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01-10-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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Prince Edward island???

My wife and I are considering a vacation to Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada this spring or summer. I would greatly appreciate any information and/or advice from our Canadian brethren or anyone who has been there and cares to share their insights.

I'm mainly looking for advice on when to go, what to see, what not to miss, what to avoid (if anything).

Thanks in advance...

Mike

01-10-2009, 07:22 PM   #2
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Mike, between Peter and I (plus several others!), we should be able to get you squared away. I lived in Oxford, NS and still have family in Cumberland County. Oxford is roughly an hour from arriving in Borden-Carleton in PEI via the Confederation Bridge. Chris' suggestion is very worthwhile. Please try to consider the Cabot Trail and the Mahone Bay area further south of Halifax. I still have relatives there too...

The nice part about NS and PEI is that you are never more than an hour's drive from the coast - that is really great. BTW, lots of fresh lobster can be had for reasonable prices if you don't partake of the PEI lobster dinners. Many are run by churches!

Are you driving from VA, or flying in to Halifax (or Moncton, NB) and then renting a car? This definitely affects the suggestion box...


Regards,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 01-10-2009 at 07:28 PM.
01-11-2009, 07:14 AM   #3
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Our plan at this point is to fly in and rent a car. While the drive up would be interesting in itself I want to reduce the "getting there" time and maximize the "relaxing and enjoying ourselves" time. I havn't decide where to fly into yet so advice on that would be great too.

Thanks!
01-11-2009, 08:03 AM   #4
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PEI is beautiful. My husband, daughter and I went there on vacationa few years ago for the Canadian Harley Owners Rally and drove all over the island. North Cape, Summerside & Kingkora are my favorite spots. Charlottetown has the largest Airport in PEI. Wood Islands is a good place for Sunset pics.....There are numerous Bed & Breakfast's on the island and I have enjoyed a few.

As far as Nova Scotia goes the Cabot Trail is a must. Peggy's Cove is very picturesque.

Enjoy Mike!

01-12-2009, 09:19 AM   #5
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Hey Mike,

I didn't see you indicate a time frame for the duration?

Travel to the Maritimes:
My suggestions are based on if you are planning at least a week. If you want a direct flight, then Halifax is the more viable option, since it's a Trans-Atlantic hub. The nice part is that the airport is well situated outside the city, so you can head north on the TC HWY (Trans-Canada Highway) to PEI right away. From Halifax to Oxford via TC HWY, it's roughly 1.5 - 1.75 hours. From Oxford, it's barely over an hour to arrive in Borden-Carelton, PEI (unless you wish to take the ferry trip at the eastern end of the island). Be prepared for the occasional interesting town/village name as you head through Nova Scotia... Tatamagouche, Shubenacadie for samples.

PEI is a beautiful island, and has very little elevation gain. I've not been there for a while, so perhaps when Peter returns, he can chime in. Note: if you decide to do any swimming in the Atlantic, I would heartily recommend you consider swimming on the southern side of PEI (Northumberland Strait). The cold Labrador current penetrates the Gulf of St. Lawrence quite well and it's often more chilly on the northern side.

Peggy's Cove/Mahone Bay and the South Shore are within easy access of Halifax, so that gives you an option upon your return.

Side trip to Cape Breton Island:
On your return, you have the option of heading over to Cape Breton Island and the Cabot Trail. Fortress Louisbourg is a definite consideration. It's a large settlement (walled town, national park) and considered the crown jewel of Canada's historic parks. This is a large site - the entire town has been rebuilt - over 100 buildings! Website: Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Park. There are several B&B's in nearby Louisbourg. Every year in late July they have a reenactment of the battle for the fort. Admission is not cheap, but I still remember going there.

Update on Fortress Louisbourg: they use the same ingredients for the bread they sell there from the bread they made over 150 years ago. Believe it or not, during the mid 1700's , white bread was considered the realm of upper class and beyond, since it was much easier to chew. The whole grain breads back then were extremely resilient...

The Marconi National Historic site (world's first wireless Transatlantic transmission in 1902) took place near Glace Bay.

The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is in Baddeck. This was near the location of his summer vacation home, in Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, where his ancestors still reside. (For any other readers, Bell took out the first US patent for the telephone in 1876. He was also a founding member of the National Geographic Society. Just use Wiki to see the VERY long list of achievements: heavier than air flight, hydrofoils, metal detector, etc. This included glimpses into using magnetic fields onto a record - precursor to the tape recorder, then floppy/hard disks and other magnetic media.

I'm just scratching the surface... you can smack me virtually across the head now...

Regards,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 01-12-2009 at 12:05 PM. Reason: small typos
01-12-2009, 11:43 AM   #6
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Thanks Suzu... Maybe thats why I liked you right off. I think I sensed you were a biker chick. LOL

------------------------------

Thanks Marc... No slaps for that great info. We are planning on staying 7-8 days depending on flights in and out. Havn't decided just when we are going for sure, but I'm leaning toward June (maybe May but I have to de-conflict Rolling Thunder if we chose May). I do like the idea of flying into Halifax and driving the rest of the way. The on-the-way sighseeing would be nice. The ferry would be fun too.

The relatively flat nature of the island is one of the points that appealed to us as my wife does not do "up and down" too well these days.

And, just to let you know.... I've no ambition to go swimming in Canada whatsoever. Heck I barely swim in Florida. LOL

Mike

Thanks for the info and if yo think of anything else let me know.

Last edited by MRRiley; 01-12-2009 at 11:52 AM.
01-12-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Added an unfinished section on Louisbourg...
01-12-2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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Mike, if you would like some potentially stunning shots of the Cape Breton Highlands and the ocean/shoreline (if you get a chance) check out the following:
Cabot Trail

Official Cabot Trail website:
The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia

Just Google the Cabot Trail via the Images search. Of course, it's a little more "up and down" than PEI!!

BTW, if you decide to do the "see as you go" thing, expect to see Bald Eagles nesting in Nova Scotia, even close to the highways. Nova Scotia's government was (in part) responsible for assisting with the re-population and re-location of the Bald Eagle back into the US during the 1950's due to the DDT pesticides killing off many of them in the US.

Nova Scotia also produces more wild blueberries than all other provinces combined in Canada - over 10,000 metric tonnes yearly. Our family business still runs today - near Oxford in Nova Scotia. Normally the business will harvest an average of 175 tons (imperial weight)of wild lowbush blueberries yearly. With my uncle, we would manually load and then unload 10-14 tons of berries daily onto a 36 foot straightbed truck. It was 20-28 tons of lifting between us every day, 10-14 hours per day for 3 weeks on average. No days off, very heavy sleeping at night!!

Those berries are sold to Oxford Frozen Foods or companies in Maine, then shipped frozen throughout the US, Canada, Germany and Japan, where blueberries and cream is considered a delicacy. Harvest is during late August --> early September. My grandfather was the pioneer of wild blueberry harvesting in the province. Wild blueberries are much sweeter than domesticated high bush (which are normally larger in size). You'd be shocked at the prices per pound that the harvesters are paid vs. the final product on your shelf. Try 43 to 65 cents per pound, based on crop harvest, etc. You pay easily $2 per pint, normally higher for domesticated berries.

Now you know why I know a fair bit about Nova Scotia...

Cheers,
Marc

01-12-2009, 07:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote

Peggy's Cove/Mahone Bay and the South Shore are within easy access of Halifax, so that gives you an option upon your return.

Marc
From another Bluenoser:

Mahone Bay at sunrise/sunset is a must and while you're down that way, a day at Lunenberg. Don't forget the waterfront parks development and the old part of Halifax, the Citadel in Halifax, the Public Gardens in Halifax, the Annapolis Valley especially at apple blossom time, Port Royal in NS, Digby for fresh scallops and Chester, NS. If you're a biker, the coastal roads and the Cabot Trail are a blast.

In PEI - the sandstone cliffs around Stanhope, the miniature castles, Anne of Green Gables, Charlottetown and I'm sure Peter will fill you in some more as he is much more current on PEI than I am. BTW, if you're a golfer, there are some great courses in PEI.

In NB - the reversing falls, Fundy National Park and there's another interesting park just outside Moncton that can only be viewed at low tide.

Do I hear 2 weeks?

Dave
02-04-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
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Hey Mike, We were taling by PM about many of these spots. I was suggesting a 2-3 day tour of the "South Shore" Chester, Mahone bay and Lunenburg with detours to Blue rocks, Riverport and the Ovens, awesome spot where the ocean has eroded the cliffs and carved long caves under the cliff face. You can walk along a walkway inside the caves as the ocean passes under your feet. The waves hit the end of the cave by thunder if you get decent wave action. It's that trapped air pressure that causes the cliffs to erode.

Trying to do the Cabot trail and the South shore with PEI in the middle would be tough and not much relaxing time. So IMO you'd have to make a choice between the Cabot trail (Incredible as well) and the South Shore.

I have been gathering tourist info for you and will have a complete package to mail out in a week or so. So send me the address via PM.
02-04-2009, 09:07 PM   #11
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Mike, Check this out Welcome to Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival 2009! I just heard about it tonight and it's a very cool event.
02-05-2009, 03:27 AM   #12
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I've been 'down east' a couple times and the last time spent a week on PEI; it was a very enjoyable trip. The nice thing is you can drive around the entire island in a day. But to really experience it you should plan on exploring some of the more out of the way places. Just turning off the main roads into any one of the little fishing villages offers photo opportunities galore. (Don't miss seeing 'Stompin' Tom Conners' home village and 1 room school house while you're there.)

