This beautiful corner of the world is just perfect for a long weekend holiday with the family. A summertime visit to the Maritimes is an absolute pleasure and experiencing it yourself is unparalleled by any and every detailed account. Once the favorite vacation spot for millionaires and celebrities whose main attraction here were silver, salmon-filled rivers and rustic lodges deep buried in the forests, New Brunswick, with its mostly untouched beauty and abundance has recently gained top spots on the bucket lists of people.
The majestic, brown-sugar beaches, culturally rich Acadian villages, quaint coastal islands and vast tracks of forests brimming with wildlife pose serious competition to the more fashionable neighbours, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Adventures like kayaking on the world’s highest tides, wandering through world-class museums, or gearing up for a lobster feast, the still non-crowded place offers an authentic experience for the visitors.
New Brunswick is one of the four Atlantic provinces on the east coast of Canada which unlike the other Maritime provinces, consists of mostly forested uplands, with much of the land further from the coast and giving it a harsher climate. The 83% forested area has made this province less densely-populated than its nearby Maritimes. As the closest province to Europe, it has been one of the first few places of North America to be explored by the Europeans, which started with the French in the early 17th century. When the province became part of the British Empire, the settlers were displaced. The province was partitioned from Nova Scotia in 1784 following the refugee crisis due to the war of American Revolution. Saint John was the first to be added to the territory of Canada in 1785. In the early 19th century, the province developed rapidly as witnessed an equally rapid population growth. The province played a crucial part in the history of the Canadian Confederation as it became one of the founding provinces in 1867.
Geography and Climate:
The square-shaped area of New Brunswick is bounded in the south by the Bay of Fundy and in the east by the Atlantic Ocean, while it has Quebec in the north, and the US state of Maine in the west. The province is connected to Nova Scotia in the southeast corner at the isthmus of Chignecto. The process of glaciation has rendered New Brunswick’s highlands with only shallow, acidic soils that have consequently discouraged settlement, and have eventually become home to the enormous forests that the province boasts of.
The other provinces have a more moderate climate due to their lower and coastal location, but New Brunswick does not enjoy the favors and has a more severe weather than the rest. New Brunswick, in fact, has a humid continental climate, with somewhat milder winters on the Gulf of St. Lawrence coastline but the higher parts of the northern area is known for its subarctic climate as well. Indication of climate change in New Brunswick comprises of more intense precipitation events, recurrent winter thaws, and less snowfall. Currently the sea level has been measured to be about 30 cm higher than what it was 100 years ago, and the authorities have claimed that it is projected to rise at twice the rate again by the end of the 21st century.
Flora and Fauna:
Secondary and Tertiary forest covered land in the province has claimed the major area of the land. While at the inception of European colonization, the Maritimes were covered from coast to coast by a deep and entangled growth of mature trees. Today, less than one percent of old-growth remains, making the Acadian Forest endangered. The growth of the forest has been hindered by the large scale disturbances such as human settlements and timber harvesting. This means that exposure-resistant species that are well adapted to the regular large-scale turbulences are increasingly abundant, like, jack pine, balsam fir, black spruce, white birch, and poplar. The forest ecologies sustain large carnivores like the bobcat, Canada lynx, and black bear, as well as the large herbivores, moose and white-tailed deer. Ostrich fern breeds on the riverbanks of the province and has been a source of harvesting fiddlehead greens from them. But the endemic of the upper shores of Saint John River, Furbish’s lousewort, a perennial herb, has been declared an endangered species which is vulnerable to human interference. Several wetlands are being disordered by the extremely hostile intrusion of other species.
The province is situated in the lap of the Appalachian Mountain Range. The Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the east and the Bay of Fundy in the south served as the connector between the rivers of New Brunswick as all of them drain into either of the two. The watersheds consisted of lands in areas of Quebec and Maine. The geographical construct of the area has created some interesting landscapes owing much to the fact that the province, including the Maritime Peninsula was under thick layers of ice in the time of the Wisconsinian glaciations.
Best Attractions of New Brunswick:
The province appeals to all interests, budgets and travel styles by offering an assortment of choices; miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, exciting sea kayaking waters; and historic houses, entire museum villages; and abundant natural wonders.
Bay of Fundy and Fundy National Park:
The center of attraction in New Brunswick are popularly related to the Bay of Fundy and its tides. The tides are measured up to 19 meters deep, the world’s highest, and occur twice daily in the bay. Over the years, the rushing water into the funnel shaped bay has created a coastline that is marked by the dramatic cliffs, sea caves and fantastic rock formations.
Natural phenomenon like Moncton’s tidal bore and Saint John’s famous Reversing Falls are seen here frequently. The irregular shores are dotted with lighthouses and picturesque fishing villages.
