On the edge of Cape Breton Island, overlooking the sea, mountains and a miles-long beach. Only for people who can handle the occasional storm and/or power outage, and who love birds, wildlife, the maritime culture and... vintage Airstreams!
Surf Scoter – my restored 1964 Airstream trailer – sits high on 700 feet of Atlantic oceanfront in company with the Windsor Salt Box, a cedar-shingled summer room. It’s available for rental by the week or the month (warm ones only) to moderately self-reliant artistic and writerly types looking for a place to do their stuff. Plain, old birders and nature freaks are welcome too!
Surf Scoter is near the north-eastern tip of Cape Breton Island, just off the Cabot Trail... a wild and tremendous place. You’ll see families of bald eagles, coyotes on the hunt, moose grazing the water plants, and maybe even whales blowing out in the bay.
Below the property is an exquisite mix of environments: fresh-water marsh, salt-water marsh, grassy sand flats and a miles-long, usually deserted, sandy beach. This means birds of every kind, including the endangered Piping Plover... part of the sand flats is reserved for their conservation.
Swimming is wonderful in July, August and into September – the water is amazingly warm. Fresh seafood (oysters, lobster, crab, fish) is ubiquitous in restaurants, from markets, and even from right off the boat. There’s a small, neighbourly farmers’ market every Saturday in the nearby village of Cape North, and two grocery stores (one with liquor) within a twenty minute drive. You can do your laundry at the local campground or at the "convenience stop" at New Haven.
Stuff to do: Hike the dozens of trails in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Watch whales, seals and sea-birds from the "Oshan" boat in Bay St. Lawrence. Visit spectacular Meat Cove, perched on a cliff at the top of the island. Cross the mountains on the Cabot Trail and visit Cheticamp, an Acadian town where both French and English are spoken, and where you can hear great fiddle music throughout the summer. Swim in the tidal channel down at the beach, or at the hidden falls and deep fresh-water pools in the woods. Eat tons of seafood. And, if you're into such things, you can golf near Ingonish at Keltic Lodge's Highland Links, wind-surf and kite-surf (bring your own gear).
Surf Scoter has no phone, but mobile reception is available through most networks. There’s free Internet at the museum in Cape North, or at the campground (about $2 for unlimited use). The trailer has electricity, a septic system, spring-fed hot and cold running water, a shower, a stove, fridge and toaster oven. There's a small fire-pit for barbecuing. The Salt Box has no electricity but is lit by candle-lanterns.
A car is essential... they can be rented in Sydney (2 1/2 hours) or Halifax (6 hours).
This is a simple place, so don't expect luxuries like scented soap and wide-screen TV – in fact, there is NO TV! Bring lots of books and a beach towel...
PLEASE NOTE! Things can happen out in the wilds. Things like power failures, plumbers that can't get to you because they're out fishing, big storms that may bring new leaks... Though everything will probably be great, please don't book unless you can handle the unexpected. I'm in Toronto and have a friendly manager and all-round repair-guy, but repairs may not happen at the snap of your fingers.
Finally, I'm really sorry but the minimum rental period is ONE WEEK, and arrivals and departures must be on SATURDAYS. Please don't ask for a different arrangement. It just ain't possible!
Be kind to Surf Scoter and its environment! Conserve water and electricity.
Keys and help will be provided by a friendly neighbour. Make sure you've returned the keys before you leave!
Extra guests (up to 2) can use the excellent tent and inflatable air mattress. Or sleep in the Salt Box.
No smoking inside the trailer, please. Smoking is allowed in the Salt Box. And if you've got dogs, PLEASE don't let them up on the furniture!
Dogs (and cats) are welcome as long as you dry them off well and don't let them up on the furniture. But please keep your dog on a leash near the plover nesting sites (signs will be posted).
In general, please leave the Airstream and Salt Box as neat and tidy as they were when you arrived.
Note: Tourists sometimes stop to take photos of the view from the generally quiet road above the property. Try to be friendly but if they out-stay their welcome, or have long, loud conversations, feel free to remind them you're there for the quiet!
Surf Scoter was one of the highlights of our two week long Eastern Canada road trip. The views are absolutely beyond description - Cape Breton is my idea of heaven. We were only upset that we didn't know enough to book a longer stay - a week would have been better. Next time! Meredith was a wonderful and gracious host. If you stay there, follow the advice in the 'binder'! We went to Bay St. Lawrence and the nearby waterfalls, both amazing! We can't wait to go back!
I dreamt of staying at Surf Scoter for two years before finally booking the trip, and I'm happy to say that everything about my experience was better than in dreams. I can't tell you enough good things about Meredith. She's a super chill, laid-back, but thorough and attentive host. Cape Breton was experiencing something of a drought for part of the summer and there was some concern that the Scoter wouldn't have enough water for guests, so she emailed me well in advance of my stay to notify me of the possibility. It ended up not being a problem, and anyway I wouldn't have minded, but it was great to know that she was so prepared and attentive. She checked in with me by email a couple of times while I was there to make sure I had everything I needed and that all was right in the camper. All was right, and there was absolutely nothing I wanted for. Cape Breton is a place of astonishing beauty, but I'd be happy to stay in Meredith's camper wherever it might be parked.
I am really late to getting around to answering this absolutely lovely review from Lauren. Thank you so much!! Hopefully, the trailer will never have to move, as I really don't think it could bear it. But you are absolutely welcome back, Lauren, anytime, anywhere (maybe Toronto some day?).
Vue incroyable! Région (website hidden) l'utilisateur de la jolie Airstream bien utile. De bien beaux moments là-bas!