It is a very pretty place in summer and and I am sure you'll enjoy yourself.
02-05-2009, 05:14 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the great info folks. It's looking like the trip will be late August at this point since there are fewer flying buggy critters (and I'm not a macro bug photographer... LOL).

Sure wish I could make it a 2 week trip but that would totally wipe out my vacation pool.

Mike
02-05-2009, 05:40 AM   #14
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Funny, Mike, I've been mulling the same thing--and a similar time frame.
For me, fishing would be the primary objective (I've decided I want to catch an Atlantic Salmon before I die) but of course I'd be bringing the Pentax kit.
02-05-2009, 09:14 AM   #15
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If I were to advise a trip for both of you. It would be the following:
Fly into Halifax and spend a day touring the city. It has enough to offer for several days worth but the highlights might be: 1) Point pleasant park (historic British forts and walking park). 2) Citadel hill http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_KsZtQ51Gt1A/R_YmsgPqjUI/AAAAAAAAAIw/bpkdATO8Ouw/s4...itadelHill.jpg 3} Public gardens http://images.google.ca/images?hl=en&q=halifax+public+gardens&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2

Google Image Result for http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/halifax/DVD/81-l.jpg

Then see historic Properties on the waterfront. historic properties Halifax - Google Image Search

From there just explore the old parts of Halifax, there's lots around to see and you can walk around easily. A very safe city even late at night. Great restaurants and night life.

From there drive out to Peggy's cove. It's a huge tourist 'trap' but an interesting drive and site. The area near the lighthouse has no trees and the landscape is wild. Created by the glaciers retreating 100,000 years ago. Large and small boulders were left in the weirdest spots as the ice melted. Peggy's cove village is quaint and very typical of the 1800's
Peggy's cove - Google Image Search

From there drive back to the highway (103)and drive south. Take exit 5 to the old highway #3 which follows the ocean. Just drive and stop as you go. Lots of beaches, ocean views and little shops. Side roads can be fun to explore and you can't get lost since the roads all end at the sea. You just turn around. People here are used to visitors doing this and will offer tons of advice. Quite friendly.

Go to Chester first. Another quaint village that was all fishing at one time and my home town. Worth a 2-3 hour tour. chester ns - Google Image Search

From there you might want to get a room at a B&B in Mahone bay. But take the back highways everywhere. The fast highways may as well be on the moon. They cut through the forest and are boring. mahone bay ns - Google Image Search

After an early morning tour of Mahone bay, take the back highway to Lunenburg which is a UNESCO world site. The home of the Bluenose sailing ship. If that is possible, find out where the ship is and book a 2 hour sailing cruise. If you've never been on a big sailboat, this is something you will remember for the rest of your life. Incredible ship.
bluenose 2 ns - Google Image Search

Bluenose II Sailing Schedule | Bluenose II Preservation Trust They appear to be in Lunenburg (where she was built) for much of August. From there consider taking the cable ferry in Riverport and going to The Ovens park. Ovens Natural Park But Lunenburg is a solid half day or more to explore on foot.

If you don't have the time for all the above, Do Halifax, Peggy's cove and straight to Lunenburg. But the whole tour will give you a great sample of this region. From this area take the fast highway (103 back to Truro) then take HWY 104 and toward New Brunswick and PEI.

There is a side option here. You could go to Truro and take Hwy 104 in the opposite direction toward New Glasgow. Nice town and area to explore. Then head to Pictou and take the Northumberland ferry to PEI. Nice 1 hour trip over relatively calm water and a nice way to see the coast on both sides. The ferry (and bridge) are free to get to the island. You pay to get off (around $57.00 for the ferry and $43.00 for the bridge). You could visit Shediac on the way back if time allows.

Once you cross the border to NB go to Shediac NB Beautiful small Acadian town with excellent seafood and lobster. At this point Dave and Mike would split. Dave going north to Miramichi for the best Salmon fishing in the world. No kidding. Book a cabin and fish till you drop. Atlantic Salmon fly-fishing, Outdoor Vacations, whale watching and traveling Tours at Miramichi's Country Haven Lodge and Cottages in New Brunswick Canada Take the old highways where you can to explore the coastline. The Acadian (French peasants who built much of NS and NB in the 1600's) They are the people who were deported to Louisiana before the revolution and where the word 'Cajun comes from. Hence the 'French Quarter' in New Orleans.

Mike will finish stuffing his face with lobster and drive to the Confederation bridge and then PEI. PEI is a place where you just drive and explore. 38 lighthouses, lots of rural countryside and beaches. I'll send more to you about that later but it's a driving province and quite small. Flat land and mostly farming or fishing communities. Places like Cavendish, Murray harbour, Brackley, Rustico, Victoria by the Sea and many others are worth visits. Golfing is huge here. So are Deep sea fishing and whale watching tours. Lots to do and very relaxed.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 02-05-2009 at 11:44 AM.
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