The Cape, the Cove and The Tides


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North America » Canada » Nova Scotia » Yarmouth
August 14th 2022
Published: August 20th 2022
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Cheticamp

Upon departing Prince Edward Island, we again crossed the Confederation Bridge into Nova Scotia where we stopped for a few more photos. It is a beautiful piece of concrete. They will be paying off this bridge for a while….at over $50 Canadian per vehicle maybe it won’t take that long. So, we took our fair share of pictures and then some more. Perhaps better planning would have had us taking the ferry and perhaps shaving some time, but by the time we realized this, there were no reservations to be had on the ferry at a time of our choosing. Pushing on, it would be several hours until we reached our next destination, Cheticamp, a town at the base of the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton National Park.

Once we checked into our motel, which was a super-cute Mom and Pop operation, we headed off to the grocery store to gather a few snacks for dinner. The goal was to hike the Skyline Trail and arrive at the observation point before sunset. The weather was perfect, and a great sunset was in the offing.

The Skyline Trail is one of the more popular hikes along the
Scenic CottagesScenic CottagesScenic Cottages

Peggy's Cove
Cabot Trail because it goes along the water. It has a dramatic headland which overlooks the rugged Gulf of Saint Lawrence coast. There is a very nice boardwalk that makes the walking easy as you approach the cliffs. Along the hike we went on one of the side trails to a two-level observation deck which allowed you to view the rolling hills and get an idea of what was to come. In part of this park, they had ten foot fencing with gates that we needed to pass through. This was the park’s attempt at keeping the animals away from some of the trees and shrubs as they had been damaging some of the plant life. Martha’s planning paid off handsomely, as we arrived an hour or more before sunset, grabbed a good bench and enjoyed the ever-changing sunset colors. It was spectacular!

The next morning after breakfast we headed for a full day excursion driving the famous Cabot Trail. We stopped at Lone Shieling to see 400 year old sugar maples trees and a replica of a Scottish crofter’s hut. Before arriving we thought we were going to see “ one tree” that was 400 years old. Once there we realized the maple forest was 400 years old and the trees were about 115 feet (35 meters +) and they were 350 to 400 years old. It was a lovely, forested path with flowers, several butterflies, and birds.

As the day continued, we stopped at several scenic overlooks to ooohhh and ahhh at the dramatic coastline and quaint villages. Neils Harbor and a picnic lunch at White Point were two of our favorite stops along the Cabot Trail. We walked most of the Middle Head Trail, but it turned out to be a warm day and Martha was wilting in the heat…. so, after getting some phenomenal views of the ocean, we headed back.

After a tasty dinner at the Harbor Restaurant, we strolled along the boardwalk, feeling quite fortunate to get a table at any restaurant, given that there were four weddings in this small town that weekend. Sometimes you just get lucky….

Darmouth

With our last long day of driving ahead of us we drove the scenic route to Dartmouth, which is across the river from Halifax. This city has about 100,000 people and proved to be a nice respite where we
Beer & LobsterBeer & LobsterBeer & Lobster

Dave & Chuck... enough said!
found great pizza and cold beer in a somewhat Bohemian neighborhood. We stayed in a nice Air BnB which gave us an opportunity to do laundry. While the washers were doing their thing, we were able to walk a couple of blocks to a scenic overlook to enjoy the water, the bridge, and downtown views of Halifax.

The following day, we headed off in search of more lighthouses. We had an incredibly scenic stop at Peggy’s Cove on our drive. This town is all that you hope to see when visiting Nova Scotia. It is a picturesque place with its famous lighthouse as a focal point. Up to this point, we had been moderately disappointed in the lighthouses in this part of the world. Especially on PE Island, they appeared almost cookie-cutter in design and mostly of wood construction. Peggy’s Cove is different….it is perched high, surround by the sea and rolling hills of stone. Simply lovely. No wonder it is in so many photographs. We made a quick visit to the gift shop before strolling the quaint waterfront and shops. News flash… we finally found a painting we want to put on our living room wall. We’ve been
Scenic ReflectionsScenic ReflectionsScenic Reflections

Peggy's Cove
searching for seven years. (ever since we bought the condo in 2015) It should arrive in the Florida the week after we get home. We would have liked to have stayed longer but we needed to press on as there was much more to see.

Cookville

Cookville was our base for the next part of our journey and it served us well, providing decent lodging, including yet another indoor swimming pool (these are quite popular in these parts due to the many months of inclement weather) along with a restaurant. On our way south from Dartmouth, we stopped at Rebecca’s Café in Mahone Bay, where we had a fabulous lunch (scallop and beet salad) and were quite fortunate to arrive when we did as they were closing that afternoon due to the heat! The general warmth experienced here was a bit much for our northern neighbors and they said the kitchen was simply too warm to cook. Temps were in the upper 80’s, which is far warmer than the norm in these parts.