The strong recurrent tides also bring in a substantial amount of plankton and fish into the bay which in turn has been handy in making the waters prime feeding grounds for the whales. There are about twelve species found in the bay every summer.
The forest and the tides in Fundy National Park meet where an expanse of undeveloped shoreline still exists, situated approximately in the middle ground of Moncton and Saint John. This wilderness is open all year round for visitors to experience the true essence of it. The hiking trails cover the forest thoroughly and afford spectacular views from the coastline, offering the hikers the best of the province. The wilderness is particularly popular among birders in spring and autumn as migratory species visit the national park to feed on the tidal mudflats. In winter, the park’s 40-kilometre ski trail attracts the skiing tourists for cross-country skiing tournaments.
The forest is home to mesmerizing waterfalls as well. The best three are near the village, Alma, Dickson Falls, Laverty Falls and Third Vault Falls. Among these three, the Third Vault Falls has a drop of about 16 meters and it is the deepest in comparison to the rest. The park facilities accommodate tourists all year round with amenities like campgrounds, swimming and golf course.
The beauty of the rocks is both splendid in high and low tides. With the tide coming in, they appear as tree clad islands. The platforms connected by sturdy stairs offer the tourists the view of the amazing scenery laid before them. On the contrary, in low tide, they become giants rising out of the sea. The deeply-eroded sea stacks that tower of the rocky beach make way for descending the stairs to reach the ocean floor and walk amongst the rock formations.
There are park rangers available on the site to answer your queries and to make sure of the safety of the tourists. By means of experiencing the beauty of the rock formations on high tide there are kayak tours scheduled which guide the tourists amidst the pillars on an adventurous excursion.
The Fundy Trail Parkway:
The scenic coastal drive of the Fundy Trail Parkway lies northeast of Saint John. The beginning of the trail is near St. Martins which was used to be a busy shipbuilding community of which now the remains are extant, winding through, the trail further progresses down the coastline. It is essentially a longer route that is dotted with scenic viewpoints and picnic areas looking over the coastal cliffs, secluded beaches, marine wildlife, in addition to a Flowerpot Rock.
There is also a 10-kilometre pedestrian and bicycle trail that parallels the drive simultaneously, giving the visitor a choice among the mode of conveyance. There are several overlooks that have trails to secluded cobble-strewn coves, which you can avail to experience nature in secluded atmosphere. The Big Salmon River houses on its banks an interpretive centre which has all the information you can require to get a glimpse of the background and life of the local community. The old lumbering equipment on display at the Heritage Sawmill is accompanied with a short history of the use of it and the economic and social implications of the same.
There is also a suspension footbridge that is 84-metre in length and across the Big Salmon River which offers a different view of the panorama and has been appealing to the tourists for its unique viewpoint. There is also a road that crosses the river. You could choose to climb up that steep incline to the headland to continue on the cliff tops and down to the stretch of the sandy beach. There is a shuttle service available on weekends which return walkers to their cars from the parking areas at the lookouts. The village of St. Martins is a convenient spot for accessing the trailhead. Sea caves and covered bridges can be found there in the low tide, along with craft shops and an outfit shop for kayaking in the caves of the breathtaking coast. The village of St. Martins and the adjacent parkway are often made into a day trip for the visitors coming down from Saint John.
Whale Watching from St. Andrews-by-the-Sea:
As mentioned before, the Bay of Fundy has become home to whales of about twelve species. Other marine animals have found the habitat favorable as well, due to its unique coastal formation, who gather there in the summer months to breed and feed on the abundant krill and fish brought in by the tides. Harbour Porpoise, Minke and Finback whales are mostly seen in spring, while Humpback whales and White-sided Dolphins are in season from the month of June along with the rare North Atlantic Right Whale which has been a frequent visitor of the Bay.
The season usually runs from June to October, with highest concentration of marine wildlife in August. The chances of spotting the whales are higher here and the cruise trip also gives you a view of the islands and lighthouses along the shoreline, where sea birds make nests.
The picturesque town also offers a plethora of experiences including, a miniature replica of a blockhouse from the War of 1812, Kingsbrae Garden, the Huntsman marine Science Centre and streets of historically significant homes. Ministers Island which is a historic site is accessible only at the time of low tide through the causeway, is a 50-room summer home that once belonged to railway builder Sir William Van Horne, who built the landmark St. Andrews hotel, The Algonquin.
