Oct 8th: Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail is one of the premier scenic highways in North America. The Trail is 185 miles in length, but it takes a good 8 hours to do the entire loop. We began our adventure bright and early at 8:30am on a beautiful sunny morning and drove counter clockwise. At this time of year the mountain, trees and trails are ablaze with scarlet and gold colored leaves with the blue backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St Lawrence made for a beautiful scenic drive. The highlight of the drive is the portion through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, a roller-coaster ride over forest-clad mountains and spectacular vistas; the park is ideal for hiking, camping and wildlife watching. The first stop was the St Ann’s Gaelic College, unique in North America, founded in 1938 as a school devoted to the study and preservation of the Gaelic language and Celtic arts and culture of immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland.
What better way to learn about Cape Breton than through the lives and work of its artisans. We found the Piper Pewter who specializes in lead free pewter jewelry, and the Colouratura Art Gallery inside a retired church with a full range of Cape Breton fine art. Our last artisan, because we were running out of time was Sew Inclined, the owner Barbara has been in the business for 20 years making her own design of hats and clothing. Of course she helped me find some unique hats to wear that I love.
The Dancing Moose was a fun break for food and photos. The Dutch owner cooked some delicious pancakes called pannekoeken, that were the specialty of the house. Fully satiated we continued on up the coast to the Keltic Lodge with the famed Highlands Links, one of the finest golf courses in Canada nestled on the edge of the shores of Ingonish. The breathtaking coastal mountain scenery took us to White Point where we saw our only moose hanging out in this quaint fishing village. Meat Cove on the northern tip of Cape Breton is an idyllic fishing village with a beach and camping overlooking the ocean where we were fortunate to gaze out at a pod of pilot whales frolicking in the water.
We drove back down the west side of the island over the mountains with lots of color and scenic vistas. It was getting late by the time we reached Baddeck and our campground tired and happy knowing that we will return to this beautiful part of Canada to explore it further.