Canada to USA road trip.

(...) I'm more than happy to explore NS, NB and nip over into Maine to get a fix of the Good ol US of A (avoiding Quebec - your not French so stop trying). She does like the idea of Niagara so I could maybe sell her on heading for Buffalo and back as long as there's a suitable waterpark along the way (promises have been made to the actually important female in my life).
As a geographic note, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are collectively known as the Maritime Provinces, or just "the Maritimes". Add Newfoundland and Labrador to the mix and they become the Atlantic Provinces. The distinction is due to history, as Newfoundland didn't join Canada until after WWII.

In New Brunswick the St John Valley is the longest settled part and where the population is concentrated. The main settlement wave came as refugees from the American Revolution were evacuated there before the British pulled out of the rebellious colonies to the south. These people are referred to as "Loyalists", so any tourist sights advertised as being in connection with "Loyalists" is likely to have some sort of historical aspect to it. As a side note, more of the Loyalists pushed on up the St John Valley on foot and by ox cart, up the St Lawrence, and then into Ontario. Thus there are many references to Loyalists in Ontario as well.

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. You may want to keep a tide table in mind if you intend to visit anything along the shore line. The Flower Pot Rocks, also known as Hopewell Rocks are one of the classic tourist sights. They are pillars of rock rising out of the sea along the shore. If you plan to visit them, keep the tides in mind and plan accordingly. See the link below for information.


There are tidal bores in the rivers emptying into the Bay of Fundy. The one on the St John River known as the "Reversing Falls" is the most famous, but there are others as well. On some rivers there are rafting tours which let you ride the tidal bore (recall that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world). Again, remember to consult tide tables if you want to see them. The size of the tidal bores will depend upon the phase of the moon, as that affects the height of the tide. Some people surf the tidal bores, but it's not likely something you can plan to fit into a vacation.

The area is also known for covered bridges, and includes the word's longest. The smaller ones are more typical however. The design of the bridges was originally intended to reduce maintenance requirements by keeping rain and snow off. They are now considered to be quaint tourist attractions. Here is a typical example.



In Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island is considered to be exceptionally scenic. The Cabot Trail highway loops around the north end of this large island, through mountains and along cliffs above the sea. There is a specific direction which is recommended to go, but I can't recall which it is. I think it's counter-clockwise, but you may wish to confirm that. It's been a while since I was there, but I can recall some spectacular views.

The area was settled by Scottish from the highlands, but then later largely bypassed by progress until recently. The result is that there is still a heavy older Scottish cultural influence.





Also on Cape Breton Island is the Fortress of Louisbourg. This is a reconstruction of a French fortress town which was built as a base for the French fishing industry. At its peak it was the third busiest port in North America. Halifax was built by the British to counter it. It was well located from a commercial point of view, but poorly located from a military perspective and so indefensible from the landward direction in any practical sense despite the walls. Britain captured the town during the mid 18th century, ejected the population, and destroyed it. It was partially reconstructed on the same spot in the 1960s as a tourist attraction (and as a make-work project, as the area was economically depressed with the decline of coal mining).


Another sight is a museum at Alexander Graham Bell's summer home, Beinn Bhreagh. There is a large lake in the middle of the island (Bras d'or Lake) which makes the island rather like a doughnut, and Bell's home is at the northern end of it. The house itself is still privately owned by his descendants and not open to the public, but there is a museum dedicated to him nearby. After he made loads of money in the communications business, Bell continued to experiment in many areas at his home here. His work included experiments with aircraft and hydrofoils. One of his planes made the first flight in the British Empire. There's lots of Bell related artefacts in the museum.
Aircraft.

Hydrofoil in museum.


The only town of any size (and it's not very big) on Cape Breton Island is Sydney. It's an old coal mining and steel town which went into decline in the latter part of the 20th century as the steel and coal industries closed down. There's nothing to see there so far as I am aware.

PEI (Prince Edward Island) has some nice sandy beaches, but a day on the beach will depend on the weather. There is a tourist attraction known as Anne of Green Gables House. For some unfathomable reason the Japanese tourists are (or at least were, last I heard) bonkers over it. Be aware that Anne of Green Gables was a work of fiction by author Lucy Maud Montgomery and the house is based on the novel about her. Various plays, films, and television shows were based on the novel of a young orphan girl growing up in rural PEI in the late 19th century. The house is intended as a representation of Anne's (fictional) life. Whether or not this appeals to your daughter will depend on whether she's a fan of that sort of thing, but it's one of the classic children's stories and well known around the world.



If you're in the Maritimes you should of course plan on eating sea food at least occasionally. The area is a big producer of lobster, so if that appeals to you it should be readily available.
 
