In Chéticamp, an Acadian enclave for more than 200 years, Francophone culture and traditions are still very much alive. That’s why the Gaelic-inflected lilt in locals’ voices is replaced by a distinct French accent. (You might be greeted in French but can respond in English—most residents are bilingual.) Size is another distinguishing factor because, with population of about 4,000, Chéticamp feels like a major metropolis compared to other western shore communities. The landscape is different, too. Poised between mountains and sea, Chéticamp stands exposed on a wide lip of flat land below a range of bald green hills, behind which lies the high plateau of the Cape Breton Highlands. Commercial fishing is the town’s raison d'être, but rug hooking is its main claim to fame, a fact reflected in local attractions and shops. So pause to peruse them before racing into the adjacent national park.