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Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island

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Going to be there later this summer and want dining (and other) advice. What say you all?

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Depending on how much time you have in Nova Scotia, it is worth considering a trip to Digby, located on the Bay of Fundy. This commercial fishing town is home to the famous Digby scallops, and the views from each restaurant are of its fishing fleet a few yards away.

If Halifax is to be your only destination, I would suggest that you make an effort to stop at Fries and Company. Another restaurant worth considering is: 5 Fisherman.

If you are a history buff, you are in for a real treat. This city played a huge role in recovering passengers of the Titanic, and many are buried here. On the waterfront is a museum with artifacts from that fateful day, etc... There is also a great deal of info on the great explosion in Halifax in the early 1900s.

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Depending on how much time you have in Nova Scotia, it is worth considering a trip to Digby, located on the Bay of Fundy. This commercial fishing town is home to the famous Digby scallops, and the views from each restaurant are of its fishing fleet a few yards away.

If Halifax is to be your only destination, I would suggest that you make an effort to stop at Fries and Company. Another restaurant worth considering is: 5 Fisherman.

If you are a history buff, you are in for a real treat. This city played a huge role in recovering passengers of the Titanic, and many are buried here. On the waterfront is a museum with artifacts from that fateful day, etc... There is also a great deal of info on the great explosion in Halifax in the early 1900s.

Thanks for the info. Halifax will be 'home base' but I will most likely be traveling around doing outdoor activities.

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I will try to stay in the loop for this topic because my wife and I are planning our first visit to Nova Scotia in August. Digby has a scallops festival that looks like fun:

http://www.digbyscallopdays.com/

Looking for music?

ETA: I am told that August 15 is the national Acadian holiday, so there should be lots of small festivals and music around that time.

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Any updates? We will be in Halifax, Cape Breton, and PEI. I've heard about the Inn at Bay Fortune on PEI, but have also heard that it is in decline after the departure of the big-name chef. Thanks and will post my report upon our return.

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We're headed to NS in 2 weeks - Halifax, Lunenburg and Cape Breton. Lunenburg looks to have some interesting choices. Halifax seems to have a nice selection of pubs with music. Most reviews I've found are for more upscale places, which is not really what I'm after. It will be much more hit and miss as we get out into the wilds.

Any reports from those of you who have made the trip? We've got Fleur de Sel (Lunenburg) on the list so far as our first night there. Thanks!

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We're headed to NS in 2 weeks - Halifax, Lunenburg and Cape Breton. Lunenburg looks to have some interesting choices. Halifax seems to have a nice selection of pubs with music. Most reviews I've found are for more upscale places, which is not really what I'm after. It will be much more hit and miss as we get out into the wilds.

Any reports from those of you who have made the trip? We've got Fleur de Sel (Lunenburg) on the list so far as our first night there. Thanks!

we used to travel her all the time, but not lately so i don't have any specific recommendations.

however, in general, look for lobster at wayside places and avoid frozen meat patties. there is a lot of junk food in this territory to be avoided, as well.

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ohstate- Your post reminded me to do a brief trip report from our Halifax/PEI/Cape Breton. It's very beautiful up there.

PEI: had lots of great fish and chips, fresh seafood. We did Rick's (Crab shack?) in St. Peter's, lobster supper at St. Margaret's, and a surprisingly good meal at Inn at Bay Fortune (given the chef turnover, we figured that it would be living off of past hype and went in with low expectations; it was quite good). At the PEI-Woods Island ferry (PEI side), stop at Crabby's if you didn't make the ferry. Great fresh clams, lobster rolls, ec. If you go to PEI, try to stay at the Johnson Shore Inn...totally beautiful and remote location literally on a cliff, the most genuinely friendly innkeepers I've ever met.

