Canadian Maritimes


Kombi

New member
Planning on a 2-week trip to Nova Scotia in a few weeks with my 9-year old son in the '87 Westy. Any places I need to see or avoid? I'm sure this was covered before but I searched and couldn't find anything.

Gerry

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on June 02, 2002 at 03:00 AM.]

[This message was edited by JohnB on November 22, 2002 at 08:33 PM.]

[This message was edited by JohnB on November 22, 2002 at 08:39 PM.]
 

donner

New member
Be sure to camp at The Ovens, it's just south/west of Halifax. A very cool place near Peggy's Cove, the scenic lighthouse turned post office.
 

wcurtis7

New member
Lunenberg is a great place to visit -- very historic and attractive, with lots of stuff to do.. There's a municipal campground on the hilltop above town (you can walk down). Campers are packed in pretty tightly, but ask to set up on the grassy lawn next to the earthworks of the old fort across the way. This is a great spot, with views, some elbow room, yet you still have access to the showers etc. (No elec or water hookups obviously.) This is where I've camped last two times I've been here.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
/infopop/emoticons/icon_cool.gif The Cape Breton Highlands NP on the NE end is beautiful. Sherbrooke Village, South coast (below Antigonish) is delightful and one of the best of the restored working early settlement historic sites anywhere. Compares with Jamestown VA.

The Maritime Museum in Halifax is one of the best in the world. A MUST -- more so than the nearby Citadel.

If coming from the US, take the road route through NB and check out the Bay of Fundy (Fundy NP) and the Moncton tidal bores. The Ferry from Bar Harbor ME isn't anything special (focused on the gambling) and the Canadian Customs at Yarmouth are pure horses' patoots! Staffed with rookies & trainees who don't know their own damn laws. /infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif
 

Grant

New member
Just got back from a 2 wk trip from VT to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Highlights included watching the Perseid Meteor Shower from Cobscook S.P. in ME, laying on pink sand beaches and eating very tasty mussels on Prince Edward Island, and Whale Watching from our campsite in Meat Cove, N.S. (thank you all for the suggestion as this was a highlight of the trip - a must do!). The Bay of Fundy was interesting but watching the tides change is akin to focusing on drying paint. Plan your visit to Hopewell Rocks, N.B. carefully so you can either walk on the 'beach' or kayak - on the same spot. Even the kids enjoyed Sherbrooke Village, N.S. although the slept while we took in the view at Peggy's Cove. I agree that the CAT ferry from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor is rather overrated, as was Acadia N.P. itself. Yes, it was beautiful, but so crowded it was difficult to enjoy the nature. Even the hiking and biking trails were packed. If you don't have kids in school, avoid Bar Harbor in the summer!

The Beta:
14 days, 1500 (or so) miles, 5 islands, 4 ferries, 3 US states, 3 CA providences, 2 crossings of international waters, 2 timezones, and 1 night in a hotel.

Thank you to all the great folks we met along the way. Almost every day someone approached us about our van - many longingly remembering the Westy they used to drive, others road tripping and sharing their experiences. Those crazy Canadians sure love their Westies. I've never had such enthusiastic waves from other vans on the road!

I have to add our '89 Westy was problem free during the entire trip - you don't hear this enough!

...and Doug and Linda from Ontario, if you see this report, write your own so we find out how the rest of your trip from PEI on went, and if your rebuild held out.
 

cheberg

New member
Thanks for your insight. I am planning a very similar trip for August 2003, in my 78 WESTY. I intend to terminate at Gros Morne National Park in NB. I am curious if you went tht far? How were the ferry crossings? I am concerned that if I break down I'll be SOL; how dopes it look for repairs? thanks
 

