We returned to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on August 19. The ferry ride was uneventful - foggy at first giving way to sunshine. We sat with our new friends from Ontario - Linda and Brady. We had lunch with them too. The entertainment on board was very good again, as was the food.
We stayed two nights at Baddeck Cabot Trail RV Park. They gave us one of their new RV Sites which was 100' long. Yes, there were bugs! On Saturday we drove the whole Cabot Trail in the Jeep, counterclockwise, which is apparently the best way. There were some spectacular views. Part of the trail is in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Most of the day was cloudy and sometimes foggy. It is about 320 kilometres in total but takes about 5 hours with the curvy roads and the hills. It began about 12 km north of our campground with a little cable ferry ride from Englishtown. It cost $5 and took about 5 minutes! We stopped at the Keltic Lodge along the way. It is a nice little hotel that opened in July 1940. Then we stopped at The Chowder House in Neil's Harbour for lunch and had seafood chowder and biscuits. We went down a few side roads to the shore and ended up talking to two young boys that were fishing for mackerel off the dock in Dingwall. They had caught a flounder but threw it back because they said it was gross!
We stopped at several Lookoffs in the National Park. One was at Aspy Fault. It is a fault that runs for 40 km through Cape Breton. It is thought to have caused many of the scenic mountains in the area as well as the Appalachian Mountains. Part of it runs through the Park. The west side of the Cabot Trail is much like PEI with green lawns right to the shore. There are numerous little towns. We stopped and got some baby shrimp in Cheticamp.
After we finished the Trail, we went to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. He was an amazing inventor, even from an early age. Because his mother, and later his wife, were both deaf he had a fascination with helping the deaf. He invented the first telephone. He also worked on the hydrofoil and aeronautics. He was a founding member of the National Geographic Society. He and his wife, Mabel, finished their years at a beautiful mansion at Beinn Bhreagh, not far from Baddeck, on the shore of Bras d'Or Lake. This was a very interesting site.
Sunday we headed for Halifax. The sun was out and the drive was nice. The road was very good. We stopped at a truck stop in Truro Heights for lunch. Cheers to the hard-working waitresses there (they were two people short and it was Sunday)! We are at the Woodhaven RV Park in a nice site overlooking the valley near Hammonds Plains, about 12 km out of Halifax. Monday we went to Costco in Dartmouth for two new tires on the Jeep and to load up on toilet paper and kleenex! In the afternoon we drove down towards Peggy's Cove looking for our next campsite. We found two and will decide later in the week when we see what the weather is going to do. Tuesday we went into Halifax and spent some time at the harbour. We also found a good sushi place - I Love Sushi! - for lunch. Halifax is actually quite pretty in some areas. Some of the streets are lined with huge trees. After lunch we drove down to the harbour and found some great Adirondack chairs to sit and watch people and boats.
Note: we are starting to hear about Hurricane Irene building in the Caribbean. It looks like we may feel the tail end of it by Tuesday. This will be a factor in our choice of the next campground.
On the 24th we went to the Citadel in downtown Halifax. This is a great National Historic Site. As well as the Citadel itself which is a fortification built in the mid 1800s there is an amazing Army Museum which highlights Canadian Army forces from the mid-1800s to current. We went back to our chairs in the harbour - with a Tim Hortons coffee! The weather has been beautiful the past few days with no bugs.
We're relaxing more here because we have extra time. The 27th was designated "Trailer Park Boys" day - we tried to find at least one of the sets that they used during filming. The most recent site was Cole Harbour, which happens to be where Sidney Crosby comes from We weren't successful in finding the site (we later found out it has been demolished) but found a nice little place called Eastern Passage. We bought a 2 lb lobster for dinner which they steam cooked for us. We had a great chat with the couple that owns the shop about the state of the country. The complaints are the same coast to coast! Too much tax, corrupt people running it.
On the 28th, after much deliberation, we decided to move to Wayside RV Park. It's in Glen Margaret, just along from Peggy's Cove. Larry had a couple of conversations with the owner of the park who sits out in front of registration in his lawn chair during the day. He built this RV Park and has owned it for 50 years. We are facing a little cove. We were concerned about the effects of Hurricane Irene but there didn't seem to be much. We went down to Peggy's Cove twice to check out the waves.
The 29th was a little windier and we had to put the satellite dish down in the early morning. Otherwise that was the only affect we felt from Hurricane Irene and the day was absolutely gorgeous. In the afternoon we drove along the coast to Lunenburg. On the way there we passed many nice homes right on the shore as well as a bustling community called Mahone Bay. Lunenburg was first settled in 1753 and the German influence of the time is still alive today. It continues to be the only ship building town still using traditional ship building methods. It also sent the first fishing fleet to the Grand Bank in 1850. UNESCO has declared Lunenburg a World Heritage Site. Our main purpose for coming here was to see the Bluenose II. The original Bluenose was built in 1921 and has appeared on our dime since 1937. She was built as a racing ship and sank off Haiti in 1946. The Bluenose II was built in 1963 using the original plans and has not raced. She is currently under refit, having her whole hull and engines replaced. Otherwise, her mahogany decking, the masts and all the electronics will be original.
There are many historic buildings in Lunenburg including St. John's Anglican Church where the first services were held outdoors on the site in 1753. There was a fire in the church in 2001 and it underwent a 4 year restoration. There is also the Lunenburg Academy which is the only intact 19th century Academy building in Nova Scotia. It was badly damaged by fire in 1893 and had to be repaired.
August 30 dawned another beautiful day and very calm. The water in our cove was like glass. We went into Halifax again and ate our lunch at Pleasant Park. It was a nice day and we found some other areas that we hadn't seen yet. On the 31st Larry spent a couple of hours washing the coach and the car.
The day before we left Wayside RV Park we met a very nice couple from Santa Cruz CA, Mike and Cynthia. We plan to stop and stay a night at their place on our return trip to BC in March 2012.
On to Yarmouth September 1!