Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi established several wireless stations along the east coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, at the turn of the 20th century. The Marconi Trail, named in tribute to him, follows the coastline through many historic towns and villages and veers around the tops of many cliffs along the way.
One of the trail's highlights is the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, 18 mi/28 km southeast of Sydney. It's a living museum where interpreters portray life as it was in the summer of 1744, just prior to the final siege. At the northern end of the Marconi Trail is Glace Bay, where you'll find the Marconi National Historic Site, a museum dedicated to the inventor. It contains a replica of the wireless station that broadcast the first transatlantic message to Europe. Another highlight is the Miners' Museum, also in Glace Bay, about a mile/kilometer from downtown. (The coal-mining heritage remains strong on the island.) Be sure to take the tour: After you're issued a hard hat and a protective cape, a retired miner leads you down to a damp, cramped mine typical of the 1930s. (The excursion is definitely not for those with claustrophobia or limited mobility.) You also experience a simulated ride on a man rake, an open rail car that once transported miners to coal buried far below the sea floor.
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