Total mileage: I'd have to put on a bra and shoes to look, so forget it. Let's just say, "lots."
I snuck out of the campground around 7 a.m. One residual pic from yesterday:
|This, my friends, is what Christmas in July looks like |
at a campground (see sad tree to right).
Biscuit sandwich in hand, I hit the open road toward the island. No traffic, beautiful scenery, lovely weather. All signs point to go. And then I crossed the wee Canso Causeway and bam! Like that, I'm on Cape Breton.
One of the guide books strongly suggested stopping at the visitor center immediately at the entry point. And that author was not kidding. I owe a huge shout out to Elly at the visitor center. I won her over by introducing myself, "Elly, I'm Kelly!" At 9 a.m., humor like that works just fine. She was a doll. She booked me a motel room on the spot, talked me through the entire Cabot Trail with a map, pointing out time and distance between towns. She loaded me up with so much paper I told her I was going to need a little red wagon to get it all out to my car. Elly laughed a hearty, almost smoker laugh and said, "Okay then, dear." I love you, Elly.
I settled onto rt 19, The Ceilidh Trail ("ka-lee"), known for, well, its ceilidh tradition (Scottish music). Think Natalie MacMaster. The first stop I made was Christie's Lookout. I was won over by the incredible smell of beach roses as I drove by and had to back up and pull in.
The beach roses are everywhere, and they're a lovely surprise. I didn't expect the smell of roses in such a remote, some might say "cold," place. Instead, I was reminded of Martha's Vineyard, where beach roses are an integral part of the rugged beauty.
A second surprise happened on arrival in Port Hood, my destination for the night. It was only 11 a.m., so I had the whole day ahead of me and started by checking out the downtown. Like most towns here, "downtown" is a section of the main road going through. It usually has a hardware store and post office. Maybe a pizza joint. These are not touristy spots. And I'm glad for that, because it would have spoiled having almost an entire sandy beach to myself.
|Yonder is an island with ferry service. I love how it can |
look so remote and communal at the same time.
|View from my motel room. The sunset was beautiful. |
Shout out to Charlie, the owner at the Hebridean Motel
|Um, only beauty ahead, folks.|
After this jaunt, I headed back to the main road and drove through the post-parade excitement in Mabou. I kept going north to one of my two goals for the day: whisky, baby!
The Glenora Distillery is beautifully tucked into the countryside. I went on a tour, sampled a 10-year-old whisky (short run down on the rules--no "e" in whisky here, and because we're not in Scotland, it can't be called scotch), and ate in the pub. And of course there was a fiddler playing, accompanied by piano. It was very charming.
|Kelly gets a Tall Ship Amber and a sample |
of the 14-year-old whisky.
|Kelly also gets bacon-wrapped scallops in a whisky maple glaze |
and a "deconstructed" Caesar salad.
Me: It's great. A little more work on my part, however.
Bartender: Well, we want you to share in the experience.
During the tour, I listened the the guide and thought a bit about her accent. As I get further north, the accent sounds almost . . . Australian. Like an American and Australian ran really fast into one another and out comes this "normal" speech with certain words sounding endlessly peculiar (in a good way). It's more exotic than I expected.
|The whisky starts with the water in this stream behind the distillery.|
I still had lots of time to kill before dinner, so I went back to the Mabou shore. I sat in the open breeze, under the warm sun, opened a book, and promptly fell asleep. Delicious!
Also delicious was a leisurely dinner at my second goal for the day: The Red Shoe.
|"Nova Scotia home cooking"|
|"Rich chocolate sticky date pudding with housemade chocolate sauce |
and whipped cream, garnished with seasonal berries." I almost licked the plate.
And I realized that people should consider taking two vacations a year: one with others, and one alone. Because it's important to be in some of the pictures on your trip, and it's important to push yourself and know what you're made of.