Nova Scotia’s history is tied to fishing and we experienced that when we got to Lunenberg, which is a smallish town on the southwest
Theresa E Connor SchoonerTheresa E Connor SchoonerTheresa E Connor Schooner

Canada's oldest salt bank schooner
coast. Lunenberg is a UNESCO site as it is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. Many of the houses and buildings have been preserved in their architectural tradition from the 1800’s. It’s a seriously cute town and did not disappoint. We toured the Fishery Museum and Sailor Memorial, which provided in-depth (no pun intended) information about the town’s place in history. The exhibits told the story of the hard life of fisherman, who often risked their lives and sometimes simply did not return due to harsh weather. Nova Scotians are very reverent in their regard for these proud men, who lived a hard life to feed the population.

Yarmouth

Our drive that day ended up in Yarmouth, which was a major ship building town in the late 1800’s. We stayed at a rather tired hotel for the night but had a great meal at Rudder’s Seafood which buoyed (pun intended ) our experience. We had a lobster dinner, which was quite tasty! Yarmouth also has a well-done memorial to those fisherman who have lost their lives over the millennia.

We intentionally attempted to take the road less traveled on our
Sugar Maple ForrestSugar Maple ForrestSugar Maple Forrest

350- 400 years old
drives, in order to be as close as possible to the coast and see the inlets and most importantly, the lighthouses. Cape Sable was one of our favorites, as we fancied the design of the light house and got up close to hear the fog horns that sounded about every 30 seconds. The sound reverberated out on the foggy waters and provided a mysterious experience. We also took time to walk along the sandy beach near Cape Sable to take in the scenic views.

At this point, we would be remiss if we did not mention the indigenous population of these parts, the Miꞌkmaq. They are the first inhabitants of this region and were spread over a wide swath of land, that included the Canadian Atlantic Provinces, the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec as well as the northeastern region of Maine. We learned that while they did not mind sharing the land with the new white settlers, as usual, things did not go well. Chalk it up to an oft repeated history of interaction with white settlers in the “new land.”

We were able to visit the Kejumkeijik Park on our way to Digby, which allowed us an opportunity
Path along the SkylinePath along the SkylinePath along the Skyline

The Cabot Trail Nova Scotia
to view some very interesting petroglyphs. We learned that crosses, sailing vessels, and animals, were etched into slate rocks. Although we saw but a small sample of these due to a need to preserve them, the petroglyphs date from the late prehistoric period through the nineteenth century. At this site we splashed water on the petroglyphs so they would show up more dramatically.

Also worthy of mention are the Acadians, who originally immigrated from France in the 1700’s. As the British ended up claiming most of the regions where the Acadians lived, there became an issue as to whether or not the Acadians were loyal to the British or French. The British found most did not support them and as a result, most Acadians were deported to various British American colonies, where many were put into forced labor or servitude. Some Acadians were deported to England, some to the Caribbean, and some to France. After being expelled to France, many Acadians were eventually recruited by the Spanish government to migrate to Luisana (present-day Louisiana). Their descendants gradually developed what became known as Cajun culture. In time, some Acadians returned to the Maritime provinces of Canada, mainly to New Brunswick.
Low, low tide of Bay of FundyLow, low tide of Bay of FundyLow, low tide of Bay of Fundy

Grand Pre Nova Scotia


Digby

It was time to head northeast and towards the town of Digby, which is just on the other side of a barrier peninsula from the Bay of Fundy. On our drive there, we stopped at a quaint little UFO museum. It seems that back in the late 60’s a cargo jet crew spotted something quite unusual in the sky. It became known as the the “Shag Harbour UFO incident”. The crew witnessed, but did not report the impact of an unknown large object into waters near Shag Harbour, a tiny fishing village. Others on the ground, however reported the sighting and an investigation ensued. Nothing came of the investigation….of course!

Digby is perhaps best known as the scallop capital of the world and certainly did not disappoint. Upon our arrival, we learned that a truck had accidentally caused a major power outage to the downtown area that morning. Fortunately for us, this got resolved by dinner time and we enjoyed some delicious scallops at a place on the bay.

Near Digby are three land masses called the Digby Neck, Long Island and Brier Island. You can drive to Long Island but must take a small
Bay of Funday Tide ChangesBay of Funday Tide ChangesBay of Funday Tide Changes

The water was high on the shore not long ago.
ferry to reach Brier Island…. and good news they are free of charge!

The next day, we found a nice rocky perch on Long Island and had a nice picnic lunch while watching the water, which was slowly receding from the tidal pull. We enjoyed watching the birds and ships. The weather was quite pleasant, making for a grand day on the water. Our tour of the peninsula saw us catch passage on ferries that took us to Brier Island, where we were mesmerized by the tidal pull of the waters through the Grand Passage which separated Brier Island from Long Island. We sat in amazement of the rapidly flowing water as it made its way from the Bay of Fundy, through the Grand Passage to St. Mary’s Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. Gulls and Comoran ducks found this spot quite appealing for food and what appeared to be…fun!