Roosevelt Campobello International Park:
The Park is situated on the Campobello Island which is accessible from mid-June to September through ferries from mainland. It is also accessible all year round by bridge from Lubec, Maine. As a result, it has impactful cross-border relations, including the historic location of Roosevelt Campobello International Park. Near the Roosevelt Park, Herring Cove Provincial Park has campgrounds, golf course, hiking trails and beaches. At the northern edge of the island is East Quoddy Lighthouse which offers outstanding view of the surroundings.
Reversing Falls, Skywalk and Stone-hammer Geopark:
The extreme tidal range of the Bay of Fundy gives rise to the geographic condition where the sea level reduces to four metres below the river at the time of low tides and swells to four metres above the river at the time of high tides. The rapid rising tide forces the water back into the St. John River and causes the river to flow in reverse. This phenomenon of water rushing between the walls of the narrow gorge at the tip of the harbour is forced over a ridge of rock on its path, creating a waterfall that flows in reverse up the stream. After the tide recedes, the river goes back to its natural flow as it pushes water over the same location to create a falls in the opposite natural direction.
The best views are attained from the Reversing Falls Bridge and the new Skywalk Saint John. This rooftop observation deck expands a little above 8 metre beyond the edge of the cliffs, and the glass floor provides a panoramic view of the cliffs, falls and whirlpools that are situate approximately 30 meters below it. Falls view Park, home to the Stone-hammer Geopark, which is the only UNESCO-listed global geopark in North America, is also another interesting viewpoint. You can avail a boat ride through the waters of the gorge or zipline above the waters here.
Fredericton’s Garrison District:
A British garrison was stationed beside the St. John River from 1784 to 1869 at exactly this place which is a popular tourist destination in the modern day New Brunswick. It has been made into a historical site by the two blocks of heritage buildings and the grassy lawns that lie between the Queen Street and the river.
The changing of the Guard ceremony is accompanied by drums and bagpipes and takes place two or three times daily in July and August. People can don red uniforms and take part in “A Day in a Soldier’s Life” activities and play croquet together on the lawns. The September festival of Harvest Jazz & Blues has been internationally acclaimed.
There are several museums in the district, like, the Fredericton Region Museum and the School Days Museum. The NB Sports Hall of Fame, Beaverbrook Art gallery and New Brunswick College of Craft and Design have galleries dedicated to various aspects of regional history and culture.
This pristine botanical garden appeals to the tourists with the climate tempered by the Bay of Fundy and the growth of more than 50,000 perennials which are set in a series of themed gardens. The appeal of the mesmerising floral displays is accentuated by the addition of horticultural lessons taught about organic and sustainable practices, garden designs, landscaping and ecosystems in the premises of the garden.
A windmill, peacocks, ponds, two intricately detailed historic playhouses, a cedar maze, an apple orchard, a garden for the senses, woodland trails, a heathen garden, and formal terraces accentuates the beauty of the place. There is a children’s area and a Sculpture Garden incorporated into it. The tea room provides refreshments along with the view of the manicured lawns of the garden.
Boyce Farmers Market:
The Farmers Market is held on every Saturday morning. It is one of Canada’s top 10 community markets, and it is worth some advance planning to experience. It is spread over two huge market halls and takes up most of the surrounding outdoor area. More than 250 local farmers gather with their food produce, and craftsmen from along the St. John River region and across New Brunswick come to sell their craft at the market.
Vegetables, meats, dairy products, breads, blueberry jam, wood crafts, maple syrup, handmade soaps, hand-knit socks and mittens, stylish felted wool hats, pottery, jewellery, local cheese, warm pretzels, samosas and grilled sausages are available in the market.
Historic Saint John:
The British settlers have shaped the characteristic of the city, its culture, architecture and even cuisine. It has left Saint John with some of Canada’s best Victorian architecture.
Prince William Street is a National Historic Site of Canada. It is famous for is unique concentration of rare buildings structured and ornamented in the styles conforming to one period. There are entire blocks of townhouses that are the last symbols of Boston’s Back Bay and Beacon Hill on the top of the hill along the road.
Explore these neighborhoods with the help of maps that shows detailed information on the Loyalist Trail, the Victorian Stroll and the Prince William Walk. St. John Anglican Church, City Market are among the buildings spared from the great fire that had erupted here.
There is a visitors’ centre at the Market Square which offers a range of sidewalk cafes and is home to colourful, larger-than-life people sculptured by John Hooper.
Other than the above-mentioned attractions, the appeal of Cape Enrage,
Parlee beach and Kouchibouguac National Park, Village Historique Acadien,
Kings Landing and Grand Manan Island are some of the places worth your time on the visit to New Brunswick.
There are numerous places of affording a close to nature experience all over New Brunswick. For your week-long trip, planning ahead according to your preferences is advisable, so that you can enjoy all that the province has to offer and busk in the tranquil leisure of the quaint place.