Travel to another country has never been easier, thanks to AMTRAK and Nova Star Cruises. You can leave Boston and be in Nova Scotia by the next morning, and no long dreary hours behind the wheel.
Foreign travel without airplane hassle
Vacation time is the time to do something that’s new, different and fun; discovering a new country is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons. Travel to Canada’s maritime province of Nova Scotia is an exciting and inexpensive way to do that.
There are three ways to get to Nova Scotia and two of them require long driving times. The easy way to experience Nova Scotia is by special packages arranged by AMTRAK and Nova Star Cruises. You board a train in Boston, enjoy a relaxing evening on the Nova Star, get a good night’s sleep and wake up in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia relaxed and ready to go.
By train and ship to a wilderness resort
A quick look at a map of the Nova Scotia peninsula (almost an island) reveals that settlement is mostly along the coast and that the interior is essentially wild land. Part of this unsettled land is taken up by Kejimkujik National Park, a true naturalist’s gem, but even more land lies within protected wilderness reserves. In southwest Nova Scotia one of the largest of these is the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, which contains more than a quarter million wild acres.
Located deep in that wild landscape is the Trout Point Lodge, a five-star wilderness resort. AMTRAK and the Nova Star Ferry have arranged a package with Trout Point Lodge that allows you to board the Northeaster in Boston, relax on the train to Portland and transfer to the Nova Star ferry, waking up in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. On arrival in Yarmouth, included transfers to the Trout Point Lodge put you into the midst of the Tobeatic Wilderness Area.
The trip into Trout Point is a journey from civilization to basic nature. The main lodge is itself a part of nature, a three story building of massive spruce logs artfully cut and wedged together to form a welcoming and relaxing home in the wilderness. There are two other log buildings, the four-bedroom Beaver Hall, and the two-bedroom Black Bear Cottage for families, all of which are beautifully furnished and designed to enhance the wilderness experience of the lodge.
Wandering the woods and splashing in the river
Patterned on the great log sport lodges of late nineteenth century magnates, Trout Point’s true wilderness setting brings that experience to 21st-century travelers. Outside the main lodge a large seating area surrounds a stone fire pit overlooking the gently flowing Tusket River, a perfect place for an after dinner drink and conversation with fellow guests. A well-placed boardwalk leads through a natural forest along the river, past a two-person wood-fired hot tub and an intimate wood-fired sauna. Imagine that sauna on a cool autumn evening after a day of hiking trails or paddling the river and Beaver Lake. A bit further on the boardwalk, guests can walk on a floating boardwalk to a raft for swimming in the Tusket River.
The inn has its own walking and hiking trails that wander through the natural forests of the Tobeatic Reserve. The Tobeatic, and the nearby Kejimkujik National Park have been designated by UNESCO as the Southwest Nova Scotia Biosphere reserve. Canoes and kayaks are available for use by guests. Guest at Trout Point can join guided hikes for all experience levels, join guides for kayak tours and view the night sky through a telescope with a trained astronomer, from a special viewing platform. The night skies over the Tobeatic are free of night light pollution and provide some of the best night sky viewing in North America.
All meals are included at Trout Point, most guests gathering before dinner for music and conversation in the large guest sitting room in the Main Lodge. A fire in the massive rough stone fireplace sets the mood, while a guitarist plays softly in the background. Dinner is served in two dining rooms on the ground floor overlooking the river. Two highly talented chefs, Vaughn Perret and Charles Leary, use primarily produce from their own organic gardens and delicacies gathered in the forest. Each of the three dinner options is well-conceived, with nuances from a world of cuisines – a hint of organic Vietnamese cinnamon highlighted a chicken-udon noodle soup. Dishes are presented with eye appeal, garnished by native edible flowers and herbs.
To set up your own package contact Downeaster Travel Packages The Downeaster package will include your AMTRAK passage from Boston, transport to a hotel in Portland where you can leave your luggage, freeing you for a few hours of exploration (I suggest the Portland Museum of Art). You will then be picked up and taken to the Nova Star at the waterfront. When booking, ask for a cabin for the overnight trip to Yarmouth. The outward bound ferry takes about eleven hours and arrives early in the morning. On arrival you will be transferred to Trout Point. The process is reversed on departure. For the return trip, which is all daylight hours, there is plenty to do on the ship so a cabin could be optional, but handy as the transfer on the morning of departure is very early. On the return trip you will overnight in Portland before returning to Boston by train in the afternoon.
While a two-day stay is available, arrival on the first day is mid-day. For the ferry ride plan to have your luggage stored and carry only a small overnight piece with overnight supplies and sports gear, such as a bathing suit, shorts and walking shoes. Rooms at the Lodge will not be ready until 3pm and you will need gear to change into when you arrive at about 11am. For the most enjoyable time consider a three or four day package.