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  1. #1
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    9-day Eatern Canada road trip - any suggestions? :)

    DH and I plan to take off the week before or after 7/4 to have a road trip in Eastern Canada. We live in Central NJ and will have 9 full days.

    So far we know we definitely want to visit Montreal and Quebec City. But are kind of not sure what else are must sees. Wonder if anyone can give us some suggestions?

    How about Parc du Mont Tremblant? Do you recommend it? How about Nova Scotia? It will be a long drive, is it worth it? We plan to find budget motels along the way and won't mind camping a day or two.

    A little info about us: we are 30 (me) and 31 (DH), no kids. Love nature, historical sites and architecture. We are not into shopping or drinking. (getting too old for that )

    Any suggestion is highly appreciated! TIA!!

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    If you have time and are interested in outdoor/nature stuff, I highly recommend venturing further east to the eastern part of Nova Scotia and the western part of Newfoundland. The scenery is absolutely spectacular. Because you need to take the ferry to Newfoundland, you have to budget more days than you might think. But it's worth it. Completely worth it.

    There's not much worth seeing in New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island is nice and quaint. It can be covered in less than a day. The long bridge is a must-drive! Northern Quebec is also stunning, but if you don't speak French competently, you'll have a hard time.

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    The Citadel in Halifax, old churches in 'northern' New Brunswick (which isn't that far from the Confederation Bridge that goes to PEI), Peggy's Cove (NS), Lunenberg (NS)...

    I don't know, there's just so much to see in the Maritimes -- I'd love to have a month to toodle around there. Google the individual province names and what you're interested in seeing -- I'm sure there will be many suggestions for you!
    Haunting the Princess of Pink since 20/07/11...

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    Prince Edward Island is amazing!!! I went there last summer and am totally tempted to go back this summer. Halifax was a ton of fun when I went there for Canadians. Granted, it was January....so it's probably even better in the summer.
    Don't cry because its over...smile because it happened.

  5. #5
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    I live on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia and there are so many nice places here on the Island to see and do. There's the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Cabot Trail, Ingonish, Miner's Museum, Alexander Graham Bell museum, nice beaches and nature
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  6. #6

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    If you do decide to include some Maritime provinces, I would recommend the Hopewell Rocks Provincial park in NB (you have to time it right for the tides); lobster supper on PEI; and Lunenburg NS. We did a round trip a few years ago and just missed the Bluenose II when we were in Lunenburg. Luckily we were circling back to fly out of Halifax so booked a 2 hour trip for the end of our vacation. The Bluenose II was the highlight for us. Also loved poking around in the little towns with the houses painted bright colours.

    It might be too much of a stretch timewise to include this with Montreal and Quebec City (both great).

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    If you're coming in thru Maine, stop in St. Stephen's and eat some chocolate at the Ganong chocolate factory. Stopping to see the Bay of Fundy is a must.

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    Thank you so much everyone!! FSU is the best!

    Within a couple of hours, we went from not knowing how to fill nine days to not knowing to fit so many great places in 9 days.

    Ok, now I got a rough itinerary going:

    Day 1: Drive to Saint John, NB (11 hour drive, we may start the day before after work)
    Day 2: Visit Fundy NP and do the coastal drive and hopefully time the tide in Hopewell Rocks
    Day 3: Visit Halifax (Citadel, Peggy's cove, don't know if we can squeeze in Lunenburg)
    Day 4: Visit Cape Breton Highlands NP
    Day 5: Visit Louisbourg and drive to somewhere close to PEI
    Day 6: Visit PEI and drive to Miramichi
    Day 7: Do a scenic drive through New Brunswick (I want to see Chaluer Bay)
    Day 8: Quebec City
    Day 9: Montreal
    Day 10: Drive back to NJ (DH needs to be in the airport by 6pm)

    I wish we could swing in a few more days, but we are planning a lot of traveling this year and will use up every last vacation day, so no wiggle room. So will have to skip Newfoundland. Big sigh.

    Anyway, does it sound doable? Is it too ambitious and rushed? Any suggestions to move things around? We are both very good long distance drivers, but we don't want to rush the sightseeing. Big thanks in advance!

