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Thread: planning a trip 2 Nova Scotia> Niagra Falls

  1. #1
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Question planning a trip 2 Nova Scotia> Niagra Falls

    Howdy folks,

    This summer i am planning a round trip from my home in Central PA up to Southern Vermont, into Maine (Brunswick area), out to Nova Scotia, and across Canada to Niagra Falls, then back home.

    I have house hook-ups in both VT AND ME, so no need for places to stay between Central PA and Grafton VT, or between Grafton VT and Brunswick ME, tho suggestions for food along the way, in New York State and VT/NH/ME are welcome.

    **We are on road bikes NOT Dual Sport, so hard surfaces are gonna be the rule for us.

    **This is also a leisure run, we'll have the women-folk along.

    **We are looking for B&Bs and Mom & Pop motels, and decent places for food, coffee, etc.

    The main criteria is to avoid freeways, major motorways, interstates, or turnpikes!

    US/Canadian hiways and State/local roads with the possibility of a short jaunt on the occasional major motorway to connect routes remaining open.

    What i DON'T know is what's happening between Round Pond, ME and Niagra Falls, other than we want to get out onto NS, and stay in Canada between, say, Halifax and Niagra Falls.

    we'll almost certainly take US 1 > Can 1 up to St John out of Round Pond
    UNLESS there are ferries from ME to NS.

    From what i can glean off the 'net, ferries no longer run between Maine and Nova Scotia? Is this TRUE or FALSE? This could make a big difference in our route planing and timing allotments.

    Any and all information & suggestions are welcome in planning this adventure.

    POIs, restaurants, B&Bs, Mom & Pop motels & restaurants, home cooking, even cocktails, ales, and breakfast/coffee stops, gasoline stops, whatever.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Prefers to play martinph's Avatar
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    Bob Weber will respond as soon as he sees your post.

    From what i can glean off the 'net, ferries no longer run between Maine and Nova Scotia? Is this TRUE or FALSE? This could make a big difference in our route planing and timing allotments.
    Yes this is true
    Last edited by martinPH; 11-29-2011 at 04:34 PM. Reason: change
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  3. #3
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Kingston, ON to Niagra Falls

    Hwy 401 is the freeway you will need to use from Montreal to Kingston. There just are no other viable routes.

    Once at Kingston, you can head south and take a very scenic route with a free ferry thrown in, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Highway_33. At the western end, you could return to the 401, but I like to follow Hwy 2 along the shore of Lake Ontario from Trenton to just East of Port Hope. Then, it's back to 401 for the crossing of Toronto, until you take the 427 South and then follow the QEW ( Queen Elizabeth Way) to Niagara Falls.

    The Niagara area is wine country. See http://wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/ for a few ideas and a map. There is a road parallel to the QEW to the west, nestled under the Niagra Escarpment that is pleasant and will get you near a whole bunch of wineries.

    If I'm around when you are due to arrive in Toronto, I might even be able to show you the route.

    There is a Niagra region chartered club you could contact as well. Should have mentioned the Quinte chartered club west of Kingston as well.

    Great ride, but you will likely do freeways a fair amount in Canada.
    Ed
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  4. #4
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by BMW Triumphant View Post
    Hwy 401 is the freeway you will need to use from Montreal to Kingston. There just are no other viable routes.

    Once at Kingston, you can head south and take a very scenic route with a free ferry thrown in, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Highway_33. At the western end, you could return to the 401, but I like to follow Hwy 2 along the shore of Lake Ontario from Trenton to just East of Port Hope. Then, it's back to 401 for the crossing of Toronto, until you take the 427 South and then follow the QEW ( Queen Elizabeth Way) to Niagara Falls.

    The Niagara area is wine country. See http://wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com/ for a few ideas and a map. There is a road parallel to the QEW to the west, nestled under the Niagra Escarpment that is pleasant and will get you near a whole bunch of wineries.

    If I'm around when you are due to arrive in Toronto, I might even be able to show you the route.

    There is a Niagra region chartered club you could contact as well. Should have mentioned the Quinte chartered club west of Kingston as well.

    Great ride, but you will likely do freeways a fair amount in Canada.
    Thanks! I'll take a look at the routes and links you posted. Since this is in the VERY early stages, not certain yet of just when we'll be in the area but i'll let you know when we get the dates nailed down. if we could hook up, that'd be nice, i'll buy you a coffee or beverage of choice.

    Cheers!

    Tom

  5. #5
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Language skills?

    Just a thought- i know we'll be in French-speaking areas, through Ontario, but not so certain about Nova Scotia. I have a French Phrasebook i plan to bring, but have no real skills in French.

    Any tips about the use of -or expectancy of the use of- French, would be appreciated.

