We decided to rent a car and venture further than the area around Halifax. Owen had been to Louisbourg in 1993. He so enjoyed his experience he wanted to go back. I had been there in 1972 with my parents (who wanted to ensure we experienced Canada coast to coast before we left home) when the fortress was in its reconstruction stages so I was curious to see it now. I had been around the Cabot Trail in 1972 but Owen had not so he wanted to experience it. We decided to do these two things and spend the night around Sydney (where my grandfather was born). We found a wonderful bed and breakfast - The Ponderossa. Gary and Connie were awesome - friendly and full of information.
During this trip Owen and I have discovered a few things about travelling and exploring the sites. First, especially if you are in the Maritimes, go between May long weekend (end of May is better) and the end of October. I would love to come back to Cape Breton in October to experience the Celtic Colours International Festival. National sites are not open until the May long weekend and this means that a number of artisan shops and cafes/restaurants are not as well.
The other thing we have discovered is that you get a lot more information when you stay at Bed and Breakfast places. There are a large number of them on Cape Breton. We found our hosts, Gary and Connie of the Ponderossa, to be full of information. They had also prepared information for guests and printed off an itinerary for the Cabot Trail that included places to eat and shop as well as activities. They were also able to give us a bit of information on Louisbourg. They were certainly accomadating around food. They suggested the restaurant at the golf course which catered to my dietary restrictions. Connie prepared a wonderful breakfast for us even purchasing special foods for me.
We have really enjoyed talking to people like Gary and Connie. We would also stirke up conversations with our servers in the various cafes and restaurants. Stop in at local artisan shops. People love to talk about the places they live. Most of them appreciate the questions about what is in the area. They all have their favourites. Occassionally Owen and I have taken tours in our travels. These are just day tours though when we know they have information we won't get otherwise. Other than that we like to explore on our own taking the advice of the local people who know the ins and outs of their communities. The other thing is to stop and reads plaques. Who knows what tidbits of information you might pick up.
Our travel companion - and Owen says he would never drive a Ford.
Some scenery along the way.
Tidbits of information we learned from plaques.
I find it interesting that once again we were at the scene of a first murder of some type. This is Owen's picture because I was too lazy to get out of the car while waiting for the ferry. I usually take pictures of plaques in museums, on roadsides, in parks. They help me when I put together my pictures and to reconstruct my stories as I save them for later enjoyment.
Love and Prayers,