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Driving Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Nathaniel Welch Driving Cape Breton Island's Cabot Trail.

Photo: Nathaniel Welch

Back at the inn, we took our seats on the screened-in porch, overlooking a huge lawn and the bay, for a dinner that relied on lots of local seafood. Indeed, local seafood was also our culinary theme the following evening when we went to a church lobster supper in St. Margarets, a 15-minute drive away. Here, in a small building next to the church, we chowed down on lobster, corn, and cole slaw. The only fitting follow-up to such a meal was an evening of bingo, so we drove about an hour into P.E.I.'s capital, Charlottetown, where we joined the game at the "rec centre," which looked like a high school gymnasium full of people wearing trucker hats. Mom won 100 Canadian dollars, which, she informed us, was worth "aboot eighty-five U.S."

During the next day's six-hour drive to Cape Breton, we spent only a handful of Mom's Canadian dollars on fudge. Restraint took a backseat to desire, though, once we started driving the Cabot Trail—the spectacular 180-mile road along the tip of the island, decked out with sweeping turns, jagged cliffs, moose, and bear—and visiting antiques and junk shops. We loved poring over the heaps of handmade rugs and socks at the Co-op Artisanale in Cheticamp; we swooned over the handsome leather buckets and bags at Leather Works in Indian Brook. But our favorite shop was Myles from Nowhere, a funky, two-floored shack on the side of the road in Margaree Forks, where, caught up in the campy glamour of it all, I shelled out 28 Canadian bucks for an old wooden rolling pin. (Yes, I am so subversive and wild as to buy kitchen implements while vacationing with my mother. My friends call me Danger.)

On our last day—after an evening spent playing speed Scrabble in our hotel lobby in Baddeck—Kendy and Mom bought a lot of yarn at a jumbled, items-spilling-off-of-shelves knitting store called Baadeck Yarns, while Greg and I stumbled around the store as if trapped in a woolly spiderweb. Then we headed 90 minutes north to the small museum dedicated to one of the world's foremost hookers, Elizabeth LeFort. LeFort's hooked portraits of Jackie Kennedy and various Canadian prime ministers are astonishing in their obsessiveness, as is her 80-square-foot depiction of the Resurrection, which required eight miles of yarn and two million stitches, and was shown in a gallery with piped-in Gregorian chants. "Well, you've been to the Elizabeth LeFort museum," Mom said to us two non-hookers as we walked back to the car. "You can die now."

En route to the Halifax airport, Kendy, in the backseat, said to Greg and me, "I'm about to get very personal with you." Greg speculated, "Boxers or briefs?" No. Rather, she reached over the seat and took a tape measure to both of our heads. The meaning of this act did not dawn on us for a month, until Greg and I were mailed scarves (knit by Mom) and hats (knit by Kendy), the latter cleverly accessorized with Scrabble tiles sewn into them.

They'd turned the situation into a game, and then reproduced it in wool.

Henry Alford is a T+L contributing editor. He also writes for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

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