Iona and Grand Narrows

When people think of Cape Breton Island, they think of The Cabot Trail, sandy beaches and rocky shoreline but there is an area of the island that is often overlooked by visitors; that is central part around the Bras d’Or Lakes, in particular Iona and Grand Narrows.

The scenery in this part of the island is characterized by rolling green hills, forest and lakes.  The Bras d’Or Lake is the biggest lake on the entire island and is nicknamed the Inland Sea.  Sailing, swimming and relaxing on the shores of the lake are popular summer activities.  In winter, many people love to skate on frozen parts of the lake.

At Grand Narrows, there is a scenic marina and little rocky beach with picnic tables that makes for a perfect afternoon in the peaceful and quiet surroundings of the area.  On weekends, there is a farmer’s market featuring fresh vegetables, homemade baked goods and crafts for sale.

Just a short drive away, across the big bridge, is the village of Iona which is most famous for its living history museum, The Highland Village.  This museum is home to a small village that mimics the way of life as it was when people started coming to the area from Scotland and is complete with reenactments by actors dressed in period costumes.  Throughout the year, there are a number of events and festivals that take place at the village including concerts featuring Gaelic singers, fiddlers, pipers and highland dancers and other local musical acts of all genres.  During the Celtic Colors Festival, there is a nighttime tour by candlelight featuring Gaelic storytelling.

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Andrea MacEachern is a freelance travel writer and amateur photographer living in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. anotherdayforgrace.blogspot.ca

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