Quebec – the “Old City”

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Quebec City, founded as a French colony in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, was selected for its perfect location along the St. Lawrence River. From a ferry ride across that river, the old city’s walls, charm, and vibrance are as beautifully real as the images portray.

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Baddeck, Bras d’Or, Bell, Beinn Bhreagh

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The village of Baddeck is in the heart of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The Kidston Island Lighthouse overlooks Bras d’Or Lake (“Arm of Gold”), an inland sea, and can be seen from several vantage points in Baddeck, including the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Bell’s biography is an interesting one, starting in Edinburgh, Scotland with a mother who was deaf, and a father who ran a school for the deaf. After moving to North America, first Ontario Canada, and then the USA, Bell continued working with the deaf in New England, where one of his students became his wife. Bell met, and was a integral part of Helen Keller‘s education, as well. Baddeck became Bell’s summer residence, and eventually his permanent home, which he called Beinn Bhreagh (“beautiful mountain”). Bell, along with his father-in-law, were part of the group of founders of the National Geographic Society.   Oh yes, somewhere along the line he invented the telephone, 🙂

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

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And these moments are why we we came…all 3,300 miles round trip…to see and drive through the Cape Breton Highlands and capture these views. I have never had a trip exceed my expectations as much as this drive. The wow factor was in full effect – rich colors and stunning surroundings; I want to return and experience it again.

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Margaree Overlook

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I’m not sure how we found this spot; maybe there was a sign indicating the cemetery we found, and that drew me to drive in. Just outside of Margaree, this overlook gave us our first glance of the rugged cliffs that are so prevalent in Cape Breton. The above view looks south, and then we turned to experience quickly changing weather causing the clouds to race across the sky, while we stood in this grassy field.

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Single Malt

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The last thing we expected to discover on our road trip was a distillery. The grounds and building seemed inviting, so we stopped in for a tour. Nova Scotia translates to “New Scotland” and many Scots settled in Cape Breton, along with their desire for good whisky. In 1990, the first single malt whisky in North America was bottled at the new Glenora distillery. A key ingredient is water, and some of the purest water is produced in the highlands of Cape Breton. The interesting twist to the story is the use of American oak barrels to mature the whisky. (Those would be used Jack Daniels barrels from Tennessee!)

Mabou Harbor

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Mabou Harbor is the only protected harbor on the west side of Cape Breton. Having a lighthouse at this location, helped promote the growth of local industries – fishing and mining. A relatively new “export” of Mabou is music…It is the home of the Rankin family, known for their Celtic sound and The Red Shoe Pub.