Mahone Bay

I still remember my breakfast at the Finer Diner on the morning we left Peggy’s Cove. It was a delicious corned beef hash, and it may have been one of the best meals of the whole trip. And that’s counting a lot of lobster.

Finer-Diner-Canada

And it didn’t hurt that this was our view during breakfast.

Reflections-Canadian-Flag

One of the things I love about having a rental car and driving on vacation is stumbling along places like Mahone Bay.

Three-Churches-Mahone-Bay

I really want a floating house on a lake. Is that too much to ask?

Floating-Home-Canada

I also loved all of the colorful houses and wished that I could take pictures of them all!

Colorful-Houses-Mahone-Bay

Purple-Green-House-Mahone-Bay

Gingerbread-Veranda-Mahone-Bay

Luckily, there were plenty of colorful, beautiful houses in Lunenburg, our next stop. And I had plenty of time to take photos there.

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse (in the fog)

At first, I was disappointed that Peggy’s Cove was all fogged in. We ate lunch and hoped the fog would lift. It didn’t. But it didn’t take long before I realized that I loved the fog and wind. It made everything so dramatic.

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Erica-Peggys-Cove-Lighthouse

We loved just hanging out on the rocks and watching the waves crash. Our friends from the ferry had warned us not to step on the black rocks, though, because you could be swept out into the ocean if you did that. Duly noted. We definitely stayed off those. More from Peggy’s Cove later.

A Stroll Through the Halifax Public Gardens

Out of all the things in Halifax, I was looking forward to the Public Gardens the most. Public gardens promise all sorts of material for a photographer, and the one in Halifax certainly made good.

Halifax-Public-Gardens-Entrance

Halifax-Gardens-Fence

I loved coming across so many people in the garden taking a break from their day and reading on benches.

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There were so many beautiful spots in the Halifax Public Gardens. I wanted to claim them all for my own.

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Gazebo-Public-Gardens-Halifax

Halifax-Public-Gardens-Fountain

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Monument-Halifax-Public-Gardens

But this spot on a bench hidden under tree branches was my very favorite, especially with the light shining just so.

Hidden-Spot-Halifax-Gardens

The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton (Part 2)

After leaving Ingonish, we continued traveling along the Cabot Trail. Basically, it was just beautiful vista after beautiful vista.

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14_Clapboard-House-Overlooking-Ocean-Cape-Breton

We veered off the Cabot Trail and headed north to the very tip of the island and stopped where John Cabot (or Giovanni Caboto) first landed in 1497. We hooked around the tip and saw a sign for Meat Cove that we couldn’t resist. I mean, doesn’t Meat Cove just sound charming? Well, maybe charming isn’t the right word, but the landscape belies its pragmatic name and is definitely charming perched along the rugged coast.

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This is where the road really starts curving.

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When you stop near the top and look out in either direction, you can see the road furling out like a ribbon beyond.

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We stayed the night in Cheticamp and stopped in to listen to music. It was incredible! I was so impressed by the skills of the musicians, one of them seemed really young, too.

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We stayed in an oTENTik cabin in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The cabin was very spacious and cool inside, but the real charm is the outside with its cute deck and colorful chairs.

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20_Cheticamp-Otentik-Cabins

We had thought about hiking the Skyline Trail that morning, at least for a bit, but it was so rainy and foggy. I’m not super outdoorsy, so it was easy to decide to skip the hike and keep driving. We did stop into a bakery in town for some donuts.

21_Aucoin-Boulangerie

We bought the donuts to go and ate them in the car. They were so delicious that we considered turning around to buy a dozen, but decided that was a little extravagant. I regret that decision to this day.

There was still a lot of road to see. Not to mention moose!

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23_Moose-Cabot-Trail

Our final stop in Cape Breton was the Glenora Distillery. We stopped so Erica could pick up a present for someone; I wasn’t expecting such a photogenic place.

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25_Red-Door-Glenora-Distillery-Cape-Breton

When planning our trip, I really didn’t know how much time to plan for Cape Breton. We basically had two days, which was fine for driving it, but if I were to return, I would definitely plan an extra day or two so we could have spent time on our porches or maybe hiked a little (a very little).

The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton (Part 1)

You know I love a good road trip. Part of that is a good road to travel. The Cabot Trail in Cape Breton is regularly┬áincluded in lists of the best roads to drive, and it didn’t take long to discover why.