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As a geographic note, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are collectively known as the Maritime Provinces, or just "the Maritimes". Add Newfoundland and Labrador to the mix and they become the Atlantic Provinces. The distinction is due to history, as Newfoundland didn't join Canada until after WWII.

In New Brunswick the St John Valley is the longest settled part and where the population is concentrated. The main settlement wave came as refugees from the American Revolution were evacuated there before the British pulled out of the rebellious colonies to the south. These people are referred to as "Loyalists", so any tourist sights advertised as being in connection with "Loyalists" is likely to have some sort of historical aspect to it. As a side note, more of the Loyalists pushed on up the St John Valley on foot and by ox cart, up the St Lawrence, and then into Ontario. Thus there are many references to Loyalists in Ontario as well.

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. You may want to keep a tide table in mind if you intend to visit anything along the shore line. The Flower Pot Rocks, also known as Hopewell Rocks are one of the classic tourist sights. They are pillars of rock rising out of the sea along the shore. If you plan to visit them, keep the tides in mind and plan accordingly. See the link below for information.


There are tidal bores in the rivers emptying into the Bay of Fundy. The one on the St John River known as the "Reversing Falls" is the most famous, but there are others as well. On some rivers there are rafting tours which let you ride the tidal bore (recall that the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world). Again, remember to consult tide tables if you want to see them. The size of the tidal bores will depend upon the phase of the moon, as that affects the height of the tide. Some people surf the tidal bores, but it's not likely something you can plan to fit into a vacation.

The area is also known for covered bridges, and includes the word's longest. The smaller ones are more typical however. The design of the bridges was originally intended to reduce maintenance requirements by keeping rain and snow off. They are now considered to be quaint tourist attractions. Here is a typical example.



In Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island is considered to be exceptionally scenic. The Cabot Trail highway loops around the north end of this large island, through mountains and along cliffs above the sea. There is a specific direction which is recommended to go, but I can't recall which it is. I think it's counter-clockwise, but you may wish to confirm that. It's been a while since I was there, but I can recall some spectacular views.

The area was settled by Scottish from the highlands, but then later largely bypassed by progress until recently. The result is that there is still a heavy older Scottish cultural influence.





Also on Cape Breton Island is the Fortress of Louisbourg. This is a reconstruction of a French fortress town which was built as a base for the French fishing industry. At its peak it was the third busiest port in North America. Halifax was built by the British to counter it. It was well located from a commercial point of view, but poorly located from a military perspective and so indefensible from the landward direction in any practical sense despite the walls. Britain captured the town during the mid 18th century, ejected the population, and destroyed it. It was partially reconstructed on the same spot in the 1960s as a tourist attraction (and as a make-work project, as the area was economically depressed with the decline of coal mining).


Another sight is a museum at Alexander Graham Bell's summer home, Beinn Bhreagh. There is a large lake in the middle of the island (Bras d'or Lake) which makes the island rather like a doughnut, and Bell's home is at the northern end of it. The house itself is still privately owned by his descendants and not open to the public, but there is a museum dedicated to him nearby. After he made loads of money in the communications business, Bell continued to experiment in many areas at his home here. His work included experiments with aircraft and hydrofoils. One of his planes made the first flight in the British Empire. There's lots of Bell related artefacts in the museum.
Aircraft.

Hydrofoil in museum.


The only town of any size (and it's not very big) on Cape Breton Island is Sydney. It's an old coal mining and steel town which went into decline in the latter part of the 20th century as the steel and coal industries closed down. There's nothing to see there so far as I am aware.

PEI (Prince Edward Island) has some nice sandy beaches, but a day on the beach will depend on the weather. There is a tourist attraction known as Anne of Green Gables House. For some unfathomable reason the Japanese tourists are (or at least were, last I heard) bonkers over it. Be aware that Anne of Green Gables was a work of fiction by author Lucy Maud Montgomery and the house is based on the novel about her. Various plays, films, and television shows were based on the novel of a young orphan girl growing up in rural PEI in the late 19th century. The house is intended as a representation of Anne's (fictional) life. Whether or not this appeals to your daughter will depend on whether she's a fan of that sort of thing, but it's one of the classic children's stories and well known around the world.



If you're in the Maritimes you should of course plan on eating sea food at least occasionally. The area is a big producer of lobster, so if that appeals to you it should be readily available.
You missed magnetic hill in NB if you’re suggesting things that might amuse children and make adults feel like they threw their money away.

Cape Breton may have a strong Scottish tone, but you neglected to add there’s a large number of frog enclaves spread throughout it. You can do the circuit either way as there are numerous lookouts along the way.
 
