In nine days we drove to the Coast and back.
With a car full of gear and a map, we headed East, craving adventure after a winter of books under blankets, tea and fireplaces. With an aversion to the generic hotel experience, we sought out unique places to close our eyes each night along the way; rural corners where we could light a fire, see the stars and lay our heads after days spent hiking and seeking views and seafood. These are the places we stopped from here to there:
A camper in the woods of Quebec.
In a town called Lingwick, South of Quebec city, we arrived at a quiet maple farm just before dusk, after hiking up a mountain above an apple orchard and sampling local ciders in Mont Rougement. Our first night’s stop was a rustic camper nestled amongst the trees, where our only company were two horses whose corral was at the end of the dirt road where we parked our car. Other than that we found ourselves completely alone, surrounded by the sound of crickets and bullfrogs from a nearby creek.
Though it was a chilly night, our temporary home was cozy inside with a small wood stove, and a table where we drank cider and played cards until sleep dragged us to the bed and mound of blankets.
A barn loft in small town New Brunswick.
The next day we had a long drive to the East side of New Brunswick, and we stopped in Moncton to eat in a trendy downtown restaurant after having changed out of grubby hiking clothes in the car. After dinner, we left the city and headed into the countryside to the farm of a wildcrafter in Indian Mountain, whose barn we had rented for a night. An herbalist, she grew fruit trees and various greens on her farm, renting out the loft to nomads, artists and travellers.
It was unseasonably cold she said, as she led us into the barn and up the steps to the drafty loft. Through a curtain we were greeted by twinkle lights hung over a bed, and a floor to ceiling window. The space was beautiful and airy, with prayer flags hung above the door, and the window looking down on a communal fire pit, the field beyond, and the jackpine forest beyond that.
We lit some candles, spread out a sleeping bag on the floor and spent some time writing by the spluttering light, trying to keep warm, as rain pattered on the tin roof. When we woke in the morning under our mountain of blankets, I could see my breath, a little white puff as I yawned awake, ready for the Bay of Fundy.
A tiny house in Sackville, NB.
With a beautiful sunny day, we spent the afternoon hiking in Fundy National Park and walking the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks, after which we splurged on a lobster dinner in the small fishing village of Alma, and visited a local brewery to sample craft beers. Feeling happy and full, we drove to our next sleep spot, which was a fairy tale tiny house on the edge of a farm just outside of Sackville.
Our hosts had told us when we booked that we were welcome to use the facilities at the farm house, so we squished our way through the muddy field and timidly knocked on the door, asking for a shower after so many days on the road. We were invited in not only to get cleaned up, but also for dessert, and we compared notes on travel adventures while sitting on the couch and enjoying homemade berry crisp.
A little red cabin in PEI.
The next day had us crossing confederation bridge to PEI, where we drove through rolling red farm fields, admiring the scenery and stopping at beaches to search for shells and treasures.
After eating mussels in Charlottetown, we drove into a campground with red dirt roads, and red cabins. We checked in and made our way to our assigned cabin, where we could hear the sound of music, crackling fires and chatting from other campsites. It was an easy atmosphere, with a classic communal camp feel.
We had a bonfire in front of our cabin, drank a bottle of wine, and tucked in for the night.
A garden shed on the Cabot Trail.
Driving up the western side of Cape Breton Island as we approached our final stop was breathtaking; views of the rugged coast, blue skies and ocean. Just off the cabot trail, we found ourselves in Margaree Forks, where we had booked two nights in a renovated garden shed on a hill.
The young hippie couple who owned the property and lived next to the shed showed us in. Inside was a wood stove, a sitting area with a fantastic view, a loft bed and a summer kitchen.
We lit a fire, warmed some soup, and played games by the fire. In the next days we explored the island, hiked, ate seafood and drove the cabot trail. We loved it so much that we asked to stay an extra night, putting off our long drive home.
The back of our car.
We finally said goodbye to the garden shed and the maritimes, and set out on the long journey home. The first day, we drove about 17 hours, finally stopping at an Enroute where we parked under a tree, played cards by flashlight and got a few hours sleep before pushing the last few hours home.
Adventure is out there, and there are so many unique ways to experience new places. I loved each of our temporary homes along the road, loved waking up somewhere new each morning, hiking through the rain in search of breathtaking views, meeting new people, and tasting local food and drinks. A road trip to the ocean was exactly the medicine we needed, the perfect celebration of a late spring.
Each of these places can be found on Airbnb (except the back of our car, get your own!).