Monday, August 25, 2014

Fortress of Louisbourg and Another Farewell

The Fortress turned out to be a wonderful choice and we even returned for a second day. We highly recommend this to anyone planning to travel to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

We stayed at the Louisbourg Motorhome Park with lovely views of the harbour.




The Fortress is a reconstruction of about 1/5 of the original fortified town. The main building housed the Governor’s quarters, officers’ quarters and the chapel.


Various houses in the town belonged to married officers and their families.



There were shops and bakeries, etc. Everything needed for everyday life in the 1700’s was contained within the town.



Many ruins have been discovered, like this house foundation.


The grand gate led to the dock where hundreds of ships came to bring provisions and reinforcements. The harbour could hold up to 200 ships. But they crowded so close together that if one caught fire, several would burn.


Throughout the town, re-enactors roam, providing music and entertainment. There were fifes and drums.


A lady with hoops and petticoats under her dress.


Visiting children were given costumes and taught to march with (fake) rifles.


A thief was brought before the crowd to help decide his fate. This was called “public punishment” which was thought to be a deterrent to more crime.


Crafts typical of the day are actively practiced. There’s basket-weaving.


Knitting, using hand-made double-pointed needles and home-spun wool.




I think this is Bargello, a type of needlepoint embroidery.


Tatting, to make lace for adorning elegant ladies’ garments.


Typical living areas have period furniture and implements.




Building methods are demonstrated, as the workers were trained to recreate the buildings using ancient methods and primitive instruments. I don’t think I’d like to be the person who had to make all the logs square.


There are some animals like those that would have been here, mainly grown for wool, skins and food.


And some were entertaining as well as functional.


Most houses had vegetable gardens.


Part of the arsenal of cannons is in this yard.


Louisbourg fell to the British forces in July 1758. The problem was that the French fortified the harbour but not the rear walls of the fortress. The British had some inside information about this, so they attacked from the rear and caught the French unaware. And the rest is history…

We enjoyed great music at the fortress, as well. The Men of The Deeps is a male choral group made up of former miners. They have been together for 47 years, under the direction of one conductor (far right), who was never a miner so he doesn’t wear the uniform or the hard hat. Several members also play instruments. We really enjoyed the performance.


The Barra MacNeils are basically a family group of a sister and three brothers, with accompanying musicians, who sing a variety of music including a number of Gaelic pieces. They all play a variety of instruments including accordion, harp, fiddle, mandolin, bass guitar, bodhran, etc.


The sister (who started performing at the age of 10) and two brothers even did a Scottish Highland step dance.


They are great musicians and we loved seeing them perform.

This morning we had to bid farewell to our traveling companions Denny & Susie Orr. They feel the call to return to the U.S. and visit family. We didn’t quite make it to their 50th anniversary on the 29th, but we have been celebrating all month and we gave them a card a few days early.

At the last minute before they left, a neighbor in the campground told us about a place nearby to get frozen crab legs for $6/lb. Susie and I quickly went there and got 5 lbs to split between us, since neither Denny nor Don eat crab.


My half will make a couple of nice meals.


Travel safely, Friends! It’s been a great couple of months!




  1. What a neat place to visit. I think the people dressed in period clothing make a huge difference when you're touring.
    It must have been very hard to say good by to the Orr's.

  2. Another place to add to our to do list, Nice Post!!!!!!

  3. I found it interesting that the French defended the harbor and left their rear defenses vulnerable. They did the same thing leading up to WWII with the Maginot Line between France & Germany. It seems they would have learned something from the battle in the 1700s. The Germans just overran Belgium and came at the French behind the Maginot Line.

    Those who don't read history are doomed to repeat it.

    You guys are on a super trip this summer and we wish we were there. If you are in the Gettysburg, PA area later on give us a holler. Have fun out there.

    1. Larry, I don't know much about WWII history, so thanks for the comments - that's interesting...and surprising!

      We may indeed be able to link up with you in Gettysburg later on. Not sure of any time frame at this point, so we'll keep in touch.

  4. Another great tour and history lesson - thanks!


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