Nova Scotia...Here I come...
Heading from Orlando to NS the first two weeks of June. First stop is to pickup a friend in Hiawassee GA, then on to Winchester VA, Killington VT...then into Canada.
Anyone have any "absolutely gotta do's" while we're there? Cabot Trail and Cape Briton are tops on the list. If you had a fav place to stay, place to eat or place for a beer...Please share.!
Thoughts from a Nova Scotian stuck in Ontario
Nova Scotia "eh"?
Well, here goes:
As previously mentioned the Cabot Trail is great. My preference is to do it counterclockwise. This way you are on the outside of the mountains and get a better view DOWN. I've had comments come back to me that some would have preferred to be on the inside of the road up against the mountain instead of next to the edge. That's up to you. Now, the road is not like the 3 Cornices near Monaco in the South of France in terms of danger or precariousness but you should always be careful in parts.
Halifax, my hometown. A good idea was mentioned about staying in residences at the universities. St. Mary's or Dalhousie would be great. Hfx is a "big" small city. The downtown on the waterfront is super. If you are there on a Friday or Saturday definitely head for the Lower Deck for a pint (or several) and some great East Coast Music. The Lower Deck ranges in ages from university to uh, well, close to retirement. It's all good fun. During the day in good weather you can sit on their patio and watch the tourists go by on the waterfront but it truly gets going around 8 or 9 on when the bands start to play...it's also difficult to get in too, with line ups. Maybe a small cover charge too for the music. We used to go early to avoid the cover charge. In hindsight the amount of beer consumed waiting for the music to start was no doubt more than the savings from the cover charge.
Oh, a tip on pubs. Growing up there I always thought this normal, but in terms of paying for your beer or food you are usually asked to pay as you receive it. Maybe this has to do with servers in pubs not covering certain areas and thus ensuring a tip. I later thought it might have more to do with the establishment making sure they limit their losses from dine-n-dash techniques of the copious student population in the city. Either way, some pubs may have the pay as you go system. Just hand 'em the cash and throw a tip (your discretion) on the beer tray.
Out of Hfx head to Peggys Cove. Whether you like it or not it is a must do. Don't get too close to the waves.
Leaving there head to the South Shore. It is much more populated than other parts of NS. Mahone Bay, Chester and Lunenburg and nice spots to stop and ride through.
If you enjoy parking the ride for a bit and heading off for a hike, go towards Blomidon in the Annapolis Valley. It is just outside Wolfville (nice college town to stop for lunch). There is a hiking trail (about 1 hour) out to the edge of a cliff overlooking Bay of Fundy...great views!
If you are near Truro cross your fingers that you get to see the tides come in. Actually, Google "Bay of Fundy Tidal Bore" and find where the best spots are to see it come in. Naturally the times are governed by the the moon cycle. No guarantee you'll be there at the right time.
A note on the roads. The Maritimes get pretty bad winters in terms of freeze / thaw cycle. This leaves the roads pretty rough in places. A fact. The new highways are the 100 series (102, 103). The old and original highways are hwy 1, hwy 2 and correspond to the 101, 102 (they are roughly parallel). The old highways get you closer to the towns and the coast etc but watch for rough sections. Telling you now. They're not beautiful Dwight Eisenhower dictated highways.
Weather. I pray you get good weather. June can be a make or break month. That is, summer usually hits in June and it's great. Last year my friends drove out and they had a cloud follow them everywhere. I felt soooooo bad. My fingers are crossed for you.
Fortress Louisbourg: if you are into the recreation of historic sites with re-enactment this is a super place. A French fort that changed hands several times during the French / English fight for North America. Just don't wear a red coat "redcoat" when you approach the drawbridge.
Along the coast many peninsulas have roads along the edge. Just explore.
Good Luck. I'm off for a ride shortly but I'll try to put up some pics later.