You missed magnetic hill in NB if you’re suggesting things that might amuse children and make adults feel like they threw their money away.

Cape Breton may have a strong Scottish tone, but you neglected to add there’s a large number of frog enclaves spread throughout it. You can do the circuit either way as there are numerous lookouts along the way.
I found Magnetic Hill to be rather uninteresting, although that is a personal opinion and others may find it more appealing. It's OK as a stop along the way, but it's not worth making a large detour over. To those who are not familiar with it, it's an optical illusion in the landscape which causes a mild downhill slope to look like a mild uphill slope. You stop and put your car in neutral and it looks like your car is rolling "uphill" on its own.

With regards to which way to go around the Cabot Trail, I don't think it makes a huge difference. I think it mainly has to do with whether you are going in the lane closest to the sea (and so closest to the edge of the cliff), or away from it. You get a slightly better view in the former case and getting in and out of the scenic outlooks is easier. On the other hand some people prefer it in the less popular direction as they are then less likely to get stuck behind a lumbering RV going uphill. It's a good, broad, two lane highway with guard rails, not a goat track, so there's no safety consideration to this. I think I drove it the "wrong" way around with no problems, but that was quite a while ago so I can't recall for sure.
 
Last year in a desperate attempt to avoid a 'Big joint 50th party' Major Sunray announced we were having I quickly suggested a trip to the Colonies and at the time Texas - I may have been watching a Gas Monkey Garage type prog at the time.

With the foolish belief that we had a Government event slightly competent I decided not to book anything until after Brexit so everything had a chance to calm down re ticket prices, £-$ exchange and so on and said I'd book the flights in the New Year.

Now having perused Skyscanner and the like the Texas idea has cooled a bit with me and I don't want to do NY this time; we'd both like to see a bit more of North America beyond the cities so I've hit on the idea of starting at Halifax NS and driving down to Boston. Originally it was Halifax-Maine and looping back to Halifax but she doesn't want to do that.
Naturally we don't want to just sit on the freeway with a 6 year old for 11 hours and fly home so I'm looking at advice for Premier Inn type hotels along the way, ideas of things to see? I imagine that a Canadian car hire firm would probably like their vehicle back in Canada at the end of the trip so I'm also wondering if the transition over the border should be on the train to add another experience?
Bluelight card, veterans badge (and card by then as everyone will get getting them in November :rolleyes: ) will be waved to grab discounts where possible - I have recorded previously on here just how tight I am.

Fine members of Arrse can you put some flesh on the bones of this idea?
We have done 2 fly / drive and a fly / motorhome trips to America, when we did the fly / drives we booked the hotels in advance on Expedia, avoids driving on and on if the hotel is full. I recommend Best Western, Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites (Available in Canada as well as the States) for cheap, comfortable, clean & spacious rooms. I would also recommend driving no further than 400 miles a day to avoid fatigue and allowing plenty of stops for scenery and food.

if you want the best experience though, go for a motorhome, we are talking huge spacious Winibago type
 
Kicking around the motorhome idea, depends on hire & pitch costs V hotel & car - tight bastard as previously mentioned :)

Noticed Magic Mountain when skimming over the map on TripAdvisor and thought it'll tick that particular requirement, chuck in a large Wallmart and Mall and thats really the female demands taken care of.
 
@stanley_bomb_squad

I saw the references to the Cabot Trail and Cape Breton Island. A really really very beautiful area to visit. Much of the area is Gàidhealtachd, Gaelic speaking. Scenery is spectacular, a bit like coasts of Scotland and Ireland.
If you go to Cape Breton you might check out the Red Shoe Pub in the tiny town of Mabou. Decent food, including seafood, food for kids etc. Owned by the Rankin family, local musicians. (Rankin family-you tube)
Summer time they have music 7 nights a week. If you are lucky the Rankin sisters might perform.

Maine
Maine has beautiful scenery and nice to drive through. Interstate 95 (I95) is faster, farther from the coast, less scenic IMHO. US Route 1 is secondary US highway, goes near coast and through pretty towns. (US 1 actually goes from the Canadian border to Key West, Florida)
Rockland, Maine is pretty and home to sailing schooners that do cruises.
Acadia National Park which includes Cadillac Mountain is lovely. Puffins etc along the coast. View from Cadillac is pretty impressive, you can drive to the top. Near Acadia is the town of Bar Harbor with nice restaurants etc.

