Scene at The KOA North Sydney/Cabot Trail Campground
Lakefront refuge nestled between Cape Breton's Cabot Trail and the city of Sydney
It was a bit of a mad dash from Acadia and the Annapolis Valley up to Cape Breton, with only a quick overnight detour to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (check out my photos of that beautiful fishing town here) thanks to its can't-miss reputation. I had to catch a flight from Sydney, Cape Breton out to Toronto for my best friend's wedding and as you know, we were late in getting our show on the road, which left a tight window to make it that far north.
It was the first weekend that My Love ever spent alone with the World's Cutest Human, meaning my first full weekend entirely to myself since my daughter was born (in two and a half years!). I was excited to be gifted this time, and for the perfect excuse, but I wanted to be sure that my family was prepared for my absence (a mother's curse, amiright fellow mamas?).
Historically, I've done the majority of the cooking, cleaning and childcare while My Love was at the office. In our new life in the trailer, it's much more evenly split (for example, My Love is officially the TrailerFeast Breakfast Chef and routinely cleans up and takes our offspring on adventures), though I still take the lead in household roles more often than not. Which is why I wanted to get them settled into the new campground and give them the foundation of a clean trailer and three square meals (well, ingredients for) each of the three days I was gone.
We arrived just outside of Sydney a full day before I had to fly out to accomplish all of the above. As soon as we checked into the KOA North Sydney/Cabot Trail campground, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Though it was only the fourth campground we stayed at, I already had a short list of campground preferences, and this KOA checked everything off my list. Even just driving into the campground, which is carved into the base of Kelly's Mountain facing the shimmering Bras d'Or lakes, was impressive.
A staff member personally escorted us to our site, explaining what and where the resident resources were, and making sure we knew everyone's name who could help us. We occupied two sites (because one between us and a more permanent, full-season, resident was always left unused) facing the lakes with only a barely-used dirt road separating us from the water. I thought the Cove Oceanfront Campground in Parker's Cove, Nova Scotia had set an unbeatable standard that no other campground would match, but we near immediately found ourselves facing yet another stunning vista from our trailer "dining room" window here at the KOA North Sydney/Cabot Trail.
This KOA has a laundromat on premise, so I could wash and pack what I needed for my trip, as well as equip My Love with plenty of little-person jammies for the weekend. I snuck in a blog or two from the 'rec room' adjacent to the laundry room while my clothes dried thanks to the incredible wifi strength across this campground. Being a blogger on the road makes the discovery of strong (well, consistently normal) wifi access in a campground — especially that which works well from inside the trailer, rather than only in a rec room next to the reception office — nothing short of a miracle and an absolute rarity.
I was most pleased to find a kick-ass playground facing the waterfront views (so both My Love and the munchkin — and when I came back from my weekend away, me — could be happily entertained). The bathroom facilities were also ideal, meaning clean with good showers that have enough hooks and shelves to ease the pain of showering and dressing in a public shower (they made it painless, in fact, since the showers were even free!).
They even had a mini-golf course, though for some reason we never took the opportunity for a round. Probably because we were too wiped out every time we returned to the campground after exploring the surrounding areas, as you'll see in the next few upcoming posts.
We visited the Fortress of Louisbourg and drove a couple rounds on the Cabot Trail. We frequented the local Farm Market, called Hank's, so that I could prepare the freshest of farm fresh Trailer Feasts. We wanted to visit the Sydney Mines but ran out of time, although we did sneak in a gorgeous morning bike ride along the lake on Stewart Road (across from the campground) before leaving town. This stop was a glorious balance of rest and adventure.
There's no shortage of things to do around this campground, which made me feel comfortable leaving My Love on his virgin single parent voyage. He did a great job, of course, even throwing in an off-road adventure nap for fun (i.e. he drove The Great White over a tough off-road trail, while our daughter napped peacefully in her car seat).
For those exploring without a home on their backs or underfoot — such as motorcyclists or simply drivers staying in hotels, motels or otherwise — the KOA North Sydney/Cabot Trail has adorable little cabins with the same fantastic view we enjoyed, a porch swing, BBQ grill (you know how that motivates me - it started this entire blog!) and front row access to the mini-golf course.
I took off for Toronto the night after we checked in at this KOA, but we ended up staying an additional ten days after I returned. They were just too lovely and there was just too much to see in Cape Breton. Plus, we needed to take this leg slowly, building in a balance of adventure days with down time to rest and recover. We had not really stopped just to rest, since we left New York City — between packing, moving, preparing the trailer, testing it and then hitting the road to get to Sydney in time for my flight — and we desperately needed to take a breather.
Luckily, the owners of this campground, Jason (Jay) and Bonnie, were beyond accommodating, allowing us to extend our reservation more than once until we were truly ready to move on. We also had some important mail sent from the U.S., which they helped facilitate.
The entire stay was an exquisite camping experience — pure Trailer Class — and we would undoubtedly stay there again on a return trip to Cape Breton.