Cape Breton: Must stop at Red Shoe Pub in Mabou. Seemed like a genuine local hangout (everyone knew each other and the wait staff), live music (which we missed due to not getting on the PEI ferry), and pretty good fish and chips and beer on tap. Neil's Harbor (on the way to Meat Cove, also a can't-miss): we went to the Chowder House (kind of off the beaten path), a real crab shack on the water. As for the Ingonish Beach area, we ate at the "casual" restaurant at the Keltic Lodge...I would skip this; pretty generic food. Had a pretty decent meal at Main Street (our B&B owner described it as one of the only places that actually had a chef), which would be an option if you are in the Ingonish area. We avoided the touristy areas of Baddeck etc., but you might be heading there to take the ferry to St. John's

Hailfax: Had a pretty good lunch at Sweet Basil (I think?), even though it was close to the touristy harbor area (typically not a good sign). Very cute decor, sunny patio. We also ate at Jane's on the Common.... my husband had well-cooked fish, but I had a disasterous pasta dish (totally overcooked pasta with goopy cream sauce). Nonetheless, it was fun and hip, totally non-touristy, so I'd still check it out it you are trying to get off the beaten path.

Didn't make it to St. John's; maybe next time.

As a general rule, stick with fresh, local food that is simply prepared and you will do just fine! I agree with your instinct to avoid the upscale places, as that's not why you go up there in the first place.

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Going to Wolfville, NS for a wedding in July. We can either fly into Halifax Friday morning and fly home Sunday afternoon or fly in Saturday morning and fly home Sunday afternoon, depending on what there is to do in the vincinity. Things to check out and restaurants to eat at are both appreciated.

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I will second the recommendation for Five Fishermen in Halifax! Beausoleil and Raspberry Pt. oysters at their weekday happy hour, 4-7, for $1.50 a piece! Right in the downtown district.

The scenic drive along the northwest coast in Nova Scotia from Amherst to Cap d'Or (north side of the Minas bay) found us at lunch time on Father's Day in Advocate Harbor (Havre d'Avocat). The only place in town we found, the only place around this remote corner of Canada, the Wild Caraway Inn, was fantastic! My wife's lobster roll bested the one we had just days before at Red's in Wiscasset Maine (sweeter lobster, and I should report that it was mixed sort of like a lobster salad). We split a beef vegetable soup that really hit the spot on that rainy rainy day. A great cheeseburger that relieved someone (me) who was getting tired of the deep fried and boiled seafood (pense donc!) we had had along the way in New Brunswick (St. John and Moncton.) Really good, crisp dinner rolls that incorporated fennel seed and dulce, a sort of native seaweed. Beautiful drive and the friendliest people! Run, don't walk, to Maritime provinces! Next year? Upper New Brunswick, like Shediac and Caraquet, and PEI!

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Question on lobster roll, what should be in it?

We were in downtown waterfront Halifax yesterday and we popped into Murphy's. I expected from its location that it's a tourist trap , and it sure was. Rather than serving a lobster roll, they had a lobster wrap. The lobster was mixed with mayo and other spices, and it was quite tasty. The fish and chips; however, were nothing extraordinary, served with premade tartar in plastic containers - bleh! The lobster and corn chowder was steep at $12 per bowl but tasty, with fresh crunchy vegetables such as carrots and onions (the potatoes were not crunchy, thankfully)

Next to Murphy's is a seafood shack which sold lobster rolls and I picked one up for $7 (all currency are in Canadian). This was just lobster meat, lettuce and a bit of mayo on a roll. I suspect this is a more traditional lobster roll but the lack of spices actually made it less tasty, and there was too much bun to lobster ratio.

We were supposed to attend a rehearsal dinner at The Port in Port Williams. We got there an hour late (my Blackberry reverted itself to EST without my knowledge) and the dinner was already in progress. This gave us the opportunity/excuse to go to Tempest, the only fine dining restaurant in Wolfville and vicinity, according to Chow Hound.

Tempest had a linguine (handmade) special with the freshest little neck clams I ever had for $15 (cheap! especially after converting back to US$). I also had a rabbit ragout tagliatelle, which was good but not unduly impressive. My wife's lobster risotto was really good (big chunks of tender lobster - unlike the confitted lobster at Teatro Goldoni). If you were in the area, I would highly recommend Tempest.