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    My husband and I both love to roadtrip around the Maritimes, so we've done a lot of the drives you are considering.

    I'd definitely leave the day before to get to Saint John.

    If you want to drive the Fundy Trail, you need to take your time, and stop at all the lookouts and walking paths. It is gorgeous, and well worth your time, but it is a dead end. You'd have to backtrack and then have a long drive mostly through trees and rocks to get to Fundy NP. Hopewell Cape is very touristy now, and I'd choose the Fundy Trail now- much wilder feeling. Although if you choose Fundy NP and Hopewell Cape, I'd recommend you go see the lighthouse at Cape Enrage.

    So I'd do the Fundy Trail, and then catch the ferry from Saint John to Digby and go to Halifax via the Evangeline Trail.

    Louisbourg is absolutely wonderful, as is the Cabot Trail.

    Skip PEI. It's going to add too much driving to your trip.

    When you leave Cape Breton, go along the Sunrise Trail through Pictou and Tatamagouche. Go along the coast of NB and stop in Buctouche, or Kouchibiquac
    for some glorious sandy beaches. There's no fast highway route through NB, except the extremely boring Trans-Canada highway. It's a much more interesting drive to go around the coast through Mirimichi like it looks you have planned, but it's a LOT of driving. I'd plan to stop my trip in Quebec otherwise you just won't have time to stop and see anything.

    If Montreal is a must, I'd skip Cape Breton.

    eta- I edited in a few links.

    Also- I'd really recommend that you do either 9 days of touring just in the Maritimes, or 9 days in Quebec. You could go to Gaspesie for the more wild and natural part of your tour.
    Last edited by rjblue; 01-31-2011 at 02:26 AM.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by genegri View Post
    Day 5: Visit Louisbourg and drive to somewhere close to PEI
    Day 6: Visit PEI and drive to Miramichi
    From an ex-resident of the area: this is not doable in two days, unless you want to spend most of those two days inside a car.

    I also don't think you could go to Halifax, then get to Cape Breton in the next day in enough time to actually see anything in CB.

    Don't be fooled by the road maps (and I say this with all affection for the area); when it says "highway" it is most probably not going to be a four-lane road with 100mph speed limits. More like one lane in either direction with a 50 or 60 mph speed limit. And the occasional cow and/or tractor

    Given where you're starting from and ending at, I would suggest sticking to Nova Scotia (outside Cape Breton) and New Brunswick. There's plenty to see and you can have a nice restful time as well.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  11. #11
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    I'd say spend all of it in PEI if nature driving and tranquility is your thing. Endless, beautiful, quaint seaside villages. Cue up the last movement of Beethoven's sixth symphony in your car CD player.

    Since you'd drive in from New Brunswick, make sure to try poutine. Lots of Acadians there and in Nova Scotia.

  12. #12
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    As a Nova Scotian "living away" who does the drive "home" every year and has toured English relatives around a couple of times, your schedule is way too ambitious. You'll spend all your time driving and have no time to actually visit some of the sites that would interest you.

    I would suggest that you consider a Maritime tour only or a Quebec tour. Trying to do both in such a short period would put you in the category of the classic American tourist who "does" the mainland of Nova Scotia in a day

    If, as someone suggested, you want to take the ferry from St. John to Digby, you need to make a reservation for that time of year and you need to be on the wharf an hour before the ferry leaves. There are several trips a day but you'll need to check the schedules. [I know whereof I speak - I take the ferry one way every year.]
    Can't skate but love to watch

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by rjblue View Post
    I'd recommend you go see the lighthouse at Cape Enrage.

    http://www.watersidewinery.ca/

    This is on the way to cape enrage, you can wine test and they're very friendly chatty people.

    And as overedge said, do NS and NB or NB and PEI.

    If you're going through Saint John, stop at the market. It's right on the water, and if you see the Delta Hotel right down town, it's there. Go for a walk through it, it shaped like an upside down boat. But it would take you a couple of hours to do it.

    Enjoy, whatever you decide to do.

