You will then follow the coast to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, to enjoy the best trails of this profoundly stirring area, where coastal hills meet the sea on both East and West coasts. Then it is on to Mabou, a quiet village that at first glance belies the abundance of musical talent enjoyed there. You can visit the only single malt distillery outside Scotland, before a fantastic hike on your last day, along the path cut into the side of the coastal hills at Sight Point. This is a full week of Cape Breton magic, but we guarantee you will leave wanting more! Hikes are on paths and trails in provincial and national parks, in wilderness settings. Others are on private land.
Meet in downtown Halifax at 13:00 or the airport at 13:30, for a 4½ hours transfer to Louisbourg. If you prefer to avoid the drive, you can fly into Sydney, only 30 minutes away by taxi. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only.). Louisbourg Harbour Inn; or Cranberry Cove Inn, Louisbourg.
Day 2: Visit Louisbourg, and hike the Lighthouse Trail
A short walk will take you to the gates of Louisbourg, where you will spend the morning discovering why this French fortress was built, how it functioned, and why it failed. The original fortress, constructed mainly between 1720 and 1740, was one of the most extensive (and expensive) European fortifications constructed in North America. Today it is an 18th-century adventure nestled on the edge of the sea - a place where muskets and mortars, women in hoop skirts and men in wigs, town criers and the 'iron collar' are a part of re-enacted everyday life. After a period meal, this afternoon’s hike will take you along the coast on the Lighthouse Trail. You may also learn about myriad shipwrecks – victims of the beautifully rugged coast. The hike takes you to one of the most beautifully preserved and spectacular lighthouses on the East Coast of North America. You will see why it exists! B. Same lodging.
Transfer to Baddeck. Hike two hours beside streams and rivers to Uisge Bhan falls, then explore the small village of Baddeck for lunch. Afterwards, learn about Alexander Graham bell at his museum and estate, and settle in to your inn to prepare for an exquisite dinner and tomorrow’s hikes. BD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips). Chanterelle Inn, North River.
Day 4: Two short hikes and one long one. 6 hours hiking
The first hike today is up Ingonish River into the highlands. Also known as Kalapa valley, this is a Buddhist retreat and called the center of the universe. You will see why. After lunch, you will be able to hike along the coast from Black Brook Beach, and out to spectacular White Point. Finish the day at cottages overlooking a four-mile beach. BLD. Markland Inn, Dingwall.
Day 5: 6 hours. Fishing Cove, and Skyline Trail
Today’s hikes are some of the finest of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. One descends to an idyllic cove with beach, waterfall, pond, and meadow, far removed from anything but its own natural beauty. The other takes you along boardwalks and trails to an amazingly expansive vista, from where we often see whales, moose, eagles, and cyclists conquering the climbs of the Cabot Trail far below. BLD. Same lodging.
Day 6: 4-6 hours hiking
Two more National park hikes today will round out your appreciation for why this area was called New Scotland, and why Bell chose to live here; not to mention the appreciative and friendly residents who all believe they live in paradise. After hiking, you will transfer to the musical hotbed of Mabou, where the delights include the Rankin Family’s Red Shoe Pub. Traditional musical entertainment is a nightly occurrence here. BLD. Duncreigan Country Inn, Mabou.
Day 7: 4-6 hours hiking
Just wait ‘til you see this hike! Cut into the edge of a hill that tumbles all the way to the sea, the path along Sight Point will leave you giddy with excitement, and maybe vertigo. This is the part of Nova Scotia that most reminds us of its namesake: Scotland. You may even see some sheep illustrating the area’s heritage. In any case, you will be amazed at the expansive sea views as you explore this trail – a good morning of hiking before transferring back to Halifax by day’s end. BL.
“The guides were superb; among the very best we have had in our 12+ tours with different companies.” - Kathleen Sweeney & Manfred Kuechler.
-Start: Meet in downtown Halifax at 13:00, or the Halifax Airport at 14:00 on day one for a 4½ hours transfer to Louisbourg. To skip the long transfer, consider a one way flight to Sydney, and a 30 minute taxi fare to Louisbourg.
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