Thursday, March 3, 2016

A drone view of Belle Cote and Margaree Harbour

Click this

A drone view of the "harbour"

for the drone view

With all this talk of Cape Breton as the place to come if a certain person every  becomes President of the USA, we thought  it might be a good idea to do some promotion  of our  little piece of paradise  on Cape Breton , that we call The Margaree Trail .

Unfortunately , many visitors  are far too rushed when they travel the  Cabot Trail and Cape Breton as a whole  area and  many miss our "Margaree" and our  many side road treats.

In this video you  will be looking toward two beach areas , namely Margaree Harbour and Belle Cote.

Now,  many people don't realize that we have such great beaches with nice warm water , so they don't plan to go the beach at all . We have mixed feelings over that , as our beach areas are all quiet and not prone to crowds. We share because we know that  a day at the beach while on vacation  can be a lifetime memory for every kid , and even some adults.

Also many travellers  do not want to risk taking a "side road" , so again they miss many cute locations .
Here are two villages where the side roads both reveal treats.

At the end of "Main Street", in  Margaree Harbour, you'll find a beach  but also  the only   TWIN range lighthouses that still remain in Nova Scotia. This means there are two traditional style lighthouses that  are lined up to guide boats through  a very narrow and sometimes every  rough harbour entrance. ( a local group hope to "save " these from destruction as the government says they are "surplus" . So , those of you that like lighthouses and have cameras , best take a side trip.

At the end of the Belle Cote Beach road , the treat is another beach , alongside the breakwater is a handicapped access too, and   also a working  fishing wharf (especially during the May and June lobster season)  , and also a nesting are for the black-winged sea gulls, grey gulls and some kind of tern .

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ceilidh Trail Meets the Cabot Trail

This "Margaree Trail "   is   known by  a few names . 
The general area is called "Margaree " or "The Margarees".    
It is also called  "The Margaree River Valley " 
It is that part of the Cabot Trail that begins at a location inland called Lake O'Law , if  you are traveling  West and North from  the Route 105.
It is often reached when a traveller follows a coastal route  known as the "Ceilidh Trail", which is Route 19  to Margaree Forks or by taking a second optional coastal route on Route 219  . 

The above three photos are at the intersection  of that route 219 /Ceilidh Trail and the Cabot Trail  which is  at Margaree Harbour .   

Many people  select  Margaree as a destination  on their  trip to Cape Breton . There is so much to see and do especially if traveling with children as there are four beaches along the coast ; namely Chimney Corner , Whale Cove , Margaree Harbour and Belle Cote .  
When you live in an urban area , you want to stay by and experience the water , especially by the  ocean on some of your trip . 
Families  have considered "Margaree" their summer destination for years .   The "ocean " and the "river " are  the big benefit  as that provides activities such as swimming , kayaking ,  fishing ,  and many bird species , including many that "nest" in the area. Most will stay  at  a riverside or oceanside located cottage . There are many who even have their summer vacation homes as well in the area .   These "summer people " have come from places like Florida ,  Virginia , New York State , New Your City , and the other eastern USA states . Others are from Germany , England ,  Ireland , or Scotland.   There are some historic families that have "summered" and still do on Cape Breton and especially on this West Coast as many have "roots " on Cape Breton .  

People travel to Margaree or "summer " in Margaree for all sorts of reasons . Some are here just because it is so quiet  and so "natural". Others like the many music venues where they enjoy the  various Cape Breton fiddlers  at what are known as a "Ceilidh" (  Kay-lee), Scottish for" kitchen party" or  a concert or dance . Others like  that they are within  reach of five  major golf courses , Cabot Links , Cabot Cliffs, La Portage , Highland, or Bell Bay .    Hey , if you have your own plane , fly into the Margaree Airport . 

Unfortunately many travellers do not allow enough time in their schedule  of their Cape Breton trip to explore , let alone stay  in the Margaree . 

This intersection above is one where it is that last chance  to at least travel along the Margaree River and explore the Margaree  River  Valley inland. 

Now Margaree is about  1 1/2  to 2 hours from the entry point onto Cape Breton (the Canso Causeway Visitor Center ), or about 4 hours from the Halifax Airport. So , even if  travelling on a tight frame around the Cabot Trail , it is a real good and convenient stopping place if only for one night , as it is the one stop you would  make where you can see sunsets on the ocean horizon from any of those four beach areas. Once you travel North on the Cabot Trail you will see the tail Trail wind and begin to take you  East or South , so no more ocean horizons .

View from Route 219 at Margaree Harbour looking North to  Margaree Harbour and it's beach  and then farther North to Belle Cote and it's beach . 

Margaree  Harbour looking to Belle Cote 

Harbour Entrance and Belle Cote beach  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Touch of Glass in the "Margarees"

These are few examples of Margaree Glass Art . 

 Coady Tompkins Library and Polycarpe Glass Art

 Imagine what you can do with an old window frame , and this is the guy who can do it!!!

 Sunset and Seagulls

At the intersection of the Cabot trail and Route 19, you will find the village of Margaree Forks . This is also  the point where the Margaree and South West Margaree rivers connect . 

And there you will find A TOUCH of GLASS !!   

Well, it's a very unique glass art gallery . 

The "Artist" and Creative Craftsperson is Polycrarpe Leblanc , well know locally as "Poly" or "Paulie".

This shows some of his recent creations. He has  small items you could buy as a  display in your kitchen window and large items like these . He has created many custom items , even full windows in glass art for a new church window or restoring an old glass church window.  
 The most unique feature is the colours of the  lead he uses . Just like the "old days" .

