A Taste of New Brunswick

I was lucky enough to spend 5 days in New Brunswick and got to sample a tiny taste of what the province has to offer. New Brunswick is Canada's only official bilingual province.

New-Brunswick-holiday003French settlers led by Samuel de Champlain discovered New Brunswick in the early 1600's. Their descendants, the Acadians still call this area home today and their vibrant culture can be experienced throughout the province but especially in the north and eastern coastal areas.
It is a land of covered bridges, there are 61 left in the province and the longest in the world measuring 391 metres long is at Hartland, 72 miles west of the city of Fredericton which was our first stop.

Fredericton is a city with a friendly, warm small town feel but it has all the cultural attractions and facilities you would expect from the provincial capital.
We spent one night at the Delta Fredericton which is on the outskirts of the city in a lovely position by the river. We had breakfast at a fabulous authentic diner across the road from the hotel. It was called the Sunshine Diner which is ironic as it rained the whole time we were in Fredericton!New-Brunswick-holiday002

Our visit was timed so we were in town for the Harvest Festival of Jazz & Blues. The festival lasts for 6 days and features the best in jazz and blues on 23 stages around the city. Our second hotel, the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook was within walking distance of the festival and we spent our evenings listening to various bands in different venues.
During the day we visited the many sites Fredericton has to offer. We took a trip back in time and experienced living history at Kings Landing Historical Settlement. We visited an orchard overlooking the Saint John River where the same family have been picking apples and making cider for eight generations. We saw a very large frog before having lunch on a balcony whilst listening to jazz music. We had a private tour of the city and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery before ending up in one of the world's best whiskey bars, the Lunar Rogue. Our final stop was the Saturday morning farmers and craft market.
Next we visited one of Canada's oldest resorts, St Andrews by the sea. I have devoted a whole blog to my time in the town so please read it after this.

From St Andrews we went to Saint John, Canada's oldest incorporated city (1785). The city is home to the oldest farmers market in North America and Moosehead, Canada's oldest independent brewery (1867). Our hotel, the Saint John Hilton was right by the harbour and I had a great view of the P&O Aurora especially when she did a 180 degree turn to leave the port.
New-Brunswick-holiday006We had a guided walking tour of the city and although there have been many fires some beautiful historic buildings remain. We had lunch in the Saint John Ale House overlooking the harbour before making the short bus ride to the Reversing Rapids. This natural phenomenon occurs when the tide of the Bay of Fundy meets the St John River and pushes it back creating rapids, whitecaps and whirlpools. New-Brunswick-holiday005The jetboat ride takes you splashing into the water and although you are given waterproof suits, they do not keep you dry and you get soaked down to your skin! After drying off we had dinner at the fabulous East Coast Bistro.
Next day it was back in the bus for the two hour journey to the Bay of Fundy National Park. On the way we stopped to take photos of a covered bridge, the Sawmill Creek Bridge.
The Bay of Fundy is home to the highest tides in the world. The best place to experience and understand this natural phenomenon is at Hopewell Rocks, 2 hours' drive from Saint John. At low tide you can walk on the ocean floor, explore coves and marvel at the 40ft high flowerpot shaped rock formations. At high tide the same rocks become islands and you can paddle round them in a kayak. It was very strange to think we were walking on the sea floor.

From Hopewell Rocks it was an hour to Shediac, the Lobster Capital of the world and home to Canada's warmest beaches. The New-Brunswick-holidaycoast is sheltered by Prince Edward Island but sadly we didn't get to see the beaches or the coast on our Lobster Tales cruise as the rain had returned. On the boat we learned how to catch lobster. We all had our picture taken with one and learnt how to tell the difference between a male and a female. Then we had a lesson on how to crack open and savour all of our freshly cooked lobster. It was delicious but very messy!

On our way to Moncton we detoured via Magnetic Hill and wondered as to how the bus went backwards uphill! Moncton is New Brunswick largest and fastest growing city. It has been voted Canada's most courteous city several times. It has great shopping, plenty of things to see and do for all ages especially families. It is close to both the Bay of Fundy and the beaches of the Acadian coast. A truly bilingual city, Moncton is home to the only French language university in New Brunswick. On the tour we took of the Musee Acadian de l'Universite de Moncton, we learnt about the history of the Acadian people. Our last stop was Bouctouche, north of Moncton where we got to sample some Acadian dishes and experience their way of life at Le Pays de la Sagouine, the land of the washerwoman. Created from the imagination of novelist Antonine Maillet, Le Pays is a living village with live performances of music, comedy and dance. We learnt to play the spoons while listening to stories and traditional songs.New-Brunswick-holiday004

I enjoyed my taster of New Brunswick and very much look forward to a longer return visit. Most people visit the province as part of an itinerary including Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island however you could easily spend two weeks just in New Brunswick. There is much to see and do plus the driving times between places are less than in Western Canada.





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