selfies remind me of Cyrano de Bergerac.
I had been hunting these red Adirondack chairs all along so we could participate in the social media campaign #sharethechair. Perhaps we could get a photo together in the chairs this week. The hunt continued.
Fun rental car!
Tomorrow Handsome would truly regret that I was not added as a driver on the rental car. We were scheduled to drive five hours from Baddeck, Cape Breton, to Annapolis Royal on the far side of Nova Scotia.