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We went to Hall's Harbour, a one restaurant town on the Bay of Fundy. The place is known for its tide, which normally rises somewhere around 40 feet. We were there for about 3 hours, during which time the harbour went from dry to being able to float these pretty big fishing boats. The one restaurant serves fresh lobsters (boiled). We only tried their lobster roll (pretty good, nicely spiced mayo with lots of lobster meat) and fisherman's platter consisting of freshly breaded and fried clam strips, scallops, haddock and shrimp (not worth getting even though the seafood was fresh - too much breading, and the cocktail sauce was really sweet). We did see a couple of bikers order a 6.25 lb and a 5.25 lb lobster. The chef said the 6 pounder takes 45 minutes to cook. The restaurant can only serve beer/wine with food so the 3 hours was kinda of a drag - like watching a tub fill up.

So the fishing boats go out for 12 hrs at a time? Cause they can't get back home until the next high tide.

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After a bunch of casting about for what to do for a vacation this year, Mr P and I seem to have decided on the greater Cape Breton area, possibly timed to overlap part of the Hiking the Highlands festival.  If he can take enough time off work, we'll be driving there rather than flying.  Any recommendations (where to stay, what to do, where and what to eat) greatly appreciated.

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After a bunch of casting about for what to do for a vacation this year, Mr P and I seem to have decided on the greater Cape Breton area, possibly timed to overlap part of the Hiking the Highlands festival.  If he can take enough time off work, we'll be driving there rather than flying.  Any recommendations (where to stay, what to do, where and what to eat) greatly appreciated.

This recommendation is over twenty-years old, so take it in that context.

Enjoy the company of your travel companion, or don't make this trip.

Go to Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick (it's more "fascinating" than it is "important").

Go to Moncton and see the tidal bore (it's more "important" than it is "fascinating.")

Take the ferry across the Bay of Fundy one way; drive back the other.

Marvel at how Wizard-Of-Oz emerald-green PEI is. This may be the most memorable part of your trip.

Take pictures of the lupines until your camera breaks. You'll remember the meadows for the rest of your life.

Spend a couple nights in Halifax (this is the one town you want to spend multiple nights in).

I recently recommended a "church lobster supper" in the Maine thread, but now that I think about it, I think it was in PEI - back when I went, there wasn't much to do there at nighttime - at a PEI church lobster supper, you'll get a baked lobster and an ear of corn on a paper plate, and that will be your evening out.

Save your dining dollars for Halifax, and go to whatever independent restaurants sound good - it's a pretty interesting little city, from what I remember.

There's no one "thing" that stands out in my mind - no Grand Canyon, no Venice - but it's the sum of the parts that exceeds the whole.

Visit the Anne of Green Gables house in PEI. *Everybody* there buys the book at the gift shop - if you haven't read it, or haven't read it since childhood ... well, why not? It's the perfect travel book for when you're on PEI.

I found New Brunswick to be flat and boring (more so after driving north through Maine) - you'll be glad if you get to Nova Scotia and PEI sooner rather than later (I'm curious to hear other people's opinions on this). You can always spend time there on the way back, should you decide to do so.

Try to stay in B&Bs - this is one area where they still have some meaning. It's worth doing some homework here, as there are some truly charming B&Bs in this part of the world. You won't be out late, so spring for some memorable places to stay since you'll probably actually be on-premise more than you'd think.

Bring a mixed case of wine from home, with glasses and corkscrew. You'll be drinking it in your rooms at night.

Consider flying to Boston, renting a car, and beginning the driving part of the trip there. I cannot recommend this strongly enough. You'll save nearly 20 hours of monotonous driving if you do. Study up on any consequences of taking a rental car over the border. Oh, and bring your passports.

Make the obligatory 24-hour L.L. Bean stop - everybody does, and not doing it is like not stopping at South Of The Border. This used to be the only store in the world; having one in Tysons Corner lessens the wonder of it all. :lol: Buy a pair of socks or something just so you can remember, 'I got this, there.'

