Maritimes Trip 2018
New Brunswick, Grand Manan, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island Prince Edward Island
This is the summary of our four weeks summer excursion to eastern Canada. Visiting the Maritimes was always high on our list of travel destinations. Our primary interest is everything outside of cities. Therefore it is coasts, coves and bays, rocks and dirt, flowers and wildlife, some bugs, animals and people, and everything else that's out there. We travel with a 13 foot camping trailer and are not afraid when the road gets rocky. Sometimes we even look for the roads less travelled.
Back in early April when we planned our Maritimes excursion, we booked all Nova Scotia campsites first. On our way to Nova Scotia, we reserved four nights in New Brunswick. We found that this was not enough time to see this province and decided to visit one place only, the Grand Manan Island.
This island is off the coast of New Brunswick close to the border of Main. It is the most southern and biggest of three islands in the Bay of Fundy.
We made the reservations for all our ferries and camp sites and were therefore in no hurry. The distance from home to Blacks Harbour - Grand Manan ferry is about 1,500km. We spent the two travelling nights at Truck Stops. They can be noisy but are free and open 24 hours. And best of all, they usually have a restaurant that serves breakfast for a very reasonable price.
Furthermore, when we booked the camp sites in the Maritimes, the distance between them was not more than 400km. The Provincial Park camp sites offer all the amenities we need and the price per night is around $40. Some have an electrical hook-up, but we could manage without it for a few days. Actually, we thought we can manage, but the solar panel requires sun. This is difficult when the site is in forested areas or in the fog. But that's a story for another day.
After Grand Manan, the first stop in Nova Scotia was Amherst Shore Provincial Park on the coast of Northumberland Strait. This is close to Joggins Fossil Cliffs. Interesting museum and along the shore are clearly exposed layers from 350 million years ago until the current ones.
Next was Smileys Provincial Park, north of Halifax and close enough to the Bay of Fundy for excursions. Third stop was in the south-west end of Nova Scotia at The Island Provincial Park just outside of Shelburne. Next was Dollar Lake Provincial Park to visit Halifax.
And the last Nova Scotia stop was on Cape Breton Island at the Whycocomagh Provincial Park. Just couldn't skip the Cabot Trail.
The final Maritimes point of interest was Prince Edward Island (PEI) at the Linkletter Provincial Park. The park was close to the Confederation Bridge that connects PEI with New Brunswick, spanning the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait. To get to PEI, we took the ferry from Caribou NS to Woods Island PEI. The ferry is free travelling to PEI, but there is a toll leaving PEI.
PEI is farm country. The soil is red and the island is flat. There are a few places to explore but we did see enough lighthouses, beaches and lobster traps already. A potato field just can't compete.
This is a Potato field and they all look alike. However, we purchased a few pounds of PEI potatoes. Several signs along the road offered the taters fresh from the field. We got the Irish Cobbler variety. They taste absolutely fabulous.
We spent all the time in Nova Scotia before and didn't find a place to eat Lobster. But now we found the New Glasgow Lobster Suppers about an hour north from our camp site.
The meal started with a basket of homemade rolls and bread. Followed by Seafood Chowder and Freshly Steamed Cultivated Island Blue Mussels. Next was Salad, Coleslaw, PEI Potato Salad. For the main course, we opted for the smallest, the one pound lobster. We finished with a yummy dessert.
The place was very busy but ready to handle all the hungry guests without noticeable waiting times.
PEI offers only a few nature spectacles. And we likely encountered it at the North Point Lightstation. A small island about 50 meters off shore and is the seagulls hang out. When a Bald Eagle decided to land on this island all seagulls vacated the place in one noise flock. About 50 Sea Lions were bobbing around the island waiting for the intruder to leave. We did enjoy our stay on PEI and have good memories. The Lobster dinner was a delight, the local red wine was not. We could choose from a selection of one. We concluded: "PEI, potato good, wine not"!!!
Our journey started with the Grand Manan Island and ended on Prince Edward Island. We expected Nova Scotia to be the highlight of our trip, but we both knew after one day on Grand Manan, this place is impossible to beat. The absence of any tourist entertainment industry makes this a paradise. The ones available are mostly related to whales and fishery. The Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame is permanently closed even so we were really looking forward to visit the place. On the other hand, we didn't plan to go to Peggy's Cove because of the hype. We both were amazed by the beautiful scenery. It was impossible to take a picture without at least 50 tourists in them. But now we have a reason to go back in the fall when storm waves crash on the rocky coast line.