We just returned from our perfect week at Surf Scoter. Every time we opened the door of the Airstream to start the day we would say "Wow!" The ever-changing vista was amazingly beautiful. Birds gathering, tides flowing, clouds floating, mountains and ocean in the distance. The Airstream was comfortable and the Salt Box(es) airy and perfect for a snack of local oysters and a cold drink. The location is convenient for beaching or a great central place for taking in local adventures...hiking, oyster-eating, whale watching, sight-seeing, ice cream eating etc. etc. We were lucky to venture out and see 4 moose! a bald eagle! and crazy Kamikaze Gannetts diving for dinner! We cooked dinner on the firepit and sometimes in the Airstream kitchen and ate in the breezy Saltbox. The sightseers from the road above were sometimes a tad bit annoying but who can blame them for seeking out the most picturesque view in Cape Breton! The local people were lovely - we recommend a visit to the St. Paul Island Museum in Dingwall, a walk/hike at White Point, ice cream at the Neil's Harbour lighthouse, and a drive to the Skyline hiking trail on the Cabot Trail...an AMAZING place! The whole week was wondrous, tranquil, happy, celebratory, peaceful, and just what we wanted. The description of the Airstream and Hut was spot-on and the photos you include in your description are perfect. We took so many pictures of the scene from the property...sunny scenes, rainy scenes, cloudy scenes, sunset scenes, bird scenes... ones which I will treasure forever. What memories we will always have and what a perfectly wondrous way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Thank you for sharing the magic of your "Wild Cape Breton 64 Airstream and Hut" with us! We recommend this tranquil place to anyone who is seeking a place to forget about everything back home and truly relax. We drove over 900 miles each way, but honestly it was worth every mile :)
It would be difficult to put into writing all we felt being at Surf Scoter for the week -- it was a wonderful experience on the cliff above South Harbor; taking part in all the local activities and water sports; finding time alone on the beach, in the water, and at the Airstream; experiencing the tastes of the North Atlantic as represented in all the foods and places nearby.
In 2001, we had restored a 1964 Bambi Airstream, took off across the country for 8 weeks with our kids, and created memories that will last a lifetime. Being at Surf Scoter brought back so many of those memories for us (including a smell unique to vintage Airstreams, one that took us right back to ours - not a bad smell, just one that only those who have owned them recognize).
This year has witnessed the biggest draught in Cape Breton's history. The water issue at the Airstream was significant, BUT Meredith made sure we KNEW about it before arriving, had arranged for jugs of water to be waiting for us, had friends down the road willing to let us refill them, and provided information on nearby showers. Her communication about the issue was above and beyond what many AirBNBers do, and we were grateful. For us, the water issue was so minor compared to the beautiful surroundings by a day or two in we'd totally forgotten we had to "go somewhere" for a shower!
Meredith has created a place of respite, a sacred space, where the beauty of creation can be see all around. It is a place we will return to - often!
Bruce & Amy Barnard
New York, NY, USA
We arrived at at sunset. The view blew us away, it was just so beautiful.
The airstream was immaculately clean and cosy, the salt box, a perfect place to watch the view and escape the heat of the sun.
The beach was deserted until about noon every morning, and then only a handful of people might show up, and really only on really hot days.
We had probably the best swim of our lives one morning: warm water, gentle ocean swells, birds overhead, and the whole gorgeous beach to ourselves.
There are so many amazing trails and beautiful drives to go on, South Harbour is the perfect central location to set out from (but it is sooo tempting just to stay there the whole time!).
There was no running water, as the weeks of dry hot weather had dried out the well, but it was really not that difficult to manage without it. Meredith let us know the situation beforehand so that we could be prepared, and was very communicative and helpful all along.
I felt like I got to experience heaven for the days I was there, and so roughing it a little was no problem at all.
I'd go back in an instant!
Thank so much, Meredith, for sharing your amazing place with us!
My husband and I had an awesome time at Surf Scoter! The trailer was cozy and the other building (like a spacious screened-in porch) was excellent for bug-free sunset watching, beer drinking, napping, bird watching, and just plain old hanging out. We LOVED the beach. Best swimming for miles around and a beautiful expanse for running on, too. We saw a young elk roaming the marshy area one morning and we watched a family of geese swim off to their sleeping spot every evening. The place is excellently located too, near the national park and Ingonish, but also proximal to Cape North, the spectacular Bay St. Lawrence, Meat Cove, and other small communities. (Plus seafood restaurants! We liked the Chowder House in Neil's Harbour.) There is much hiking and exploring to be had. Another bonus for us was the privacy the site offered. After a run on the beach I felt very secure in stripping down for a shower under the hose (sightseers will stop on the road above the trailer, but they can't really see down to the living area).
The only downside of the location is the lack of grocery stores. Those that are nearest close early, and everything is very expensive (but this is true of the rest of Cape Breton and all remote areas). If you visit, you might want to think ahead: bring a car full of groceries and buy your booze in advance too.
We did most of our cooking outside, on our camp stove or on the fire pit. You can cook inside the trailer, but as in any Airstream the kitchen is a bit cramped. We had no problem doing the dishes and storing food and prepping our meals inside the trailer, though. We found the trailer very comfortable for sleeping, too. The trailer's bathtub/shower is a bit difficult to use for a tall person...it can be managed, but this is one reason we also used the hose outside.
Meredith was a truly excellent host. Everything was pretty much as described, and the binder of local info was very helpful. We had no problems or emergencies, but I felt like if we had, she and her helpers would have been immediately responsive.
Overall: highly recommended!! We hope to return.
This host has 64 reviews for other properties.View Other Reviews