a VirtualTourist member from Woodland
If you only have one week, where should I spend my time? I enjoy hiking, the coast and historical buildings. I do love lighthouses but definitely want to avoid really touristy areas. Don't want to follow a tour bus around while on vacation and don't want to have the views blocked by condos and big hotels. I prefer outdoor activities to the the city nightlife. Any suggestions on what to do and where to stay? Thanks
from what you describe, i'd go to cape breton. plenty of great hiking places there and for some history, you can spend a day at louisbourg. spend your last night or two in halifax.
For that combination -- hiking, coastal views and historic buildings, I would go to Cape Breton. There are about 25 hikes in Cape Breton -- we only hiked six of them in two days and we should have stayed longer. The area north of Cape Breton Highlands NP is also worth visiting. The historic buildings at the fortress at Louisbourg is worth at least a full day as well (we spent two there). You will not see a condo or big hotel on the island. For that matter, if you are travelling in the summer months, you will have to reserve quite early to find enough rooms. We stayed at B&B's and were not disappointed. There are a few lighthouses on Cape Breton anyway, and besides (here's hoping a Maritimer does not read this), if you've seen one lighthouse, you can say you've seen them all.
I forgot to add that our VT Nova Scotia page -- even though it is not 100% complete, does cover Cape Breton pretty well. There are a few good Nova Scotia pages on VT.
There are alot of tour buses on the Cabot Trail in summer but this area is so vast and unpopulated that one can find adventure and seclusion very easily. Where to stay will depend on what you enjoy....from a four star resort to nothing more than clean sheets and a bite to eat....the range is open there...lots of bed and breakfast type places along the trail and you generally don't have to book ahead...
On the other hand, the lighthouse trail takes you through the French community of Pubnico, so you want to see the Village Acadian, Shelburne and the Royalist heritage. Then on to Liverpool, and there are some great museums and beaches to wander. Next along is Lunenburt and Mahone Bay with lots of history, and don't miss the lobster suppers or the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. A stop in Halifax, and a cruise around the harbour if you can afford it (sailboats, no less, with wine and cheese). Don't miss the Citadel. or the museums.
I'd say it all depends how you are planning to enter the province. One week is a short visit, for all there is to offer here, so if you are flying in, spending the time in Cape Breton doesn't chew up too much time driving. If you enter through Calais/St Steven, or Bar Harbour/Portland to Yarmouth, you may want to stick to the Lighthouse and Evangeline trails....they make a great one week trip with lots to see.