Today, we finally get to the Jewel of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island.
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor and scholar, once said: "I have traveled around the globe. I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton out rivals them all." Here's the map for today's ride.
In 16 miles, you'll cross a bridge over the St. Mary river in Sherbrooke. Your journey requires a left turn to continue on Route 7. But, consider taking some time to visit Sherbrooke Village. The entire village is restored to represent what life was like as they lived in the 1800's.
Head north on 7 along the St. Mary river, famous for its salmon fishing. In 10 miles and at the intersection of 7 and 348, take a sharp right on Melrose Country Harbor Rd. Continue onto Guysborough Country
Harbor Rd. and South River Lake Rd. to Route 16. Take a left. Follow Route 16 north for 5 miles to Route 344 and take a right. You'll be hugging the coast for about 31 miles until you get to Route 104. Take another right and cross over the Canso Causeway. You're now on Cape Breton Island.
At the traffic circle, take the second exit and follow Route 19 to Main St. in Port Hood. The last time we were here, there were about a dozen Mercedes Benz lined up at the pier. The Japanese fish buyers were waiting for the tuna boats to come in. This section of road is also called the Ceilidh Trail. Continue on route 19 to Mabou and take a right on to Route 252. In 17 miles, turn left on to Route 105, the Trans Canada Highway. You're now at the western end of the Bras D'Or Lake.
Ride along the lake for another 24 miles to reach Baddeck.
Baddeck is our favorite stopping point on Cape Breton. On two week trips, we usually stay here for several days. Its central location makes it a great base camp. You'll be staying here for two nights on this trip.
If you're looking for more modest accommodations, continue east on Marine Drive for about 10 miles and you will come to the Sherbrooke Village Inn on the left side of the road. They have a full dining room and have wireless internet available for their guests.
On previous trips, we have stayed at both locations, and found them to be very satisfactory. We love the private cabins at the Liscombe Lodge. Each has private, level parking for the bikes, private bath, porch and an indoor fireplace. And, you get to hear the soothing sounds of the river at night.
Baddeck is smack in the middle of Cape Breton Island. And Cape Breton means the Cabot Trail. Here's the route. Plan on getting an early start today. 221 miles isn't far, but you will be stopping a lot to take pictures. Today's ride is a loop, so it's your choice of riding clockwise or counter-clockwise. We prefer counter-clockwise, as it keeps you in the outside lane for the best view. And be sure to keep your gas tank full. Gas stations can be few and far between at times...
To see a description of this trip, click here and look for for the trip titled "New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Cabot Trail".