Nova scotia

There has always been something mysterious about eastern Canada. We grew up in the Northeast of the United States, not far, yet we very rarely hear people talking about Nova Scotia, never mind Newfoundland. As the summer was slipping by us, we thought we’d try to slow things down by road tripping through Nova Scotia and staying on an island off the coast for a week. The key was that we would not try and see too much, something we are usually guilty of. We even had an Airbnb booked in a fishing village on The Magdalen Islands ( Îles de la Madeleinefor a whole week, which looked absolutely incredible. And then we started researching Newfoundland.

Pace is one of the most difficult parts of any adventure to get right. We had three weeks total for the adventure which seemed like plenty of time so we kept looking further and further north, wondering how far we could make it without missing a very important (1st!) birthday for Sarah’s niece. What started as a simple plan to road trip up to Nova Scotia and stay put for a week quickly turned into a 5,000 mile adventure of a lifetime.

We were so excited by the time we left that we drove all the way to Nova Scotia in the first day. For the next few days we explored brightly colored fishing villages and quiet coves along the eastern coast of NS. We traveled from south to north, eventually making it to the northern tip, Cape Breton National Park. The landscape quickly changed to a dramatic coastline (think California RT 1) with hiking trails and campsites left and right. We continued due north to a place called Meat Cove. Rumor had it that there was a single campsite just past Meat Cove, but we stumbled across a perfect spot and had it all to ourselves. What was left of an old foundation on a cliff’s edge was the perfect place to park the truck and watch bald eagles swoop as the sun set over the Northern Atlantic. After hot showers, we cooked local chanterelles and salmon that we had picked up at the farmer’s market earlier that day. The next morning we rose early to hike the Skyline Trail, and from there we made our way to the ferry that would take us and our truck 6 hours north to the southern coast of Newfoundland.

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Skyline Trail Hike

Gros morne, Newfoundland

We hadn’t originally planned on making it to Newfoundland. We thought it would be too much time spent driving and not enough exploring. We were dead wrong. We made it to Gros Morne National Park by mid day, anxious to get out of the truck and photograph. It was moody weather, sometimes raining, but it seemed that each place we stopped to explore, the sun would break through, highlighting the most beautiful features of the landscape that we were so happy to be experiencing in the flesh. We had plans to make the 18km hike to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain as well as the hike through the golden rock formations of the Tablelands, but the weather was unforgiving. For two days it rained consistently, which revealed a leaky roof in the truck! In good spirits, we explored all we could in the rain, indulging in local seafood and red wine, and finally woke up to the sun on the third day. It was just in time for our boat ride into the land-locked fjord they call Western Brook Pond. It was an amazing two hour trip into what felt like a very green Grand Canyon of Newfoundland. Although we could have spent weeks in Gros Morne, we had reservations for an Airbnb in Twillingate, on the northern coast, so it was time to hit the road.

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Twillingate, newfoundland

Twillingate is a pretty wild place. Rich in history and filled with beautifully colored houses, it’s a fishing community that is most popular for the icebergs that are usually bobbing about in the bay. They’ve had arctic fox and even polar bears float in on 25,000 year old icebergs, eventually washing up on shore (hungry as hell, we imagine). Unfortunately, we missed the icebergs by about a week, but that also meant that we missed the tourists. We spent our two days in Twillingate enjoying being in a house with a dry bed, and exploring the rugged coastline and friendly community.

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WE RECOMMEND

Crow’s Nest Cafe

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Twillingate Info

fogo island, newfoundland

Finally, we had one more place we wanted to get to, further north of course; Fogo Island. A 45 minute ferry brought us to this magical 15.5mi x 8.5mi island which is the largest of the offshore islands of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Home to a decreasing population of about 2,400 (as of 2011), it’s a fascinating place with some very cool things happening. We had heard about the contemporary architecture that was taking place on the Island and knew it would be fun to photograph. We only had two days there. One was raining; like sideways rain, but the second day was supposed to be absolutely perfect. The island is small enough that we were able scout out the different artist studios and the Fogo Island Inn in an hour or two. We just wanted to find each so that the next morning as soon as the sun was up we could run around to each one and photograph them in the best light possible, and we did just that. The artist’s studios, which are available for residency, are dispersed evenly around the island. The design of each is as much about the natural landscape as it is the architecture itself. Hike down a path on the outskirts of Joe Batt’s Arm and as you climb over the crest of a hill on the coast you will find absolutely nothing except for one of the most beautiful examples of contemporary architecture in North America. Don’t spend too much time gawking though, there are six more examples on the same tiny little island! We didn’t even eat or have coffee until we finished shooting and were rushing to catch the last ferry off the island.

So maybe we didn’t get our pace right this trip either, but we don’t regret one second of it.

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More on Fogo Island

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • derek says:

    Living the dream! Beautiful photos and great site! I’ll look forward to exploring it more. Nova Scotia has always fascinated me as well, and we hope to get to it sometime this coming year 🙂
    We start road tripping full time on April 1, so we will be searching your site for areas that we may be in. Keep on keeping on!

  • Isabelle says:

    Wow such beautiful pictures, Nova Scotia is on my bucket list for such a long time, I really need to go soon! Great work!!!

  • GrandPaPhoto says:

    Folks looks like you had a great trip to my part of the world. Enjoyed Newfoundland photos portion of your trip my home province. Found your site by accident and will keep visiting for inspiration.

    Nice & Thanks
    Bob

  • Logan says:

    Fantastic ! I call the province of New Brunswick home and have been dreaming about getting to Gros Morne for awhile, you guys are giving the kick in the pants to go and providing some great ideas for stops to explore on the way !
    Thanks for inspiring !

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