Monday, July 21, 2014

I Compiled a List of the Best of the Best and here is the final List of my Favorite Places

Lingan Wind Farm – In the mid-80’s, a large, unsightly and dirty power generating station was built along the shore of Lingan Bay. Today, that generating station is being phased out and replaced by cleaner energy, including windmills which have already been put up in the area. The Lingan Wind Farm is located along that same shore and a gravel road runs alongside those mills to create a very nice walking trail along the shoreline. I love to walk this trail right to the end where there are old barracks perched near the cliffs and the view is spectacular.
The Road that Passes Through Donkin and Port Morien – I love this drive and it is the one I probably do the most often on my daily coffee run. Shoreline, beaches, scenery, wildlife (I often see bald eagles, deer and foxes along this road), very little traffic and its not very far from where I live. What else could one ask for in a daily coffee run?

The Church in Cheticamp – I’m not religious but I often make a stop at this church on the main road in Cheticamp and its something my family has always done whenever we pass through the community. As a child, my mom always took my sisters and I in there to light a candle at the alter and it was said that if you made a wish on one of those candles, it would come true. I don’t know if it was pure coincidence but some of those wishes did come true. The church is old and beautiful inside and its almost haunting in how quiet it is and how every little sound echoes in the stillness within.

The Walking Track at 14 Yard – To many people, exercise sounds like work but for me, it is a necessity. I exercise everyday. It keeps me healthy and disciplined and reduces stress. My daily 5 kilometer walk ( or job depending on how I am feeling) around the track at 14 yard is my escape. It gets me out of the house and lets me escape for an hour into a world of just me and my music (I bring my ipod along with me). This hour allows me to not only do something healthy, but to think and reorganize my thoughts or just go off into another world with my favorite songs setting the backdrop.

The Canso Causeway – A landmark accomplishment on any road trip; on the way out of Cape Breton, it signifies two hours knocked off the journey and a traditional rest stop at the Big Stop gas station and restaurant. On the way home from any road trip, it signifies that I have reached home. Home is always on the Port Hawkesbury side of the causeway even though my house is actually two more hours of driving. On any particularly long trip, the causeway is a sign that I am on that last homestretch!

St. Ann’s Look-off – Near the top of Kelly’s Mountain on the right side heading west is a rest stop that doubles as a scenic look-off over St. Anne’s Bay. I stop here almost every time I pass through the area to eat lunch and enjoy my coffee while looking out over the scenic view that consists of rolling hills, a large bay and distant fields.

Fort Petrie- located only ten minutes from my home, I often go to Fort Petrie to watch the boats come and go in Sydney Harbour and the sun set over the vast horizon. I often see the Newfoundland ferries heading out to sea and wish I was onboard so I, too, could be headed to The Rock and my former home where many of my friends are still living.

Water St., St. John’s, NL – I love main streets in cities. They are so exciting and colorful. I’ve walked many colorful main streets in many cities around North America but none really compare to the main street in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Water St, is a fairly long and narrow street that runs through the downtown district of the city. With it’s colorful and old buildings, unique local shops, numerous cafes catering to every type of coffee drinker, every type of restaurant and live music venue you can think of, professional and amateur buskers displaying their talent to the masses and tons of little parks and benches to just sit and relax, there is no shortage of action on this street. I love to go down there early in the morning and sit on a bench with my coffee and a book. In the evening, I like to just walk the street listening to the music, people-watching and just enjoying the colorful sights and sounds around me.

Grand Narrows/Iona – For some reason, I don’t travel to this part of Cape Breton as much but it is still one of my favorite areas of the island. While I usually prefer to be near the ocean and mountains, it is nice to be lakeside and in “softer” surroundings once and a while. And besides, the Bras d’Or lakes are much like an ocean in size! I love how quiet this area of the island is and how there are less people wandering about. There are so many places to just sit and relax and not have to worry about there being crowds around. I love the little wharf area in Grand Narrows where there is also a little rocky beach and a dock. Sometimes there are even little country markets where you can buy some fresh produce and homemade sweets and listen to some fiddle music.

The Drive Across Newfoundland – Yes, I know, this is not really a place but it is a route that I often take when traveling from my home in Cape Breton to the city of St. John’s in Newfoundland and each and every trip across (and there have been dozens) has been memorable in one way or another. The drive starts in Port Aux Basques and heads along the Trans Canada heading east. Along the way, there are mountains, small towns and villages, scenic look-offs, valleys, rivers and strange places with interesting stories behind them. Take, for example, the Wreckhouse area. No one lives in this beautiful, barren valley surrounded by mountains and there is a reason for that; its too windy! When the winds in the Wreckhouse area are at their highest, traffic comes to a standstill and anyone brave enough to try and pass through may end up in some trouble. Large transport trucks have been known to be blown over by these winds. I usually take the DRL bus across the island and many interesting stories and memories have come out of those many trips. New friendships, bus breakdowns, broken heaters, lost luggage, drunken and rowdy passengers, off-the-wall conversations with complete strangers, near run-ins with moose and snowstorms are just a few of the interesting things I recall!

The Cabot Trail – Again, not a specific place but a scenic drive…one of the most scenic drives on the planet! And that’s not just my opinion, the trail has been voted as such by many travel publications numerous times over the years. A trip around the trail is one of my favorite things I look forward to in the warmer months. I get up early. Load up the car with lunch and beach supplies and go for the day or overnight depending on how much time I have to work with. I go around via Cheticamp, stopping in Inverness and Margaree along the way and spending some time in the village of Cheticamp. I than make my way over the mountains and through Pleasant Bay and Cape North towards Ingonish where I will, again spend some time at the beaches and hiking trails. The drive is peaceful even when there are many people around. Windy, narrow roads snaking over mountains and through valleys and along rugged coastline. It’s heaven on Earth!

And Finally…My car! – I don’t know what I would do without my 2009 black Sonata. The begin with, it’s everything I wanted in a car. When I went car shopping, I was looking for a spacious, black car with a sunroof and great-sounding stereo. The first car I eyed was the one I ended up buying. It had those things and more. Of course, I was smart about it and test drove some other cars around the city but I came back for this one. I took it on a long road trip the first weekend I had it and it met all my standards. Good handling, no weird noises, comfortable…Now it’s my sanctuary. It not only gets me to work and back every day, it gets me out of the house when I am tired of sitting around in one place, it takes me to all my favorite places and beyond and it is where I retreat to when I am having a bad day. I just get behind the wheel, crank the stereo with my favorite tunes and drive off into the unknown and that is my cure-all for any bad day!

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