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Old 07-04-2019, 09:49 PM   #11
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(1) Watch for ticks in western Nova Scotia, especially around Keji, where they are the worst that I have ever seen at any location on earth. I've literally not walked 50 feet in places without picking one up. And they carry Lyme disease - I've had multiple family members who have gotten it. Dogs need to be on Bravecto or an equivalent.

(2) There is nowhere else in the province that offers the hiking that you can find in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Dogs are allowed on all trails EXCEPT Skyline, Freshwater Lake (very short, no need to take a dog to that tiny lakefront), and maybe Middle Head (I can't remember but we've taken our dog down it, and nobody complained). Skyline is so worth doing that last year when we had a family friend with us, my husband and the friend did the trail, and I remained back with our dog (I've seen it many times before).

Broad Cove Campground in Ingonish has hookups and good pedestrian access to a number of high-quality destinations, but is otherwise an antiquated, sucky, expensive, depressing place (it does have superb restrooms, however). The ground surface was scraped clear and the utilities were installed - that's about it. Little landscaping or ambiance in the hook-up areas -- and it's situated in one of the most beautiful locations on earth (say the travel guides). We are off-gridders, but in order to access a dump station, one time we had to pay a full site fee (about thirty-eight bucks) and we figured what the heck, maybe we will stay a night in the campground, given that we had to pay this outrageous dump fee. We ended up leaving after about 30 minutes (we're spoiled).

That being the case, though, from that campground, you can walk to (1) the Broad Cove Mountain trailhead, (2) the Warren Lake trailhead, and (3) you can access Broad Cove Beach without even moving your vehicle. If I had to have hookups, I would definitely stay there. Reservations are strongly recommended.

(3) If you find you need some additional piece of outdoor gear while on the Cabot Trail, there's a guy named Rob in Ingonish who runs The Outdoor Store. It's a treasure trove of stuff that is impossible to get pretty much anywhere else. He supplies the local fishing fleets as well as tourists, so he always has the latest and most trendy in that kind of "off grid" stuff. Rob always has the latest scuttlebutt on what events are happening locally.

In Ingonish there's a cafe called the Bean Barn that often has home-made pies, home made in the OLD style with local berries and whatnot. Worth every penny. They also have superb breakfast, but I don't know how long during the season they stay open. Cash and debit only, no credit.

(3) Franey Mountain (Ingonish) and Fishing Cove (west side of the park) are superb hikes requiring a moderate to good level of fitness.

(4) Meat Cove is overrated and hard to get to. That whole area of land is owned by a single extended family and tourism appears to be their only livelihood. They run a cafe which gets rave reviews but which is so undercapacitied that I don't think we've ever gone there and not faced hassles. They make a chowder which is world-famous - IF you can get it, because they run out of it daily. Their location is barely navigable by a Class B - you better be danged good drivers.

(5) I don't know much about Halifax. I live in a metro area of 7 million people (greater Houston TX) - when I travel, I avoid cities like the plague.

(6) Fortress Louisbourg on the east side of Cape Breton is worth a visit if you like historical stuff. IIRC, it's the largest historical reconstruction in North America. Unfortunately they have very restricted hours due to their high overhead (lots of animators on the payroll).

Sydney (where I was born) - not much to see.

Other places - nice, but given a choice, I'd go to the Highlands.

EDIT: I should include at least one photo with a reply like this. Ingonish harbor.

Nice post. I'm gonna store it for the next trip that way, to include NL in a year or two. Awesome province. Awesome people there.

We did go to Meat Cove but couldn't get waited on, familiar? Hit a lobster shack on the way out.
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:52 PM   #12
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Interblog, thank you very much for your detailed reply. I had no idea there was such a tick problem on parts of Nova Scotia. Good to know, especially with a dog. Thank you for the pros and cons of the Broad Cove campground. Funny about the dump fees there. We have a local campground that charges an overnight fee just to dump. I was like, really? OK, won't use you again. Your descriptions of Cape Breton makes me want to go tomorrow, sounds awesome. Again, thanks so much for your input. This forum is great! Robert
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:18 PM   #13
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Interblog, thank you very much for your detailed reply. I had no idea there was such a tick problem on parts of Nova Scotia. ...
The reason why ticks are so out-of-control in western Nova Scotia in particular:

Years ago, Americans brought hunting dogs into NS via the Yarmouth ferry. The dogs carried ticks that were not native to the ecosystem, but once deposited there, they thrived and their numbers exploded in a manner that was out of proportion to the rest of the local biota. Equilibrium has never really been established as a result.

I was saddened to discover that, just within the past year, the invasive tick species have gained their foothold on Cape Breton Island, too. We used to say to ourselves, "Well, western NS is screwed, but at least we can relax and not worry about this tick issue where we are."

That's all gone now. News article from April:

Lyme disease risk increases in parts of Cape Breton, province says

Edit: Statistic for perspective, from that news article.

Nova Scotia is home to 2.4% of Canada's population, but it had 29% of Canada's Lyme disease cases in 2017.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:22 PM   #14
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Default A must see

Hopewell Rocks is a must see place. You will experience the tide come in over 40 feet. It is truly amazing. The site itself is a private-run one.


There are, of course, private campgrounds which you might not have too much trouble in which to stay. Provincial campgrounds are another matter. We had reservations. Arrived during a holiday, never did find out what is was, but campers were not turned away. There were tents and RV's all over the place. Made for some interesting driving as not to run over anybody.


Have fun. Hope to visit eastern Canada again soon !
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:39 PM   #15
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If you like music, be sure to participate in a CEILI pronounced Kaylee on the western side of Cape Breton. Itís Irish for party, and they are held in churches, peoples homes, bar rooms, etc. Lots of fiddles and guitars.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:39 PM   #16
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If you like music, be sure to participate in a CEILI pronounced Kaylee on the western side of Cape Breton. Itís Irish for party, and they are held in churches, peoples homes, bar rooms, etc. Lots of fiddles and guitars.
I should not of said they are Irish, they are Gaelic which is Scottish and or Irish.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:08 PM   #17
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Last fall I had to have an emergency black valve repair on my Roadtrek caused by terrible road trench on NL. Cape Breton Trailer Sales north of Sydney was recommended by a local. Theses people got me in in within an hour and had me out in under two, and charged me a very reasonable price.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:29 PM   #18
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I should not of said they are Irish, they are Gaelic which is Scottish and or Irish.
Spelled ceilidh.

Oops, I need ten words or something to make a post, right?
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:48 PM   #19
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Hello, I live in Nova Scotia near Lunenburg NS. I would advise making reservations for campgrounds for August but September should be a little better although weekends may be booked in some popular campgrounds. Keji is beautiful and they have kayak and canoe rentals there. Rissers Beach is a beautiful campground. You might get something there in September but it is probably booked already for August. Also the Ovens Campground is very nice-- they have live music in their little restaurant every night and there are caves to explore.
Near the Ovens is a great hike called Gaff Point. So gorgeous.
I have been to Cape Breton many times and it is outstanding. There are some roads over mountains that I would be nervous driving my van on but I am very afraid of heights, lol. I hope you have a great trip and feel free to ask any further questions.
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:49 PM   #20
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We found the Maritimes closed up around mid September despite the continuing great weather when we went there. That meant seasonal restaurants and some campgrounds.

Diesel is more available at service stations in Canada than the United States from our experience.

We have a Keurig coffee maker. We found that K-cups for sale were practically non-existent especially in Newfoundland. So, if anyone using K-cups, plan ahead.
You can buy reusable K-cups to take with you along with a bag of Keurig coffee.
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