Don't get arrested driving on the rolling hills of PEI. Trust me - this may well be an issue with you two. The temptation will exist, and damn is it fun driving there.

It's a wonderful trip that makes the little radar thing so much more meaningful when you're flying back from Europe. Once that *annoying* animated airplane on the video screen hits Greenland, you think you're home! When, in fact, you still have a painfully long way to go. Raise your hand if you know what I'm talking about!

These recommendations are old, but now that I look over them, I really think they're pretty good. I researched my trip thoroughly - whatever has changed since then, I don't know about, but change comes slowly here.

I have about $100 in Canadian currency if you need some (I always like to have $20 or so of foreign currency on hand when I enter a country). I owe Dave a visit, and can drop it off when I see him.

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That is a long list of suggestions.  Thanks!  In the six days between my inquiry and your reply, I made all the arrangements, though I can tweak them a little.  Halifax and PEI are not part of the plan, nor is Moncton, though we'll be exploring another facet of the Bay of Fundy.  The ferry may or may not happen, depending on schedules. We'll be staying in several B&Bs.  We're no strangers to long, boring drives, that's not a problem and for various logistical reasons we prefer road tripping this one, no flying and car renting.  We'll actually be flying to Montreal and back a few days before leaving for Cape Breton.  We've done the LL Bean thing, though that was 28 years ago.  Thanks for the offer of $CA, but I have a stash of loonies and twonies.  :)

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Shame on me for never reporting on the trip.

Cape Breton Island is beautiful, but not a foodie destination.  We had some horrible food.  We also had some excellent food.  In general, go for fresh and local (always good advice, anyway, but critical here).  I go hot and cold on mussels but the ones I had on CBI were so good, I kept ordering them everywhere I went.  Also had what might be the best fish and chips ever, or maybe I was desperate.

We found one restaurant that was so good, so unexpected, we went twice: Chanterelle Inn.  It's literally the dining room of a bed and breakfast inn, with the chef-owner cooking everything on the "100KM" menu (in other words, she sources as much as possible within 100 kilometers).  Both times we were there our waiter was the charmingly curmudgeonly elderly gentleman who also seemed to be the inn manager or something; one night he was training a waitress, who was actually their 14 year old neighbor in need of a few extra bucks.  She wasn't there the second night we went - she had soccer practice.  It's that kind of place.  Really like dining in your incredibly talented friend's house rather than a resto.

Late in the trip we discovered a new place in Baddeck (The Bitehouse) opened by a well-regarded chef from Montreal; with only ten seats, they were booked through October (we were there in mid-September).  So if you're planning a trip to CBI, the very first thing you should do is make your reservation at The Bitehouse.

Other random recollections:

Ingonish is not so much a town or village as a spread-out-along-the-coast assortment of buildings.  We stayed at the acceptable but forgettable Castle Rock Inn, which offered a perfectly serviceable breakfast but truly horrible dinner.  The Seagull Restaurant was the place with the great fish and chips.  Bean Barn cafe offered some tasty lunches and breakfasts (when we couldn't take Castle Rock's anymore).  It also might have had the best coffee on all of CBI, but that is faint praise indeed.  When in Rome... if you're addicted to fine coffee, just forget about it and enjoy the ubiquitous hearty black tea while you're there.  With some oatcakes.  You'll be much happier, really.

Over in Chéticamp, the highly rated Frog Pond Cafe was already closed for the season (this was mid-September), so we had some truly awesome mussels at All Aboard, instead.  And got to listen to some live Cape Breton fiddling.  We would have hung out there all evening for the music but there was a line out the door so we didn't dawdle.

When you start tiring of fried fish and shellfish, head to the funky Dancing Goat Cafe in the Margaree Valley.  Reminded me of a 70s-era "health food' joint, but updated and much better.  I don't remember what I had, but it involved actual fresh vegetables, which had me ecstatic.

Like I said, Cape Breton Island isn't a foodie destination.

In Baddeck, Bras d'Or Lakes Inn isn't a bad choice for supper, but if you're on that part of the island it's worth the half hour drive to Chanterelle Inn.

