Nova Scotia: A House on the Cape
It's never too early to plan your summer vacation—especially if you want to rent a cottage on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton. The hard part is waiting until July.
- High Wheeler Cafe 486 Chebucto St., Baddeck, 902/295-3006, pie $4
- Lobster Galley Hwy. 105 at Exit 11, St. Ann's, 902/295-3100, chowder $9
- Beinn Mara Beachside Takeout Ingonish Beach, fries $2.75
- Atlantic Restaurant Keltic Lodge, Ingonish Beach, 902/285-2880, kelticlodge.ca, crab cakes $11
- Coal Miners Cafe 15832 Central Ave., Inverness, 902/258-3413, omelet $8
- The Red Shoe Pub 11573 Rte. 19, Mabou, 902/945-2996, redshoepub.com, sticky toffee pudding $6
- Lynwood Inn 441 Shore Rd., Baddeck, 902/295-1995, lynwoodinn.com, fish cakes and beans $8
- Sew Inclined 41819 Cabot Trail, Wreck Cove, 902/929-2259, sewinclined.ca
- Walking the Wildside Nature Tours 902/295-1749, naturewalks.ca, full-day tour for two $225, with lunch
- Cape Breton Highlands National Park 902/224-2306, pc.gc.ca, $8
- Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site 559 Chebucto St., Baddeck, 902/295-2069, pc.gc.ca, $7
- Celtic Colours International Festival 877/285-2321, celtic-colours.com, from $15
- Broad Cove Scottish Concert broadcoveconcert.ca, $10
- Highland Village Museum 4119 Hwy. 223, Iona, 902/725-2272, museum.gov.ns.ca/hv, $9
- Donelda's Puffin Boat Tours Englishtown, 877/278-3346, puffinboattours.com, $35
- Baddeck Gathering St. Michael's Parish Hall, Main St., Baddeck, 902/295-2794, baddeckgathering.com, $10
- Trad Dance traddance.com, hour-long lesson from $20
Renting in Cape Breton
Locals say it takes an hour to get anywhere, but an hour and a half is more likely. If you plan on spending much time in the national park, Chéticamp and Ingonish are optimal places to rent. For a beach holiday, consider west-coast towns like Mabou, Port Hood, and Inverness. If you want to stay on the lake, look in the towns around Bras d'Or Lakes Scenic Drive, as well as in Baddeck and St. Ann's.
It's worth checking broad websites (cyberrentals.com, vrbo.com) and more specific ones (cottage-canada-usa.com, capebretonisland.com, baddeck.com). Try to book nine months to a year in advance, especially for June to October. Ask a lot of questions, such as "Is the house near swimmable water?" and "How far off the road is it?"
The weak U.S. dollar means that Canada isn't the value it once was. Moreover, Nova Scotia's 14 percent sales tax is no longer refundable to foreigners. Some owners are adjusting their prices (since our trip, Heritage House has dropped from $1,000 to $885 a week), so go ahead and bargain.