Nova Scotia


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toms800
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Nova Scotia

Postby toms800 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:42 am



Planning a trip with my wife to Nova Scotia for two weeks in July. Any hints / dos & don'ts would be appreciated.


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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby WingAdmin » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:33 pm

Having lived there for a year, I can 10000% recommend taking a couple of days to ride the Cabot Trail.

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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby themainviking » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:34 pm

Hints - do's/don'ts = do take more time off so you can do it all, don't forget to ride the Cabot Trail. Another great ride is the north shore, from Amherst to New Glascow, or reversed.
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onelostsock
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby onelostsock » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:06 pm

Have taken The Cat ferry from Bar Harbor ,Maine to Yarmouth a few years ago when the ferry ran from Bar Harbor. Rented a little place in Port George on the North Shore for a week and did day trips from home base. First time there for my wife and I. Loved every minute of it! The people were really nice and the scenery is beautiful.We have rented a little cottage for a week in September this year in a place called Mill Village on the South Shore. We have never done the South Shore so it should be nice and we will be about 1 hour from Halifax so it will be fun to do a couple of day trips there also. Have not been able to do the Cabot Trail but am looking forward to it another time. If you ever get the chance a SPECTACULAR ride is doing the circumnavigation of the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec.We did it year before last and even went back last year. The scenery is unbelievable and the people of Quebec are very friendly and helpful,even if your French is terrible ,like ours!! Hope the weather is good for you, that is a great time of year up around these parts.

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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Paulcf » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:47 pm

Cat ferry to Yarmouth no longer exists.

Cabot Trail and Fortress Louisbourg is highly recommended. Fall is best time to go, less traffic, lower costs and less chance of rain which would essentially mean riding in a cloud.

Ride out along the "Digby Neck" (hwy 217), to the end (2 free ferries) at Westport. Very scenic and uncrowded. Be sure to visit the Joshua Slocum monument, you know who he is? This is best done after you arrive in Digby via the ferry Princess of Acadia from Saint John, NB.

Truro to Parrsboro and then along the Chignecto coast to Advocate Harbour and up to Amherst (route 209). They call part of this road "little Cabot Trail". The sailing sloop Mary Celeste was launched from here, do you know what that ship is famous for? She was built in Spencers Island. Also try to visit the light house at Cape D'Or. You can see the mysterious island, Isle Haute in the distance. The tides here in the Minas Basin are incredible, up to 50+ feet in difference, readily apparent at Advocate Harbour! Check out fossils along the coast at Joggins also.

A ride along the North Shore is also nice along the Northumberland Strait, with warm saltwater beaches to swim in. Finally take the ferry (free!) to PEI (Wood Islands) from Caribou, NS.

Wish I could go!
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby offcenter » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:09 pm

Around 1982, I took the Bluenose ferry from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor.
Does that one still run?
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Paulcf » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:43 pm

No, sadly there is no more ferry service out of Yarmouth, NS to Maine (USA). There is some talk that it might happen but it depends on a private company if it feels it can make profit. The reason it shut down was due to the government financial assistance being ended. It's too bad since it makes for an ideal way to enter Nova Scotia.
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby onelostsock » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:06 am

The plan is for the ferry Acadian Princess to start up this spring sailing out of Portland, Me. to Yarmouth,N.S. I hear the trip will be about 8-9hrs long. We here in Maine miss The Cat. That trip was only 2 1/2 hours and smooth.As my wife and I are returning to Nova Scotia this summer, we will drive to St. John,N.B. to take the Digby ferry. About a 3hr trip.

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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby harvey01 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:50 am

Hopefully you are planning to spend most of your two weeks in Nova Scotia and the travel time to and from will be in addition.

We were there this summer and did the Cabot Trail. This was a great ride. We stayed in Baddeck, NS and visited the Alexandria Graham Bell museum there. This was an interesting side trip for us as we learned that this man's interests were well beyond the telephone.

We did not take the ferry at Digby as we wanted to go to PEI on the trip to NS. This was also an interesting side trip to see so many fields of potatoes in bloom at the same time. It was also fun crossing that 8 mile bridge! We also visited the home of an author on the north coast of PEI.

Obviouslly Nova Scotia does have a lot to see, to include Peggys Cove, but the Cabot Trail was a highlight.

Beware of the Credit card expenses--most Visa and MC cards charge an exchange fee everytime they are used in Canada. So in addition to letting your normal credit cards know you are making a trip you might want to look for a card that does not charge the foreign exchange fee. I understand that Capital One has such a card. We had no problem finding gas but it was expensive and we did pay at the pump every purchase. It would have been cheaper to get cash from a bank and paid Canadian cash but I did not know about the exchange fee till I got the bill. Actually my bank took pity on me and dropped the charges(30.00 total) but don't count on that!

