Cape Breton Island is well-known for its world-renowned scenic drive, The Cabot Trail. This well-marked trail encompasses most of the northern portion of the island but it does not go as far north as one can go. An entire area of the island is not included on the Cabot Trail and, trust me, it is well worth the extra short drive out of the way to see what this area of the island has to offer.
Driving north from Ingonish, one will come to a fork in the road that takes visitors to one of two areas; Cheticamp to the left and Bay St. Lawrence to the right. In order to see the far northern portion of the island, one must turn off the main highway (The Cabot Trail) and pass through Cape North and a number of other small communities before reaching Bay St. Lawrence, the furthest one can go before the paved road ends.
Bay St. Lawrence is a picturesque fishing village surrounded by rolling hills, fields and rocky cliffs. The most popular activity that draws tourists to the area is whale watching. While whales can often be seen from shore, the best way to get up close and personal with a variety of whale species and other marine life is to take a guided whale tour. Oshan Whale Tours and Captain Cox Whale Tours are two of the well-known, local companies that take visitors out into the open ocean to see pilot whales, minke whales, seals, dolphins and a variety of sea birds. On occasion, humpback whales and orcas have been spotted.
A visitor’s center is located near the main wharves in the town and this is a great place to meet some of the local people, learn more about the area, buy a snack or some coffee or tea and avail of the free internet service. On the way out of the town, it is well-worth the extra half hour to turn right on the road that heads towards Meat Cove, another small coastal village surrounded by spectacular beauty. Meat Cove is home to a small restaurant, a campground, a sandy beach and a walking trail.
Andrea MacEachern is a freelance travel writer and amateur photographer living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca