Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cabot Trail

After Louisbourg we based ourselves in Baddeck - at a lovely little Passport America Campground - very inexpensive - quiet and tranquil!  Picked the right day to travel the Cabot Trail - without the trailer thank goodness.  We were warned not to pull our rig over the trail - and for once listened to the knowledgeable locals!  Enjoyed the views and many stops along the way to soak up the scenery.  Stopped at an out of the way little Chowder House for lunch - on the advice of the lady at the information center - the info centers are every where out here and very very helpful for us flat landers! 

Needs no caption!

Pleasant Bay on the Gulf of St. Lawrence side

More views on the Gulf side

The Gulf was like 'glass'

Cape Breton Highlands

Alexander Graham Bell (R) with Sir Wilfred Grenfell (we toured the Grenfell home in St. Anthony, Nfl) - Grenfell is likely visiting with a view to raising funds for his hospital missions in Nfl.  Bell's wife Mabel was wealthy in her own right plus for a wedding gift Bell gave her 90% of the shares of his telephone invention!  What an exciting time this must have been, all these active and inventing minds!

Sailing time!  Our Captain inherited this sail boat that his Father built.  He runs tours out of Baddeck in the summer and in winters takes her down into the Caribbean!  His first mate was a young fellow just graduated with a business degree and bound for Korea to teach English as a 2nd Language. 

The nickname for this island on Bras D'or Lake (Arm of Gold) is "Bird Shit Island" according to the locals - the 'protected' Coumarant Birds are literally destroying the Island - their excrement is killing all the vegetation (it used to be forested).  They predict that in two years time  the Island will be all but gone!

At the suggestion of this photo shoot Sandra thought the deck hand was CRAZY - but it was safe and kind of fun!

Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel's summer home (Castle) - Beinn Bhreash - meaning something like beautiful Island or Mountain.  They cherished this 'get away' from the maddening crowds in Boston.  There are many pictures of their 'family time' taken here - he was a devoted family man.  He also had a laboratory on the property for his many experiments.  He built the house for $25,000 in 1886 and bought all 852 Acres surrounding his property for around $3,000!  Family descendants still live here.  The home is used only for family reunions and special parties / occasions.  A caretaker also lives on the estate - can't remember, but the cost of maintaining this 125 year old property is astronomical!  But it is only decimal points right?

Full sail as we head back for the dock!  A perfect day for a sail!

We were sitting on the down side!  Sandra wasn't getting out on that bow now!
The next day was perfect for our choice of activity - first a tour of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site - very well done and we learned that he was renowned for far more than inventing the telephone (1876), among other things the iron lung (he had two Brothers die of TB and 2 sons die of respiratory problems at age 2 days!).  He was passionate over his work with teaching the deaf to speak and in fact married one of his students (Mabel Hubbard) - they shared a lifetime of devotion to each other.  After the Bell Museum we took a sail boat tour of Bras D'Or Lake which included passing by the peninula where Alexander Bell and his wife Mabel built their summer home (aka Castle) (winters they lived in Boston - and we heard his history while visiting there also).  So it seems both the USA and Canada lay claim to his fame!  We finished off the evening with a Ceilidh (Kaylee) at the local St. Andrews Parish Hall (it was packed) - a good revenue source for the Church I am sure and very entertaining Cape Breton music.  Love it!

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