A Sacred Retreat
Article ID: 11999
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: December 23rd. 2007
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Looking for a quiet retreat for magic? I have just the spot. You may have to travel a long way to reach this paradise, but once you’re there, it’s worth it. Once you view the tumbling ancient mountains and vast ocean, you will believe that you stepped in to a dream.
Nestled snugly at the base of the ancient mountains of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Pleasant Bay captures the hearts of people who travel from around the world to discover the stunning nature and picturesque scenery this tiny fishing village is renowned for. It is truly nature at its’ unparalleled best.
While driving to Pleasant Bay along the Cabot Trail, guests should drive leisurely to appreciate the scenic look offs, rugged coastlines and the mountains that plunge 300 meters deep into the water. Pleasant Bay is one of the most photographed spots in the world.
The beauty of Pleasant Bay is the perfect spot in the world for photography and magic. The main house was built by May and Alfred Timmons, my grandparents, in 1986. They had a working farm with a barn and farm animals. The house itself is a unique part of Pleasant Bay that lends evidence of beautiful and expert craftsmanship. It is set on the side of a mountain with a clear view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and spectacular sunsets. The land has been in the Timmons family for six generations.
There are many activities that people can do once they tear their eyes off of the scenery. Crab fests are held once a year by the local fire department. Guests can purchase crab straight off the wharf at the local harbor and bring them back to the cottage to cook up by the campfire. Hikes are a popular activity of guests and so is simply appreciating the gorgeous panoramic views. For truly adventurous guests, there are whale cruises, kayaking, and sailing. People can bring their own kayaks and boats.
A diversity of wildlife brightens the landscape- hawks, seals, rabbits, partridges, squirrels and chipmunks, songbirds and foxes. A guest may be surprised to find a moose peering in the windows of the main cottage at dawn. Guests can watch bald eagles afloat on sea breezes on early mornings. Fishermen’s boats bob in the water for fresh mackerel or haddock. Pilot, fin, minke, humpback and right whales mingle with sailboats and kayaks.
Pleasant Bay has the largest stand of old-growth Acadian forests this side of Quebec. When a guest walks in the 300-year-old sugar maple woods, they may feel as if the place is alive with magic and elves and fairies step from the mists. A Lone Sheiling Trail holds a replica of a Scottish crofter’s hut. The energy is thick in the air and one can almost sense the timeless age of the massive mountains. These woods lie in the National Park. A guest can get a Cape Breton Highlands National Park Entry Pass that allows access to dozens of hiking trails.
The Whale Interpretive Center hosts a museum and gift shop for whale lovers. The Whale Intepretive Center offer day passes available at the front desk. There is a life-size model of the resident pilot whale Hook and tanks of live samples of ocean life and exhibits, facts, and histories of whale hunts.
Pollett’s Cove is a major attraction. People from the world over arrive to experience the world-renowned hiking trail to test their physical stamina. Most people have hiked there and told their friends. It is a trial of endurance and weary hikers return with a heightened sense of spiritual renewal. It is an exhilarating hike.
Once a person has tried the lobster, done some hiking and hopefully kayaking and still has energy, there is still more to do. There are loads of stones to gather for crystal work. Mint grows by the brook and is strong and fresh in scent. The beach stretches as far as one can dare imagine and the ocean is inviting. Whale-watching, kayaking and sailing is at your own risk- I know of some brave 'sailors' whose kayaks were tipped by playful pilot whales!
I enjoy collecting the mint that grows at the brook and storing it because the mint there is especially powerful. I recently watched a red sun sink behind a tranquil turquoise blue ocean, found seashells and rocks for my tumbler to transform into gemstones, crab shells, wood. I watched a hummingbird, saw a crane sitting in a lake, and I felt 'hugged' by the massive ancient mountains around me. I caught a tadpole and was visited by a large bull moose, was awed by flashing lightning and thunder, and felt captivated by the whales and seals splashing in the rough ocean waves a few feet from our boat. The whale pod had a calf pilot whale.
If this is not getting close to nature, I don't know what is.
I confess I keep little simple trinkets I discover on my path along the beach and the woodlands. I cleanse, purify and store crab shells, periwinkles, bone or wood or crystals to my altar in Halifax. They carry some of the energy with them, even sand to fill my cauldron.
Sometimes, I let things go or keep them. I recapture on film the stunning sunsets, the grace and majesty of the moose and whales, and the scents of wildflowers, roses, spruce and earthy thistles wound into one scent-heaven.
The fields of flowers waist-deep high often scratch my legs. The mosquitoes and black flies feast on me but I endure it believing that I am fortunate to be there.
I feel at peace when I explore the woods. The saucy squirrels, moose and chickadees accompany me on my trips through these magical woods. I invite anyone to discover the beautiful wilderness. Pleasant Bay may capture your heart and soul so much that you find yourself returning or never leaving.
Now, that’s magic.
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Bio: Heddy M Johannesen is a full-time freelance writer based in Halifax. She visits Pleasant Bay as often as possible. Her grandparents have recently celebrated their sixtieth-wedding anniversary.
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