WHO: Jane Killeen, 60, of Lynnfield and Robin Killeen, 54, of Kirkwood, Mo.
WHERE: Nova Scotia
WHEN: One week in July
WHY: "Robin and I live halfway across the country from each other so we try to connect once or twice a year," Jane Killeen said. "We were both on a budget and wanted to stay closer to home, and everybody said Nova Scotia was so beautiful. At first I thought it was going to be pretty small, but we ended up driving 1,100 miles."
LOBSTER LAND: From Killeen's home north of Boston they drove to Portland and put her car on "The Cat," the high-speed ferry to the southern tip of Nova Scotia. From there they drove north to Lunenburg, where Killeen had her "best lobster dinner ever" at the Old Fish Factory Restaurant. "Lunenburg is on a lovely harbor and is a World Heritage Site," Killeen said.
PAINFULLY PICTURESQUE: From Lunenburg, they visited nearby Mahone Bay, where Killeen wanted to photograph the town's row of three historic churches. "Robin is a big cyclist so we decided to rent bikes and ride the 10 miles there," Killeen said. "Although I quickly got my bike legs going there, the way back was like pushing against concrete. Afterward I learned I was in the wrong gear."
TO THE CAPE: An all-day drive got them to Ingonish on the lower side of Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail, the highway that hugs the coast. "The trail is a long, hilly, winding road that encircles the national park," Killeen said. "It's not as scary as they make it sound, but there were a few white-knuckle moments as we drove in thick fog. Without fog, it's truly one of the most spectacular drives in the world. The whole time you're on Cape Breton, you're on the water. It's very isolated, very pristine."
OLD-TIME CHARM: They stayed at the Keltic Lodge Resort, on a cliff overlooking the sea. "It's from the 1940s and just charming," Killeen said. "The carpet is plaid and the staff wear kilts. At night there's wonderful music. You could do things in the day, or just hang out in a lawn chair." They took a three-hour kayak tour with a guide. "We started in shallow water and glided over oyster and clam beds. At night, it's an activity just to look at the stars. We didn't want to leave Cape Breton. On the way home, we were already talking about a return trip."