5 Reasons to Visit New Brunswick, Canada
New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially bilingual province, sits on the Bay of Fundy, site of the world’s highest tides, which rise to 53 feet. With its swath of wild coastline, New Brunswick offers visitors a considerable number of outdoor activities, including hiking, whale watching, bird watching kayaking and mountain biking.
New Brunswick should not, however, be discounted as a worthy cultural destination as well. There’s plenty to do here on that front. The destination is home to a robust array of festivals, and cultural events, along with a healthy smattering of museums, art galleries and cultural events.
The Bay of Fundy
A staggering 100 billion tons of seawater flows in and out of the bay twice a day, with six hours and 13 minutes between low and high tides.
An excellent spot to experience the bay’s tides is Hopewell Rocks. Here, at high tide, visitors can kayak off the coast. Then, as the tide shifts and the sea recedes, they can walk along the ocean floor to see its oddly shaped rock formations.
During summer and fall, 12 species of whales come to feed in the bay’s waters, including half of the world’s endangered North Atlantic Right whale.
One of the best places to for whale watching is the island of Grand Manan from mid-August to mid-September. It is also the site of Whale Camp, which offers one-, two- and three-week sessions from mid-June through mid-August for kids ages ten to 17.
The 1,500-mile Stonehammer GeoPark, with its rock formations said to date back 1 billion years, offers visitors 15 nature-related excursions, ranging from sea cave explorations to self-guided geology walks.
Back in the day, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea served as a haven for wealthy New Yorkers and Bostonians. The charm that brought those visitors here more than 100 years ago is still in evidence today. Half the town’s buildings–about 550 – predate 1880 and encompass architectural styles ranging from Norman farmhouse and Georgian to Gothic, Queen Anne and Greek Revival.
The town is also home to Kingsbrae Garden, set on 27 acres and featuring more than 2,500 varieties of perennials in addition to a robust variety of trees and shrubs.
Three years ago, the $8.1 million Bay of Fundy Discovery Centre opened with a 40,000-gallon habitat devoted to Bay of Fundy species, including sturgeon and salmon. The 20,000-square-foot facility has a 30-foot-high display detailing the bay’s tides.
The big news for the town, though, is the opening of the 233-room Algonquin Resort last year following a two-year, $27 million renovation. The Tudor-style property, which dates back to l889, was painstakingly restored to preserve its half-timbered and stucco façade, 96 Juliet balconies and 16 second-floor patios.
Lying in the Bay of Fundy not far from St. Andrews are the Fundy Islands of Campobello, Grand Manan and Deer Island.
Last year, Campobello Island, home to the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s summer home, celebrated its 50th anniversary. Visitors can participate in a complimentary “Tea with Eleanor” to hear about the longest-serving First Lady in U.S. history. In 2014, the tea was expanded. For a minimal charge visitors can reserve a seat and receive a recipe booklet of Eleanor’s favorites. The park also opened a new restaurant, The Fireside, last year.
Tranquil and picturesque Grand Manan and Deer islands, which are dotted with fishing villages, offer travelers an array of outdoor activities, including sea kayaking, cycling and hiking. Willa Cather once spent her summers on Grand Manan, and even wrote a book about the island.
The riverfront city of Fredericton, New Brunswick’s capital city, is home to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, which houses 3,000 works of art from the Elizabethan era to the 20th century.
Travelers visiting Fredericton need not come with deep pockets. The city offers a wide range of free events, including evening concerts in the Historic Garrison District, sundown yoga at the Lighthouse Adventure Center and open-air showings of classic films. Every day during the summer, visitors can watch changing of the guard ceremonies and participate in walking tours of the historic city center with costumed guides.
The destination has also gained some renown for its annual September Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.
The Acadian Coast
A visit to New Brunswick would not be complete without a drive up the Acadian Coast to explore the history and culture of the Acadians, who migrated to Canada from France in the late 16th century.
One of the high points along the way is the charming town of Caraquet and a stay at the family-run Hotel Paulin, which opened in 1891 as the town’s first hotel. To get a feel for Acadian culture, a visit to La Village Historique Acadien, where actors recreate Acadian life from 1770 to 1949, is recommended.
Other must-sees include the islands of Miscou and Lameque at the tip of the Acadian peninsula. Miscou features wind-swept beaches, peat bogs that turn scarlet in the summer and an historic lighthouse that travelers can climb for sweeps views of the area.
Lameque, with its decidedly French ambiance, also boasts fabulous beaches, in addition to an Ecological Park highlighting the flora, fauna and ecosystems of the region. It’s also an excellent venue for kite surfing. In July, the island hosts the Lameque International Baroque Music Festival, the oldest in Canada.
More by Claudette Covey
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