  14. #14
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    Saint John High Class of '85 here

    Lots of great suggestions already. I'll just add that if you are driving from the Calais/St. Stephen border crossing to Saint John, there are a couple of great stops along the way that won't be completely inundated by tourists:

    1. St. Andrews by the Sea - beautiful village with a couple of gorgeous inns/B&Bs and some nice restaurants.
    2. If you take Route 790 south off Route 1, you get a drop-dead gorgeous drive through three characteristic fishing villages: Dipper Harbour, Maces Bay and Chance Harbour. These are almost completely untouched by the tourist industry and offer great views of the Bay of Fundy and its unbelievable tides.
    3. St. Martin's - another great village - is at the west entrance to the Fundy Trail. There are three awesome seafood restaurants on the beach here.
    4. Oven Head Salmon Smokers. Best smoked salmon On. The. Planet. You heard it here first

  15. #15

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    Nova Scotia is lovely.
    Peggys Cove - highly recommend
    Halifax is great. Maritime museum is very cool, and I usually am not into it. Has exhibit on Titanic and for the ship that blew up in the harbor during WWI killing 2 thousand. Very informative and compelling.
    I luv Montreal, great city, museums, beautiful churches, food, shopping.

    I have not been to Quebec City, yet, but It seems cool and have heard wonderful things always.

  16. #16
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    I could recommend enough nature and history in New Brunswick to fill nine days without even going to the other two Maritime provinces.

    Saint Andrews was a summering destination for the rich in earlier times, and it still is a wonderful charming town to visit. Ministers Island would probably be a place you'd enjoy.

    If you travel by land from NB to NS Fort Beausejour is a great place to stop and tour, to break up the drive.

    I live in the Saint John River Valley, above Fredericton, and I'd have to recommend King's Landing to anyone who likes history and architecture on a less grand scale. When they built the Mactaquac Dam on the river, there were so many historic buildings that were going to be lost, that they moved them to a single location, and have built a wonderful historical settlement that spans hundreds of years of how the settlers lived. Some of the buildings are very simple pioneer types, and some are more upper class buildings, all with gardens, furnishings, livestock, etc, that were found in the period they represent. There is a grist mill and a sawmill that operate with a waterwheel. My family visits about every other year, because there is too much to see with one visit.

    If you do go to PEI, you HAVE to eat at Rick's Fish 'n' Chips in St. Peter's Bay. It's the best I've ever had, and I'm a Maritimer so I know good fish.

    eta-
    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    Since you'd drive in from New Brunswick, make sure to try poutine. Lots of Acadians there and in Nova Scotia.
    Acadians have been eating poutine for hundreds of years, but don't confuse it with the fast food french fries, cheese and gravy Quebec dish of the same name.
    Last edited by rjblue; 01-31-2011 at 04:11 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjblue View Post
    eta- Acadians have been eating poutine for hundreds of years, but don't confuse it with the fast food french fries, cheese and gravy Quebec dish of the same name.
    Oops. May need to head back and try that (poutine rapee) out.

  18. #18
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    I agree with everyone that says this is quite ambitious. Like victorskid suggested, I would split the Maritimes and Quebec in two trips. Spending two days in Quebec City and three in Mtl would be ideal if you're into cities. If not, take it down one day for each. Traffic in Mtl could slow down your visit unles you concentrate on one specific area and travel by foot or subway.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by genegri View Post
    Day 7: ... New Brunswick ...
    Day 8: Quebec City
    Day 9: Montreal
    Day 10: Drive back to NJ (DH needs to be in the airport by 6pm) ...
    As others have said, this is extremely ambitious, and frankly quite a waste. The driving time from QC to Montreal alone is at minimum 3 hours, and more like 4 -- and that's highway driving, not the most scenic. Both cities have so much to do and see, you wouldn't be able to justice to either.

    Personally I'd recommend spending the whole time in the Maritimes and doing it properly. Alternately, spend the whole trip in Quebec.

  20. #20
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    I agree with the others. IMO, you won't see a quarter of what there is to see and do in either Quebec or Montreal on your schedule.

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