This past July I took my first vacation in three years. THREE years. What I was thinking, I do not know. But now I’ve got a travel bug and I am currently planning the most exciting trip yet. But more on that later. Right now we’re talking about my ten day trip to Canada’s East Coast! Two of my girlfriends and I booked our flights and spent 10 days road tripping around Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We started our trip in Halifax and drove to Cape Breton and North Sydney where we caught a ferry to Newfoundland and drove from Port Aux Basque all the way to St. John’s. It was an amazing ten days and here is a quick break down of our trip.
We started our trip in Halifax where we basically ate and drank our way around the city. We rented a car with Enterprise but we decided to rent one away from the airport so we could save some money. Travel tip #1: Look at prices for all rental locations, we saved $400 by getting on the FREE shuttle to downtown Halifax and picking our car up from there. From there we headed to our hotel. We were kind of in a rush to book accommodations so we didn’t really look for any cute Airbnb which I regret but the hotel was nice. We stayed at the Atlantica Hotel. Day one was a long day of traveling so we started off our trip with a tour of the Alexander Keith’s Brewery and it was so great. After dinner we took a walk on the board walk and had dinner at the Bicycle Thief.
Day two was all about the food. We took a walk around Halifax and then jumped on a Halifax Food Tour. You can read more about how you should eat your way through Halifax here. I love city tours and this one was definitely my favorite so far. From Halifax, we drove about an hour to Peggy’s Cove and stayed at the cutest bed and breakfast. We had our own cabin with a beautiful view of the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse. We were smart enough to make the trip in time to watch the sunset over the ocean and it was so beautiful. Although there were a million people, watching the sunset was still somewhat peaceful.
After Peggy’s Cove we hopped in the car for the long journey to Cape Breton where we drove the Cabot Trail. Which almost made me car sick on a few occasions but the views are worth the uneasy stomach. There are so many places to stop along the way, it was so distracting. I don’t recommend driving if you’re easily distracted by beautiful views. We chose to drive the full trail and stay in Pleasant Bay at the very end. This was an interesting decision. We definitely let our imaginations get the best of us but let’s just say we moved our mattresses into one room and slept with pots (not sure how these would have saved us) and kitchen knives… But the sunset from the backyard of our Bed and Breakfast was well worth the 12 hours of terror. Travel Tip #2: Read the reviews before booking your accommodations…
We were set to spend two nights in Pleasent Bay but after our first night, we made the probably very smart decision to drive to North Sydney and spend the night there. Before we drove to North Sydney, we stopped at the Skyline Trail where you can see the most stunning views of the Cabot Trail and the ocean. From there we headed to Meat Cove (thank you, Harrison, for this recommendation!) and climbed up to the top of this cliff for more stunning views. I cannot say enough how beautiful this trip was. Every single place we went was breathtaking and I was constantly surprised by the beauty. From Meat Cove we drove to Sydney to spend the night.
We had a full day in Sydney before we had to get on the Ferry so we decided to check out the Fortress of Louisbourg and the Louisbourg lighthouse. Both were really interesting. Before we got on the ferry we stopped in to try a local craft brewery, Breton Brewing and I very much enjoyed my flight of beers. Then we waited to board the ferry. This is what I had been most nervous for the entire trip. We booked last minute so we weren’t able to get a cabin, we had to sit in theatre style seats for the 8 hour boat trip. This was unpleasant to say the least so I spent the full 8 hours mostly miserable but in the end, we made it to Newfoundland and the adventures of the day made up for it.
We got off the Ferry in Porte Aux Basque and made the trip to Cornerbrook where we stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast because Egg McMuffins are life. From there we drove to Lark Harbour (again, THANK YOU Harrison!) and hiked at Blow Me Down Provincial Park. The name made me giggle quite a bit. We had a view of the Bay of Islands and it was again, beautiful. We headed back to Cornerbrook and stopped for dinner at Newfound Sushi for the most delicious sushi I have ever eaten. Seriously, so amazing. If you’re in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland you NEED to eat there. Day six involved a lot of driving. After dinner, we drove to Gros Morne National Park where we were staying for two nights in the cutest green chalet. We got in later so we grabbed dinner and headed back to our chalet. The next day we were planning a pretty intense hike so we needed our sleep.
The day I almost moved to the top of Gros Morn Mountain. Seriously, once I got to the top I was not coming down. This was the most gruelling thing I have ever done and I would say I hated about 80% of it. It was 30 degrees and sunny, I had to carry an annoyingly large water bottle up a kind of insane mountain, and I was wearing the worst shoes. Travel Tip #3: Spend some time researching the hikes you’re going to do so you can be prepared. In the end, I am really stoked that we did it. It was worth the painful hike up because it was beautiful at the top. You have a full 360 degree view of Gross Morn National Park and I highly recommend it. But be more prepared and perhaps go on a day with some clouds. The sun almost killed me. After the hike, we had dinner at the Ocean View Hotel in Rocky Harbour and went right to bed.
This was the only day it rained the entire time we were in Gros Morne so we headed to Western Brook Pond for a boat tour. The rain kind of put a damper on the day but it eventually stopped and we got to see all of the amazing mountains in Western Brook Pond. I cannot believe places like this exist, it was so amazing. Everywhere you looked you were surrounded by the most beautiful mountains and waterfalls and trees. At the end of the pond, there is a hiking trail and we dropped off a group of four hikers which I thought was insane but if you’re interested in, you can find out more about that hike here. This day was another long day of driving through crazy weather but we eventually made it to St. Johns for our last few days. We had dinner and drinks at another craft brewery, Yellowbelly Brewery and walked around St. Johns before calling it a night.
Tiff and Amanda went Whale Watching but I figured I couldn’t stomach another day on a boat so I spent the day exploring St. John’s. When they got back we went for lunch and explored some more. Get screeched in. I kind of did and it was the most entertaining thing ever. I couldn’t stomach the Screech so I cheated but… get screeched in. At Christian’s.
Our last day in St. John’s and a very sad day it was. We went to Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food to grab some food and a coffee before driving up to Signal Hill. We also toured the streets of St. John’s to see all the Jelly Bean Row Houses and the colours are so great. We ended our trip at Cape Spear where I was unfortunately
We were able to fit in a lot but ten days was definitelty not enough. I still have a list of tihngs I would have liked to have done, places I would have liked to eat and coffee I wanted to try so I’ll be planning a trip back real soon.