The Great Canadian Road Trip: Part 3 – Moncton To North Sydney Via PEI

Our trip to North Sydney took a spontaneous detour through PEI. I will let my wife tell you what happened during that detour:

After breakfast we started to make plans for our day. I could not leave Monction without checking out the natural phenomenon that is Magnetic Hill. At one point in time Magnetic Hill was one of Canada’s top 5 tourist destinations and you can still see remnants from that time when you see the shuttered up brightly coloured amusement park.

Here’s a video of a car going up Magnetic Hill taken with the Nikon COOLPIX W300 camera:

From there we headed for PEI to see all things Anne of Green Gables of which I am huge fan. I am happy that Parks Canada celebrates LM Montgomery who is beloved by millions and a person of national historic significance. En route, I was excited to cross the Confederation Bridge:IMG_0547.PNG


Our first stop was the Birthplace of LM Montgomery:


One of the key pieces of the collection was a replica of her wedding dress and the shoes she actually wore on her wedding day. As you walk through the home I was struck by the gorgeous intricate wall paper design and how simply people lived in terms of furnishings. The Franklin wood stove is quite the showstopper.

One note for Apple Maps users: The directions from the Confederation Bridge to this location via Apple Maps were not correct. Here’s a screenshot of what Apple Maps directed us to do. The arrow is us:


Slight problem though. There was the church and this house that kept us from going straight. And even if they weren’t there, there was no road to drive on:



We had to make a left turn and then a right on the road to the left of the church to get back on course. I’ll let my wife tell you about our next stop.

We then headed to the Green Gables Heritage Place (GGHP) used our Discovery Pass for National Park for the first time. The staff at the GGNP were ready for crowds as the place was packed. Normally we would have to circle for a while before even finding a parking spot. In this case they had a crew of people who directed you to parking when it became available. I mention this as I would like to thank them for taking care of the hundreds of visitors that will come through this summer. There is a self-guided tour through Green Gables House due to the crowds which became a single file as you walked through.

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Give yourself the time to enjoy a stroll through Hauted Wood Trail and Lovers Lane/Balsam Hollow Trail it’s beautiful. Kids can have fun and try on period costumes in the Barn and check out the Turnip Pulper and Seeder.

From there, we had to get to North Sydney Nova Scotia. Because of our detour, we had to take the ferry from Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island and Caribou, Nova Scotia. After paying the $77 fee, we had to line up to get on the ferry:


But once we were on board, we got this sort of view during the 75 minute ride to Nova Scotia:

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One thing to note is that this ferry had a snack bar as well as an antique video game and a charging station for all your devices:


I also managed to impress a 10 year old boy with my video playing skills from back in the day.

From there, we made the long drive to North Sydney. It wasn’t an uneventful drive as we came across an accident on the road:


Apparently, this car lost control on a curve on the narrow and uneven roads and bounced off the guard rail before going into this ditch. Now, something that posed a problem for us was the spotty cell phone coverage. Something that we would frequently encounter on this trip. Thus we had to drive a few kilometers to get a cell phone signal so that we could phone the RCMP to help them. After we called for help, we checked on the victims of this accident to make sure that they were OK.

Now let me highlight something as a bit of a public service announcement. The roads in many parts of the Maritimes are rough and twisty. And what I just said doesn’t take into account the hazards caused by the moose population which are often hit by cars when they venture out onto the roads. Which in turn can seriously injure or kill the people inside said cars. These roads require your full attention at all times. That means no texting while driving or anything else that may distract you from driving. It also means that you should drive conservatively. I am pointing this out because prior to coming across this accident, I was driving like a bit of a jackass. At one point I almost overshot a corner by carrying too much speed into it. At another point, I was pushing the Hyundai Tucson a bit too hard and almost lost control. Either of those moments could have ended badly for us. This accident made me moderate my behavior going forward.

After making sure everyone was okay, we made our way to our hotel. Here’s what happened next according to my wife:

Due to our side trip to PEI we did not arrive in North Sydney until 9:30 pm which was unfortunate as I would have been tempted to walk away from our booking and ditch the place shortly upon walking through Reception. To give you the background – while we had nailed down the important things such as ferry bookings and the like, we were pressed for time for everything else and did not startbooking accommodations until approximately 4 – 5 weeks prior to leaving for vacation. The guiding principle for us in North Sydney was to find a place that would place us to the ferry and would be fine with us bringing our bicycles into the room. The friendly hard working folks who run the motel ensured the place was clean, offered us breakfast and a good hot shower. That was all the nice things I could say. So I thought if I booked a cheap motel that puts us on the ground floor with an outside parking spot right in front would be convenient. I would be fine with the whole bicycle issue and besides how bad could staying one night at any place be?

Well let me tell you, I found myself walking through a room that can be loosely called “lobby” with plastic tablecloth and handwritten WiFi password stuck on the reception desk. This did not improve once we got our room. What we got was two doctor’s office chairs, a few hodge podge of side tables that were place strategically by the bedside and coffee tables that have seen better days in student dorms. The worst part was the bed. It would creak every time one of us moved and I swear that I could feel the coils of each of the spring. I was serious missing my pillow top bed at home. Right behind the bed was the bathroom where the only room for you to put your make up and toiletries was on top of the toilet. Suffice to say I was missing my bathroom vanity at home. To top it all off, we had to cope with a neon sign that made it so bright that we had difficulty getting to sleep. To make matters worse, there were no blackout curtains to keep the light out. 

Lesson learned here. It’s hard to downgrade from what you are use to at home. There is roughing it but this is not camping and this was a dive or as we have nicknamed it the “Bates” hotel and we were the first to check out in the morning and head to the only Starbucks within 300 km before heading to the ferry to Newfoundland.

I will say this. The WiFi was speedy but insecure. On top of the fact that they had the password hand written on the front desk (which also looked like that it had been there for months if not years), they had three access points to cover the property. Two used the hand written password. The third was wide open for anyone to use and abuse.


On top of that, Expedia rated this place 3.6 stars out of 5. Orbitz rated it 3.7 stars out of 5. Clearly they have lower standards than we do.

By the way, my wife isn’t joking about the fact that the Starbucks was the only one within 300 km’s. When we looked at the availability of Starbucks locations from Newfoundland, this is what we saw:


Clearly we’ll have to get our coffee fix when we get back from Newfoundland. As an aside, we’re using our Starbucks Rewards to get coffee and breakfast for free when we come across Starbucks locations during our trip.

Next stop: Newfoundland. Stay tuned for our ride on the ferry and then the drive to Corner Brook Newfoundland.


One Response to “The Great Canadian Road Trip: Part 3 – Moncton To North Sydney Via PEI”

  1. […] started making our way to Moncton. We traversed the same roads that a week ago were kind of sketchy and even caused an accident that we stumbled upon. Today they were scenic but still sketchy. I’ll show you the former with these pics from […]

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