Thursday Tidbits

Posted on August 2, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with 6 comments

I think I found my car keys


“I have traveled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all.” Alexander Graham Bell.

I have traveled the Cabot Trail many times. I have done the trip solo, with family and quite often with visitors to the province. I never tire of this trip. Recently, I took my 10 year old granddaughter around the trail. There were a few ground rules: no cell phones except for me snapping a few pictures and she had to use an old fashioned map of Nova Scotia to see where we were going.

Now, spending 13 hours and a bit in a car with a ten year old might sound like penance for some but for me, this trip redefined the word joyous. I experienced the trail for the first time through a young person’s eyes.

The wheels had scarcely moved when we made our first stop at the Big Stop in Auld’s Cove. A big breakfast was in order to give us the energy for the journey. Little did I know that I would need every single calorie of the protein laden platter.

One would expect a bit of restlessness from a young person when it takes the better part of two hours just to get to the head of the trail at St.Ann’s. However, I took the opportunity to give her a small history lesson as I told her about the construction of the deepest manmade causeway in the world and spoke about the golden age of steel and coal in industrial Cape Breton.

The only minor disappointment of the trip was the fact that the Englishtown Ferry wasn’t in operation on this day.

We had scarcely gotten on to the Trail when we had our second stop at the day at one of my favourite places: The Clucking Hen Restaurant and Bakery in North Shore. I grabbed a bag of homemade chocolate cookies just in case we got stranded in a snow storm!

Passing through Ingonish Beach, I showed her St.Peter’s Hall where the band, The Escorts performed weekly back in the late 60s. I was in this band with my brothers and have many fond memories of entertaining the locals and the campground crowd. We had our first swim of the day at beautiful Ingonish beach with the magnificent Keltic Lodge as a backdrop. I told her that a lot of famous people have stayed there over the years. She asked if I had ever stayed there. I informed her that I was neither rich nor famous but had enjoyed a bowl of chowder a few times in their dining room.

With bathing suits still wet and beach towels on the car seat, we went a few kilometres down the road and took the exit to Mary Ann Falls. The last time I was at the falls was 36 years ago before Betty and I were married. It was a memorable trip as I managed to put my car keys in my bathing suit pocket before diving into the deepest part of the pool below the falls. We hitchhiked back to Neil’s Harbour and mercifully, my sister delivered our spare set (which were back in Antigonish) the following day.

We completed the swimming trifecta not long afterwards by spending a glorious hour at one of my personal favourite beaches at Black Brook. My granddaughter couldn’t get her bellyful of waves and water. Or so I thought.

There’s still a lot of road construction on the trail. One would hope that this is completed sometime before the next millennium rolls around.

No trip around the trail is complete without stopping for a meal at Le Gabriel in Cheticamp.

It was now early evening and we still had a few hours of driving ahead of us. I made the fatal mistake of telling Ivory that we would be passing one of the most beautiful beaches in this province (and possibly the world) at Inverness. After a meal that left me drowsy, I wondered if she would fall asleep before getting to Inverness. Not a chance! We drove down Beach Road through the Cabot Links golf course. I told her that the two Inverness golf courses were amongst the top rated in Canada with Cabot Cliffs gaining international acclaim.

It was a breathtaking evening at Inverness Beach. To get to the beach, we walked along the recently constructed walkway for wheelchairs which is a first in this part of the world. The fourth swim of the day was in the books.

There was a detour for an accident at Port Hood and when we emerged on the other side of the town, we caught the sun setting on Port Hood Island.

Thirteen hours and twenty two minutes (according to my co-pilot!) after we left home, we pulled into the parking lot.

I agree with Mr. Bell. There is no place in the world more beautiful than Cape Breton.

Sharing it with your granddaughter? Priceless.


Port Hood Island sunset


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