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Winter Gems – Paradise Found in Pleasant Bay

Story by: Chuck Wrathall

Have you been looking for a way to get out and enjoy this winter season? Well, how about a day snowshoeing in the mountains or along the coastline and then warming up next to a wood stove inside a cozy cabin with a hot cup of coffee? Pleasant Bay in the Cape Breton highlands makes for the perfect adventure spot with lots of nearby trails, mountains, waterfalls and coastline to explore. It also has some really great accommodations like Cliff Waters Cottage.

Winter Gems - Paradise Found in Pleasant Bay

Pleasant Bay is a Snowshoe Paradise

Roberts Mountain is definitely one of my favourite spots to explore. It’s roughly a 3.9-kilometre return snowshoe up and down the mountain trail. From the top, you can see all the snow-covered peaks and valleys and a beautiful view of the coastline. After a fresh snowfall, it’s truly like being inside a snow globe.  If you’re not up for climbing a mountain, there are quite a few options that are a just short drive away from which to choose from: snowshoeing the Skyline Trail; checking out some frozen waterfalls at MacIntosh Brook or Beulach Ban Falls, the Lone Shieling hut and trails make for a perfect place to explore; or you can try your luck at spotting a moose near Benjie’s Lake. Plus all the look-offs along the Cabot Trail are the perfect quick pit stops to enjoy some wintry views!

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Stay in a Cozy Cabin

Cliff Waters Cottage is a cozy 25’ x 25’ cabin with a loft and can sleep up to four people. Located in Pleasant Bay, it makes for a great home base for adventuring around the northern part of the highlands. With an ocean view out the front and surrounded by the rugged wilderness of the Cape Breton highlands, this cliffside cabin has a beautiful view of the coastline facing west. A perfect spot to watch the sunset over the ocean. You can choose to warm up inside with the wood stove or enjoy a fire in the outdoor fire pit. The wooden tones and green plants make for a cozy atmosphere, especially with a fire crackling. They also have a couple of extra pairs of snowshoes for their guests to use.

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Relax Next to a Fire

What better way to end a day of adventuring in the highlands than relaxing next to a fire. Bust out the s’mores around the outdoor fire pit and catch the sunset with a view. Or brew up a hot coffee and pull up a seat next to the woodstove. Either way, you can’t go wrong! I loved having the master bed near the wood stove, it made it super convenient to restock the fire during the nighttime. Plus being able to lay in bed with an ocean view out your window and hearing the crackling fire makes for such a cozy sleep!

There’s a fully equipped kitchen with everything you’ll need for cooking all your meals. The kitchen island with plants and Edison light bulbs hanging from driftwood makes for a great spot to sit and enjoy your meal. They also have a propane bbq available to use. And if you’re a coffee-lover, there’s an espresso machine and drip coffee maker with a cupboard stocked with coffee and tea.

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Before You Hit the Road

Keep in mind, since Pleasant Bay is a fairly remote and seasonal town, there won’t be any nearby stores, gas stations or restaurants open during the winter. So you’ll want to grab all your supplies and gas before you leave the Chéticamp or Cape North area. And always check the weather and road reports before traveling through the highlands. It’s always recommended to travel with good winter tires, a vehicle emergency kit for remote travelling and be mindful you might not have cell service in some areas.

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Chuck Wrathall

Chuck Wrathall | @Chuckwrathall

I’m Chuck Wrathall, a woodsman & photographer. I’m normally found hiking, camping and practicing my wilderness skills in Cape Breton’s Highlands. Coffee in one hand, camera in the other. Follow his adventures here: @chuckwrathall