Yesterday, the 11th, we drove the Jeep to Iona, NS via ferry across Bras D’Or Lake to see the Highland Village Museum. The museum tells the history of the Gaelic people who left Scotland due to the British Clearances (moving people off rented land to make room for the raising of sheep) in the 1770s), and shows what life was like for them on Cape Breton, NS. The history is told through their houses beginning with the Black House (made of stone with a thatch roof), to a log house, to their first frame center chimney house, to the center hallway house to a turn of the century house (1900).
The center hallway (2 chimneys) and the turn of the century home had cabinets like I grew up with in an 1850s upstate NY home. They had a church that they had floated across Bras D’Or Lake and towed up a very steep hill.
Of course they also had a General Store, School House, Carding Mill (for wool), and a Blacksmith Shop. Their costumed interpreters helped make this a very worthwhile stop. On the way home, we drove to North Sydney to get pictures of the bridge across the Bras D’Or Lake at one of the spots where it empties out into the Atlantic. We also took pictures of the Seal Island Lighthouse.
Today, the 12th, we drove the Ceilidh (Kay-lee, a Gaelic term) Trail in the Jeep. Many of the people from this area of Cape Breton, NS still speak Gaelic. Road signs here are in both English and Gaelic, whereas in other areas of Nova Scotia, the road signs are in both French and English. Our first stop along the Ceilidh Trail was to get a picture of the Margaree Harbor Lighthouse. Our next stop was for a taste of single-malt whisky (in Scotland, they drop the “e”). The only single-malt whisky distilled in North America is Glen Breton from the Glenora Distillery located at Glenville, NS near Mabou, NS. The tour was C$7.00 each, but the taste was good. We ate lunch in Mabou at the Red Shoe, and then drove to Judique to visit the Celtic Music Interpretive Center. For our C$12 each, a young lady played Celtic fiddle music, jig, reel, etc. for us for about a half hour. Then we viewed various exhibits related to fiddle, dance, voice, and bagpipe music. Today’s total drive was 220 kilometers, or 137 miles. On the way back home, we bought regular gasoline for C$1.237 per liter.