On the return trip we spent a night near Moncton in order to see the Bay of Fundy tides at Hopewell Cape.  Stopped for a buffet lunch at an Indian Place, Taj Mahal, I think.  It was nice.  At this point I was almost dying for something not fried, not seafood, so it totally hit the spot.  We went to the latter-day hippie Calactus Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant, for dinner, which was delightful (in an "anything different is good" sort of way).

The rest is sort of a blur.  There was a nice homey bakery-cafe place in Truro, I think.  Or maybe New Glasgow.

The hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is great.  There are short trails, interpretive trails, long trails.  Not for backpackers, though - I think only one trail allowed overnight camping.

The Cabot Trail is a beautiful drive.  The craft shops along it offer, um, very homey sorts of crafts.  We found one gallery that offered actual art.  Everything else was of the hooked-rugs or basic pottery sort.  If that's your cup of tea, you'll love it.

Support the local economy and drop a twoonie piece at the Margaree Salmon Museum.  I never knew fishing flies could be so beautiful.

Mid-September is not the best time to go.  Lots of activities have closed for the season, and there aren't many people about.  Even the puffins have left.  But if you're looking to just kick back and relax and eat mussels and listen to fiddling, it's a nice choice.

And, beware of moose.  They're very big and somewhat bad-tempered.  And they don't seem to understand about roads.

below left: the Atlantic coast near Ingonish, looking south toward Cape Smokey

below right: the Cabot Trail from near the Skyline Trail, looking east and south towards Chéticamp.

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How crazy is it be to cover Halifax - Moncton - PEI (2 days) - Cape Breten (3 days) - Halifax in 7 days + 2 half days?  Also, how crazy is it to visit Cape Breten during the last week of May?

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A little crazy, but Nova Scotia is so beautiful, don't let that stop you. I grew up in Sneads Ferry, NC & my grandparents had a farm on Cape Breton Island. The 2 places are very much alike- coastal, rural, isolated & beautiful, w/ great beaches, but nothing much happening- so many young people leave to seek employment, & just folks who can afford to retire there are left.

When I win the lottery, I'm going back to the farm on Boularderie Island.

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I assume crazy regarding both the weather and the itinerary?    ^_^  I think we'll just make it since we seem capable of squeezing a lot into our vacations and are tolerant of cooler weather.  The biggest worry is probably mosquitoes, hopefully late May is too early for mosquito emergence.

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How crazy is it be to cover Halifax - Moncton - PEI (2 days) - Cape Breten (3 days) - Halifax in 7 days + 2 half days?  Also, how crazy is it to visit Cape Breten during the last week of May?

Not sure about the month, but I pretty much did this same vacation - it was a lot of (pleasant) driving, but I didn't feel rushed. New Brunswick is the province that can get a little dull to drive through; on Prince Edward Island, you're going to feel like you're in Ireland. Make sure to buy "Anne of Green Gables." :)

I remember this was trip was the first time I ever saw lupines, and it left an indelible impression upon me.

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We managed to make the entire itinerary of Halifax-Lunenberg-Moncton-Fundy NP-Cavendish-Charlottetown-Cape Breton-Halifax in 7 days plus 2 half days.  Our rental car logged 40+ hours of driving.

restaurants that I would recommend unreservedly
Little Louis (Moncton) - this fancy French restaurant located in an industrial part of non-descript Moncton was a real find.  We were a little skeptical but the pictures of the dishes looked impressive and nothing else in Moncton looked promising.  The food was outstanding - creative, fancy, tasty...a real event.  If you're anywhere near Moncton, this is well worth a detour.  The service and dining room were also quite nice.
 
Ratinaud (Halifax) - the French owner of this sausage and cheese shop loves duck and goose, and does wonderful things with pork and rabbit and beef, and sources a wonderful assortment of cheeses, and bakes beautiful bread daily.  I ate a year's worth of foie gras during our multiple trips to the store.  This is the perfect place to buy supplies for a picnic or get some late afternoon salty snacks.
 
