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  1. Default Eastern Canada Road Trip

    Hello all,

    Three years ago, with a different screen name, I wrote to you all looking for advice on a cross-country road trip I was planning to take. With some of the recommendations given by members of the forum, we went across the country (from New York to Florida, Florida to Calfornia, back to Florida, and then back up to New York). It was a great trip, and I'm thankful for those that helped.

    Anyway, before I go to graduate school this summer, I'd like to take another trip. Because I will most likely be going by myself, I don't think that I will be going across the country again (even though that may be what I prefer). With that said, however, I'd like to ask a few questions:

    1. I've heard from friends that there are websites that "advertise" people that are willing to let you stay with them in their homes or apartments and other websites that help "advertise" people that would like to take trips from one point to another. Obviously, there are some positives to taking part in these websites; however, they sound a little sketchy to me. Has anyone heard anything about these websites?

    2. Since I will be going by myself or with only one other person, I don't think it will be wise for me to take such an ambitious, costly trip. Instead, I'm considering taking a trip from New York up into Northeastern Canada (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec). Does anyone have any experience taking road trips up there or have anything of note that I should know about those areas (interesting cities, nice lakes, ect)?

    Any information or advice is greatly appreciated!

    Happy Holidays,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default advertise?

    Welcome (back) to the RTA Forum!

    1. I've heard from friends that there are websites that "advertise" people that are willing to let you stay with them in their homes or apartments and other websites that help "advertise" people that would like to take trips from one point to another.
    I'm not really sure if I know exactly what you are talking about, but for staying with people, it sounds a bit like you are talking about couchsurfing. I personally have never gone that route, but we've had people here who swear by it. Personally, the idea of staying at someone elses home who I'm not friends with doesn't fit with my idea of a good time, so its not for me.

    As far as people taking trips from one point to another, there's the share the ride section of this forum. Here are some other sites more specific to that goal that you might want to consider.

    Unfortantly, my experience traveling in far eastern Canada is fairly limited, and there is far more than I'd like to explore than I've already seen. We have had a few threads about this area that you could probably find using the search function.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Step by step

    1. I've heard from friends that there are websites that "advertise" people that are willing to let you stay with them in their homes or apartments and other websites that help "advertise" people that would like to take trips from one point to another. Obviously, there are some positives to taking part in these websites; however, they sound a little sketchy to me. Has anyone heard anything about these websites?
    You are probably thinking about the couch surfing phenomenon? I've never personally done it, I'm a bit of an antisocial when it comes to sleeping:), but many people I know have done it several times and most of them had great experiences and made tons of new friends. Anyway, I think most of those website have a feedback/rating feature where you can visualize the members' comments about one particular place. Personally, my favourite accomodation type within Canada is the Bed & Breakfasts network. They are way cheaper than the plain old motels ($45-55 CAD), they are usually cleaner and the hosts will typically be eager to share advice on local attractions, best restaurants, hangouts, etc. Campgrounds are fairly easy to find also. Some of them offer quietness and great views for a small fee.

    2. Since I will be going by myself or with only one other person, I don't think it will be wise for me to take such an ambitious, costly trip. Instead, I'm considering taking a trip from New York up into Northeastern Canada (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec). Does anyone have any experience taking road trips up there or have anything of note that I should know about those areas (interesting cities, nice lakes, ect)?
    Don't count of me to discourage you from undertaking any roadtrips:). If I could do it everyday, I would!

    Some attractions along your route if you choose the 2nd option :

    La belle province (Quebec) and Labrador

    Among the major cities, Quebec City and Montreal are definitely the most interesting. The Eastern Townships is a beautiful mountain region qui lots of quaint villages and small lakes (Brome Lake, Memphremagog, Magog, North Hatley, Knowlton) and is pretty similar to New England. My favourite areas of Quebec are Charlevoix (mountains, cheese, art galleries), the North Shore (whale-watching, scuba diving, fishing, hiking), the Lower St. Lawrence (seafood, maritime history, beaches) and the Gaspe Peninsula (history of New France, indian history, pierced rock, hiking at Mt Albert, seafood, boating).