If driving anywhere in Maine at night be careful as there might be bears or moose in the road. If you wanted to design an animal to kill car passengers you would design a moose. (long legs, high center of gravity, huge rack). I was at a FEMA conference in Oreno, ME a number of years ago and Maine public safety people told me that 50% of car vs moose accidents involve a human fatality. I thought they were trying to impress a city guy. On my way home I stopped at a car vs moose on I95. Driver shaken up but his elderly wife had bad facial injuries. The Maine people had not been pulling my leg.

Odd historical thing: Along the US Canada border in the Madawaska valley region there is an area primarily francophone. The area was part of the US before the Canadian confederation existed. Maine was part of Massachusetts until around 1820.

A couple of restaurants I have eaten at a few times:
Maine Diner, Wells Maine - Southern Maine, south of Portland on US 1. As the name indicates a diner with usual diner food and breakfast all day but also has lobster dishes at lower prices than the places with tablecloths.

Taste of Maine, Woolwich Maine on US 1 just north of Bath, Maine. excellent seafood.
Back when the wife was USN and later USN Reserve we got to this area as she would have to do Navy things at Bath Iron Works which was cranking out FFG's at a good rate or she had to do events at Naval Air Station Brunswick nearby.
NAS Brunswick was closed during the Obama years. It used to have squadrons of P-3's that patrolled the Greenland-Iceland-UK gaps to look for Russian subs. The politicians decided it made more sense to station the planes patrolling the North Atlantic in Florida rather than Maine and Massachusetts.

In Portland there are many pubs and restaurants in the Old Port section of town. I like Portland Lobster Company on the docks. Lobster is not cheap but decent value for the price here.

@stanley_bomb_squad - Wherever you go I hope you, wife and kid have a great time.
 
It's a bit off the beaten track, but I've always wanted to hear someone's personal review of this place in Wiscasset, ME. I watched this special, and damn these sandwiches look good.

 
It's a bit off the beaten track, but I've always wanted to hear someone's personal review of this place in Wiscasset, ME. I watched this special, and damn these sandwiches look good.

Now that is a genuine New England lobster roll. The barbarians in New York and New Jersey chop up the lobster and add lots of chopped celery and mayonnaise . More celery and mayonnaise than lobster!!
New England style is a grilled roll with lobster and melted butter. Period!!!!

Sadly some places, under influence from tourists, have started adding mayonnaise, an abomination!!!!

@Gun_Brickie - Wiscassett is on Route 1, about 10 miles north of Bath and Woolwich mentioned in an earlier post.

PS - The young man, 23, from across the street spends the summers working out in the morning and he eats two lobster rolls for lunch every day
 
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Now that is a genuine New England lobster roll. The barbarians in New York and New Jersey chop up the lobster and add lots of chopped celery and mayonnaise . More celery and mayonnaise than lobster!!
New England style is a grilled roll with lobster and melted butter. Period!!!!

Sadly some places, under influence from tourists, have started adding mayonnaise, an abomination!!!!

@Gun_Brickie - Wiscassett is on Route 1, about 10 miles north of Bath and Woolwich mentioned in an earlier post.
To me, lobster should only have butter on it, and that's all. I'd love to try that place, but I'm damned if I'm driving 400 miles for a sandwich.
 
Thanks guys.

Had the conversation again the other day after having a quick look at RVs which does look like a winner to me.
She brings up now wanting to go to NYC (from Halifax) and not wanting to do a loop because she doesn't want to go back on herself....its a loop I point out we wont be at the same places. So her next logic is that she doesn't want to spend a week staring out of the window of a car/RV, which in some magical way wont happen if you drive to NYC??
But wife, remember the first trip to NYC we had a look at 'popping' up to Niagra Falls as its the same state and discovered its very far away.
 
Kicking around the motorhome idea, depends on hire & pitch costs V hotel & car - tight bastard as previously mentioned :)

Noticed Magic Mountain when skimming over the map on TripAdvisor and thought it'll tick that particular requirement, chuck in a large Wallmart and Mall and thats really the female demands taken care of.
The motorhome option is a little pricey, we paid $2500 for 2 weeks, this was with Cruise America (Cruise Canada also exists), who weren’t the cheapest but seemed to offer the best package for the price, we paid extra for a catering pack, saucepans, cooking utensils etc. We didn’t go for the bedding package as we felt it was over priced, we bought cheap bedding from Walmart on the first day. Also like any hire vehicle, note any damage and take pictures before the start of your holiday / journey, we did so and were able to prove a damaged wheel arch was not down to us. You will find they will ask for a credit card for a pre-authorised $500 deposit to cover any damage.
Regards pitch costs, we joined the KOA (Campsites of America) before going, about $20 for the year, this gave us discounts on all the campsites we visited, we were able to pre-book and pay for all sites (pay on arrival is also possible but you do also have to pay a deposit before hand). All sites were KAO campsites, which also ensured good quality pitches, we paid from $30 - $40 per night, but every pitch we stayed at had mains water, mains sewage (direct hook-up to a sewage meant no draining the on board tank), electric power, fire pit (bbq) and grass pitch with plenty of room for the huge rig we had.
The motorhome came with aircon, microwave, 4 hob cooker with oven, on board generator (we used it once to heat last nights pizza whilst on the road), full size shower, storage area for suitcases, outdoor table and chairs, two double beds plus two sofas that converted to single beds. The engine was a 5 litre petrol engine that wasn’t too bad on fuel, we traveled 2500 miles and filled up about 5 times, approx $90 a fill.
 