EDNA (Halifax) - impeccably fresh food that's properly prepared, in a stylish modern restaurant.  I do feel like it's not as special as others on this list because I've eaten at very similar restaurants in other cities.  But then again, I really enjoyed every one of those meals - it's probably impossible to get a bad meal here.
 
Bitehouse (Baddeck) - if you can snag a reservation here, go.  The overall experience is very special and it's a steal at the current price.
 
Dave's Lobster (Charlottetown, there is now also a Halifax branch) - amongst the best lobster rolls I've ever eaten.  Definitely recommended.
 
Fredie's Fantastic Fish (Halifax) - Their seafood is extremely fresh, the batter is properly seasoned and light, and the fries are excellent.  Their prices are also quite good for the portions.  The lobster roll was the only thing I didn't 100% love, because the bun wasn't buttered and toasted, but the lobster used was fresh and generously portioned out.
 
Fleur de Sel (Lunenberg) - good fresh seafood with some creative flair, in a classy dining room.  
 
Good places but some reservations
Water Prince Corner Shop (Charlottetown) - we had a very sweet and properly cooked lobster here, and the scallops and mussels were good too.  It's a bit pricy for what we're getting, but no complaints about the quality.
 
Glendora Distillary (Mabou)- the kitchen here put out an excellent burger and lobster club, but overall it's not sufficiently interesting/special to go into the unreserved category.  We went on a distillery tour and sampled their 10 year single malt, it's fine but didn't seem too interesting.  
 
Chanterelle Inn (Near Baddeck) - the food was good home cooking made with care, and I suspect that it gets much better during the high season when they hire a chef to help.  In previous seasons, Chanterelle had employed the Bitehouse owner to cook for them, so I suspect they have high standards when their dining room is fully open.
 
Seafood Stop (Cheticamp) - the seafood wasn't quite as expertly cooked as Water Prince, resulting in a few things being a tad overcooked.  But the prices are very very reasonable and the food was fresh and bountiful.
 
The rest
Old Dublin Pub (Charlottetown) - the oyster we got here was okay, but not nearly as good as the ones I had at EDNA or Little Louis.
 
The Bicycle Thief (Halifax) - It's probably the most disappointing and we're still kicking ourselves for not going to EDNA again instead.  Think upscale TGI Fridays (in theory, we haven't been to a chain upscale casual dining place in many years).  Everything was okay, nothing other than the house made ginger beer was good. But this style of restaurant definitely has its fans because the restaurant was fully booked up until 10 PM on Saturday (we ate at the bar).
 
Chip Shack (Charlottetown) - it's cheap and the fries are not terrible, the the owner is a very nice lady.  But the lobster roll filling was the closest thing to bad that I ate on the trip.  It was amongst the worst lobster rolls I've ever eaten whereas Dave's lobster rolls are amongst the very best.
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Thanks for this boatload of information! We're hoping to get up that way in the next year or so, so this is very helpful!

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A word on the timing and temperatures for traveling in late May.

We're relatively cold tolerant and dislike crowds, so our travel time worked out well for us.  It's still vvvvery quiet in late May, especially in Cape Breton.  We got a mix of blustery overcast days 5-10 C and pleasant sunny days 16-25 C.  There was also a day that was 29 C, when it was hot inland but cool and very pleasant along the coast.

Late May is still very early - they had a big snow storm in early May and the trees were just starting to leaf out when we were there May 23-31.  In Cape Breton, the last frost date is the first week of June, people don't bother planting anything tender until mid June.

Late May to end of June is shoulder season, most attractions will be open but possibly only partially staffed or running on partial schedule.

A lot of things are not open at all before May 15.

We didn't have any problems with bugs, but were made to understand that it's been a late season and that bugs can be a problem during this time.

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Reading through this thread, I see that no one's written about Newfoundland.

With apologies to Douglas Adams, Newfoundland is big. Really big... I went there solo for a few days last August and only saw a tiny portion of the place. Flew into St. John's, picked up a rental car, then spent nearly fours hours driving (at highway speeds) to the far end of the Bonavista Peninsula. If you look at these two places on a map, you'll get a sense of how big Newfoundland is.

