"I have travelled 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 Inventor of the Telephone
Over the years my wife and I have had the great good fortune to visit Canada on a number of occasions. Since we prefer cooler temperatures we always seem to head to Northern New England or Canada when we have some time off. Several years ago we were looking to do something just a bit different when someone suggested Cape Breton Island. Now I had never even heard of this place. Just in case you are not familiar with Cape Breton Island it is located at the northeastern end of the province of Nova Scotia. Although physically separated from the Nova Scotia peninsula by the Strait of Canso, it is artificially connected to mainland Nova Scotia by the Canso Causeway. At the northern end of the island you will find Cape Breton Highlands National Park. As my wife and I quickly discovered this is among the most beautiful places on earth. And although we were only able to spend a couple of days in the park this is a trip and a place that we will never forget.
We entered Cape Breton Highlands National Park from the eastern side at the lovely village of Ingonish. What makes a trip to Cape Breton so enjoyable is that within the boundaries of the park are dozens of towns and villages where you can experience first hand the unique culture, hospitality and cuisine of those who reside here. Wherever we stopped the food was outstanding! One of the things I most enjoyed was butterscotch pie. We enjoyed this delectable delight a couple of times along the way. At one place the delicately flavored butterscotch filling was topped with meringue while at another establishment the pie had freshly prepared whipped cream on top. Both were outstanding! Meanwhile, it seems that in just about every place you poke your head into there is the wonderful sound of Cape Breton fiddle music playing. The people of Cape Breton are very proud of their music and rightly so. It is extremely lively and uplifting!
But without a doubt the main event in any trip to Cape Breton Highlands National Park is the 185 mile loop drive through the Cape Breton Highlands known as The Cabot Trail. Here is one of the most thrilling automobile rides you will ever take. Completed back in 1936, The Cabot Trail encompasses some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery in all of Canada. Molly and I were amazed at the number of breathtaking mountain vistas we encountered all along the way. This is a veritable photographer's paradise. For those who have the time there are numerous hiking trails to explore and sandy beaches to walk. At the western end of The Cabot Trail is the picturesque town of Cheticamp. Cheticamp is recognized as the center of Acadian culture in Nova Scotia. The town is also known for its hooked rugs, folk art galleries and spendid restaurants. We spent the better part of an afternoon there and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Now if you are still not sold on this place consider that the folks at Conde Nast Magazine rated Cape Breton "the most beautiful island and amongst the most friendly people in the world". Touche!
It is our fervent desire that one day we will return to Cape Breton Highlands National Park when we have a bit more time. As much as we enjoyed ourselves it was a grueling drive from our home in Rhode Island. We were only able to spend about a day an a half there. In our experience you would need at least 3 or 4 days to fully appreciate all that this area has to offer. Very highly recommended!
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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History and Formation of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park
It wasn't until 1936 that the Cape Breton Highlands National Park was created, 950 sq. km (366 sq. mi.). Conserving and protecting the majestic highlands and coastal wilderness stretching across the northern tip of Cape Breton Island between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. It was the first national park in the Atlantic Provinces. By 1940 the Cabot Trail was reconstructed along the French Mountain.1948 saw a new road between Ingonish and Neil's Harbour. In 1951/52 construction on the North Mountain to Pleasant Bay included guard rails. By 1961 the paving of the Cabot Trail was achieved. Today the Cape Breton Highlands Park has 6 campgrounds, 27 hiking trails and a number of informational look offs.
Although the Cape Breton Highlands NationalPark is a very important part of the Cabot Trail, one must not forget the communities that are within and border the National Park, from Pleasant Bay to Neil's Harbour. Here is where you find the culture and warmth of the people in the Highlands.
There are two Information Centres, at both ends of the park, Cheticamp and Ingonish, where you buy permits for vehicle entry, camping, touring and You must pay for a permit to enjoy what the park has to offer, a small price to protect and enjoy this EDEN! licenses for fishing.
Entering the park from Cheticamp
The entrance in Cheticamp embarks you on a 105 Km (60 miles) journey through the western edge of the ...