ITINERARY: Nova Scotia Nature and First NationsItinerary, Nova Scotia
Discover Nova Scotia, and embrace the province’s rich First Nations culture and Acadian history, while experiencing the stunning natural beauty of its rugged shorelines, sweeping flatlands, quaint towns, and the magnificent Cape Breton Trail. For 10,000 years, the Mi’kmaq First Nations have called the rugged, sea-swept peninsula of Nova Scotia home. Discover a living culture through local art, legends, music, spirituality, and history. Enjoy festivals, events and powwows that celebrate thriving and vibrant languages and heritage.
Province: Nova Scotia
Length: 7 Nights / 8 Days
Dates: May – September
Route: Halifax – Antigonish – Baddeck – Membertou – Eskasoni – Millbrook – Halifax
Day 1: Halifax
Arrive in Halifax and spend the day exploring Halifax. The city is located on one of the world’s largest natural harbors and bears all the hallmarks of both a modern and historic city. You can discover its proud maritime heritage in the many museums and along the waterfront area.
Days 2: Halifax – Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail – Antigonish
This morning head north on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail, where you can spend the day exploring an area rich in both culture and natural wonder. The interpretive panels located along the trail share the ever-growing story of the ancestral Debert sites. The 4.4 km trail is available to the public year-round and takes about 75 minutes to hike. Head to Antigonish later in the afternoon, where you will spend the night.
Day 3: Antigonish – Baddeck
Today, drive along the North Shore Drive through tranquil scenery and small communities that still celebrate Nova Scotia’s Scottish, First Nations and Acadian identities. Continue through the gentle rolling fields of the bay area as it transitions into the beautiful Bras D’Or Lake lowlands. Arrive at Wagmatcook Cultural and Heritage Centre.
The centre is culturally rich with exhibits, authentic cultural dinning and a selection of authentic Mi’kmaq art and craft. Storytelling is an intricate part of the Mi’kmaq culture, and in this context, you will learn about their early ways of life, hunting and fishing traditions, languages, spirituality and ceremonies. You may also wish to dine at the centre’s Clean Wave Restaurant and enjoy their authentic, traditional food. Later, continue to Baddeck, only a short drive from the cultural centre.
Day 4: Baddeck Exploring
We suggest a scenic drive along the Cabot Trail into the highlands of northern Cape Breton. The trail runs past lochs and glens settled by Scottish Highlanders and along scenic coastlines settled by Acadians. You will meander through the rugged Cape Breton Highlands National Park, enjoying stunning views of sea-swept headlands, steep cliffs and tranquil beaches. Baddeck is also home to a fascinating museum dedicated to the life and works of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.
Day 5: Baddeck – Membertou
Today, a short drive will bring you to the First Nations community of Membertou. Here, visit the Membertou Heritage Park consists of a five-acre site that offers a living history of the people of Membertou.
A large indoor exhibit and program area offers the visitor full immersion to an ancient culture. Outdoors, the visitor will experience traditional medicine gardens, demonstration areas, storytelling and performances in the amphitheater. While in Membertou, check out Kijus Restaurant and Dozay’s Native Art Gallery.
Day 6: Membertou – St Peters
Today, travel south towards Eskasoni. One of five Mi’kmaq communities in Cape Breton, and 13 in Nova Scotia, Eskasoni is the largest Mi’kmaq community in the world. For families / groups of 4 and more, spend the afternoon with Eskasoni Cultural Journeys, exploring and experiencing the rich Mi’kmaq culture. This afternoon, continue onto Chapel Island. Located on Bras d’Or Lake, it is the capital of Mi’kmakik, and a sacred Indigenous site. The island is also the home of St. Anne Mission, an important pilgrimage site for the Mí’kmaq and a place of national historic significance.
Overnight St Peters.
Day 7: St Peters – Millbrook
Depart St Peters and the shores of Bras d’or Lake, and travel through Port Hawksbury and over the Canso Causeway connecting eastern and western Nova Scotia. Once on the western shore, continue heading south to Millbrook. The Millbrook First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community located within the town of Truro. Spend the day exploring the Millbrook Cultural & Heritage Centre (Glooscap Heritage Centre) and the Mi’kmaq Museum. Glooscap, an Abenaki word for “man from nothing” was the first human, created out of a bolt of lightning in the sand, and remains a great figure that appear in many of the Mi’kmaq myths. The Centre offers a multimedia presentation of the rich history of the Mi’kmaw people, as Glooscap guides you through their trials, tribulations and triumphs. Exhibits include ancient artifacts, stunning quillwork and beadwork, and a giant statue of the legendary Glooscap.
Day 8: Millbrook – Halifax
Depart Millbrook this morning and make your way south back to Halifax to end your journey.