Grant

New member
Gros Morne is in Newfoundland (NF) not New Brunswick (NB). While we didn't go to NF we did speak to many experienced travelers. Given the 2 week time limit we had to get back to VT the ferry trip, etc. would have really taxed our visits. I understand that the 6 hr ferry ride from Sydney to Port-aux-Basques can be rough - take along Dramamine. The 14 hour ferry to St. John's is longer and rougher. Everyone told me that NF is Westy nirvana as you can pull along just about anywhere to camp. One new friend did warn me that once on NF the only Audi/VW repair shop is in the St. John's area which is about a 10 hr drive from (I can't confirm this)Port-aux-Basques. If you break down in Gros Morne and can't complete the repair yourself you are certainly SOL!
As for the other ferry crossings from ME to NB (via Deer Island) and from PEI to NS (via Woods Islands), they were great. I think is was US$20 to cross from ME to NB and about US$30 to cross from PEI to NS. The Deer Island ferries are terrific as they hold about 15 cars and have open decks so you can see the sights from your car or get out and walk around on the deck. No snack cafe or hot chocolate though! As I said in my report, don't expect much from the CAT ferry from NS to ME. It's expensive, boring, and uninformative. Pack your own lunch and bring some cards to kill the time.
 

MPC

New member
I'm a new member of this site and a recent westy purchaser, but have lived and traveled the east coast of Canada for many years by both car and ship. A recent trip i made proved to me, that regardless of the size of the city, some parts for Westy's are difficult to find. As for traveling Canada's east coast, there is incredible scenary and as you enter into the warmer months, you'll find a lot of festivals and Celtic selebrations throughout the region. Fuel prices are somewhat higher than those found in the US but have never had difficulties with the quality of the fuel. A recent trip through Northern Maine, New Hamptshire and Vermont revealed some isues with the quality of the fuel. By the way, I live in Nova Scotia, and am very fond and proud of my place of residence. Anyone traveling to this area are wished a most excellent journey, and would love to make a connection for coffee. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same locale.

raypopp Junior Member posted September 23, 2002 02:40 PM

My wife and I recently completed a 5500 mile round-trip from Minnesota to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I just want to share a information on a couple of great campsites in the Cape Breton area.

MEAT COVE: high, cliffside campsites overlooking the North Atlantic. You can see pilot whales from the comfort of your Westy.

WEST MABO BEACH: (a FREEBIE) No-one bothered us, no "no camping" signs, toilets, and a great beach.
 

Dougie

New member
Hi Grant & Jill,
Great to see your vacation on the Westfalia site!
Just got my PC working after the lightning strike & enjoyed reading about your trip (and our trip), out east. After about 10,000 Km , that's about 6,000 mi. & surviving the Cabot Trail ,I think it's safe to say that the rebuild has been a success.The only problem of any nature that we experienced was in Bangor Maine when it started to run rough & loss of power. I wondered if I was experiencing Vanagon Syndrom which I have only read about. After pluging along & things not improving I stopped @ a NAPA parts place to get a fuel filter ,but none in stock, but he could have one for me by 12:30. It was only 7:45 am. at the time & I didn't want to wait. Decided I would try back flushing the filter first but It was raining heavily @ the time so we took a time out @ a local Walmart. After a considerable shopping spree & exchanging our "loonie" money for your US dollar @ a rate of 1.60 we headed out again. The van had had a chance to cool down and we never experienced any more trouble. I can only think that maybe I had picked up some bad fuel with water in it? Still haven't changed the filter.
Labourday weekend (Sept. 1) I used the westy to take my daughter to 1st year university in Kingston (another 1000km return trip). It came in handy for hauling her new boxed computer & all her belongings. We camped the night before on the Rideau Canal which is about 15 minutes from the University which allowed us to arrive bright & early & get her settled in before the hoards arrived. My next trip is in a weeks time down to Carlisle Pa.That's the big U.S. carshow/flea market I'm sure your aware of. I've heard alot about it but have never been. I put a cargo platform on the back & to that I'll fasten a couple of bikes for this trip. Apparantly there is 53 miles of roads (between the 8,100 vendor sites) @ Carlisle so the bikes should come in handy.My daughter just got in & I want to show her your trip so I'll say goodnight & talk again. Bye for now & God Bless America. Doug.
 

