The next Nova Scotia visit is Cape Breton Island and it's Highlands National Park. The drive from the east end of the park just north of Cheticamp to Ingonish is about 72 miles. About one third of the famous Cabot Trail runs through Cape Breton National Park. To enjoy the true magnificence of the park, you need get out of your car at all the pull outs for the scenic views, and hike as many trails as you can. We like to explore all the small unpaved roads that take us to interesting fishing villages, beautiful coves and dramatic cliffs.
The park's wildlife includes moose, black bears, coyotes, and bald eagles. Whales and Northern Gannets can often be seen from the park's coastal hiking trails. The most celebrated hiking trail is the Skyline Trail. If you visit the park in July and August, be sure to check out the guided Skyline Trail Sunset Hike the west side of the park. We are here too early for that adventure, but we chose a couple of shorter hikes. The Bog was very short, but one of the most interesting. The MacIntosh Brook and Waterfall was fun too. Except for the mosquitoes.
Our favorite drive was to Meat Cove for the scenery and St. Margaret for a meal. The Bay Cafe in St. Margaret has the best french fries anywhere. Because the potato and the art of cooking it is so prominent in the Maritime Provinces, that is really saying something. Both of these small villages are located along the most northern shores of Cape Breton Island.
We stayed at 3 places on Cape Breton Island. First was the town of Cheticamp which has a heavy influence of the Acadian culture. We stayed at Plage St-Pierre Campground
which is french for St. Peter's Beach. The campground is actually located on a little strip of land called Cheticamp Island. It is a privately owned island with a lighthouse that is closed. This little town is big for it's many great restaurants, arts and crafts and music.
We attended a "kitchen party" which is local music and frequently includes snacks. This year for the first time, a music festival called 'Roots to Boots Festival' was being held throughout Cheticamp. Artists and musicians from Cape Breton and Newfoundland and Labrador gather to tell forgotten stories and music. Great fun.
We played a round of golf at the Cheticamp Golf Course. Visited every art gallery and several restaurants. We bought a new piece of art for our very limited wall space, and I picked up the new hobby of rug hooking
not to be confused with latch hook rugging. Be sure to visit the museum in the visitors center. There is an amazing collection of hook rugs. My favorite little shop is called "Proud to be Hookers". They even have a T-shirt that says 'proud to be hooking'. LOL
This is part one of three about Cape Breton. I refer to part 1 as (West), part 2 (North), and part 3 (East).