From: July 15 to July 23, 2017

Destination: Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Highlights of Nova Scotia - FULL

    Nova Scotia offers an enticing combination of outdoor adventure, fascinating history, and great wildlife viewing. Completely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it is particularly known for the high tides of the Bay of Fundy, the Cape Breton Highlands, its many picturesque fishing villages, and the migratory wildlife that includes puffins and whales, as well as many other seabirds. We'll start our adventure in Halifax, Nova Scotia's capital and a very happening city. We'll visit two of its most popular sites, the craggy headlands of Peggy's Cove and the historic town of Lunenburg with its many brightly colored houses, before heading north to the Bay Of Fundy. We'll watch the tides roar in from the heights of Cape Split and the vantage point of a raft. Then it's on to the Cape Breton Highlands and the world famous Cabot Trail. We'll go hiking, sea kayaking, and whale and wildlife watching, and we'll hope to find some of the music that epitomizes its rich Gaelic heritage. Maximum group size: 12

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).

  • Saturday, July 15
    Arrive Halifax anytime before 5 pm. We'll meet as a group for the first time at 6 pm at our Halifax hotel for a Welcome and introductions. We'll continue getting to know each other as we go out for our first dinner together. Since many of us will be tired from traveling, bedtime is likely to be early tonight - unless of course, we can find some music to listen to. Overnight Halifax Day

    Sunday, July 16
    We'll start our trip with a visit Peggy's Cove, a small fishing village that is one of Nova Scotia's iconic sites and home to the most photographed lighthouse in the world. Before arriving at the village, we'll go for a beautiful hike (about 1.2 miles) through the coastal barrens, learning about how the area was formed by glaciers 12,000 years ago, its unique vegetation, and the wildlife that calls it home. 

    Then it's off to Shubenacadie for tidal bore rafting, an activity that occurs nowhere else in the world and can only take place as the tides are coming in. This unique activity is made possible by the huge tidal flows of the Bay of Fundy, where 50 billion gallons of water pour into a small area with such force that the water piles up, creating a wave called a tidal bore that can range from a ripple to several feet in height. But it's not just the bore that creates fun rafting: the flow of the river is actually reversed and waves are formed as the many sandbars in the river are covered and the river itself is raised 10 feet. We'll definitely get soaked and have fun, and, thrills aside, it will leave us with a new appreciation of the Bay of Fundy tides. We'll return to Halifax for the night. (1.5 hours hiking walking, about 3.5 hours driving) Overnight Halifax

    Monday, July 17
    This morning we leave Halifax and head for the south shore. Our day starts with seeing Nova Scotia from the perspective of the sea as we kayak along the coast, exploring inlets and islands, and watching the varied birdlife. No previous kayaking experience is needed; our kayaks are stable and our location is protected. After a morning of paddling we drive to the town of Lunenberg. Known for its colorful houses, well-preserved architecture, and very interesting history, the old part of the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. After a picnic lunch you'll have an hour to wander through some of the many art galleries and shops, the Knaut-Rhuland house museum, the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, or a microdistillery. In late afternoon we'll head north to the Annapolis Valley area, location of the Bay Of Fundy with its famously high tides and also one of the centers of Acadian history. (2 hours kayaking, 1 hour walking, total of 3.5 hours driving) Overnight Wolfville

    Tuesday, July 18
    Today we'll hike the Cape Split Trail, a well-graded trail of 4 miles through forest that emerges onto an absolutely stunning bluff with magnificent views of the Bay of Fundy below. The trail up is a steady and mostly moderate climb with a couple of steeper parts to the top of the ridge, after which it is mostly flat. The footing is generally good with some areas of roots and rocks, and it may be muddy in parts if it has rained recently. After a picnic lunch and good rest, we return the way we came. With its cool climate, long summers, and rich soil, the Annapolis Valley area has recently become a center for the production of Nova Scotian wine. This afternoon we'll visit one of the many wineries located here and learn more about the wine they make here with a wine tasting. Returning to our lodging there may well be time for a swim before dinner. (4 hours and 8 miles hiking, 1 hour driving). Overnight Wolfville

    Wednesday, July 19
    We start the morning with a visit to the Grand Pre National Historic site. Grand Pre, the largest Acadian community in the 1750s, was destroyed during the mass deportations by the British. Immortalized in the famous poem Evangeline by William Wadsworth Longfellow, the deportations occurred after the Acadians refused to take an unconditional oath of loyalty to the British during the British-French conflict. The movie and exhibits at the Center leave us with a much better understanding of this devastating history and its legacy.