donner

New member
I am a Westy owner from Maine. I went to Gros Morne this August and it is breathtaking and very hilly. Did NOT take the camper as I was on my way to a business meeting in St. Johns. Took the Scotia Prince cruise boat from Portland overnight to Yarmouth NS, rented a car there because it's cheap with American $ then did the Cabot Trail, took the shorter ferry from Sidney NS to Port aux Basques and it was like a lake. No dramamine needed at all. I was surprised as I had heard horror stories of rough waters. The park and surrounding area is beautiful. The best part was stopping at a scenic overlook with a cedar swamp down below. It smelled SO GOOD. From there it is an all day drive on route 1 to get to the St. Johns side of the island. This is quite boring and you need to watch for moose everywhere. I am planning another trip this time with the '77 camper but wont take it to Newfoundland as it's so remote. Best time to go is June as you can see the icebergs still in the harbor. Go whale watching near St. JOhns, they're very close to the land so it's more comfortable. The Irish peninsula south of St. Johns is wonderful, looks like Scotland/Ireland. I took the long ferry back overnight with a cabin and it too was very very calm. I just got lucky, I guess. Enjoy your stay and feel free to email me if you want names of places to se, etc. I am a travel agent.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by cheberg:
Thanks for your insight. I am planning a very similar trip for August 2003, in my 78 WESTY. I intend to terminate at Gros Morne National Park in NB. I am curious if you went tht far? How were the ferry crossings? I am concerned that if I break down I'll be SOL; how dopes it look for repairs? thanks<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
 

cmmay

New member
We toured the province for 3 weeks last summer. We were so impressed with the beauty of the place and the hospitality of the people. It is not as backward, or 'behind the times' as you might think. We met a VW mechanic outside St. John's that was better than our guy back home. Roads are good, but gas is a bit expensive. Its a trip not to be missed. Get off the beaten track and you'll have the experience of a lifetime!
 

Kombi

New member
Last summer we drove the Westy to Nova Scotia. While I would love to visit Newfoundland this time, I'm not sure I would have the time. Can anyone tell me about PEI and whether that would warrant a special trip? What about those Isles de Madeleine? Are they worth seeing? I only have about 2 weeks and must drive all the way from Maryland.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
PEI is lovely. It is not particularly big and is basically fully developed so does not have much wilderness area like Newfoundland. It is pretty, and not all that far from what you've seen in the Anne of Green Gables movies. Nice beaches, campgrounds and numerous things to see & do; see AAA or PEI Tourist Bureau trip guides.

You can do that in 2 weeks, but that would preclude doing much along the way. PEI would need about a week.

Newfoundland can NOT be done in 2 weeks from MD. The jumping off point -- Ferry -- is the NE tip of Novia Scotia. You'd be lucky to do one section of Nfld any justice in two weeks AFTER you get there. It is a BIG island -- not the little thing you usually see as an insert in an Eastern Canada map. Ferry times are ½ day to Port aux Basque and a full day to Argentia. Our last Nfld trip was 3,300 miles after we got in Nfld. 20 days on the Island and we feel we still didn't do it justice.

Doing what I consider average sightseeing and camping to & from stretched that trip to 7 weeks and 7,700 miles. That's from NC, less than 300 miles south of Baltimore.
 

Kombi

New member
Newfoundland

Read the previous posts about trips to Newfoundland. I want to get up there this June but only have 2 and half weeks or so. I would plan to spend a whole two weeks on the island. Do you think this would be worth it? It would require driving about 1,100 miles in 2 days going up and coming down. I want to take the short ferry over and drive to the eastern part of the island and take the long ferry back to Sydney. I went to Nova Scotia last June and just loved the Maritimes. Newfoundland has always beckoned me and seeing The Shipping News recently didn’t help matters.

Some have raised concerns about the remoteness of the place in regards to taking the Westy over there. I think I would take the chance. I’ve taken my ’87 on several longish trips (including NS) and, knock wood, had no problems. I carry some spare parts and the Bentley and tools of course though I’m no mechanic.

