Josie’s Rouden Daach: Base Camp for your Nova Scotia Explorations

Rouden Daach is conveniently located for comfortable day trips exploring Nova Scotia’s eastern coast. ‘Nearby’ is a relative term; you need a car and time to explore some of these places, but given that, there is a lot within your scope. You could venture into Cape Breton one day, and head off for shopping, the Halifax Waterfront and the Citadel the next. Many festivals and activities beckon you to come play. Enjoy, then come back and unwind, put your feet up, and soak up the peace, serenity and beauty of your home base.

Some suggestions:

Take the ferry for a trip to Prince Edward Island, the smallest province in Canada. The ferry is only 45 minutes from Rouden Daach.

Three kilometers (1.9 miles) from the Red Roof is Arisaig Provincial Park, known for its unique fossils from 400 million years ago, when Nova Scotia was part of the super-continent Pangea. (Note: you will also find these fossils on Rouden Daach’s very own beach.)

About 10 minutes from Rouden Daach Bed & Breakfast, turn off Hwy 245 to follow the modest little sign that says “Big Island” to find a beach offering pretty views across the inlet, and fascinating beachcombing possibilities.

If hiking is what you love to do, you’ll find plenty of opportunities: the Fairmot Hiking trail, Beaver Mountain Park, Cape George hiking trails … each of these are well marked with various difficulty levels, and all make perfect day trips within easy reach of Rouden Daach.

On our doorstep are the trails of the Dunmaglass. We can pack you a lunch and you can enjoy the vistas from Eigg Mountain.

Rouden Daach is a half hour drive to two golf courses, with a few other good choices about an hour away. To start you off, check out any of these three to set up your tee time:

Just a short hop away, Melmerby Beach beckons you with what has been described as the finest beach in Nova Scotia. Interesting dune grasses, drift fences and seashells will have you digging out your camera, and the soft sand and warm water of the Northumberland Strait will help make this an outing to remember.

Twenty-five kilometers (15.5 miles) away is the picturesque college town of Antigonish, site of the famous Celtic Highland Games held
in July.

Along the coast between Rouden Daach and Antigonish, you first encounter the dramatic mountain views of the ocean along Cape George, and as you near Antigonish, you can explore the famous Crystal Cliffs, a rare and ancient sea bed deposit of alabaster.

Past Antigonish on the Trans Canada Highway, follow the world famous Cabot Trail, which loops around Cape Breton. Check out the natural and historic attractions in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada. Keep that camera battery charged – no doubt you will have countless picture perfect photo opportunities along the way. Be it moose, bald eagle, or old fishing village, you will be enchanted.

While in Cape Breton, have some fun and stop in at the Glenora Inn & Distillery, which lays claim to being North America’s only single-malt whisky distillery & inn.

In the other direction lies Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia. The drive to that pretty city takes about 2 hours.

More photo ops abound at the Citadel Fortress in Halifax. Rudyard Kipling’s “The Warden of the North” is one of Canada’s most visited tourist sites. It includes a meticulous restoration of the fortifications built from 1775 to 1855, and militia reenacting military drills of bygone eras in their period uniforms. There are many displays and genuine details of that life – the clothing, food, sleeping quarters, and workshops of the Citadel.

Let your feet take you down the hill to Halifax’s waterfront. Always interesting with many events and festivals, it is also full of fascinating shops, quaint old pubs and first class dining.

Do plan to go watch some Whales. A short sail out in one of the many tour boats like this one, pictured at bottom left, will bring you within easy proximity of these amazing creatures. It is a very special feeling to see these gentle giants of the Atlantic up close, unfettered and free.