Sydney - Baddeck, Cheticamp and Cape Breton Highlands
9 hours -lunch included
The Cabot Trail is one of North America's most beautiful drives. Named for John Cabot, the great European explorer who first landed on Cape Breton in 1497, the Trail circles northern Cape Breton Island. Cameras, fresh film, binoculars and a head for heights are essentials for the tour.
Sydney: Founded in 1758 by Col. J. F. W. Des Barres, Sydney was first settled by Loyalists from New York State. Immigrants from the Scottish Highlands followed 20 years later and added much of the Scottish flavour we see today. Sydney boomed at the turn of the century with the building of the Dominion Steel and Coal Company plant at Whitney Pier. This plant was the largest self-contained steel plant in North America and is still the city's major industry.
Baddeck: Alexander Graham Bell Museum: This spectacular museum holds the world's most comprehensive collection of Alexander Graham Bell's scientific and humanitarian achievements. The site displays hundreds of original artefacts and personal mementoes as well as photographs that tell the fascinating story of the man himself.
Margaree River: During the months of August and September anglers are frequently seen along the river banks of this well-known salmon stream. Farm fields slope steeply down to the river and during October the fall foliage is ablaze with colour. A picture stop will be made at the mouth of the river.
Cheticamp: This bustling fishing village is distinctly Acadian in nature. Rug hooking is a time-honoured tradition and the local craftspeople create works of art from small coasters to finely hooked embroidery tapestries. The spire of St. Peter's Church pierces the sky and proclaims the Roman Catholic heritage of this region.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park: The nearly 950 square kilometres of the park encompasses a variety of wooded valleys, shoreline and barren plateau habitats. We will make a picture stop ascending French Mountain and descending MacKenzie Mountain into Pleasant Bay. A sharp lookout should be kept for both bald eagles and whales. Next the trail climbs North Mountain through an area of virgin hardwood forest, the only such forest in Nova Scotia. The trail turns south at the village of Cape North and travels through forested terrain as it crosses back over to the eastern side of the island.
Cape Smokey: The final mountain to be climbed is a 366-metre high promontory that gets its name from the white mist that often obscures its peak. We will stop for pictures at the provincial park on the summit where the view seems to go on forever. Descending Cape Smokey is a thrill in itself as the road snakes down the steep face of the cliff.