  6. #6
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    Don't worry about French

    I have never found a problem with needing French in Quebec. Could happen in very rural areas, but unlikely. Very friendly and tourist aware.
    Ed
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  7. #7
    Registered User WalterK75's Avatar
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    Include a trip around the Cabot Trail in Novia Scotia.
    That which the Fascists hate above all else, is intelligence.
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  8. #8
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    Howdy folks,
    This summer i am planning a round trip from my home in Central PA up to Southern Vermont, into Maine (Brunswick area), out to Nova Scotia, and across Canada to Niagara Falls, then back home.
    Canadian universities and colleges offer residence accommodations during the summer months. Check out http://www.aucc.ca/canadian-universi...r-universities to find colleges/universities along your route. Once you have zeroed in on a campus, look for the Tourist/travellers information. I often pay between $30-$40, depending if breakfast is served. Lots of good two lane roads through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. If you follow the Gaspe Pennisula, you will most likely be taking Hwy 132. If this is the case, take the three hour ferry from Matane to Baie-Comeau on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. It is a more scenic ride. Do stop and stay in Old Quebec City. No that will not be inexpensive, but worth the visit to stay in a European city. In Ontario, yes you will most likely have to take the 401 unless you detour north to scenic back roads and then head due south to Niagara Falls. When in the Toronto area, pay the exorbitant toll fee for the 407. That way you will live to see another day. The 401 around Toronto is the most heavily travelled road in North America. LA freeways were a Sunday afternoon ride compared to our Toronto 401. Allow yourself lots of time to really enjoy the ride. Don't forget to ride the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island when in Nova Scotia. You will overwhelmed by just how friendly our neighbours on the east coast are.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  9. #9
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    Not sure if this is in your travels or not but I recommend Northern Outdoors in The Forks, ME.

    We stayed here in a very nice cabin for less than we'd pay at a good Holiday Inn. Although listed as a "resort", it's not as plush as you would expect a resort to be. It's clean and comfy and the brew pub onsite is reasonably priced and excellent!

    Northern Outdoors

    For what it's worth, I'll take the north woods area of Maine over the coast any day!

  10. #10
    100,000+ miler 32232's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    The main criteria is to avoid freeways, major motorways, interstates, or turnpikes!
    Thanks!
    Eastern Ontario is lovely country and you'll really enjoy it if you stay off the 400 series.

    There's really no alternative entering Ontario from the east except 401. (FYI, Ontario highways in the 400 series are all multi-lane, limited access.) If two lanes are your preference, at Brockville (lovely town) take 29 to Smith's Falls, (headquarters for the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO world heritage site). http://www.rideau-info.com/
    Then east on Highway 7 to Peterborough, headquarters for the Trent-Severn Waterway. The Rideau and the Trent are both national historic sites. In Peterborough you'll find the Peterborough Lift Lock, one of the seven engineering wonders of the world. The amazing part is it's over a hundred years old. Take the short boat cruise that goes through the lock; you'll never see anything like it again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterborough_Lift_Lock

    East on Highway 7 and if time allows you can jog north on Highway 12 and take Highway 9 through the countryside and drop south on #10 through Orangeville. That will take you around the worst of Toronto.

    If you want to stay off major highways, avoid 401 and Toronto like the plague. A survey I read last summer said traffic is worse than any other city in North America, including LA or Chicago. I pass through T.O. a couple times a year and regret it every time.

    If you're in a hurry and must traverse the city, as mentioned above, take 407 (toll road) east and connect to the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) to Niagara. The 401 in the city risks gridlock on a fourteen lane expressway. The QEW will be a zoo regardless. If you like big cities the alternative is to head downtown, park the bike and enjoy for a day or two.

    Once you reach Hamilton, Highway 20 is a much nicer ride east through the Niagara wine country than the QEW and it brings you straight into Niagara Falls by the "back door".

    When you get to Niagara Falls, ride north on the Niagara Parkway to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Quaint tourist town with good restaurants, upscale hotels and shopping for the ladies.
    Dave

    '06 Triumph Scrambler (Trans-Labrador veteran)

  11. #11
    Hero of the Stupid HONDARIDER's Avatar
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    If you're headed to southern VT, I can recommend a scenic twisty 2 lane route through the Berkshires of Western Mass...over Mount Greylock...and delivering you into Bennington or Wilmington depending on your destination. Northwest CT is nice if you're making your way up from PA. Let me know if you're interested...I'll send you a map of my favorite route from CT to VT.

  12. #12
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    You might consider SR 2 from Troy, NY across to SR 2 in Massachusetts, and taking that route across Mass. It's a little less mountainous than Vermont. It's my route of choice to Maine.

    Bar Harbor is one of my favorite spots. There's a good KOA and a mix of motels from very expensive to very reasonable.

