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Discovering One of Canada's Most Scenic Drives, the Cabot Trail

Summer road trips are one of the things I look forward to most about the warmer months. This year my boyfriend and I, along with another couple of friends drove up to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. The Cabot trail is regularly on 'Top drives you need to do before you die' lists and I can see why. Over two days, we saw many beautiful landscapes and kept our eyes open for moose and coyotes!

Cape Breton Island is connected to mainland Nova Scotia by a causeway and one of the most popular things to do there when visiting is to drive around the Cabot Trail, which is towards the north of the Island. The loop is approximately 298km (185mi) and I’ve heard of people doing this scenic drive in one day, but we took it slowly and drove for two days and stopped at pretty much every lookout there was. I’m really glad that my friends were willing to stop so much as I was pretty much draped in cameras!

The views were spectacular, everything from the rugged coastline on the western and eastern sides of the loop to the northern section, which crosses in and out of the Cape Breton highlands National Park. We drove up the eastern side and back down the western side as we had heard that the huge mountain, Cape Smokey, can do damage to your brakes if you’re coming down it the way that we went up. I have heard that sometimes the route can be so clogged up with tourists it can make for a frustrating drive but when we went at the beginning of June it was very enjoyable, but was very cold in the wind up high in the mountains.

Highlights for me were driving through small fishing towns, particularly when we stopped for lunch at NeilsHarbour, seeing the lighthouse there and had great fish and chips at the Seabreeze restaurant. The Wreck Cove General Store was a nice place to stop with a very helpful shop keeper who gave us some great tips about seeing the trail. Our overnight stay was at the town of Cheticamp, a small Acadian (French Canadian) fishing town famous for its hooked rugs. We enjoyed the in-house restaurant of the hotel we stayed in and the Aucoin Bakery, both with incredibly low prices!

We hiked along the Skyline trail, which has the entry point around 20mins drive outside of Cheticamp. We were told that if we were to see a moose it would be there but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) we didn’t get to see one. We did happen to see a snake though! Which, compared to being in Australia, is nothing to worry about! On the way back around to where we started, we stopped in the town of Baddeck, famous for the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. He was the inventor of the telephone and a celebrated scientist in aviation.

1 comment

  1. bridgetj

    bridgetj

    "Draped in Cameras" is going to be the name of my next cover band. (It's also what I look like many days!) Cabot Trail is lovely - we drove it years ago at the end of May, a couple weeks (according to the locals) before the tourist rush started. I was the driver, so I probably would have enjoyed it more if someone else had been driving so that I could look at something other than the road in front of me! My husband assures me it was lovely, lol.

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