Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – What a Treat!

We left the maritime province of Prince Edward Island and headed toward Cape Breton Island, located in upper northeast Nova Scotia (NS).  We made one stop prior to our arrival, at Pictou, NS.  Fun fact:  Pictou was a receiving point for many Scottish immigrants moving to northern Nova Scotia/Cape Breton Island. The first wave of immigrants arrived in September, 1773 on the Hector, a large sailing ship in which the replica is undergoing renovation.   Although there were a significant number of Scottish people settled in other parts of Nova Scotia, Pictou’s tourism slogan became “The Birthplace of New Scotland” as the Hector was recognized as the first immigrant ship to sail directly from Scotland to what is now Canada.  Scottish people continued to immigrate to the Pictou region through the early 1800’s.


We were able to ride another section of the Trans Canada Trail from Pictou.  It had rained quite a bit the day before, so the trail was quite muddy.  We had to navigate around many muddy holes and as you can see by my picture at the end, me and my bike were quite dirty (and Dave’s too!).    The campground had access to a beach and Murphy had the beach all to himself to play fetch the stick on the beach and in the bay.  He was a mess upon returning to the RV each time, but it was worth it to see him having a blast.  And, last but not least, we drove to Tatamagouche to sample “Nova Scotia’s Best Ice Cream”.  I do have to say, it was pretty good.

On to Cape Breton Island, ranked as the #1 Island in North American by Conde Nest Traveler readers. There is so much to see and do on the island!  On our first day, we drove the Cabot Trail, a 300 km (186 mile) road which circles a large part of the island.  The Cabot Trail winds through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  The park is home to 26 hiking trails, camping, and gorgeous views of the steep cliffs, deep river canyons, and a variety of forest habitats.  Oh, and don’t forget the wildlife.  On our two hikes, we were advised to be on the lookout for bears, coyotes, and moose.   We believe we saw coyote scat on one of the trails. Yikes!  I wonder is Murphy could scare it off?  I don’t want to know.  I would have loved to see a moose, but so far, no luck.  The Cabot Trail is also known as Nova Scotia’s premier cycling destination, with many cyclists riding it over several days, either through an organized, supported ride or self-supported.  I am not sure, after driving it, if my legs can ride up those mountain passes!  We stopped for fresh Haddock at the Rusty Anchor and later for more Tatamagouche Ice Cream.   My pictures below don’t do the scenery justice.

Day two:  We headed to the southeastern coast of the island to visit the Fortress of Louisbourg, a reconstructed National Historic Site.  The area was a major commercial French port, initially established in 1713, which they fortified over 20 years to surround/protect the town. It was later taken under siege by Britain, first in 1745 (Britain gave it back in exchange for several border towns in what is now Belgium) and then again in 1758.  The reconstructed town has merchants, servants, sailors, etc. walking around the town to chat with.  We enjoyed freshly baked “soldier’s bread” from the bakery and cider in a tavern.  Visitors can sign up to fire a cannon or a musket (we watched as visitors were trained). 

After leaving the fortress, we drove to a neighboring village named “Little Lorraine”. Since my mom’s name is Lorraine, I had to get a photo by the town’s sign.

Next, we drove to Glace Bay, to see where Guglielmo Marconi completed the first wireless transmission between North America and Europe on December 15, 1902.  As a ham radio operator, Dave was quite interested in seeing this historic site.

On our last full day, Dave explored a bit around Sydney’s waterfront (it’s a cruise ship port) and ran across a very large fiddle.  Later in the day, we visited an Alexander Graham Bell’s museum in Braddeck, Nova Scotia.  I can’t begin to share what a remarkable man Mr. Bell was and list all of his accomplishments; of course, the most prestigious was his invention of the telephone.  If interested, I highly suggest reading his life story on Wikipedia (or elsewhere).  It’s quite fascinating.

The weather forecast initially said it was going to rain all 4 days we were on Cape Breton Island.  It did rain a bit each day (sometimes just a mist), but overall sightseeing in temperatures in the high 60’s/low 70’s was ideal. 


Thanks for following along on our summer RV travels. 


In awe of the beauty Brenda, awesome Cabot Trail driver Dave, and happy tag-a-long wherever we go Murphy.


1 thought on “Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – What a Treat!”

  1. Nice! I love the Cabot Trail pics!
    The three brothers and wives camped along there back in the 80’s. Still have some hilarious video from one of the camp sites that you may be subjected to 😉
    Wow, Mr. Murphy is really going have some bragging rights with his buddies when he gets home.
    Halifax has a super aviation museum, don’t miss! Just sayin’
    The coffee shop in Mahone Bay is a must. I think Wayne wife Isabelle’s cousin still owns it. Plus, the ACE hardware in Mahone Bay is a real treat 😉

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