East Coast Road Trip

I was lucky to spend a couple weeks in the East Coast this summer and it was fantastic. With so much world to see, it's easy to forget about all the beauty we have right here in our backyard. We're so lucky to call this country home and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday than a road trip around some of its most scenic vistas.

We flew into and out of Halifax (from Hamilton - bonus!) and rented a car to road trip around from there. We explored Halifax, Peggy's Cove, Lunenberg, and Cape Breton in Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; and finally Shediac, New Brunswick.

Halifax was all about food and beer, and since those happen to be two of our favourite things, we were happy as clams. Highlights were the beautiful public gardens, the Highwayman, Edna, Little Oak, and the Keith's Brewery tour. We also spent a glorious morning at the Seaport Farmer's Market, where we had some delectable dumplings and noodles and sampled all the best wine and spirits from the area. We walked home with some heavy bags. Luckily our airbnb was close by.

We were on the fence about day-tripping out to Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg, but everyone we met seemed to tell us that we just had to go there. So we did. Honestly, the winding drive through picturesque little fishing villages was probably the best part. Although, we did have some of the best fish and chips of our lives in Lunenberg and some amazing pear brandy. But I'm sure you could find both of those in Halifax. I would say, if you're visiting only Halifax, it's a great day trip to quickly get out of the city and experience some beautiful small-town Maritime scenery. But if you're heading on to the Cabot Trail, for instance, I'm not sure it's worth going out of your way for.

Which is exactly what we were up to next, off to Cape Breton to explore the Cabot Trail. Our first night we stayed in this cute little "camping cabin" on the east side of the island, near Wreck Cove. We had a little picnic of meats and cheeses and then took our bottle of Noggins Cider down to the beach until the sun went down and the bugs came out. It was a pretty cool way to start the trail.

We took the entire next day to drive the Cabot Trail and it was breathtaking. My pictures don't really do it justice. Maybe this goes without saying, but I was so impressed with all the convenient lookout points along the route. It was so easy to quickly pull off and take a snap. And they all seemed to be located in perfect picture-taking spots. You don't always get that on windy roads. We stopped at every lookout point and even went on a couple short hikes. White Point (first two photos above) was our favourite spot. It was a little inconspicuous, tucked off the main road, and we weren't entirely sure we were even in the right place, but eventually you get to this amazing mossy green cliff. I've never been to Scotland, but I imagine parts of it would be something close to this. There weren't very many people there either, so it felt very peaceful and private.

We stayed in a fantastic airbnb in Cheticamp for two nights and that also turned out to be a highlight of the trip. It was in an old boathouse and had a deck that stuck right out into the ocean. We had two great afternoons sitting out on that deck relaxing. I even did yoga out there the morning we left! It was the perfect spot to recharge between two long days of driving.

Next, we were onto the land of potatoes and Anne. But I was there to see my own favourite redhead, my best friend Carla. I hadn't seen her since she moved there two years ago and we had the absolute best time! It was four days of amazing food, drinks, games and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. My throat ached and my heart was full. 

We treated ourselves to a fancy feast one evening at the Inn At Bay Fortune. What an experience that was! We arrived a couple of hours before the dinner began and were invited to wander the grounds, where they had several food and drink stations dispersed. It was a feast for the eyes as well, everything from the table settings to the building itself were so beautiful. I had to do my best to balance a drink, an appetizer and my camera at all times. Haha!

After the cocktail hour, we all met at the flag pole for a champagne toast before we sat down at our family style tables for six courses of earth-to-table deliciousness. We finished off the night roasting homemade marshmallows over a campfire.

It was pretty magical. And to share it all with our best friends was a memory to last a lifetime.

A trip to PEI isn't complete without visiting Anne. Well, Anne's house. No, actually, the house that inspired L.M. Montgomery's fictional description of Anne's house. Unfortunately, the whole world seems to also want to visit this green and white phenomenon on the hill. It was absolutely overrun with tourists. I visited when I was a little girl and don't remember any of that. In fact, I remember feeling almost alone in the house, taking as many pictures as I wanted with my little pink le clic. Oh well. The rest of the day was spent skipping along the brilliant, red cliffs of Cavendish and all was right in our blissful vacation again.

A few of our favourite spots to eat and drink in PEI were the Blue Mussel Cafe in North Rustico, Rossignol Winery in Murray River, Matos Winery in St. Catherines (owners originally from Oakville), and everywhere we went in Charlottetown: Upstreet Brewery, Brakish (lawn games!), Local 343 (get the ribs), Terre Rouge (get the burger), and Row House Lobster Co. (get the steak). 

If shopping is your jam, my favourite was Of the Island in Murray River. It has a super cute collection of vintage, as well as some beauty products and jewelry. The owner, and her adorable dog, are really sweet and friendly as well. I bought a pair of earrings that I've been wearing non-stop. I also really enjoyed the little group of shacks, let's call them shop shacks, in North Rustico. I brought home a little piece of art made with seaweed and sand from Emmet & Ellie's. Non-touristy souvenirs are where it's at.

It was hard to say goodbye, but we had such a good time, I know we'll be back sooner rather than later.

Next we were over the Confederation Bridge and on to the final stop of our trip, Shediac, New Brunswick. I have an Aunt and Uncle that live out their summers in this beautiful little beach town and it was so great to see it in person. We were only there for two days, but we made the most of it, the highlights definitely being the astounding Hopewell Rocks and the equally as astounding, fresh lobster dinner! Such a perfect way to end a wonderful trip!

I also managed to keep up with my 100-day project while I was out there. I prepared seven blocks to hand-sew throughout the trip and was able to complete six! This shocked even me. But it actually wasn't as challenging as I thought. The key was that this was a pretty laid-back trip, with a lot of time in the car. I don't think it would necessarily work on a trip to Europe, for instance. I didn't get much reading done, so I guess that was the trade-up. But I ended up with some pretty cool shots and some great memories tied in to each one! It will be so fun to pick them out of the finished quilt... "that one was sewn on the ferry to PEI, that one was in the car on the way to the Cabot Trail, etc." So special.

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