I have been lucky in my life in that I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience so many wonderful places and so much of the beauty that this planet has to offer…So I decided to compile a list of those places to share with the world and to bring me back to the times I spent in those places. Many of them are located around my hometown. Others are located in the city I lived in for over ten years. Some are located in far-flung locations far away from my home. Some of these places encompass a very small area and are a simply places where I like to watch the sunset or gaze upon the ocean. Many of them are not really places at all; they are favorite stretches of highways, coastal drives or bus routes. Below are my some of my favorites but since it is such a long list, I will post them in a multi-part series:
The Point – This is one of my all-time favorite places on the entire planet and I only have to drive for two hours to get there. Located in the heart of Ingonish in the Cape Breton Highlands, The Point is more than just a fishing wharf. It’s a meeting place, a central location in the town…and it’s where one can witness some of the best sunsets and moon rises around. Bonus: Majestic Cape Smokey Mountain looms in the background along with a spectacular vista consisting of mountains surrounding a beautiful bay that includes Ingonish Island. A breakwater juts out into the bay and I love to walk to the end of it and sit on the rocks and watch the sun disappear into the horizon and the moon climb high into the sky.
Lingan Wharves – I moved to Lingan when I was only five years old, moved away to another province at the age of twenty and moved back at age 31 but the wharves in Lingan have always been a favorite place for me whenever I found myself at home. I only have to walk for about two minutes to sit on a dock with my feet dangling over the water, relax on the picnic benches overlooking the beach or climb to the top of the cliffs above the beach to get a better view of the entire area. This place brings back so many good memories of my childhood and the fun us kids had skipping rocks at the beach, fishing off the docks, climbing the cliffs, jumping ice clampers in the bay (I do not advise anyone try this!) and building rafts out of salvaged wood we found on the beach to attempt to float out into the bay (I DEFINITELY do not recommend anyone try this). But, despite our adventurous and, sometimes dangerous endeavors, we survived…and we grew older and moved away but the wharves have not changed a bit!
Dominion Beach – My family spent many summer days at this beach when I was a kid. It was one of the most popular beaches in Nova Scotia back than. A new boardwalk swept along the ocean, well-groomed paths led to the beach and a road led all the way to the end of the sand bar and cars would be parked all along it. Thousands of people congregated on that beach on an average day but over the years, many people moved out west to work, the beach fell to disrepair and people started frequenting other nearby beaches. Some work was done over the years to bring the beach back to its old self. People started to trickle back but nowhere near the numbers that once did. I continue to go there summer after summer for a number of reasons; It’s sandy, it’s long, it makes for the perfect morning walk or run, its almost always deserted, the sunsets are spectacular and there is a family of foxes that make their home near the boardwalk and come out to play at dusk. At night, I love to just sit in the sand and listen to the sounds of summer and watch the stars and the moon overhead.
Cheticamp Cemetery – I know a cemetery sounds like an odd place to just chill but this cemetery, in particular, has special meaning to me. My mom grew up in Cheticamp so many of my relatives have been laid to rest there, including my grandfather. I never met him. He passed away at a very young age when my mom was just a baby but I go to that cemetery every once and a while to find his headstone and repaint the wording on it because it fades over time. My mom recently passed away and this mini pilgrimage has taken on a whole new meaning as she once did this with her father’s gravestone too and now it’s been passed down to me. The view from the cemetery is also spectacular and the area is quiet and remote so I know no one will ever bother me there.
The Bean Barn – I always use to say I wanted to, one day, open a coffee shop in Ingonish. Well, someone else beat me to it! But, although it wasn’t me who opened The Bean Barn Cafe in the center of the town, I’m glad someone finally did because that was the one thing that was lacking in Ingonish. I spend a lot of time in that area. I love coffee and before The Bean Barn, I had to drive to Baddeck or Cheticamp for a half decent cup. I love coffee shops but hate the noise and informal atmosphere at large coffee chains so this place provides a quiet, relaxed atmosphere. And because I am a freelancer, I take my work with me when I travel and this coffee shop is the perfect place to spend a few hours writing from my laptop with a cup of coffee and a slice of homemade carrot cake!