The Cabot Trail Etc.

My hubby told me about a cartoon he saw in the newspaper that depicts a guy just getting back from vacation. His neighbor asks him how it was, and he replies that all he saw was hotels, parking lots, traffic and cities that looked pretty much the same! Fortunately, vacationing in the Maritimes is not like that.

If you take a trip around the Maritimes, and particularly Cape Breton, you will see beautiful scenery, quaint little towns and historic points of interest. Along the Cabot Trail there are very few "chain hotels" with high end amenities. Nor will you see any McDonald's or Burger Kings popping up along the "trail" (maybe the odd Tim Horton's, but that's about it). What you will find are small seasonal motels and restaurants run by locals featuring mostly home cooked fare. We stayed at the Fair Isle Motel in Whycocomaugh, about 20 minutes before the Cabot Trail begins. There was a pleasant place to relax outside our room with a great view, while enjoying a "cool one". The rooms were very basic, but very clean and the pool was an added bonus!

The Cabot Trail and Fortress of Louisbourg

We spent two days on Cape Breton Island, one driving around the Cabot Trail and the other at The Fortress of Louisbourg. The trail is not to be missed for the scenery and Louisbourg gave us a great lesson in history!

Ross, me, Dan & Nancy at a lookout along the Cabot Trail

Meat Cove, on the northern tip of Cape Breton

The Fortress of Louisbourg is a reconstruction, that began in the 1960's, of a fortress founded by the French in 1713. I learned that the difference between a "fort" and a "fortress" was that a fort contained soldiers and military personnel only, while a fortress housed and protected families, merchants, skilled workers and so on. The reconstructed fortress is a massive structure of barracks, storage buildings, homes, businesses etc. surrounded by a well protected wall. .... a step back in time for sure!

Fortress Louisbourg, 

The Town of Pictou and a Bit of Scottish Heritage

Town of Pictou

The last leg of our journey was spent in the town of Pictou. I had always heard of this place but had no idea it would be so charming. Its seaside location, nice restaurants and interesting little shops on uncrowded streets make it a great place to wander around and enjoy the day.
The highlight of my visit, however, was our tour of the ship The Hector. The ship is in the harbour next to an interpretive center that is extremely well done and full of information about this vessel that arrived in Pictou in 1773 carrying 189 Scottish Highlanders who were hoping to find land and a new life in Canada. The replica, especially the sleeping quarters below, gave us an ideas of just how difficult the voyage must have been. It was particularly fascinating to me because my ancestors, although they were Lowlanders who arrived in 1829, must have had a similar experience.

On board The Hector, top left: a display of tartans of each family who was on board / bottom right, the sleeping quarters below, complete with rats and puke buckets! The nice dining table was for the Captain!

I love to travel the world and have seen lots of wonderful places from the Himalayas to the Caribbean Sea. .... However, the beauty, culture, food and hospitality that our neck of the woods has to offer is second to none! Great weather and the company of good friends make it all the better. ...... And NO ..... I did not buy the tacky souvenir, above! Just brought home photos and memories, that's all you need.


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