Andy really wanted to check out the maritime heritage in Pictou and the lighthouses enroute, but still feeling the lingering effects of food poisoning, we decided to stay a tad closer to home and check out some of the sights between the campground and Antigonish. Today’s plan included – a scenic drive around a couple of headlands to check out the beaches, browsing through a quilt shop, checking out the “Made in Nova Scotia” souvenir shop and finally groceries and possibly Walmart.
The direct route to Antigonish down Hwy # 104 is about 20 miles, but the trips around the headlands increases the distance to a shade over 30 miles, through some spectacular countryside. The extra distance is definitely worth it. We started on the old Hwy # 4 and turned onto Summerside Road, which is a circuitous route around the first headland. While the area doesn’t have really any formal towns or villages, on both sides of the road we drove past many homes built in land that had been cleared adjacent to the highway. You will find areas where a single home was built all on it’s own and other areas where a few homes are built next to each other. This is something that we don’t see in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
First point of interest sign we spotted was Bayfield Provincial Park, so off we headed towards the water. Doesn’t require much of an excuse to get us heading towards the ocean and a beach. Approaching the ocean the dogs perked up, with noses twitching out of the window, even they are excited about visiting a beach. Driving past the beach we spotted a small harbour about 1/2 mile down the road, so we checked it out before the beach.
This is a great little and well protected harbour, as this morning we had a very fresh 30 kt offshore breeze, creating good wind waves, over a short fetch, but as can be seen in the harbour photograph it is quiet and peaceful.
On leaving the harbour we stopped in the vicinity of the Bayfield Provincial Park, but being a Saturday we saw a good many cars in the parking lot. Mind you that was a rather feeble excuse not to hit the beach, with the real reason more likely to be the almost gale force wind that was blowing.
This was taken from the truck window while stopped at the side of the road. It looks like really long and shallow entry into the water, most unfortunate about the wind, as the dogs would have loved to play in the water.
A really sad dog, he can see the ocean, smell the ocean, but nobody is getting out of the truck to open the door so he can get to the ocean.
Back onto Summerside Road and continuing our journey around the headland, and we see a sign Old Ferry Road. That might be interesting, so off we go hurtling down a gravel road for about 2 miles. Except for the last couple of hundred yards the gravel road was actually in better shape than some of the paved roads. It took us to a small clearing right by the water, which is the narrow entrance to Pomquet Harbour. Couldn’t find any information on an old ferry, but it definitely has a road leading to the water on each side. Must have been quite a ride, as the current and wind waves were substantial. Didn’t like the look of the current so again we didn’t let the dogs out, so after a quick stop we were back on the road.
Summerside Road returned to Old Hwy # 4, which we stayed on for a few minutes before turning onto Pomquet Monks Head Road, for the circumnavigation of the second headland. This is very much an Acadian settlement, which had numerous single homes along the road, but also a good sized village. We saw a sign for Pomquet Point, so drove down a gravel road for a few miles, but it dead ended at a farm. Next sign we saw was Pomquet Beach Provincial Park, which you guessed required navigating along yet another gravel road. This time it was just dreadful and we were down to about 5 mph in some places. I added more air to the bags in the rear to try and remove some of the jarring. It did help the ride slightly. Finally we reached the beach parking lot.
Being Saturday we found a number of people, including children on the beach so we elected to keep the dogs on leashes and not let them into the water. So after a short walk across the dunes onto the beach, we returned to the truck to suffer the return journey back up the gravel road. The photo below was taken from the bridge into the park and shows the back of the wind waves caused by the almost gale force winds.
Shortly after returning to the paved highway, we ended up on yet another gravel road connecting us to Southside Harbour Road, which is where the quilt shop is located. The GPS couldn’t find either the quilt shop or the address, so Judi’s job was to keep an eye out for the sign. Well we drove the entire length of the road and didn’t see any sign for a quilt shop, or the house number. We can only assume that since it was Saturday they were closed and had removed the sign, so as not to be disturbed.
Cross that off the agenda, so we punched in the souvenir shop and headed to downtown Antigonish. Just on the outskirts of downtown we saw the shop, wow it’s tiny, but fortunately had street parking right outside. It was a meter spot, but you only had to feed the meters Monday to Friday. It was an interesting little shop with a huge selection from jams and preserves to knitwear. Didn’t see a made in China sticker anywhere – my type of shop.
By the time we finished the grocery shopping Andy, still suffering from food poisoning was beat, so we took the direct route back to the campground and chilled for the rest of the day.
I noticed you may have missed French River, the best panoramic view in PEI!
Affirmative we missed the Western Section passed New London, just ran out of time on the only day we had on the North Central Coast. We had agreed that our next trip to PEI will be about 4 weeks.