    We'll then head to Cape Breton, considered by many to be the crown jewel of Nova Scotia with its dramatic coastlines, abundant wildlife on both land and sea, striking scenery, and Gaelic culture. If we have time, we'll start our Cape Breton exploration with a hike to the summit of Salt Mountain. In contrast to yesterday's hike, this one is much shorter (about 1.6 miles round trip) and also much steeper. Our effort is rewarded with incredible views of the lakes below. We'll spend the night at the Bear on the Lake Hostel with its commanding view of Bras D'Or Lake. Toasting marshmallows around the campfire is always a fun thing to do in the evening. 1.5 hours hiking (optional), 4 hours driving total

    Thursday, July 20
    Today we start our circumnavigation of the Cabot Trail, considered one of the most scenic drives in North America with its loop around Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We will make a brief stop in the town of Cheticamp where we may notice the strong Acadian culture and presence. We then continue on to the Park, making stops to take photos of the magnificent scenery. Of course, there is no better way to see and experience Cape Breton than by foot. We'll hike the world famous Skyline Trail, a gentle and well-graded path which follows a mountain ridge out to panoramic views of the surrounding highlands and the Bay of St. Lawrence 1000ft below. We'll keep our eyes open for our first sighting of the park's largest land animal, the majestic Moose.

    Returning to the van we continue driving across the highlands with its vast expanse of mountain plateaus and glacial valleys. We then arrive at the quaint little harbour village of Pleasant Bay, one of the best places in Canada to go whale watching. Many species of whales can be seen in these rich waters including the Minke Whale, Humpback, Fin Whale and pods of Pilot Whales. We stay at the Cabot Trail Hostel for the night, which is located just minutes from a picturesque beach where absolutely breathtaking sunsets are the norm. Hiking 2 hours, whale watching 2 hours, driving 2 hours. Overnight Cabot Trail Hostel

    Friday, July 21
    Another day packed with fun and beauty as we then head to the other side of the Cape for a couple of hours of delightful kayaking. Paddling the waters of the South Harbour lagoon, we're likely to see bald eagles. The water is so clear here you can even see fish swimming underneath your kayak. This is also the location of an oyster farm and our guide will explain how they're raised. You might think after this that it just doesn't get any better - but it definitely doesn't get any worse! A short drive brings us to our next hike, past the seaside village of White Point out onto the peninsula where pink granite cliffs rise from the sea. This location is a great place to spot eagles, whales, and various seabirds. From there we continue further down the coast to our lodging for the night. We'll spend the next two nights in Baddeck where we are mostly likely to find some local music. (2.5 hours hiking, 2 hours kayaking, 3.5 hours driving)

    Saturday, July 22
    We start today with one of the most interesting wildlife boat trips you're likely to ever experience. Donelda's Puffin Boat Tours takes us out to the Bird Islands where Atlantic Puffins nest in the summer months. In addition to Puffins, we'll see Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Great and Double-crested Cormorants, Black Legged Kittiwakes, Herring Gulls, and Bald Eagles. We're also likely to see some Gray Seals hauled out on the nearby rocks. But what makes it special is Donelda herself, a Cape Bretoner whose enthusiasm and knowledge is infectious. Even if you don't consider yourself a birder, you may be by the end of the tour.

    We'll return to Baddeck for a picnic lunch at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Alexander Graham Bell had his summer home here and the museum is widely acclaimed for its representation of both his work and life. After lunch you can choose between visiting the museum and having some time in the town, or going for one final hike: a 2.4 mile trail that follows Falls Brook upstream, passing through a hardwood forest of maple, birch, and beech on the way to 50 foot high Uisge Ban Falls (Gaelic for "white water"). The deep stream valley narrows dramatically and at the falls, the sheer walls of the gorge tower 500 feet on either side. We can also hike an additional 1.8 miles along the North Branch River with beautiful hardwood stands along granite cliffs. Whether you've chosen the museum or the hike, we'll join up together for our final farewell dinner and, if its available, we'll finish up with a traditional ceildh (pronounced "kaylee") with local musicians. (3 hours wildlife watching, 1 - 2 hours hiking, 1 - 2 hours driving)

    Sunday, July 23
    We'll end our trip to Nova Scotia with a visit to the Highland Village Museum, a living history museum and cultural center that celebrates Nova Scotia's Gaelic culture and Heritage. It's a fitting end to our magical nine days together and though we may not be ready to leave, we'll feel as if we have come to really know how special Nova Scotia is. From the museum we'll head directly to the airport. We'll be back at the airport by 4pm and you can plan to fly out after 5:30. If you prefer to spend another night in Halifax, your guides will be happy to drop you off in Halifax. (4 hours driving)
  • $2850 (see this page for travel discounts)There are two single supplements for those who prefer their own room (except in one hostel) for $550; and two limited single supplements for single rooms the first two and last two nights for $450. You can see our cancellation policies here.

    Trip Includes

    • A Canadian guide and an Adventures in Good Company guide
    • All activities on the itinerary, including the kayak tour, wildlife and whalewatching tour, and bicycle rental
    • All meals from Saturday dinner through lunch the next Sunday
    • Eight nights lodging in double occupancy rooms (except for the hostels, which we will have all to ourselves)
    • Transportation during the trip except the initial airport transfer
    • 15% VAT tax and local guide gratuities

    Not included: Transportation to Halifax, alcoholic beverages, optional activities, guide gratuities, and items of a personal nature
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Looking for wildlife, particularly moose, whales, seals, puffins, and other seabird life
  • Seeing the stunning coastline of Cape Breton and learning about its history
  • Tidalbore rafting on the Bay of Fundy
  • Visiting Peggy's Cove and Lunenberg
  • Learning about Acadian and Gaelic culture and listening to Gaelic music

Register for this trip today

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