Winter in Cape Breton

Packing essentials for a weekend in the mountains – lopi knitting, books and tea (Petey not included of course ;))


This past holiday weekend, Meaghan, Reg, Jamie, Henry and I drove up to Cape Breton Island to stay in a cabin.  It has been a dream of mine to see the Cabot Trail in the snow but have always thought it not practical because of the unpredictable nature of the weather at this time of year.  But, we did it!!  And after a little bit of a stressful drive over one of the snowy mountain roads, it was a piece of cake 😉

In short, the weather was perfect.  Storm upon storm battered us last week but now the weather has mellowed considerably with around 0 temperatures and a steady dusting of snow over the several feet that has previously fallen.  The drive through valleys dotted with farms and old barns, cattle and horses in the snow .  We met very few cars  but would come across dozens parked along the side of the road for tobogganing down the ideal hill.   Dreaming about one day owning a little piece of land on this beautiful Island.

When we finally reached our airbnb, nestled at the bottom of the mountains in Cheticamp (just before the entrance to the National Park) there were a few *hiccups* before we could settle in (a broken water heater, our car stuck in the snow, a drive to the owners barn to use the washroom and another instance of our car stuck in the snow….. just a WEE bit of chaos).  We decided to drive to the National Park while we waited for the water heater to be fixed.  It was M A G I C!  The sun was setting, the mountains covered in snow and the ocean had a greenish/grey tint with the sleeping sky.

Once we made it to our cabin with the freedom of being able to use the washroom, we cooked and Jamie went with the owner to get us a huge glass jug of fresh mountain water. They drove into the National Park in total darkness. It was delicious and we drank the whole thing with our sauna trips.

Our stay was filled with tea, walking up the mountain behind the cabin, reading plays aloud, sitting by the woodstove, knitting, a sauna and sleeping E A R L Y!  We were without service and the internet and I just wish I could live like that forever.  It’s strange, I felt compelled to use the internet when I came home and was overwhelmed with sadness.  I just need to be aware of my use and start by cutting it down.

Meaghan also finished a beautiful Olwyn lopi sweater for our Etsy shop, it will be available this weekend! We photographed it in the woods behind the house and very excited about the outcome!

My heart yearns for a deeper connection to this place.  I feel very, very lucky that we can drive there and it’s just our neighbouring island but I feel the need to know the trees, streams, rocks in the old hardwood forests.  I feel like they speak to me and I, in my meager way, speak back to them.  I hope.

Driving into Cheticamp!
Cabot Trail
Brief stop at this beautiful spot on the Cabot Trail in the Winter
The Cabin
Jamie and the Cabin or Chalet! It was so cute and the perfect size
Mixed Forest walking up the mountain
So many birch and maple in the woods
Winter Walk
A happy dog and Jamie and Reg in the distance
Inside details
All the Lopi sweaters ❤
Lopi sisters
Meaghan and I – WAYS OF WOOD FOLK- photographing the latest OLYWN for the Etsy shop (this is a design I made a few years ago and Megahan’s beautiful colourwork and handknitting)  – we are not sure why she looks so much taller than me since we are about the same height!
Beautiful baby
Henry in her chair by the wood stove ❤
Higher and higher
Henry and I climbed the mountain the morning before we left – it was magic although I did have a dream last night that a moose was chasing me …
I feel like the earth has been a spell on me when I’m walking in the woods in the winter – all the birch white and gold
Up in the woods
Jamie captured me in my natural habitat – it was only around 0 so after a steep climb you really don’t want mitts or a hat on
Almost there Henry
Henry waiting for me to stop taking photos of the woods
Meaghan’s Olywn!
The morning we left, the fog lifted and Henry and I could have kept walking
Perfect Stream
In a dip before the climb up the mountain and a beautiful little stream – we actually alarmed a duck while we walked past – startling both Henry and I!
Cabot Trail
Stopping to do a U-turn on the Cabot Trail
Cabot Trail
Leaving the Cabot Trail with the Sun

