Highlights of New Brunswick

By | Category: Travel destinations
farmers market

the Boyce Farmers Market with fresh lobsters

Fredericton

Charming provincial capital Fredericton, on the Saint John River, is the third largest in New Brunswick. Established as a town by the British in 1785, it also has plenty of French influence, dating further back and there are several interesting historic neighbourhoods, including Marysville, in the northern part of town. Its lush parks and riverside location make this one of the most pleasant towns in Eastern Canada, with a laidback, small-town feel. Unsurprisingly, given the scenic location, Fredericton is popular with artists, local and international. Art lovers shouldn’t miss the excellent collection at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery  which includes the works of Canadian and British artists from different eras. A fun way to experience local life here, is to visit one of the weekend markets, such as Fredericton Boyce Farmers’ Market or the Northside market and the former on Saturday mornings only, the latter Fri – Sun. Expect tasty local produce, mouth-watering displays, and if visiting in autumn, an excellent selection of pumpkins. Also in autumn, the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival  takes over town for five whole days (15th – 20th Sept 2015). One of the most convivial, friendly and easy-going on the music festival scene, it attracts both big names and small, even local, bands, who take to different stages across town. Well worth the trip.

King’s Landing

nineteenth century store

a store in Kings Landing with a nineteenth century appeal

Just southwest of capital Fredericton, also on the banks of the Saint John River, lies the historical settlement of King’s Landing, an open-air museum, dedicated to recreating life as it was lived in New Brunswick in the 1800s. The site spreads over 300 acres and there are some 70 historic buildings open to visitors. Although a very touristy experience, King’s Landing does give interesting insights into the history of New Brunswick and includes live re-enactments of key moments in the province’s history. Expect plenty of people in period costume and opportunities to try your hand at old crafts, such as butter-making or wool-spinning. Lots of fun for kids of all ages, but make sure you wear comfy shoes. There’s also a period restaurant, the King’s Head Inn, serving up hearty country fare.

St. Andrews by-the-Sea

The seaside town of St. Andrews, on Passamaquoddy Bay, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy, is one of the province’s most pleasant and popular resorts.  It’s the perfect place if you just want to relax by the sea for a few days and stroll the quaint streets, check out the olden-times architecture, indulge in a bit of unhurried shopping or visit the art galleries. Relaxing isn’t all that’s on the cards, though – there are many a seaside activity on offer as well, most notably whale-watching. The best time to spot these giants of the sea is May – October, when several species visit the Bay of Fundy.

St Andrew's mural

a mural in St Andrews

Other outdoor adventures include kayaking and scuba-diving. Also outdoors, but arguably less adventurous, is the horticultural hotspot of Kingsbrae Garden, not far from the centre of St Andrews. This beautiful haven of a garden, voted Canadian Garden of the Year 2013, includes rhododendrons, roses, lilies, many themed garden areas, even a Dutch windmill and fine dining at the Garden Café.

Bay of Fundy and Fundy National Park

The Bay of Fundy, a 170-mile long bay separating New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is home to the highest tides in the world. The tides differ as much as 15 metres between high and low and this phenomenon can be observed all around the bay and even as far up as Moncton, the province’s second city, situated on the Petitcodiac River. Other excellent places to experience the differences in tides can be found all along the bay, particularly at Hopewell Rocks inside the Rocks Provincial Park, where it’s possible to walk on the bottom of the ocean floor, and at Cape Enrage, home to towering cliffs and a 140-year old lighthouse. Parts of the coastline and further inland are also protected, forming one of two national parks in the province.

Fundy trail

on the Fundy trail

Fundy National Park , a largely forested area of some 80 sq mi, is home to numerous, well-kept hiking trails, stunning waterfalls and pristine scenery. There are good facilities for camping, including the recent addition of the oTENTiks, a cross between a cabin and a tent, and a heated salt water pool, as well as biking trails. In winter the park is open for cross-country skiing and other winter activities. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada recently designated it as a Dark Sky Preserve and it’s one of the best places in Canada to view the night sky.

Covered bridges

New Brunswick has an unusual claim to fame – it’s home to over 60 so-called timber-truss covered bridges, including the longest such construction in the world. The covered bridge at Hartland is over 1,200 feet, spanning the Saint John River. At one point, the province had some 300 such bridges, but over time many have been lost to floods and fires, or simply been modernised and upgraded.

the covered bridge in hartland

Hartland covered bridge

Nowadays the remaining bridges form part of New Brunswick’s heritage and these landmarks can be viewed right across the province, often in tiny locations. Made of wood, the bridges were originally covered to protect against harsh and inclement weather and some of them are over 100 years old. Most of them are found in the southern part of the province, with the exception of three near Edmundston in the northwest.

For further information about New Brunswick, click here.

For more information on Canada in general, click here.

Getting there:

There are direct flights from the UK to the nearby provinces of Nova Scotia and Québec with connecting flights to one of New Brunswick’s four regional airports. It’s also possible to arrive by coach or rail from either neighbouring province.

 

Images © Anna Maria Espsäter

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