Late afternoon as we drove back toward Digby from our island adventure, we stopped to take photos at a fishing dock we had stopped at earlier in the day. During high tide the boats were anchored to the dock but on our return, they rested on the muddy
Sunset at the Skyline TrailSunset at the Skyline TrailSunset at the Skyline Trail

Cape Breton National Park
floor of the bay. It is something to see the dramatic water changes!

Our drive the next day took us to Annapolis Royal, which has a rich history in Nova Scotia. It was the first British capital of Nova Scotia and also housed Fort Anne, which changed hands a few times between the French and British during several battles. The Acadians and the Miꞌkmaq were a part of this as well and as a result were part of the rich history of this region. The strategic placement of this fort prevented many attacks. The modern-day reconstruction provided us with a deeper understanding of the times and a quite pleasant stroll of the grounds.

Grand Pre

This was another great moment during our time in Nova Scotia. Dave had seen the tide change at the Bay of Fundy as a youngster and was incredibly eager to see it again. We were impressed by the location we picked to stay in Grand Pre as we were on the waterfront and could sit and watch the tides come and go. We knew high tide was at 1pm and arrived early so we would be there to see how high the
Peggy's Cove LighthousePeggy's Cove LighthousePeggy's Cove Lighthouse

Lovely & Mysterious
tides went. After watching for a while, we made a speedy trip into town to purchase refreshments for lunch so we could continue to sit and watch the changes. We were filled with joy so we changed our dinner plan and got a take-out meal so we could continue to watch the rapidly changing tides. The clouds changed, the tides changed – we were surrounded by a unique event that happens twice daily, and we wanted to cherish each moment. Low tide blew our mind due to the billions of gallons of water (yes you read that right) that disappeared from the cove. About every six hours, 50 billion tons of water move in or out of the bay’s location. That’s hard to get your mind around, but there it was.

At low tide, we took a short walk on the bed of the bay. The further out we went the thicker the mud got so we turned around and enjoyed the view from our bench. We made it ¾ of the way to the lowest tide point. The setting sun was magnificent, and the sky was filled with colors of yellow, pink, and orange. Our day was complete. Some of the neighbors at the hotels set off fireworks in the evening. The celebration seemed justified somehow.

Due to the previous day’s experience, we decided to linger the next morning and watch the tides until we were forced to check out of the motel. We then headed to breakfast about a mile from where we were staying. After breakfast and before heading to our next destination we circled back to watch the tides for another half hour. We wanted every moment with this amazing phenomenon. In retrospect, we should have stayed another day….or six.

Halifax

The next stop would be where it all began….and unfortunately this would be where we would part ways with our friends Chuck and Martha as we were flying on to Newfoundland and they would stay another day in Halifax. We spent a pleasant day on the waterfront and took in the sites of this city. With a full day in the sun, we retired to our hotel for a fine last meal, knowing that this part of our journey was concluding. They spirited us to the airport the next morning for a flight to St. John’s, Newfoundland, where more adventures await…..
Mussels and more musselsMussels and more musselsMussels and more mussels

A dinner delight


Last Thoughts

The people of Nova Scotia are so welcoming and friendly. In town after town, they have done a marvelous job of honoring the fallen sailors and fisherman. Each museum does an excellent job of conveying the danger and difficult work of the commercial fisherman. Storms are not their friends and fishing is hard labor.

If you like carrot cake this is the place to visit. They grow lots of carrots and almost every restaurant we were in served it … and it was almost always homemade. Living the dream.



Places we stayed:

The Cornerstone Motel in Cheticamp – we highly recommend this motel.

Windmill Walk – Air Bnb

Best Western Bridgewater Hotel in Cookville

Rodd Grand Yarmouth Hotel – Yarmouth

Admiral Digby Inn – Bay View

Beach Breeze Motel – Grand Pre

Inn on the Lake – Ascend Hotel Collection – Fall River



Restaurants we recommend:

Harbor Restaurant in Cheticamp

The Last Chance Sandwich shop in Cheticamp

Brewry in Darmouth

Rebecca’s in Mahone Bay

Rudder’s Seafood in Yarmouth

Shanty’s for breakfast in Yarmouth


Additional photos below
Photos: 58, Displayed: 33


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Digby ScallopsDigby Scallops
Digby Scallops

World Famous
Lobster CasseroleLobster Casserole
Lobster Casserole

Topped with lobster shaped pastry. Very creative.
Many Scenic ViewsMany Scenic Views
Many Scenic Views

Winding through the hilly national forrest and enjoying the water view.
The fearsome four some!The fearsome four some!
The fearsome four some!