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Following a reasoned conversation with her and chucking in that you cant do a drop off at a different location when its another bloody country she accepted the loop idea.
RVs looked at and discounted as MHT pointed out a little pricey, more so when after parting with 3K you then need to buy add on packs so you can have frivolous items such as a KFS, mug, plate (per person mind).

Current rough plan is Halifax - Moncton (to pick up Magic Mountain and please Minor Sunray) then on down to Bangor/Portland. Then away from the wet wobbly thing and head toward White Mountain National Forest, then St John and back to Halifax.

So the important question for our Colonial friends is which hotel/motel chains likely to be generous with discounts for foreign veterans/serving members of one of Her Majesties Constabularies?
:)
 

Sixty

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I'm more than happy to explore NS, NB and nip over into Maine to get a fix of the Good ol US of A (avoiding Quebec - your not French so stop trying).
Get yourself into La Belle Province as well, you fanny. It's spectacular.
 
Following a reasoned conversation with her and chucking in that you cant do a drop off at a different location when its another bloody country she accepted the loop idea.
RVs looked at and discounted as MHT pointed out a little pricey, more so when after parting with 3K you then need to buy add on packs so you can have frivolous items such as a KFS, mug, plate (per person mind).

Current rough plan is Halifax - Moncton (to pick up Magic Mountain and please Minor Sunray) then on down to Bangor/Portland. Then away from the wet wobbly thing and head toward White Mountain National Forest, then St John and back to Halifax.

So the important question for our Colonial friends is which hotel/motel chains likely to be generous with discounts for foreign veterans/serving members of one of Her Majesties Constabularies?
:)
You can do a Canada to US drop-off, it is just they charge a friggin fortune if you do it.
When visiting my son in Montreal for his B'day, Dec 1, 2001, my Chevy SUV was stolen. I had owned it less than a week, less than 1000 miles on the clock. The constables from P-SCUM were nice but told me that by the time I called them the car was already in a container in the port of Montreal heading for Russia. Rented the ride home and the extra for one way was large.

(note: back then the police were Policier-Surete Communite Urbaine de Montreal. When the city expanded they changed the names of agencies and the police are now SPVM. The froggy sorts were not thinking what acronyms sounded like in English. The old acronym sounding like some foul stuff on a toilet floor.)

Re: Sixty's comment, Quebec City is great to visit. I have not been there for 30+ years but the Quebec Hilton was nice and as the wife was then active USN they gave a discount. The Hilton in on Parliament Hill. The Old City, down near the river is nice to visit, very old. Also nice is the Citadelle, which has museums etc. They charge something for admission now. It is the home of a regiment of the Canadian Army (red tunics, furry hats sort). At certain times of the year the Governor General/Viceroy is in residence and the hours might vary.
 
Done Quebec and I agree its lovely- with the exception of the Hotel we stayed in which was clearly given planning while everyone was stoned in the 70s and in the unlikely event I want chips, cheese and gravy the local chippy does em better.
 
Done Quebec and I agree its lovely- with the exception of the Hotel we stayed in which was clearly given planning while everyone was stoned in the 70s and in the unlikely event I want chips, cheese and gravy the local chippy does em better.
In Quebec even McDonald's serves poutine.
 
After various re-writes and increasing frustration with airlines and their now normal thing of if you want a change of clothes in a week you need a more expensive ticket to stick a bag in the hold, we have booked flights to Boston via Dublin - so can clear immigration there at least.
My current plan is a reverse of the original but heading to St John along the coast and then inland on the return trip to Boston.
So this morning I'm playing around looking at where we stay when we land and if we get the car at the airport or use the train to somewhere like Beverley/Salem and pick up there the next day and she drops the idea that rather than have any real plan of where we're heading on a particular day we just float along and book accommodation via Airbnb each day so if we like somewhere we can stop longer.
Now if I suggested that you can guess what the answer would be!!
 

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