Saturday, May 21, 2011

And now, introducing (drumbeat)...the Cabot Trail!

OK, now to fortify yourself for this long drive around the northern half of Cape Breton, we'd recommend a lunch of crabs and mussels. Well, at least Bill would! I might prefer a grilled cheese sandwich, or anything else! But look at that happy grin! Bill truly enjoyed his seafood delight, and I enjoyed the fact that I did NOT have to partake in it!

Now...down to the nitty gritty, or just the gritty...!?! At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, we did not find the highly-touted Cabot Trail to be the show-stopper everyone else seemed to. Maybe it was because: a) there were way too many long waits to pass through these dirty road work sections (hmm, is this what awaits us in Alaska?? Hopefully not as many and not as often and with much bigger payback!), b) we're so spoiled in having already seen sooo many beautiful and varied landscapes (including CA's Pacific Coast Highway, which, in my opinion, rivals or surpasses the Cabot Trail for pretty views and exciting-looking drop-offs), or c) we did not stop and experience the Gaelic Scottish culture the area is also reknown for. I can, however, imagine this place is spectacular for fall color. It is, like so much of the Canadian Atlantic Maritimes, nearly non-stop mixed forest!

That white dot is a giant RV chugging up one of the steeper sections of the Cabot Trail.

Pretty ocean view from a look-out stop. We also saw a bald eagle overhead.

The historic Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa in Ingonish.

A stop for a beach boardwalk excursion with the doggies. Notice the pink rocks - just like in Maine's Acadia!

Lotsa trees. And the road rises to meet you, and then falls away beneath you, and...

One of the prettier viewpoints, in my opinion.

A stretch that reminded of the PCH.

Maybe I was being too harsh, characterizing this place unfairly. It was beautiful. I've just seen many, other equally or more beautiful places. And my expectations were set so very high by its worldly reputation as THE most, most! But had we tarried and experienced more of this land and its people up-close, perhaps we would've fallen more in love with it as so many others have...?? Or maybe not. Maybe I'm just a Colorado Rockies girl, and that's that!

On to Baddeck

So, on Tues., Aug. 24th, we drove on to Baddeck, midway up on the southeastern shore of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The big reason for going here was the Cabot Trail drive everyone told us about - but more on that later...

The rural countryside and wooded areas enroute to Baddeck were very lush and pretty - and there were some handsome farms, like this one.

We stayed at the Bras d'Or Lake campground, which indeed abutted up to said lake. It was quite a pretty spot, and we enjoyed walking all the critters down on the lakeshore. The strange thing, however, was seeing the jellyfish and kelp on the beach!!! Yes, in fact, it was rather a beach! This is a saltwater lake! And how is that so? Two natural channels on the northeastern side connect the lake to the Cabot Strait, while a manmade canal on the southern end connects it to the Atlantic Ocean. Interesting, eh?

A pretty area nearby, at sunset.

Interesting clouds/contrails? at same spot.

Tractor reclining on a rainy day.

One of the sculptures of Alexander Graham Bell and his wife, Mabel, that dot the cute lakeside town of Baddeck. One of the coincidental parts of our visit to this area was most fortuitous, as it became a favorite part! A stop at the Alexander Graham Bell museum on a rainy day amazed us with what we didn't know about this truly great man and his incredible wife. To get more of it read here: Bell, originally from Scotland, moved to London, and then ultimately ended up in Canada due to health reasons (his two brothers died of TB and Bell was also sick - the move was to a better climate, one which had helped heal his father earlier). Bell followed in his father's footsteps, taking Melville's studies of speech and elocution, and his invention of "visible speech" (or "physiological alphabet") even further. And it was in the teaching of the deaf to speak, using these techniques, that he met, fell in love with, and married Mabel, who was one of his pupils. While we all know Bell as the creator of the telephone, his interests, talents, and accomplishments were all over the map - he was a more modern-day DaVinci. His first invention (a wheat dehusker) was at the young age of 12! And I'll bet you didn't know that Bell (and a cohort) built one of the earliest record-breaking hydrofoils? Or that he also put the Bras d'Or Lake to good use with the first aircraft flight in Canada with the Silver Dart? (that endeavor largely made possible by Mabel, who gave him the idea and much of the financial backing to establish the Aerial Experimental Association. The AEA was begun with four other men, notables such as Glenn Curtiss) Between Bell's own outright inventions, his experiments that provided fodder and facts for others' later "discoveries," and his improvements on others' work, he deserves credit in a wide scientific field - one that also encompasses metal detectors, magnetic recording, air conditioning, the phonograph, selenium cells, solar panels, and on and on. But one of the things that also sets him apart, in my opinion, is his love of family and community, and his caring and generosity of spirit. So many creative geniuses are reclusive and eccentric. Not Aleck. His main goal was always to help better peoples' lives and society. And he enjoyed, and was surrounded by, his extended family right till the end. His last years were spent either in Washington, DC, or at Beinn Bhreagh - his home (named after his ancestral Scottish highlands) in Baddeck.

Alexander Graham Bell, 1847-1922.

Time to go - scenery on our way back west.

Check out this windmill propeller blade! We saw lots of those on this trip. Too bad they aren't really a viable, economically feasible power source...!!

The End

No wait - there's still the famous Cabot Trail to show you! And then, the end - and we move on to PEI, or IPE in French!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Peggy's Cove...

is a small fishing village SE of Halifax and is located at the opening of Margaret's Bay. While it now primarily relies on tourism dollars, it retains its authenticity and still looks, for the most part, like a small fishing village, which is pretty cool. The terrain in this area is very different - more rugged-looking. Rocky coastline and greenery that looks like it often takes a beating and so must remain close to the ground.

Peggy's Cove in the background.

Pretty ocean light.

Quintessential Peggy's Cove scene.

One of the old buildings.

Their famous lighthouse. It is one of most photographed lighthouses in all of Atlantic Canada and one of the best known in the world.

More standard cove shots.

And the lighthouse again. Well, if it's THAT famous, don't you think it deserves several photos on my blog?!!

Another lighthouse...


Colorful "Buoy Shack"

Seagull cruising through the shot becomes the shot!

Interesting surrounding terrain. Very pretty.

And a beautiful day too.

Yeah, more lighthouse! Well?!

Pretty church in P's Cove.

Scenes on the way back to the campground.

Last one...

And now, on to Baddeck, NS!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Lunenburg was the first British Colonial settlement (other than Halifax). Many of its original 1700s and 1800s buildings are still standing and many are in use, providing a wonderful architectural display. There is still a large German and maritime/fishing influence evident, although tourism is now the main trade. Canada has declared it both a National Historic District and a place of National Historic Significance. UNESCO placed it on its World Heritage List.

Beautiful bay enroute to Lunenburg.

The Lunenburg Harbour.

Street scene.

Neato marine artwork graces the city streets.

Colorful buildings.

Very nicely kept homes.

Sightseeing in style.

Harbour mural.

St. John's Anglican Church.

They were having an outdoor folk concert that day.

The cutest attendee.


Many inhabitants do a good job of maintaining and enhancing Lunenburg's charm.

More pretty homes.

The Lunenburg Academy.