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Pictou Lodge Resort has a rustic appeal, with traditional log cabin architecture.
Pictou Lodge Resort has a rustic appeal, with traditional log cabin architecture. (Tim McDonald/WorldGolf.com)

Pictou Lodge Resort: A civilized, Nova Scotia outpost near excellent PEI golf

Tim McDonaldBy Tim McDonald,

PICTOU, Nova Scotia - When you drive down the long road and catch your first glimpse of Pictou Lodge Resort, it looks like an outpost of civilization, far from the madding crowds, with its log cabins and its remote-seeming location, perched precariously on the edge of the Northumberland Strait between Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.

If this is an outpost, it's definitely civilized: You can order Lobster Napolean, Haggis with whisky cream and maple planked salmon in the main dining room and 30 different kinds of single-malt scotch whisky in the lounge.

The resort has a golf package in which you can play three area courses - the nine-hole Pictou Golf and Country Club, a steep nine-hole course with a clubhouse converted from a farmhouse built in 1854, and two 18-holers: Linacy Greens and Abercrombie Golf and Country Club, both relatively short courses built over rolling terrain.

But, for my money, I'd stay at the lodge and take the nearby ferry to play some of the excellent courses on Prince Edward Island, like Crowbush Cove.

Pictou Lodge Resort is a gorgeous, rustic resort right on the sea, with views as far as you can see and multi-colored beach chairs to sit in and listen to the waves roll on shore. Pictou is sort of a Canadian landmark, with a history dating back to 1926, where visiting celebrities like to stay, like King George V and Condoleezza Rice

It's an open, oceanside resort with log cottages and private beaches. Some of the rooms come with large whirlpool tubs or stone fireplaces. It has a wide variety of rooms, suites and cottages, from two and three bedroom executive chalets priced at $299-$425 to cottages priced from $139-$325, all non-smoking.

Many packages are available, including "romance packages" with red roses, petals on the pillow and sparkling wine or champagne, to spring and fall specials.

Despite having a rustic appeal, it's popular for conferences and meetings: Pictou has four meeting rooms holding from 40 to 120 people in the grand ballroom and offers conference packages (including kite-flying workshops for team-building).

If you're a golfer who has to dump your non-golfing family, they probably won't get bored here. Pictou has a heated, outdoor pool, wooded nature trails, a large freshwater pond with canoes or pedal boats available. Or you can try sea kayaking.

There is also a half-kilometer private beach with a fire pit, bicycling, bird-watching, propane barbecues, video games, exercise rooms, pool table, volleyball, horseshoes and basketball. And don't miss the life-sized checkerboard. If your family insists you stay home, hit the practice putting green and mini-driving range.

Pictou Lodge Resort is about three miles east of the historic town of Pictou, with its full-scale replica of The Hector, the ship used by the first Scottish Highlanders when they landed in 1773. The town also has museums and exhibition centers, like the Northumberland Fisheries Museum.

Getting to Nova Scotia

"The Cat" (www.catferry.com) is a sleek, high-speed catamaran ferry that's more like a cruise ship. If you want to get to the picturesque Nova Scotia golf courses from the U.S. mainland, it's a great alternative to the long drive.

The seats are wide and plush, with plenty of legroom, and quite a few of the seating arrangements have tables for meals or playing cards.

The Discovery Channel called it one of the world's top-10 super ships. The Cat has movie screens, restaurants and even a casino - slot machines only. It holds cars, motorcycles, bicycles, RVs, or you can just walk aboard.

The huge windows make sightseeing easy on the six-hour crossing between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The ferry is used by many American tourists on the way to the Celtic and Acadian cultures of the Canadian Maritime provinces, like spectacular Cape Breton.

The ship travels up to 40 knots, and rates range from $64 to $99 for passengers, with the shorter Bar Harbor to Yarmouth route being cheaper. Vehicle rates are $115 to $164 for cars, with varying rates for trucks and smaller vehicles. The port and security fee is $10 each way.

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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