Thanks to Mohamad Al Karbi for being a supportive friend in the blogging world. I appreciate the opportunity to share the story of my recent vacation to my home, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada in his Around The World category. I will be writing a different story on my own blog to connect it to this story, and the link will be at the bottom of this submission. Happy reading!
“The home of my heart, Cape Breton” is a line from a song called “The Island” which was written by Kenzie MacNeil. This song is one I learned in school and it is known as the informal anthem of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. There are several versions on youtube, and generations of people that grew up and moved away from the home of their heart know all the words just like they know all the words to “O Canada”.
It had been four years since my last trip home with my whole family, so this vacation week was long overdue. Most of the family had planned to stay at a vacation home, in Grand Etang. It was a quaint farmhouse, with everything they needed there for guests to use. The home is located on a working farm, and while we were there the farmers were making hay. My brother in law and one of my nephews helped out with the hay making one afternoon. There were cows and barn cats, that I saw. I didn’t go into the barn. The house was the family home that the farmer had grown up in. There is another home on the property, and it is one of the sons of the family that lives there, and he rents out his family home. Chez Edmond was a wonderful place to spend time with my family. We gathered there for meals and we all even slept under the same roof for a few nights.
My husband and I stayed with one of my best friends. She has a lovely home also. We had our own room, and came and went as we pleased. My friend was a gracious host, and her daughter was in and out. Her other daughter is living elsewhere but visited during our stay. We liked having a “home base” to work from, and my friend is already trying to get me back for another visit. We also shared the house with her pets. She has 2 cats and a dog.
I had been working on a gift for my host for more years than I want to say here. The good news is that I finally got it completed, and surprised her with it at the end of our visit. She was quite surprised that we had a gift for her, and I think she liked it. This is what I made for her:
One of the things we did together was to go to a local restaurant that I had never eaten at before. Over the week, I ate there three times in total, and it was a different meal for each visit. The food was wonderful.
I had breakfast one time, I tried the quiche the second time, and had the roasted red pepper soup, a biscuit and the kicked up avocado BLT sandwich for my final meal at The Dancing Goat. They were all delicious. The quiche literally melted in my mouth. It was all I expected and more! If you ever go to NorthEast Margaree, make time to go to The Dancing Goat. They have a lovely breakfast and lunch menu, and they sell baked goods. If you time your visit right you might find some warm cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven to take home with you. My husband was torn when they did that to him. Of course, he took some home.
Now, I will write a little about my trip. One of the things I look forward to is the drive home. It is a long drive, but it is a familiar one. I watch for landmarks. Once we enter Nova Scotia, I am watching for certain places and signs to tell me I am going home.
From here it is about three hours of highway driving to get to the Canso Causeway. That is how we tell people the distance to travel in Canada. How far is it to go from this sign to Cape Breton? We never say how many kilometres, we measure distance by the hours of travel time in the car to get to the destination. As you drive in Nova Scotia, there are always lots of signs with the kilometres posted for various destinations along the side of the highways, but the locals judge distance by time.
The next sight I was watching for was Cape Breton Island itself. As we pass through Auld’s Cove I can finally see it, and the Canso Causeway is the next thing to watch for.
It is a good feeling to be home. I feel a sense of peace and contentment every time I drive across the Canso Causeway. I literally exhale all of the tension out of my body, and then I start to get excited to be home, because the second we drive to the other side of the Canso Causeway if you are from Cape Breton Island, you are HOME.
Cape Breton Island is known for its beautiful Cabot Trail and Scenic Coastlines. It is also home to some new golf courses in Inverness, and they are getting a lot of notice from golfers from all around the world. I missed the Broad Cove Concert this year. It is always the last Sunday in July, and I was back in Fredericton by then. If you like fiddle music, I recommend checking it out in the summer. If you really want to treat yourself to some wonderful concerts in the fall, get some tickets for the Celtic Colours Fall Festival. It is also a popular time to drive around the Cabot Trail, to see the leaves in the beautiful fall colours. If you can’t be there in person, they actually stream one concert a night online for folks like me that don’t get to go home for the shows. The insider secret if you go to one or more of the concerts to is to make sure you get to the Gaelic College for the after party, they are known to be quite the time.
I managed to get two beach days in while I was home. I went swimming at the Inverness Beach, and also at the Cheticamp Beach. I was surprised to see jellyfish at the beaches in July because when I was growing up the ocean was too cold in July for jellyfish. It was almost too cold for me when I was growing up. It was a little hard to convince myself to go swimming the first time, but it is the same as always, once you get into the water, it’s not so bad. It was refreshing. In Inverness the water was calm, and we did more swimming that day. In Cheticamp, there was a rolling surf and we did less swimming and more jumping with the waves. There is nothing like the ocean to soothe your mind, body and soul. If I could find a way to spend the rest of my days swimming, walking the beaches, jumping the waves, and rock hopping on the Cape Breton Coastline, it would be my pleasure to do so.
The rest of the week filled up quickly, with gatherings, visits, meals and games with friends and family. We had lobster, bought Aucoin’s bread and those of us who liked them ate Acadian Meat Pies. One night my husband made pizza for everyone. He makes really good pizza, and I made the pizza dough before heading to the Cheticamp Beach that day.
My husband and I took a few side trips. We ate at my cousin’s restaurant, The Belle View Restaurant in Belle Cote. We enjoyed our meals, but the Chocolate Torte I had for dessert was divine! I laughed every time I read the sign over the pumps for “Caper Gas” because the other part of the sign says, “Drive’er”. We also snuck back to Flora’s Gift Shop to buy a painting my mother had commented on how much she liked, and my sisters and I were happy to surprise Mom and Dad with that painting for their anniversary present this year. It was delivered a little early, so I am not letting the cat out of the bag. It was a bit tricky to pull off the surprise, and I am happy to say it was worth it. We also stopped in to see another cousin at her gift shop near the end of the week. The Margaree Harbour Gift Shop is always full of unique items to look at, and I found some things that came home with me. It is nice to see people that I know be able to run businesses successfully at home when so many people have to leave to find work. Tourism and fishing are two of the main sources of income at home, and the golf course is starting to help boost the seasonal employment opportunities there as well.
I am going to end this story with some scenic pictures. All of the pictures were either taken by myself, or by members of my family. I want to thank them for sharing their pictures with me for this story. I do really enjoy the beaches of Cape Breton Island, and there are a few other pictures of different things we saw during the week on our drives around Cape Breton. I hope you enjoyed my vacation story, and suspect that if you ever make it to Cape Breton Island, you will fall in love with it like so many other people do. It is the home of my heart, and I will be a little more homesick every day until I drive to the other side of the Canso Causeway again. I do hope it will be less than four years until I return home again.
What a spectacular week we all had. As promised, the link to my introduction is: Sun kissed and Salt Licked . I invite you all to go take a look, there are a few more pics of the ocean waiting to be discovered there. If you care to peek at more of my blog, I graciously invite you to do so, there are more than 100 entries there to read. Thanks for reading, and thanks to my Blog Host, Mohamad Al Karbi.