Do you think Newfoundland is worth the long drive to get there? I don’t think PEI is worth a special trip though I was considering the Gaspe Peninsula. But Newfoundland seems so different and exotic and it is accessible. Let me know if anyone could recommend places to visit that would be Westy friendly ( I’ll be with my 10-year old son). The Viking Trail would be too out of the way but it does sound neat. Also, what’s the quickest route to Sydney from Maine? When I went to NS, I went through Calais but staying on the interstate might be faster. Any help is appreciated.
 

Grant

New member
Kombi - Did you ever get out to Newfoundland this past June? How about a trip report. I too am looking into a 2-3 wk trip to the Gaspe Penn. but am still in the early planning stages. Can you share any good resources on Gaspe?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
If you get off the new Interstate type highway and onto the older road that runs around the Gaspe close to the water, I hope there are still some of the old family brick-ovens around. Many of the farms and smaller towns had little brick ovens in folks' backyards -- a dome like structure. Many sold their bread -- typical French loaves.

It was delicious -- we'd get real butter and home-made jams -- and munch away. One tip -- you may want to salt the bread. For some reason, perhaps they don't use salt in the bread dough or butter as is common in the US and our tastes have come to expect it, a very light salting might add to the flavor. But I have to admit starting with a piece as a snack and suddenly finding the whole loaf gone.

Plan on a full day in the wood carving shops of Port St. Jean-Port Joli, sort of the starting point on the north shore anyway.

There are some interesting shipwreck remains along the coast and the Hole-in-the-Rock at Perce near the tip is pretty awesome.
 

Grant

New member
Thank you for the gastronomy lesson! Sounds like a hunk of cheese and some wine will be tucked in the fridge for this trip. Any recommended campgrounds?
 

Grant

New member
We decided to pass up the Gaspe this year and instead travelled to PEI. We enjoyed the island so much 2 years ago, it was time to spend more time there.
We stayed 7 nights (after loosing a water pump in ME which delayed us by two days - thanks to Brownie's Auto in Skowhegan, ME for getting us in quickly!)
We stayed at Red Point & Cambell's Cove Provincial Parks on the Eastern end of the Island. We had great sites at each and had ocean views. Red Point seems a little busy and most sites were in a big field. Look for a site along the water (without services) for a little privacy. Cambell's Cove was quiet and our site was a stone's throw from the beach. We saw seals swimming from the Westy!
We then spent 4 nights at the National Park. Again, we got lucky with a tenting site tucked in the corner of the campground for a little privacy. A short walk across the road to the beach was terrific.
Fresh clams and mussels and very tasty cod were the highlight along with water around 20 deg centigrade and daytime highs around 30.

My wife and I have decided that PEI is one of the first vacation destinations that we would consider returning to year after year.
 

Grant

New member
We returned from our third trip to PEI over the weekend. It is such a great place.

We again took the route through Lubec, ME to Campobello Island and stayed at the Provincial Park there. Very nice and the tour of the Roosevelt's home was great (and free!). The ferries were great and we saw seals and pilot whales while on the water.

We camped at Red Point and Campbell's Cove Provincial Parks for several days again. The island was much quieter later in the season and Red Point was great for families. Just enough kids to keep ours occupied, but not too many to make it a mad house.

We also finally made it to the other side of the island and drove tip-to-tip during our 11 days on the island. While the windmill farm at North Cape was interesting and the girls loved the indoor pool and waterslide at the resort linked to Mill River Prov. Park, I don't think we will head out that far again in our next trip. Maybe a chance to see the West Point lighthouse, but not tip to tip again.

We blew a water hose outside of Moncton, but limped to a NAPA for a replacement. I swapped it out in their parking lot had us on our way in short time. Unfortunately, I didn't bleed the system well enough and on the long slog home I blew another seal (or hose) somewhere near the water pump. It was dripping, but not enough to overheat, and we drove home. I have an appointment with my mechanic to figure out where the leak is and get it repaired next week.
 

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