Honestly there isn't much to do in the area other than take in the beautiful scenery. It's a great destination for an introvert, especially if you enjoy hiking and wildlife and landscape photography. It's not a great place for food, but I did manage to find a few gems.

I stayed in a small town called Elliston, at Meem's, one of a shockingly large number of bed and breakfasts. The owners were friendly but not intrusive, and the room perfect for a solo traveler: small but clean and comfy, with wifi and a good solid breakfast. Around the corner there is a tiny but beautiful and interesting museum, the John C. Crosbie Sealers Interpretation Centre. Newfoundland history is about sealing, and the people here have deep roots and don't forget their stories; on a rainy day I spent half an hour listening to a middle-age woman and teenage boy talk about the tragedies that befell their community, the loss of ships and swilers (local lingo for sealers) in terrible storms, the collapse of the economy as industries failed, and so on. I discovered that many Newfoundlanders have a subtle but distinct accent, sort of a Canadian Scots-Irish patois that was pleasant to listen to.

Down near the harbor there is also a sobering memorial to lost sealers. Also two large gift shops and a post office. When I went to the latter to inquire about shipping some things home, the chatty (bored?) clerk warned me not to even try with any seal products: importation to the US is banned and anything sent through post will be confiscated. As I was wanting to send books, this wasn't a problem, but good to know, as there are a lot of seal-fur items for sale in the area.

The coastal scenery is spectacular and there are plenty of trails for easy to moderate hiking, including the somewhat famous Skerwink near Port Rexton and the Klondike that runs from Elliston to Spillar's Cove. There's also one along the coast to the Bonavista lighthouse.

As for food... well... I can't say there's anything outstanding in there area. Nanny's Root Cellar Kitchen was serviceable, at best. I ate there the first night because I was exhausted and it was in walking distance. But it does remind me that over towards Maberly there are some interesting interpretive displays around some old root cellars that anyone interested in traditional foodways might enjoy.

Food trivia: Elliston is the Root Cellar Capital of the World. Which gives you a clue about what kinds of food the people eat (traditionally). Root veg and cod. It's a hard place to make a life, and not suited to agriculture. Also, Newfoundland is the home of the scrunchion. So there you go.

Anyway, more about restaurants. Over in Bonavista, Neil's Yard was disappointing, too, but Mifflin's Tea Room served good breakfasts and lunches, and Boreal Diner was a real treat. I ate there the next three nights, convinced that it served the best food on the whole peninsula. Eclectic menu, but everything I tried was tasty and well-prepared. Also, the coffee was great. Not "major metropolitan area third wave" great, but close. Various sources suggested that the best food is at Bonavista Social Club, a half-hour drive away in Amherst Cove. My innkeeper suggested going there for lunch, as it's tiny and impossible to get into at dinner. I'm glad I took her advice, as it was almost impossible to get into at lunch on a Wednesday. The pizza was decent, not anything extraordinary for those of us who dine at Inferno/2Amys/Pupatella, etc., but I had a wonderful dessert that featured lingonberries. Which in Newfoundland are called partridgeberries, and show up just about everywhere.

One afternoon, just for fun, I paid for a tour through Tuckamore Discoveries, a one-man outfit whose owner knows everything about the ecology (geology, botany, zoology) of the area. I had him all to myself, which was awesome even though we didn't see many puffins, because we talked native plants and wildflowers the whole time; I think he was happy to have a semi-knowledgable client who was more interested in plants than birds.

There is so much else to see on the island. I barely scratched the surface. It needs a full two weeks to see everything.

One piece of advice: if you're flying in and renting a car, arrange your rental well in advance. I made arrangements on short notice, and my plans ended up being entirely based on the availability of a car. There aren't many around, and it's an island a long way away from any other car rental places, so they are in short supply and demand is high. Seriously, car rental rather than flight schedules or room availability will be your limiting reagent. Plan accordingly.

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