“Don’t miss traveling at least a part of the Cabot Trail when you visit Nova Scotia. The scenery is heavenly”. Our colleague who hailed from that part of Canada advised when I told her that my daughter and myself were making a trip to Cape Breton Island for a writer’s conference.
We took her advice to heart and a few months later, we were at the village of Baddeck, the starting and ending points of the Cabot trail.
Tourist literature describing this trail conjure images of a magical island claiming that if one never believed in magic, this is the place where one becomes a believer. “Your eyes may not be big enough to take it all in, but your heart will”, another of the promotional statements of the island’s official Destination Cape Breton Association, are words that we hoped to verify during our short tour.
The 297 km (185 mi) Cabot Trail that winds around a considerable part of the island, is one of the most renowned drives in Canada. The Trail, a scenic roadway that takes one around the greater part of Cape Breton has many natural attractions. These include the numerous vantage points with their panoramic views; Cape Breton Island National Park with its seductive scenic drives; eye-catching fishing villages that hug the coast; and splendid hiking trails.
If a traveler has four days to a week to spare some of the most important stops on the Cabot Trail are: the Margaree Harbor and villages in the Margaree River valley, to fish and visit the Salmon Museum; Chéticamp, the largest village on Cape Breton Island's Acadian coast; Pleasant Bay Harbor, for whale watching; Ingonish and the beaches, for water sports and the edging scenery; and Baddeck, for the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and enjoying a wonderful sailing experience on the largest inland sea in Canada.
Our day’s tour would only include a mini section of this famous Nova Scotia Trail.
One of the top spots that entices tourists is the village of Baddeck which we were to explore this day. With a population of 900 set in green forests and edged by deep blue waters of a shimmering bay, it is the jewel of Cape Breton.
It is at its finest bursting with colors from the spring to autumn seasons and best enjoyed along its downtown shopping area with its baskets and boxes overflowing with flowers, ivies and all things colorful celebrating the blossoming warm seasons.
With its identity as a bustling resort town during its high seasons, its special character remains as a quaint village. Rather than tourists changing the face of this destination, Baddeck turns the tourist into a Baddeckian – calm, at ease with nature, enjoying the cleanliness of unadulterated and water, making for a re-born tourist.
Outdoor activities abound – sailing regattas, bird-watching, hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding and in the winter, even dog-sledding.