    If you feel adventurous and want to get to Newfoundland via Quebec, there a back road (QC 389) that goes from Baie Comeau, QC to Happy-Valley-Goose-Bay in Labrador. It's called the TransLabrador Highway. It's one of the most remote roads of Canada and it offers breathtaking views of lakes, forest, taïga, wildlife, rivers, major hydroelectric facilities that provide power to nearby provinces and and parts of the US. If it's the season, you can pick up a wide variety of small fruit that grow by the side of the road : blueberries, bakeapples, blackberries, partridgeberries, raspberries, etc. To get to the Atlantic coast of Labrador from Goose Bay, you need to take a ferry on majestuous Lake Melville for 12 hours where you might see a couple of icebergs floating around. The coast is like an iceberg gallery. Everywhere you go you can catch a glimpse of a colourful iceberg making its way south on the Belle Isle Detroit. Down the coast of Labrador, you'll need to take another ferry to get on the island of Newfoundland (1h30).

    Newfoundland

    I've only been on the west coast so I know very little about Cape Spears, St. Johns and such. However, if I go back to Newfoundland someday, I'll pay a visit to St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, the only French Department situated entirely in North America. From north to south, on the west coast, you can visit L'Anse-aux-Meadows N.H.S., see the Jordi-Bonet mural at the the St. Anthony's Hospital...and the stuffed polar bear at the library while you're in the area (ask a local about the story behind it), Arches Provincial Park, Gros Morne N.P., Tablelands, and finally Barachois Fall, Rose Blanche lighthouse and all the little picturesque fishermen villages along that last stretch of road that goes west of Port-aux-Basques.

    Nova Scotia

    Well, the usual Cabot Trail, Louisbourg, acadian culture, scenic roads, Halifax. You'll find more specific suggestions here.

    Hope this helps.
    Gen

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AJB35 View Post

    1. I've heard from friends that there are websites that "advertise" people that are willing to let you stay with them in their homes or apartments and other websites that help "advertise" people that would like to take trips from one point to another. Obviously, there are some positives to taking part in these websites; however, they sound a little sketchy to me. Has anyone heard anything about these websites?
    I am wondering if you are refering to couchsurfing? That is a great site, and I have from time to time used it for accommodation, but even more to just meet the locals, who are always willing to show you their little corner of the world. Establish contact before going.

    There are several similar sites, which I have not used, so could not recommend.

    However, don't overlook hostels, of which there are quite a few in that area. They are always cheaper than anything else when you are on your own. Meet other travellers, compare tales and get advice. Many have loads of services for travellers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default Hostels

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    However, don't overlook hostels, of which there are quite a few in that area. They are always cheaper than anything else when you are on your own.
    While this might be true for some parts of North America, hostels are pretty scarce in Eastern Canada and typically absent in middle-sized cities or smaller tows. And in most cases, if you opt for a private room, it'll cost as much as a regular motel room or B&B (around 60$). Dormitories are cheaper but you have to sleep beside strangers, which doesn't suit me personally (been there done that). However, the sharing stories part usually works best in hostels.

  6. Default

    Hi all,

    Thank you so much for the responses. I really, really appreciate it. Anyway, I will try and address each one! Here we go:

    Midwest Michael:

    I agree with you; I don't think I'm one for staying with random people that I do not know. I'd much rather fork up the $50-$60 it takes to stay in a motel (or, better yet, a hostel for $25). Anyway, I plan to drive up through Boston, Portland, stay at Arcadia National Park, and then head up to Fundy National Park and beyond. Do you have much experience in New England along the coast? Any particular sites you recommend? I've noticed that New England is sort of devoid of hostels.

    Quebec Gen:

    Since I'm going back to graduate school in September, I'm trying to save as much money as possible. I'm going to try and stay in hostels and camp out 95% of my nights.

