Getting There: Most arrive via Halifax, a beautiful Nova Scotia city with flights from many major cities. A three-and-a-half hour drive from Cabot, Halifax is worth checking out. Book a night at the Lord Nelson Hotel (lordnelsonhotel.ca), set on a hillside overlooking downtown Halifax. Explore the city on foot, strolling down to the waterfront casino or to any of the many music bars and cafes.
If you have made it as far as Inverness, you have to add one of the world’s finest day trips to your agenda. Take the breathtaking—and at times harrowing—Cabot Trail to Ingonish, where you will revel in a round at Highlands Links in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Talk about getting there being half the fun! The 104-mile road requires a three-hour sojourn that takes you past beautiful villages, along jawdropping cliffs and through vast timberlands. Watch out for moose on the road!
The pot of gold at the end this rainbow cuts through the most spectacular natural setting I have ever seen for golf. Designed in 1941 by Stanley Thompson, Canada’s most prolific and historic architect, Highlands Links is the ultimate wilderness golf experience. Once a perennial Top 100 course, it had fallen into disrepair over the past couple of decades. Ian Andrew, one of Canada’s top young golf course designers, has won the task of restoring Highlands Links to its rightful place among the world’s best. Already, drainage improvements and an aggressive tree management program have improved the golf experience.
Leave early if you plan on making the round trip from Inverness to Ingonish in a single day. Better yet, spend a night in the seaside village of Cheticamp on your way back. This much is certain: you will never run out of stories to tell of your adventure across the Cape Breton Island frontier.