We started the route in Baddeck. Well, just outside Baddeck. We stayed the night at the Bras d’Or Campground in the quaintest little cottage.

1a_Baddeck-Bras-D-Or

When Erica and I were planning our trip, we had big ideas about our little camping outings. In fact, Erica even packed the trunk with a cooler and skewers for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. I imagined sitting out on that screened porch and watching the light slip away. But we got into town late and it was much easier just to visit one of Baddeck’s restaurants. We decided, though, to try and catch the sunrise. So I set my alarm for way too early. It was a foggy, cold morning so we bundled up and headed down to the lake.

1_Bras-d-Or-Sunrise

What we didn’t expect were the mosquitos. So. many. mosquitos.

We gave up on our attempt to view the sunrise. And continued to find mosquito bites all over our ankles, shins, arms, etc. over the next few days. I still love the idea of sitting back in these Adirondack chairs. Mosquitos gotta ruin it all.

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3_Baddeck-Sailboats

We traveled the Cabot Trail in a counter-clockwise direction because that put us on the side of the road with all the views. We first stopped in Ingonish. We saw the Keltic Lodge high on the cliffs and decided to drive in for a closer look.

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5_Keltic-Lodge-Grounds

If I were really wealthy, I would summer here. (I’d do a lot of things if I were really wealthy.) It was so beautiful in Ingonish that we decided to pause our road trip and spend an hour or two at the beach. We changed into our swimwear and pulled up a patch of sand. The water was still too cold for us to do more than dip our toes in, but a little people-watching, a little book-reading, a little sunbathing was just perfect.

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After an hour or so, we were ready to head out again.

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8_Rocky-Beach-Ingonish

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10_Cape-Breton-Green-Mountains

There was still a lot of road to travel before we reached our next lodging. But I think this might be a good place to stop for now.

The Sunrise Trail, Nova Scotia

Our first adventure in Nova Scotia was going to be driving the Cabot Trail, the road that traverses the perimeter of Cape Breton Island. But first, we had to get there. What better route to take than the Sunrise Trail, or what the visitor center called, the Mini Cabot Trail? It truly did give us a glimpse into what to expect, but it also had a beauty all its own.

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Erica-Lighthouse-Nova-Scotia

I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was to drive along these flower-lined roads with a view of the sea out ahead of us.

Mini-Cabot-Trail-Sea

I also kept falling in love with each cottage we saw, no matter the state of disrepair. In fact,the weathered clapboard just made me love it more. I would love to fix up this little home.

weathered-cottage-loosestrife

Or maybe this one. Wouldn’t it be so quaint?

Quaint-Cottage-Nova-Scotia

We didn’t see a shack we didn’t love, and this one with the red trim was exceptional.

Mini-Cabot-Trail-Shack

And the perfect backdrop for a photo.

Gorgeous-Erica

I promise, Erica does have an arm to go with that gorgeous Pantene hair.

I loved curving around the cape and coming across this gorgeous scene.

Cape-George-Nova-Scotia

We drove down to a marina and found a little hut for lunch. Around the bend was this private little dining nook. We didn’t eat there (a picnic bench near the hut was perfect for our poutine and hot dogs), but it looked so sweet.

Private-Dining-Mini-Cabot-Trail

And of course, it isn’t a drive around a cape without a lighthouse at the end.

Cape-George-Point-Lighthouse

Panmure Island and Montague

When we left Cavendish, we headed to the other side of the island. We were going to stay the night in Montague, so we could be closer to the Wood Islands ferry early in the morning. We stopped off at the hotel, which was actually a little cottage on the river, dropped off our bags, changed into swimwear and headed to Panmure Island. Before hitting the beach, though, we visited the lighthouse because we were trying to see them all.

Panmure-Lighthouse

I had hoped that visiting in July would mean more beach time, but each time we tried, it was actually windy and a little too cold. So we visited the beach in swimsuits and cardigans. But it was still lovely to lay out in the sun and read or just close my eyes and feel the breeze and the sand in my hands.

Panmure-Island-Beach

Later that night, we decided to have a picnic on the deck outside of our cottage. It overlooked the Montague River and its wharf. So we ate KFC and waited for the stars to come out, so I could try and capture the night sky.

Montague-Harboe-Wharf-Night

Night-Sky-Clouds-Montague

Light-Streak-Night-Sky

I’m pretty sure this is my hand accidentally passing in front of the lens during the long exposure, but I like the way it turned out.

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It was a magical way to spend the last night on a magical island.