    Harry
    2003 R1150RT - Silver

  13. #13
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    If the ferry is still closed from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth N.S., the ride on Route 1 to Calais Maine is great! Right before Calais you could cross the border to Campobello Island to visit The Franklin Roosevelt cottage(summer home). Then take the two short ferries to Deer Island and main land New Brunswick, Canada. Then you would have to take the highway to Saint John to take the ferry to Digby, N.S.
    Once there, you could follow the coast south to Yarmouth and keep going around towards Halifax through Lunenburgh and Peggy's Cove. Nova Scotia is great where ever you go, but like someone mention, Cape Breton is worth the ride. The two tourist attraction I suggest for that area is of course "The Cabot Trail" in the "Cape Breton Highland National Park" , and " Fort Louisbourgh" near Sydney. Coming from Cape Breton, head for Pictou to take the ferry to Wood Island P.E.I. Like "martinph" said, Bob Webber will give all you need for NS,
    There, head for Charlottetown and then follow the east coast to Cavendish to see the beach. Then go towards Borden to cross the Confederation Bridge back to New Brunswick.
    Here take route 15 towards Cap-Pele and stop for the best fried clams and scallops you'll ever taste, at the "Bel Air" restaurant or the "Aboiteau" restaurant. In Shediac, you have the warmest waters in the Northumberland Strait, at Parlee Beach. If you follow the east coast on rte 134( and take rte 636, 475 and 117, for scenery) and rte 11, you can't go wrong! Half an hour pass Shediac, you would be going by my place, and if I'm around at this point, I'd be more than happy to show you around and a place to stay. Here we have the "Kouchibouguac National Park" with the best sand dunes around. Depending how much time you have I could suggest more for New Brunswick, like Fundy National Park, Hopewell Rocks with it's highest tides in the world, Magnetic Hill, following the Saint-John river and more!
    Once in Quebec I would follow Paul F's suggestion and take the ferry to Baie-Comeau, from Matane, much better scenery on that side.

    As for the french thing in the Maratime provinces (NS, NB, PEI, and NFL) don't worry, all us frenchmen are biilingual, and be more than happy to help you out. And if you find somebody that can't speak english, you'll have a blast listening to him or her trying!!!lol
    I mostly camp when I travel so I'm not that familiar with B&B. If you do camp, You can't go wrong with Canadian National Parks and campgrounds in the maritimes. If you want coffee, well guess what we have, Tim Horton's, in pretty much every town you'll go through.

    Hope this helps a bit!

    Art.

  14. #14
    Club President gsjay's Avatar
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    Ferry's

    Are both Ferries, from Portland & Bar Harbor out of business?

    If they are this surely has had to have a negative impact on tourism there.

    We took the CAT several years back, after having a crossing on the Portland Ferry cancelled just weeks before our trip. It was a real cluster! 14 members of our local club, all scurring around at the last minute rebooking......

    Enjoyed Nova Scotia every much, will hope to get back there soon.

    Jason
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  15. #15
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Wow!

    Thanks everyone,

    There's a lot to digest there. Fortunately, my big Atlas has detailed maps of Canada, and my GPS also has lifetime Canadian Maps. The info on the "400" series roads being akin to our US Interstate system is great info, as they don't "look" that big on the maps . Looks like i may get a lesson in route planning for my GPS!

    I have to figure a time-line across Canada to Niagra. Google Maps suggests that, in a bee-line, it's "one day, 10 hours" (Halifax to Niagra) so it appears that maybe three-four days could include some nice scenic riding and a stop in Olde Quebec City. No desire to get into Toronto this time round. Tho it is a city on my "list", i will either drive into it by car sometime or fly up. i think a long weekend there would be a treat at some point in my life.

    Art,
    We may see you as we swing thru, and as we develop more completely the route we'll choose. At this time i really don't even know how many total days we'll have, but i'll be referring back to this thread from now until departure. At the very least, perhaps we may pop by for a quick visit. Thank you sir, for the invite. that's very gracious of you.

    Just roughly trying to get any sense at all of what kind of time it takes to say, go from Digby, around south, to Yarmouth and up the East Coast, it appears -again according to Google Maps- that it's perhaps a full day all the way to Halifax? That would be waking up in St John, taking the ferry across, and doing that ride. It seems from what i can glean, that the ferry ride over to Digby is 2-3 hours? Am i off base on this? BTW, we aren't locked in to going into Halifax, per se, but that's kind of been a target during this initial (and loose) planning phase. I guess, by looking at my Atlas, the route from Digby around to Halifax only covers about half of Nova Scotia, so i'll have to more closely consider the routes you have all suggested with the sights and POIs along the way.

    Harry, & Hondarider,

    I've only just Google Mapped (a tool i use frequently) the routes from Harrisburg PA up to Grafton, VT, and from Grafton over to the Brunswick, ME area. The first day out, up to Grafton, is going to be a pretty big day. Tho i've only taken a bare-bones peek at the route, it looks like it suggests US 219 up into NY state, then eventually bypassing Albany and entering Southern VT in that SW corner. The suggestion from Grafton over to the Brunswick area is a quickie 4-5 hour ride, so we may stretch that a bit, to include a trip over the White Mountains, which i think would have us going thru Conway, NH, and almost straight across ME. I certainly welcome any and all suggestions, and greatly appreciate your input and knowledge. Less busy routes may just be as quick as a more direct route with more traffic on it. We basically have all day, with a couple gas stops and a lunch stop in there. As long as we don't have to really put a hustle on then we are keeping to the "leisure" plan.

    This is all really helpful info, i deeply appreciate it. Keep an eye on this thread and we'll all see how the trip develops. If any one wants to PM or Email anything specific, that would be great. Feel free to post it here, in the hopes that others may also benefit from your suggestions. My email address can be found in my public profile, i do believe. If not, just ask and i'll PM it to you.

    Have a great day everybody!

    Tom

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