The title above really sums up my experience here on Cape Breton.
It was also a real sign that I saw on the side of the road.
But seriously, this place is so interesting. So much history left not to be necessarily preserved, but just left because there has been nothing to replace it yet. Does that make any sense? For example, there are a ton of abandoned gift shops and restaurants along the main part of the trail. What I find so interesting about that is that if it had been anywhere else, these restaurants would’ve gotten replaced with new restaurants or new gift shops or new cabins or a new resort, etc. Instead, they’re still sitting there. Things are very slow to advance there, as the hike guide told us last night. Her mom grew up without running water in the house. You can tell that’s the case by just looking at it; the most successful people on the island are all the best fishermen. There isn’t much you can make a living off of in this place, besides the resort and B&B owners. I find it all very cool to see and experience, because it’s definitely a change of pace from city life in the US.
Alright, so day 2 of the Cabot Trail. Fantastic! So many more amazing views.
I started my day pretty late, leaving the B&B around 10am. I was starving, but I wanted to move on from Pleasant Bay since it was so late already (I know it’s not technically late, but I wanted to take my time and explore every nook and cranny of the other side of the trail), so I made my way up to Cape North. I found a little breakfast place with a… with a cast of characters inside. I wish I could describe this place to you, but it’s just beyond words. When I got there, there were three fishermen (?) with the best, most gruff voices. Their voices were probably all worn out from yelling over loud waves their whole lives… Ugh, I wish I could find the words to describe how they sounded. I apologize for even bringing it up because I’m sure you’re super interested now (lol).
The restaurant was run by a mother and daughter (I presume) who were sweet but not very personable… Interesting how they’re running a restaurant in which they have to greet people all day.
I ordered two eggs over easy, bacon, toast, and coffee. That came with home fries (but I don’t like home fries so bye home fries), and was only $10 altogether!!! I celebrated by buying a candy bar.
I repeat: I was starving.
After demolishing everything but the home fries, I realized I may not have enough gas to make it all the way up to the top of the island and back, so I played it safe and drove a little bit in the opposite direction to handle that, and then headed up to Cape North, and eventually Meat Cove (the northernmost community of the island)!
I eventually made my way to Dingwall, a cute little fishing village just off of the trail.
This trail is so beautiful. My favorite part is how it’ll be just tree after tree after tree after tree and then, all of a sudden, a clearing revealing the most beautiful coastline.
My least favorite part of the trail is all of the people driving unnecessarily quickly. You have to be super careful so no one is going CRAZY fast, but those who ride right on my tail because I’m going MAYBE five miles under the speed limit so as not to drive off of a cliff, I just don’t understand. Not only should you take every precaution just in case something unexpected happens, don’t you want to ENJOY THE VIEWS??? Why are you all driving so quickly?! I see no point in it. I usually just pull over enough for the annoying driver to pass me and then go on my merry way.
My favorite signs (besides “Golf Balls and Block Ice”):
- The “Public Shooting Range” sign that had been shot right through.
- The sign that for the longest time I thought had said “Cabot Shoes” but in fact said “Cabot Shores”
- “Rear North Gut”
Another thing I’ve noticed about Canada is how many flags I see everywhere! Talk about patriotism.
After exploring a bit more, I planned on going straight to Baddeck, checking into my B&B, getting dinner, and then settling in for the night. Instead, I ended up taking an impromptu swim when I turned onto the Ingonish Beach road and saw and felt how beautiful it was.
(This was when I thought, ‘Gee, I hope this case really IS waterproof.’)
After my swim, I stopped in at a restaurant that had a ton of people parked outside so I figured was good. The service was TERRIBLE, though — there weren’t that many people there! It took about ten minutes to get me seated, and, like, I’m only one person… Then it took a while for anyone to come over to take my order, give me my water… It was a drag. I ordered the scallop plate, which came with deep fried scallops, rice, and tartar sauce.
Turns out I don’t like deep fried scallops. I ended up just taking off the fried breading and just eating the scallops plain. The rice was good, though!
The drive to my next place was so beautiful (even when a fox ran in front of my car). Storm clouds and fog started rolling in (but luckily it didn’t start raining until I was about five minutes from the lodge) over the mountains, which made for such a pretty sight. And, hey! At least rain means a nice bath for Shamanda! She’s gotten quite a beating from the past few days on rough, gravely roads.
Finally, I got to the lodge! I walked in the door, and BAM! King-sized bed. I even whipped out the selfie stick for this special occasion.
(I took the photo of my second reaction about ten times… Then I realized that those rooming below me probably don’t appreciate my excitement as much as I do…)
And there ends my time here in Nova Scotia! Next time I’ll have to do the lighthouse tour near Halifax (south of Cape Breton, where I was).
Prince Edward Island, here I come!