Many who travel the Cabot Trail miss these  hidden gems that are found on the roads throughout the Margaree River Valley. 

Besides this lovely glass art , there are locally created wood products, woollen products, quilts , folk art woods , and pottery in various locations within the Margaree area and side roads. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A taste of Winter

When we travel along this western coast of Cape Breton, we are always watching the water , which to many of us is "the ocean" or "the sea" . In fact , it is really called the "gulf", meaning the Gulf of  St.lawrence .

If a tourist or visitor asks about the weather along the coast , we talk about our high winds and our winters. When  we tell people that the ocean is full of ice , they'll look at us in disbelief.

In these photos , you will see the ice at various coastal locations from Whale Cove on Route 19 to Cape Lemoine on the Cabot Trail  in late February 2013.

View Of Margaree Island 

Looking North  along Cap Lemoine 

Looking South to Margaree Harbour from Cap Lemoine 
The photos do not really do  justice to the actual  experience of actually seeing all this ice , and hearing the sounds of ice in motion as it does move when the tides change , or a wind is pushing it ashore .

Now another dimension of  life along the ocean is that  when  you face West as we on this coast ,   you get to enjoy all those sunsets and the way the colours of the sunset change the landscape .

Sun setting "on the ice"

Looking North from Whale Cove 

A longer view from Whale Cove 

Looking Back to that same house from Belle Cote 

And the sun has set 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The secrets of Cape Breton

At various times in the last few years  there have been sightings of white moose on Cape Breton Island. Now these are a very rare animal , and here  we have two travelling together . 
The experienced local woodsmen and outdoor fellows we asked suggest  that these two are two year olds and might be twins  or two that just came together and now  travel together .
You have to understand that there is a bit of history evolving here . People who see these animals always talk about how impressed they are and how it would be so sad should should "something happen", which really means no one  wants to see these rare white moose harmed in any way , let alone see them hunted . 
There  have been other sightings and there are  photographs of the other sightings, but the owners of many of those photographs are being very protective of their photographs as a means to protect these animals . So now you understand why we are not telling you where these two moose were sighted . 
Many people who  come to visit Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail hope to get to see a moose . 
You will see the "caution " moose symbols on highway signs all along routes 19, 219 , 395 and the  Cabot Trail itself .  Pay attention, especially if you might be travelling these  same routes after dark .
The best locations to see moose are really within the Cape Breton Highlands Park. 
Don't expect to see a white one while you driving  along the highway . The better areas for sightings for moose start at the Park entrance until you arrive at the look-off above  Fishing Cove, just before you descend into Pleasant Bay. Moose are often encountered   while walking the Skyline or nearby trails . 
Finally , remember that a moose is a very large animal and while they may look clumsy , they are not . They can move very fast and shift direction very fast. And yes, they can "rear up" like a horse and use their two front legs to stomp .  You likely couldn't out run a moose!!!! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The fall colours of Margaree

The "fall colours"season along the Margaree River and throughout the whole Margaree -Lake Ainslie watershed will last for over a month. The colours start appearing anytime after mid September . You  u have so many hills and valleys tucked away on the many side roads such that the colours start at one  location one day and maybe in another location a  week later .
The"peak" of the colours changes every year too , but generally those first 15 days of October are going to be when the peak will happen . Now , we also have these same fall colours all along the  coast line along Routes 19, 219 and then onto the Cabot Trail all around the  tip of the Island .
The trees on hillsides facing the  ocaen are usually slower to peak and are almost a whole  different colour scheme than you see along the Margaree and South West Margaree Rivers .
Travelling to Cape Breton for the fall colours is one of those "bucket list " trips , especially if some one wants to also enjoy what is called the  Celtic Colours  festival , a musical event that spans 10 days and has venues all over Cape Breton Island . Venues where you are as up close and personal as you can ever be . Musicians from Cape Breton , Ireland, and Scotland are but a few of the treats.
The thing to remember is to plan the time to really enjoy this once in a lifetime trip . It means you should really stay at least one or two nights in the Margaree River watershed area .  To travel "around the Trail" from Margaree can be a full circle drive and done in a day ,,as the driving time for the  full loop is in the 4 - hour range plus allow another 2 hours for your stops .
The difference in the Margaree Fall colours is that you are always seeing the colours  in contrast with the colours of the rivers , lakes or the ocean .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Margaree and "Vinland"

The name "Vinland" refers to a location that many historians tell us was another location on North America where the Norsemen sailed and landed and camped .  While we have all heard about the L'Anse aux Meadows Viking site in Newfoundland , we  don't hear much about  the possibility there was also a landing site and a stay or campment  on Cape Breton  and that may have been in the Margaree valley .

On September 22, 2012 , there was a "symposium" held in Belle Cote , where several speakers came to tell their story and why they believe the Margaree River area is  very likely "Vinland" . Where the Vikings camped on Cape Breton !!!!

One speaker was Murdena Marshall, a Mi'kmag historian from Eskasoni . She stunned everyone when she told them about a game she has that belonged to her Grandfathers Grandmother. It is a large wooden platter style of item , with a type of dice and sticks . She had students visit her from Finland a few years ago and just as they were about to leave , one of the students  notices the wooden platter game board and tells her that they have a game  just like that in Finland .  Makes you wonder.

The world wide web is loaded with information , and  a good place to start is wikipedia 

This Margaree Trail has a history that dates back to the early settlers of Canada. There are families all over the world with roots from Cape Breton and the villages along the Margaree Trail.

Time is running out as every decade that goes by , we loose some of the history because it just doesn't get "documented" or "recorded".