Allow time at stops to chat with Locals, and fellow riders. I had several folks ask how we got our bikes to NS from VA. They were surprised to learn that we rode them. You will see many Harley riders as well as sport bikes and adventure bikes.

Motels in NS are a little more expensive than in the states, but you can find good deals. I did not see the normal chains that you see everywhere in the states and but we stayed in some nice places. Food was very good. Again things are a little pricier in Canada!

Have a wonderful trip and enjoy the ride! If I can do anything to help please PM or email me.
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:26 am

harvey01 wrote:Beware of the Credit card expenses--most Visa and MC cards charge an exchange fee everytime they are used in Canada. So in addition to letting your normal credit cards know you are making a trip you might want to look for a card that does not charge the foreign exchange fee. I understand that Capital One has such a card. We had no problem finding gas but it was expensive and we did pay at the pump every purchase. It would have been cheaper to get cash from a bank and paid Canadian cash but I did not know about the exchange fee till I got the bill. Actually my bank took pity on me and dropped the charges(30.00 total) but don't count on that!


This is very true. Also keep in mind that the credit card machines of some Canadian vendors, gas station pumps in particular, will not accept US combination debit/credit cards (debit card linked to your bank account, but with a Visa/Mastercard symbol on it).

Canada (as well as the rest of the entire world) have standardized on "chip cards" - if you do any amount of international travel, you should make sure you have a credit card with a chip on it, or you may find yourself with a useless piece of plastic that cannot be accepted anywhere.

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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Paulcf » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:30 am

Glad to hear that someone is going to operate a ferry service this year between Portland, ME and Yarmouth, NS! That saves a lot of driving time and miles/kms. I wonder what the cost will be? If you find a website, can you post it here so everyone can follow/check into it?

Re a previous post, a minor correction: The museum in Baddeck is for Alexander Graham Bell, not Alexandria (female!). Also, the author you referred to in PEI is none other than Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the famous "Anne of Green Gables" for which you can tour the house, etc. If you want more information about this, click on this link: http://www.tourismpei.com/anne-of-green-gables

There is so much to see and do in the Canadian Maritime provinces of NB, NS and PEI!
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby harvey01 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:43 pm

Paulcf wrote:Glad to hear that someone is going to operate a ferry service this year between Portland, ME and Yarmouth, NS! That saves a lot of driving time and miles/kms. I wonder what the cost will be? If you find a website, can you post it here so everyone can follow/check into it?

Re a previous post, a minor correction: The museum in Baddeck is for Alexander Graham Bell, not Alexandria (female!). Also, the author you referred to in PEI is none other than Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the famous "Anne of Green Gables" for which you can tour the house, etc. If you want more information about this, click on this link: http://www.tourismpei.com/anne-of-green-gables

There is so much to see and do in the Canadian Maritime provinces of NB, NS and PEI!


Thanks for correcting the typo!

Sorry about the author, my wife knew all about her but I had never read any of her books and could not think of her name.

Also, if you go to the Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY, you get part of the story of Bell and his involvement with flight. We were there before NS so the museum in Baddeck completed our tour.
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Paulcf » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:04 pm

Thanks Harvey01...I didn't know that about the Curtiss museum but now it's on my to do list! Ideally it would be something I could visit on my way east to the Americade rally this June in Lake George, NY!
And no worries re updates...I've lived most of my life in the Maritimes and know it intimately and know where to go, what to see, where to eat, where to stay, etc....heck I should just move back and do guided motorcycle tours! Hmmmmm....not a bad idea!
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby onelostsock » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:15 pm

The website for the new Nova Scotia ferry service between Portland, Me. and Yarmouth, N.S. is http://www.novastarcruises.com. I apologize, I thought the name of the new ship was Acadian Princess, but it is the Nova Star, my bad! They are not sure if all of the infrastructure improvements will be done by May 1,2014, but that is supposedly when service will begin for the '14 season. Nothing said about cost for the 9hour crossing though. It does say that the boat leaves Portland, Me. at 8PM and arrives in Yarmouth,N.S. by 7AM the next day. Just one sailing a day each way. I would guess the crossing will not be cheap. The St.John, N.B.-Digby, N.S. ferry crossing will cost my wife and I and our bike and trailer about $300 roundtrip.And that is a 3hr. crossing. Either way I am sure it would be worth the cost. Sounds like it should be a great trip!

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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Paulcf » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:27 pm

Thanks OLS (one lost sock) for the website, I'm going to bookmark it now and refer to it as winter fades and spring finally arrives in the north country. It's good to know that some private enterprise is able to step in and provide the service, I hope that they can make a good go of it and make money doing it.

