Where to stay and what to do on the drive from Montreal to Halifax
June 16, 2010 8:57 AM   Subscribe

We are taking several days to drive from Montreal to Halifax next week and we're looking for interesting things to see and do along the way. Never been to the east side of Canada before. Bonus points for suggestions of good vegetarian restaurants.

Currently we are staying 4 nights in Montreal at the start and 2 nights in Halifax at the end and have 3 nights in-between to get a taste of the Maritimes.
posted by metaname to Travel & Transportation around Canada (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Definitely eat at Chuch in Montreal — completely vegetarian Thai food plus BYO wine. The yellow curry "beef" and crispy mushrooms are unbelievable.
posted by rebekah at 9:08 AM on June 16, 2010

I've traveled that route a lot but we're usually going for speed - a stop for dinner at Edmonston and then plough on through the night to hit Halifax in the morning.

If you're taking your time you might as well stop over in Quebec City. Two hours from Montreal, hit up the old city etc. If you decide to stay the night the ghost tours are a fun way to see the old city.

The ferry from St. John NB is a nice trip but REALLY REALLY expensive.

Logging roads may look like a shortcut or scenic, but don't use them. The logging trucks will scare the hell out of you on the narrow crappy roads.

Husband recommends:
- Taking the folly mountain road instead of Cobequid pass - says it's really pretty.
- if speed is not an issue, the first exit to NB off the Transcanada takes you on a long meander through smalltown NB which is pretty as well, adds a few hours to the drive though.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:16 AM on June 16, 2010

Check out the Wooden Monkey in Halifax - not completely vegetarian, but local and organic. Their chocolate tofu pie is to die for.
posted by ghost dance beat at 9:19 AM on June 16, 2010

You should go to Cafe Calactus in Moncton. It's my favourite restaurant in Moncton. The club sandwich is really good.

My favourite restaurant in Halifax is The Wooden Monkey. It's not entirely vegetarian, their focus is local organic food. (On preview: I love the chocolate tofu pie!)

Did you see this other post on an Atlantic Canada roadtrip?
posted by carolr at 9:23 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This takes me back to a family vacation from junior high. Good times.

Exactly how vegetarian are you looking for? Cause the Maritime Provinces are renowned for their seafood, and you'd really be missing out. It isn't hard to find either: chuck a rock in any direction in a town of reasonable size and you'll find some local hole in the wall with better chowder than you've ever had.

Either way, you're going to be driving right by the Bay of Fundy, home of (arguably) the largest tides in the world. Sixty feet is the normal average.

Halifax is home to a number of interesting historical sites, including Fort George and

Halifax is just cross the bay from Peggys Cove, a scenic little fishing village with a well-known lighthouse. A little further down the coast is Lunenberg, a larger fishing town with a maritime museum. It's also the home of the Bluenose, another bit of Canadian history.

It's a little out of the way, but the Annapolis Royal Generating Station is one of the only tidal power generators in the world.

I could go on, so MeMail me if you want more info.
posted by valkyryn at 9:46 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Montreal has several Commensal restaurants: vegetarian buffets that charge by the weight of your plate. Very tasty food there, and internet available at at least one of them!
posted by fish tick at 9:47 AM on June 16, 2010

Lobsters are vegetables, aren't they?

But seriously, don't overlook how much there is worth seeing once you're actually in and around Halifax. Lunenberg's a United Nations designated Historic Town and an excellent day trip south, with Chester and Mahone Bay en route, and there's lots of excellent B+Bs in the vicinity if you want to extend your stay.

And don't forget to detour through Peggy's Cove etc on the way back into town.
posted by philip-random at 9:50 AM on June 16, 2010

Or you could just do what valkyryn said.
posted by philip-random at 9:56 AM on June 16, 2010

It's a 2 hour detour for you, but you might think of making a stop in Advocate Harbour, NS. Gorgeous little town where you can eat at one of three delicious restaurants (especially Wild Caraway which is a foodie destination and appears to have some vegetarian options, Cape d'Or Lighthouse, or the Beach Cafe in nearby Spencer's Island), stay at one of several nice options (especially Wild Caraway and the Cape d'Or Lighthouse where you stay in the old lighthouse keeper's home, right on a cliff, overlooking the beautiful Bay of Fundy), and do fun activities like hike in Cape Chignecto Provincial Park or kayak around the coast of the Bay of Fundy.

I also like Cafe Graffiti in Monction although the option mentioned above sounds great.
posted by n'muakolo at 10:24 AM on June 16, 2010

Once you get here, give Satisfaction Feast a go. They have both vegetarian and vegan menu options.

