Before planning a trip to Nova Scotia, write to the Department of Tourism for their booklet, ''Nova Scotia: Where to Stay, What to See, What to Do,'' which contains detailed information on campgrounds, hotels, scenic drives, and other attractions. The address is:Department of Tourism, PO Box 456, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2R5.

One of the special events to take place in Nova Scotia this summer is the International Gathering of the Clans, which provides a continuous pageant of colorful activities for tourists. This year nearly 70 clans are expected to meet during the period from June 27 to Aug. 20. There will be festivals of music and games, including the Highland fling, one of the best known of the Scottish dances, as well as ancient rural sports such as tug of war, hammer throwing, putting the shot, and caber throwing.

Gatherings will take place in Annapolis, Truro, New Glasgow, Sydney, Halifax, St. Croix, Hopewell, Nabou, Whycocomagh, New Ross, Goshen, and other towns and villages. The program changes continually as the clans announce their gathering plans, but an update may be obtained from Michele McKenzie, PO Box 1983, Halifax , Nova Scotia, B3J 2V9.

For comfortable and attractive accommodations in Halifax, the Berrington Inn and the Citadel Inn are two of the most popular places to stay. If you are in Cape Breton, try the Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. For information on accommodations and to make reservations there is a toll-free number, 1-800-341-6096. The reservationists are very helpful in choosing the right place to suit your taste and budget.

Halifax has several good restaurants: the Clipper Cay is known for its seafood dishes, particularly Atlantic salmon and lobster; the Henry House, in the historic home of William Henry, offers more continental cooking. The Captain's House in Chester is a favorite for traditional island specialties.

To get to Nova Scotia there is ferry service from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Yarmouth. There are daily crossings from June 19 to Sept. 27 and crossings three times a week from May 21 to June 18 and Sept. 28 to Oct. 16. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 1-800-341-7981.

There also is ferry service from Portland, Maine, to Yarmouth, with daily crossings from May 23 to Oct. 31, and crossings three times a week year round. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-341-7540.

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