This may be Astronaut Chris Hadfield's last snapshot of Cape Breton Island from 370 km up, as he returns to Earth Monday evening via  the steppes of Kazakhstan. Hadfield's tweeted comment: "The highlands of Cape Breton still wear the winter's snow, sun highlighting the connecting waters." The May 5 image above is a rotated segment of a larger photograph you can download at its original resolution here. Previous snaps of Contrarian's Primary Residences here and here. A world map with links to all Hadfield's tweeted photos here....

In the last few years, I've made several business trips to the Faroe Islands, a rocky archipelago that rises spectacularly from the North Atlantic, about halfway between Iceland and Scotland. The population of 48,917 is about one-third of Cape Breton's; the land area of 1,399 square km barely tops that of Richmond County, NS. Search Google Images for "Faroe Islands," and you'll turn up dozens of photos far more beautiful than the snapshot below, of a rocky point known as Tinganes that sticks into the harbour at Torshavn, the country's* largest town. Tinganes sits two blocks from the hotel where I...

From November, 1972, to June, 1999, Ron Caplan published Cape Breton's Magazine from his farmhouse in Wreck Cove, Victoria County. Typeset on an IBM Selectric, printed in a one-of-a-kind, out-sized format, each issue was packed with oral history of a beloved island whose way of live was rapidly changing. Caplan has now digitized the whole ungainly collection and made it available, in searchable form, online. The interface feels a bit dated and awkward to use, but it's all there - an extraordinary resource. Want to know what an eyestone was? Check Issue 4. Women steelmakers in World War II? Issue 37....

- Carol Kennedy photo Cape Breton's Fall colors peak between the first and second weekends of October, and this year foliage tourists have four worthy festivals to chose from. The Hike the Highlands festival offers 23 guided hikes in a variety of distances, difficulties, and locations around the Cabot Trail from September 11 to 20. The festival also features workshops on nature photography, GPS, and geocaching, together with various social and musical events. The first annual inaugural Cabot Trail Writers' Festival in North River, October 2 to 4, features readings and workshops by authors Donna Morrissey (Kit's Law & What They Wanted),  Douglas...