I agree that it's probably not going to be cheap but then neither is the price of gasoline, hotels, etc...and it makes for a nice logical way to enter the Maritimes and Nova Scotia and work/tour your way eastward up and through Nova Scotia to Cape Breton Island (and off to Newfoundland if you're going that way), or then across to PEI and then into New Brunswick and then you are pointing back west bound to return home!

A quick check on Google Maps shows Portland, ME to Yarmouth, NS all via road (no ferry) is 715 miles...and that puts you at the 'start' of exploring Nova Scotia. I guess a fellow can do a 'business cost analysis' to help make the Portland to Yarmouth ferry cost acceptable?!
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Paulcf » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:02 pm

Good news! The rates for the new ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia have been announced and you're going to like it!

Check this out: http://www.novanewsnow.com/News/2013-12 ... rossings/1

It makes for a very affordable crossing! Also, the ship "Nova Star" is brand new and the photos of it look amazing!
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby onelostsock » Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:21 pm

With any luck those rates will hold. The article is dated 12/11/13 though.And it will be interesting how the pricing structure plays out. As for the St. John ferry you are charged for yourself(driver)the passenger ,the bike and the trailer as separate charges.It gets a little pricey, but you are on vacation so if you want to play...well you all know the rest!

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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby brenniac » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:28 pm

My wife and I did Nova Scotia in 2010, the year the ferry stopped its service. We were ultimately glad we rode through New Brunswick because the ride was so beautiful. If the Nova Star (?) was running, we probably would have taken it one way.
Now to NS. Cabot Trail is a must ride. You will remember that well into your forever years.

We spent about half of our time south of Halifax near Peggy's Cove as a base and took day trips. A lot of it was riding around the coastal roads, stopping in interesting places and enjoying the countryside. We spent one day in Halifax to get a feel for the city. We camped for 3-4 days and saw some of the most gorgeous sunsets we've ever experienced in our lives.

The remainder of our stay was in Cape Breton where we stayed at the Inverary Lodge (highly recommended) as we were "camped out" and needed some creature comfort. It is located in Baddeck and again served as our base for day trips. If you have any interest in history, you will definitely want to see the Alexander Graham Bell museum. Another side trip we took was a "Puffin" tour. It is actually a bird and aquatic life tour and it was absolutely fascinating to see all the different species living up there close-up.

Take a couple different credit cards with you as you may have difficulty with one or another species once you cross the border. Our friends and travel partners experienced this almost as soon as we crossed over into NB and had intermittent problems throughout. We were lucky I suppose because we had no issues at all with our cards. I would say check with your bank before you go. We also did not use much cash, only exchanging a couple hundred dollars for tips and impulse or snack purchases.+

Make sure you stop at any Welcome Centers you encounter. We found out about local current events and places to visit that suited our interests. They are very helpful and if you are adventurous, can even find great accommodations.

Enjoy your trip and take lots of pictures.
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby Fatwing Chris » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:39 pm

Pack something warm to wear.Even though you're going in July it can still get pretty cool riding.Been there 5 or 6 times all in July and at least twice we had to stop and buy sweatshirts.One morning on the Bay of Fundy I went down to the wharf at about 9:30 AM to watch some fishing boats leave and it was cold enough that you could see your breath.
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Re: Nova Scotia

Postby radionut » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:19 pm

I have Been to Nova Scotia twice by Motorcycle, and twice by car, and endorse heartily all the recommendations listed. However, no one has mentioned the Nova Scotia Department of tourism. They offer a HUGE amount of information for the motorcycle tourist, nowhere else in my travels do they embrace the touring motorcyclist like they do there.
https://www.novascotia.com/en/home/plan ... t%2Bof+May

If you are inclined to collect touring pins, there is a little souvenir shop at the Canso Causeway, that sells both "I toured Nova Scotia "and "I toured Cape Breton" pins. Tell them Rick from BC sent you, The Nova Scotia pins are everywhere, but the Cape Breton pins are hard to find.

We tried sticking to the coast highway along the South coast West from Halifax, but soon found we were riding a LOT of twisty roads, but not seeing much of the country, and there is SO MUCH country to see.

When travelling the Cabot trail, stop often, there a lot of viewpoints, and the only way to see all of the trail is to stop and look back. Of course you could turn around an go back to see it from the other direction. Yes I have been around both directions, and both were worthwhile.

A note of warning, if riding the north coast Sunrise Trail, beware of skunks, there were a lot of the smelly little things, and my motorcycle does not have a recirculate option on the air conditioner, so you get to really realize how many of them there are. Early evening was when we encountered most of them, we never actually hit one, but a car we were following did, and that was really bad. I can laugh now, but at the time, not so much.

Enjoy your vacation
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