Of all the places that you visit on your Canada and New England cruise, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia might just be the most memorable. Don't let the gorgeous natural scenery and easygoing atmosphere of the island and its main port of Sydney fool you: this place is teeming with culture waiting to be explored.
This region of Nova Scotia is perhaps most famous for its unique Celtic music and culture. It's rare to find Celtic influences on this side of the Atlantic, but that's exactly what makes Cape Breton so special. Some people here even speak Gaelic, an increasingly uncommon language. The reason for this is that this part of Nova Scotia was a common landing point for immigrants from Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries. The culture has not only survived, but thrived. At any point, you're likely to find plenty of Celtic musicians playing at venues all around Sydney.
Celtics aren't the only ones who came to Sydney. The town also has a strong dose of British influence. After the American Revolution, British loyalists fled the new country for the safety of Canada, and many of them found their way to Sydney. Taking a driving tour around the city, you'll be able to hear some of the backstories and see the houses of these people, as well as learn what influences Britian still has on the town today.
If you want to mix in your history with a little natural beauty, then you should definitely head to Bras d'Or Lake. This expansive body of water is home to hundreds of coves and islands, and is surrounded by beautiful forests and hills. Booking a sailboat on the lake is definitely a fantastic way to spend the day, but history buffs should stick to the coast. In the nearby town of Baddeck, they'll be able to tour Alexander Graham Bell's summer home, as well as visit a museum dedicated to the famous inventor.