12 thoughts on “Winter in Cape Breton

    1. 😀 Yes, I like your use of the word almost! It’s funny because I really left out a comical story behind our check in *delay* which ultimately made the trip perfect – a funny story none of us will forget!

      and thank you for your compliment of our sweaters! We put a lot of heart and soul into our work so it’s very heart warming to hear such positive feedback ❤


  1. Grateful for your sharing of your magical time away, Julia. Someday I will visit PEI and I think now Cape Breton will be on that list too! Beautiful photos. Beautiful souls. Your love connection with nature shines through, my kindred spirit! By the way, though I have been a knitter for most of my life, have knitted a few lopi sweaters for friends and could certainly knit my own lopi sweater, I just might have to order one from your shop someday, The design patterns and color ways you and your sister select are so divine. I love the natural shades.


    1. Hi Bonnie!

      I highly suggest adding Cape Breton to your Canadian Maritime trip! If you take the ferry from PEI to Nova Scotia, it is about an hour and a half drive to Cape Breton Island. There is something genuinely magic about the place that I can’t really explain. I feel it when I’m with the streams and the trees in the Highlands. I really hope you can experience the same.

      Thank you so much for your kind words on our lopi sweaters! We take our colour inspiration usually from nature (I was very in awe of mountain maple in winter this weekend) and would be more than happy to knit you a sweater! We are currently not taking on any custom orders but this will change in the future 🙂 However, if you wanted to take on your own project, I would be more than happy to help with a design and colours 😀


  2. Love reading about your trip, Julia! We have only been to Cape Breton in the summer and someday I would love to go there in the winter. I feel a deep connection there too, especially when walking in the woods with all the rocks and streams. The lopi sweaters just seem to fit in so well too don’t they?


    1. Hi Valerie! Always happy to see you here! And perhaps some day you can make it in the winter! I have lived in the East for going on 7 years (and for 4 years lived very close to the causeway) and only made it there this year in the colder months so I have hope for you that someday you can make the trip!

      Did you get your free National Parks pass for the 150th anniversary? We are hoping to go back this summer again. I agree with you completely, there is some strange invisible tug to the place! Have you ever watched the documentary “The Fairy Faith”? It is available on Youtube and discusses the belief in fairies, partly in Cape Breton! I really love it and definitely suggest it!


  3. “Reading plays aloud”…I love that. What kind of plays?
    I totally get that yearning for a deeper connection to a place. We have traveled to one of the Gulf Islands here in BC, ever since we moved out west, be it camping or arbnb. I feel such a spiritual connection to it.
    The sweaters are lovely as always.
    Glad you had a fun Family Day Weekend.


    1. You’re lucky you can make it a regular trip! Sometimes, I’m sad I don’t live closer but I really just need to remind myself that it isn’t that far and it will always be there.
      And my brother in law printed out some “4 person plays” from authors that I could not name because I don’t remember 😦

      Hope you had a lovely family day 🙂


  4. Your photographs are stunning, either indoors or outdoors, the interior ones are full of texture and rich muted colours and the scenic ones outside, well you should be a Canadian travel ambassador because they always leave me wanting to visit. Especially like the pic of the very regal looking Henry on her throne.


    1. Thank you so much! I would love to be a Canadian travel ambassador 😉 Maybe just an Eastern Canada one… dreaming now!
      I will let Henry know of your compliment, she will be very happy 😀


  5. I love reading your. Log and viewing your pictures! I stumbled across it somehow and have been hooked. Devoured the blog posts in a day and have been eagerly awaiting more!


    1. Hi Lauren,

      Thanks so much! It really makes me so happy to hear, especially because I feel like I put a big part of myself into the blog opposed to other forms of social media. I am currently working on 2 posts that should be up later this week 🙂

      Thanks again for reading!



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