Chuck, Martha, Dave, MJ


20th August 2022

Beautiful sunsets
What am adventure! I loved all the photos. What was the picture you sent to your home?
21st August 2022

Beautiful sunsets
The piece we bought for our home is a cove. It is a quaint and quiet setting.
21st August 2022
Sunset at the Skyline Trail

Sunset at the Skyline Trail
Quite an amazing shot...reflection of the sun in the water with an intense trail of light to the shore. Very impressive and gotta be 'Johnny on the spot' to catch that one!
21st August 2022
Sunset at the Skyline Trail

Sunset at the Skyline Trail
Thanks Dave... that is a compliment as you are a great photographer. This area of the world makes photos much easier! You must check it out soon. Let us know when you are ready to travel with us again.
21st August 2022

you had me at......
you bought a piece of art !!! so,,so proud of you both. We are off for our little 100 mile river trip to historic Trempeleau Wi.
21st August 2022

you had me at.....
We are excited to have something to hang on that wall space. Enjoy your trip to Wisconsin! Come visit us soon. Let's do a zoom call soon.
21st August 2022

Cape, cove, tides
What a lovely area! And that lobster looks hard to beat. Yum.
21st August 2022

Cape, cove, tides
Canada is lovely and we are enjoying the Maritimes. The lobster was outstanding! Good hearing from you.
21st August 2022

Nova Scotia
What a great experience you're having: lots of lovely food to keep you going, magnificent landscapes and seascapes and some great pictures of this beautiful area. Wish we were there. Enjoy Newfoundland - now, that is something very different! Keep Smiling.
21st August 2022

Nova Scotia
Hello David, great hearing from you. I knew it was you even though you didn't sign in. Canada is a refreshing place to visit and the people are wonderful. As you say magnificent landscapes and seascapes. I hope you are traveling.
21st August 2022
Just one more scenic cove

That's lovely
That's a lovely photo. Thanks for writing about Canada. It is a country I really want to visit but know too little about. /Ake
21st August 2022
Just one more scenic cove

That's lovely
Ake, Canada is lovely. It is very scenic... sort of like living in a postcard.
22nd August 2022

Putting on the List
This is for sure a place D and I would enjoy! Thanks for the tour.
22nd August 2022

Putting off the list
Endless hiking and camping. The beauty is breathtaking….. You two would enjoy it here. Lots of water activities and seafood.
22nd August 2022

Nova Scotia
I need to go back and do the Cabot Trail again . Beautiful photos and I can see that you relished the food on offer. Somewhere there is a photo of me ( era 1970) standing by one of the flowerpot formations in the Bay of ...as you say amazing tides. Great to read about your trip. Thanks Lynne
22nd August 2022

Nova Scotia
The Cape Breton area has so much to offer. The tides are mind blowing. Such a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for commenting.
22nd August 2022

Scenery and Seafood!?
Heck yes, this is a trip I would like. Your pictures are amazing, and I can almost taste how fresh the seafood is. What a great section of the trip this was.
22nd August 2022

Scenery and seafood
This trip proves that we don’t need to go far from home to experience amazing scenery, taste treats and a culture change. Canada is refreshing. These are the nicest people in the world. If it weren’t so cold I would think about moving there.
24th August 2022

My birth province
I loved your Nova Scotia blog! I was born in Nova Scotia but left as a small child (I grew up on the west coast) and I've never been back. It is a place we definitely plan on travelling to, and your blog made me want to visit even more. Lovely photos too!
25th August 2022

My birth province
Thank you for reading. What a lovely place to be born. I hope you make it back. We enjoyed our time in this wonderful location.
25th August 2022
Scenic Cottages

Beautiful
What a joy this trip seems to be, and the seafood looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the food photos :)
25th August 2022
Scenic Cottages

Beautiful
We are having a very nice time and the seafood has been scrumptous. I love lobster, mussels, clams... and all.
25th August 2022

The Famous Tides
Very cool to watch the tides. Do you have to go at a certain moon phase or are they always so dramatic?
26th August 2022

The Famous Tides
They are always so dramatic. It is amazing to see and contemplate the amount of water moving in and out. It really is spectacular.
17th September 2022

Inspirational
Wow, this was an inspirational read for me - Nova Scotia sounds amazing and right up my street! I love the sound of the "Mom and Pop Motel" in Cheticamp, and the town of Lunenberg sounds well worth a visit too! Oh my - 50 billion tonnes of water in and out, twice a day! No wonder you were mesmerised and stayed put in your motel in Grand Pre! I could sense this was a highlight for you when you posted the photos and videos on Facebook, and reading about it here just confirms this for me! I would very much like to visit Nova Scotia I think.
18th September 2022

Inspirational
Alex, I believe you would love this area and the Cheticamp hotel was in a great location for hiking. The tides are unbelievalbe and it is hard to grasp it even after seeing it.

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