    I've been to Montreal and loved it. If I were to drive right now ont his trip, I think I'm going to drive to Fundy National Park, to Moncton, to Edmundston, and then up to Riviere-du-loup. I then plan to drive down to Quebec along the seaway, and then down to Montreal. Using that as a template, are those places that I could visit along the way? From what you've given me, they don't seem that far off the path (eastern townships, for instance). Do you think this is too ambitious of a trip in, say, three weeks? ANy information or advice is appreciated.

    Again, I really appreciate the advice. This website has been great in the past for me, and I'll always come back to it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Québec, Montreal, Arizona, California, France
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AJB35 View Post
    Hi all,

    Anyway, I plan to drive up through Boston, Portland, stay at Arcadia National Park, and then head up to Fundy National Park and beyond.
    There is no such thing as a 50-60$/night motel in the Boston area, you better stay at a hostel or outside the city. I can't really recommend a great place because most of the places I've been are either chains or not something I'd recommend.

    As for Maine, the cheapest place I know about is the Bay View Villa in Saco (~45-50$/night). It is a convent which is run more or less like a B&B. It's right on the beach and the rooms are modest but sparkling clean.

    As I said in my previous e-mail, hostels are pretty scarce in eastern Canada, you might want to check out a few bed & breakfasts in case you can't find any decent campgrounds. A few personal recommandations : Porter House in Antigonish, NS and Chez Choinière B&B in St-Simon, QC (east of Trois-Pistoles and Rivière du Loup). They are both inexpensive, clean, the food is excellent and the owners are sweethearts. A few other ones that are a bit more costy : Motel Mont-Joli (a bit on the kitsch side), Mont Joli, QC, B&B du Verger, Notre-Dame du Portage, QC. The campground at Parc de la Gaspésie (Mt Albert sector) is great, so is the one at Parc Forillon (high winds at night). Mt Albert is one of the greatest hike in the Province, i.e. it is not the highest mountain, but the sceneries are stunning.

    If you like seafood, stop by Le Matelot in Baie des Sables. It is not a trendy place, but everything is homemade and delicious. Try the cod filet and have pudding chomeur for dessert. You can also go to the art gallery in Ste-Flavie and have a scampy meal (note : in Canada, a scampy is a seafood imported from Finland, it does not refer to the cooking style as in the US) or some local Matane shrimp. In Pointe au Père, visit the Maritime Museum which is devoted to the Empress of Ireland, a huge ship that has been sitting at the bottom of the St. Lawrence since 1914. This tragedy caused more than 1,000 deaths, but it was soon overshadowed by WWI which started just a month after.

    I could go on and on with suggestions...:)

    In Montreal, I heard the youth hostel at the south end of Mackay St. is not a bad place. It's centrally-located, in the heart of the downtown area in a relatively quiet location. However, if you really want to experience Montreal, you have to take the subway to the Mont-Royal Station and walk down St-Denis, St-Laurent or stroll down Mont-Royal avenue, go to the "Village", have a smoked meat sandwich at Schwart's, have Vietnamese food at Tung's, have a bagel with pesto-cream cheese at Bagel St-Viateur or Fairmount, have a greasy sugar-shack-styled meal at La Binerie, have a beer in a Latin Quarter pub, have Ben & Jerry's ice cream at Place Jacques-Cartier, have a martini at Jell-O Bar, have an espresso at Epocca, have a Chinotto at Laîka, dance after hours at Circus, have dessert at Kilo, see a live jazz band at Upstairs, visit Notre-Dame Island's gardens and remnants from Expo 67, have a rabbit meal at Queux, explore the abandoned Grain Elevator no 5 down in the old port, go to the tam-tam jam at the bottom of Mount Royal on Sunday morning, rent rollerblades and ride the promenade in the port and go ride around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, go to the Musée d'art contemporain, Pointe à Callière, go to Club 737 and dance on the rooftop of a 40+-story building, etc. etc. Of course you won't have time to do all of this, but if you do just a few of these, you'll get a good feel of the City, more than most tourists at least.:)

    Another accomodation alternative in Montreal : Université de Montreal residences (about 35$/night for a private room).

    Gen

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