Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Nova Scotia-Part 4 (Northumberland Shore - Cape Breton)

Sunday (Aug 20):
We made the trip north from Halifax to our new campground on the Northumberland Shore called Cranberry Campground. We got set up on our site 11 which is a large back-in location with full hookups. We have a view of the Merigomish Harbour from our site as we sit in our chairs outside the Duchess.

Most of this campground is occupied with seasonal campers. I had a nice discussion with one of them named Bud who is retired from the Canadian prison system after 35+ years and spends his summers here in the campground. He and his wife have a “park model” RV they keep in the campground year-round. He also plays bass guitar in a local band that plays all over this region.

On Monday we decided to travel towards New Glasgow since our toilet repair part was suppose to arrive at Stone’s RV today. We travelled on through New Glasgow to the village of Pictou. Pictou Harbour is where a large number of Scottish immigrated to Nova Scotia after losing their lands to the British in the mid 1700’s. We walked around town and visited a few of the shops in town. Pictou looks like it needs a lot of work on it’s buildings and infrastructure to become as picturesque as many of the harbor towns in Nova Scotia. They have a replica of one of the ships that brought the Scottish immigrants to the New World along with a small museum.

We then drove west along Hwy 6 for a few miles before deciding to head towards Stone’s RV to see if the part had come in. The part had arrived so we will spend time this afternoon repairing our toilet. We ate lunch at Tim Horton’s (they are all over Canada), pick up a few items at the grocery store before returning to the campground. We removed the toilet, followed the instructions for the repair and then re-installed it. After flushing several times to check everything, we turned the water back on to see if we had any leaks (no leaks). After spending several days having to go to the campground bathrooms (in this part of Canada they call them “washrooms”), we have learned to appreciate having a working toilet in our rig. Especially at our age during the middle of the night.

Tuesday we headed east towards St. George’s Bay and Cape Breton. It was windy all night long along with rain off and on. The winds continued as we left this morning so it was quite cool (temps in high 50’s). It’s August and we both started out with jackets on. We drove along the coastline on Hwy 337. Hwy 337 travels along the Northumberland Shore to Cape George before heading south to Antigonish. We stopped at Livingston Cove to see the lighthouse and harbor. We took a couple of photos before heading on to Cape George.

As we drove up the road from the harbor we noticed the old Catholic church, St. Margaret’s of Scotland, on Hwy 337. The plaque said it was the 2nd oldest Catholic church in this part of Nova Scotia.

We drove along the highway a few more kilometers to reach Cape George and the lighthouse park that is on the cape. We parked in the park and walked the 0.5 kilometer to the lighthouse. It sits right on the cape which is located at the mouth of St. George’s Bay.

As we left Cape George we stopped to take a few pictures of Ballantynes Cove which is located a the bottom of the hill from the cape. It is a beautiful location that pictures don’t do justice. There is a pathway/trail that travels along the coast in this part of Nova Scotia that would be a great place to ride a bike and view the shoreline.

We proceeded on to Antigonish where a large university is located at the edge of town. From there we crossed the Canso Causeway to Port Hastings the first town across the causeway in Cape Breton. Cape Breton is an island and makes up the northern part of Nova Scotia. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center in Port Hastings to get some information on what to see in our limited visit. We drove up the coastline on Hwy 19 to Judique where we stopped at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre. They have a restaurant there where we ate lunch while a two person group (fiddle & piano) played while we ate.

After finishing our lunch we proceed north along Hwy 19 until we reached the Glenora Distillery. Glenora is North America’s first single malt whisky which they call Glen Breton Rare. The whisky is produced by the traditional copper pot stills method using only three ingredients: barley, yeast and water. It can not be called “Scotch” unless it is produced and bottled in Scotland so it is called Canadian Single Malt Whisky. We took a tour of the production facility and at the end of the tour we received a small sample of their 10 year aged whisky (they also have 15 and 20 year aged whisky at a higher price point). I’m not a whisky drinker and Connie did not think it was very smooth for being aged 10 years. The process to create single malt whisky takes a long time and they only make about 1,500 barrels per year. The water used in the production is from a stream that runs under the distillery, the barley from British Columbia and the yeast from South Africa. Glenora was started in 1990 and is still owned by local families.

Scotland has about 125 distilleries that produce a single malt Scotch whiskey where the process first started. The majority of these distilleries in Scotland are owned by large corporation although there about 20 that are still locally owned.

We headed back south to Port Hood where we stopped at a local park and walked out to a point along a boardwalk/sand trail. There is a small beach located here and we saw a person wind surfing out in the bay.

After a long day we headed back to the campground. We starting packing up for our trip to Moncton tomorrow as we start our journey south. In hindsight we wish we had spent more time in this area of Nova Scotia.