I am neither but enjoy their BLT (fake bacon, soyannaise) and the Quesadilla is to die for.
posted by cmetom at 10:41 AM on June 16, 2010

I'm seconding Satisfaction Feast in Halifax - when I was there a few years ago I enjoyed their vegan 'Neatloaf' Dinner - the mushroom gravy served on top of the 'neatloaf' was delicious!
posted by blake137 at 12:08 PM on June 16, 2010

Best answer: We drove to Halifax a couple of years ago and loved the area around the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. We spent a coule of nights at the Parkland Village Inn, which had a great view of the bay and tides and is just outside of Fundy National Park. Both were pretty quiet during the late summer/early fall when we were there. Much more crowded, but not overly so, were the Hopewell Rocks a little ways up the coast; beatiful scenery. One thing I missed but would liked to have done is seen one of the tidal bores nearby, but you kind of have to time that right if you don't want to sit around all day waiting for it. Depending upon your route you might pass by Sackville, which is kind of a college town and so might have more vegetarian dining options than you would typically find in New Brunswick (at least based on my limited, non-vegetarian observations). Also there is the Sackville Waterfowl Park which while it probably isn't worth going out of your way to see, might be a good place to stop and have a picnic or stretch your legs if nearby. Sackville also has the Sackville Relay Sation , a huge shortwave facility operated by RCI.

I don't know if you have your time in Halifax planned out, but the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is worth a visit. It has great exhibits on both the Titanic and the Halifax explosion. If you have children the Discovery Centre is good as well. I don't recall right now where we stayed in Halifax, but even the nicer hotels in the middle of downtown were very reasonable; we were within walking distance of both the above museums and numerous restaraunts. The eastern shore of the Bay of Fundy has some neat places, but the Balancing Rock is probably a little too far out of your way given your schedule. I was going to comment on the Cat ferry, but apparently it is no longer in operation. Now I guess I will never get back the phone I lost on it between Yarmouth and Bar Harbour.
posted by TedW at 12:32 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Calactus vegetarian restaurant in Moncton: get the Moustafa Melt.

Lunenburg: Go there.

Hopewell Rocks, just outside Moncton: Hit it at low tide. Well worth it.

Truro: Skip it.

Northern New Brunswick: Skip it.

Cape Split: Hike it.

Confederation Bridge: The toll to get back across is something like $40, but Cross It.

Darrell's (formerly known as My Other Brother Darrell's): in Halifax, get their wraps or the peanut butter burger. TRUST me on that one.

Lawrencetown: Surf it.
posted by fso at 12:43 PM on June 16, 2010

Best answer: Montreal vegetarian restaurant page.

(Full disclosure: I do this page, although I'm not vegetarian myself these days.)
posted by zadcat at 2:22 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I asked the question carolr linked to upthread, and would be happy to email you my spreadsheet of gathered info. It's heavy on the restaurants and crafts shopping, and covers more area than you need, but there's a fair bit of Halifax info there. It's also got Fredericton and Moncton stuff, which looks to be on your route.

Yeah, I have a spreadsheet. It's only 265 rows. Well, no, it isn't done yet... Why are you looking at me that way?
posted by booksherpa at 3:41 PM on June 16, 2010

While you're in Halifax, try to get out to see the band Signal Hill at the Lower Deck Pub, near the waterfront. They play there many, many nights of the year. They'll play a ton of familiar songs, as well as some great maritime music - it's a fantastic set and a great way to spend an evening. The pub will get packed though!
posted by Diplodocus at 7:23 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm not a vegetarian so I will enjoy the lobster but my partner is so she'll be glad of all the nice alternatives.
posted by metaname at 9:02 PM on June 16, 2010

I took this route last year, beautiful and scenic, not much to do (that I could tell). Vegetarian options few and far between (the motel I stayed at in Woodstock suggested a BLT when I said I was vegetarian ... but then they realized what they'd just said and helpfully suggested a salad instead...)

I passed Saint-Louis-du-Ha!_Ha! on the road but didn't stop.

If completely awful and hilarious tourist traps interest you, there's always Magnetic Hill near Moncton. I went for the 'put your car in neutral and roll UPHILL!!' thrill and excitement. Best $5CND I ever spent, but it's over in a flash (although I could have gone again, as there wasn't much traffic the day I was there). I skipped the rest of this place, though, and they sort of force you to at least drive through it just to get back to the Transcanada.

I absolutely adore Halifax, and I ate nearly every day at the Good Food Emporium on Gottingen St. Fresh, delicious food and the service is you place your order at the counter, food is brought out to you, and you pay at the counter when you're done. Very nice people working there, too!!

Enjoy your journey!!
posted by kuppajava at 5:18 AM on June 17, 2010

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