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Entries in tourism (5)

Sunday
Jul212013

In an oTENTik in the woods...

When I learned Kejimkujik National Park has oTENTiks I knew I had to check them out. oTENTiks are spacious A-framed cabins with a bunk beds so you can camp in comfort. As someone who loves sleeping in the woods but also appreciates a leak-proof dwelling and hardwood floor, all my needs were met.

We loaded up the Volvo with our sleeping bags, bikes, clothes, kayaks and food, glad to have the extra trunk space that would normally hold our tent and air mattresses for a small beer cooler. Unpacking and setting up was remarkably fast, and the kids were off exploring the fantastic bike trails around Jeremy's Bay less than three hours after we left Halifax.

Our site (#328) was perched right on Lake Kejimkujik, the namesake lake in this glorious park.

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Thursday
Sep292011

Day Three: St Ann's and Scenic Bras d'Or Lakes

NOTE: The Extreme Group and Destination Cape Breton have contracted me to tour Cape Breton Island and blog about my journey for four days. I have editorial control of the content and promise to write honestly and openly about the things I see and do. I hope you will accompany me on this adventure by reading my posts and commenting as you see fit.

Artisans' loop

Traveling and writing are two of my favourite activities. Paired together into a paid work assignment—even better! This might be the best "job" I've ever had.

On day three, I sadly bid adieu to the delightful staff at Keltic Lodge and drove south to the St. Ann's Bay section of the Cabot Trail known for its many artisans.

My first stop was at Wildfire Pottery. I chatted with owner and potter Sarah Hake, who apologized for low inventory levels—she's had a good season. Her clay puffins were my favourite item. Sarah's inspired by the live puffins that nest on the small rocky islands that dot this coastline. Sarah also displays her art on locally sourced driftwood and stones. At the back she has a sizable used bookstore.

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Thursday
Sep292011

Day Two: The Cabot Trail

NOTE: The Extreme Group and Destination Cape Breton have contracted me to tour Cape Breton Island and blog about my journey for four days. I have editorial control of the content and promise to write honestly and openly about the things I see and do. I hope you will accompany me on this adventure by reading my posts and commenting as you see fit.

Hiking in the Highlands

Walk loudly and carry a big stick. Sound advice when you're hiking in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. For extra safety I also carried a bell—it is coyote and bear country, after all.

I drove from Chéticamp into the west park entrance and started my clockwise journey. I immediately faced a steep incline and seconds later was lured to a roadside lookout point that offered a sweeping view of green mountains, rocky beaches and the Cabot Trail. A minute further, there was another lookout and another stunning vista. Than another. And another. Like a fly to light, I couldn't resist the temptation to stop at each one. Every view took my breath away. (So did the highway's hairpin turns that required slowing down to 30 km/hour!)

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Thursday
Sep292011

Day One: The Ceilidh Trail

NOTE: The Extreme Group and Destination Cape Breton have contracted me to tour Cape Breton Island and blog about my journey for four days. I have editorial control of the content and promise to write honestly and openly about the things I see and do. I hope you will accompany me on this adventure by reading my posts and commenting as you see fit.

Getting jiggy with it

Before I set out on my four-day Cape Breton adventure this morning, I boldly proclaimed on Twitter that I was going to learn to speak Gaelic, highland dance, and play the fiddle—all by the weekend.  Well by the end of day one I'd already met my goals! Allow me to explain.

I crossed the causeway from mainland Nova Scotia and made my way north on Highway 19, on the Ceilidh Trail, where the road signs are in both English and Gaelic. My first stop was at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre. I arrived at 1 p.m. which just as the daily ceilidhs was beginning. Today's performers were Michael Hall on the fiddle and Allan Dewar on piano. The centre was packed as two bus tours arrived, one carrying visitors from Barra in the Western Isles of Scotland. In between tunes, Michael gave a brief history of Celtic music's roots in Cape Breton. The form that is alive and well here today is the oldest style of Scottish music played anywhere in the world. It is traced back to the mid-1700s and was largely brought by Scottish Highland emigrants who had to flee Scotland between 1800 and 1850 due to religious persecution and economic pressures.

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Friday
Sep022011

My big day downtown: try something new

I was recently one of a group of 30 bloggers challenged by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission to try something new downtown. They gave us each $100 to spend as we liked, we just had to document our experiences. I know, tough assignment, right? I intended to make my $100 s-t-r-e-t-c-h so planned a day that would incorporate free or low-cost fun with some activities I'd have to pay for. Here's what I came up with.

1. Biking the waterfront boardwalk. I support active transportation. It's good for the body and the environment. Biking downtown also meant I'd save bus fare or parking fees. But getting onto the Halifax peninsula was a traffic-merging, horn-honking death-defying act of insanity (bike lanes, please, Halifax Regional Municipality!). Once I arrived downtown, however, I loved my ride. From the casino you can take the boardwalk south all the way to the Halifax Seaport Market, though you must walk your bike over the short stretch of private property from Cow's Ice Cream past Salty's. It was about 10 a.m. and the waterfront was still waking. Crews were emerging from the holds of various tall ships, rubbing their eyes, coffee in hand, while merchants were opening their sandwich boards advertising fishing excursions, whale watching and plain old boat tours. On my left the ferry bobbed over to Dartmouth while on my right I gazed up at the mixture of Halifax's centuries-old buildings and modern office towers toward Citadel Hill.

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