a peek inside the fishbowl

14 Aug, 2008

Summer vacation: more Nova Scotia

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Photography|travel talk

 Somewhere near Baddeck

After Pictou we drove to a little town called Baddeck in Cape Breton. This is where I discovered a deep love for oatcakes.

We were in Baddeck for two nights, but should have spent another so we had more time to explore.

While in Baddeck we visited the Alexander Graham Bell Museum (which was great) and spent an entire day driving the scenic Cabot Trail.

The girls and I spent the morning at Ingonish Beach while Mark played a round of golf. The beach was gorgeous. We had a perfect beach day. We arrived early so for a while we had the place to ourselves:

Ingonish Beach

There were fewer jellyfish here than in Pictou, so it made playing in the water that much more fun. 

Ingonish Beach

After golf we packed ourselves up and continued the drive up the coast, which, in parts, was a little scary:

Along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

… and absolutely breathtaking:

Cabot Trail view

At one point we were stopping at lookouts every five minutes.

Cabot Trail view

There was so much to see. It was hard to get anywhere at that rate.

Cabot Trail view

The slopes were so steep in parts our little Mazda struggled to get up them, AND struggled to get down them again, but wow, what views. Rock on one side, miles of ocean on the other…

We wondered how folks do it out here in the winter.

We stopped for a late lunch at a no-nonsense chowder house in Neils Harbour where I had the best clam chowder I’ve ever had in my entire life. We ate overlooking jagged cliffs and swooping cormorants. I spied a seal. It made my day.

The other side of Cape Breton – the Acadian side – was just as interesting, but totally different.

At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but we quickly realized that the landscape was missing the trees (not to mention the mountains) of the other coast, and was rather bald in spots. A natural occurrence, or not?

scenery down the western side of Cape Breton

While we were here I planned a stop at Flora’s. I was enamoured of its rug hooking history. We bought a couple of mini rugs with a lobster motif, perfect little coasters.

It was neat to see how it’s done:

Flora's rug hooking

I wish I had a better photo of this place. It was a cacophony of souvenirs. Sarah picked out an amethyst for herself. Emma chose a worry stone. I was happy with my mini lobster rugs.


3 Responses to "Summer vacation: more Nova Scotia"

2 | Bob LeDrew

August 14th, 2008 at 10:48 am


The lack of trees on that side is a wind related phenomenon. It’s SO windy there that it just blows the trees away before they start to grow. We saw the same thing in Orkney, off Scotland’s north coast.

There’s some information about the spring winds, known as the suête, here: http://www.weathernotebook.org/transcripts/2000/01/04.html and here: http://www.weathernotebook.org/transcripts/2000/01/05.html. The suête is a springtime occurence, but it can be windy there ALL the time.

My bucket list includes “cycle the Cabot Trail.” Imagine those climbs and descents on TWO skinny wheels.

3 | Sharon

August 14th, 2008 at 1:16 pm


I Love Cape Breton and would LOVE to go back with the camera I have now. Miranda was 3 when we went. I remember thos mountians with the sweeping vistas. We drove too much the last time we were there. I would love to pick an area and stay, and explore.

you know When i get the chance to stand on a beach by the ocean with no one around I try to Imgine what it was like to be the first European standing there and what they were thinking. Nothing like it.

Great shots.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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