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Exploring New Brunswick

Updated: Dec 14, 2022

The small province of New Brunswick on Canada's eastern coast is a delight of Indigenous, French, English, Scottish and Irish history & culture plus some of the most welcoming locals that you will ever have a chance to meet. It is one of the three Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic provinces and the only province with both English and French as official languages.

The Indigenous people of the Mi'kmaq, Wolasstoqiyik, and Peskotomuhkatiyik lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s. French pioneers soon followed and began to build settler communities. In 1710, the area was ceded to Great Britain and the French settlers, known as Acadians, were expelled from the area. Many were deported south to American colonies or overseas. After the United States gained its independence from Britain, thousands of Loyalists moved to the area. Another significant boost in population came in the early 1800s when Scottish and Irish settlers arrived.

I have had the opportunity to explore this lovely province on several road trips, both solo and with travel buddies. This post will share some of my favourite stops along the way starting at the Quebec border and driving south along the Maine border and then along the Bay of Fundy towards Nova Scotia.


It would be a shame to visit the Maritimes without indulging in lobster. I think I ate lobster daily, enjoying dinners, chowders, and many lobster rolls. Every single lobster meal I ate was splendid and thoroughly enjoyed. A lobster roll is a sandwich of chunks of lobster on a soft bun, often served with slaw and french fries.

Lobster dinners usually include a full lobster, dipping butter, slaw, and bread accompanied by a bib, plenty of serviettes and shell-cracking tools. This will be a messy meal, so tie on that bib, grab the lobster in your hands and start cracking.

Seafood chowder is a thick soup with several different types of fish and seafood, usually served with a thick slice of hearty bread. For those with smaller appetites, a bowl of chowder can be very filling and is a complete meal.

Grand Falls & Gorge

Grand Sault/Grand Falls is the official bilingual name of this small town and home of the second largest falls in the east. The waters drop 23m from the St. John River and is used for power generation. During the summer months, it is somewhat less than spectacular since most of the water is diverted to the power plant but still makes a lovely and brief stop along the way.

Florenceville Bristol

The humble potato is a very important crop in the Maritimes that had a significant role in the survival of the early settlers and continues to be an esssential part of the modern economy. Just off the Trans Canada Highway, on the way to Fredericton, this is noted by a great big cartoon potato and the 2-acre Potato World complex located in the French Fry Capital of the World: Florenceville-Bristol.

Inside Potato World includes displays, educational videos, antique farm machinery and plenty of tasty potato treats from fries to chocolate potato cake from their on-site Harvest Café. I was very impressed to learn that 10 tons of fries are produced each hour!

The museum closes over winter and on holidays but during the season it opens weekday mornings at 09:00, closing Monday - Wednesday at 17:00, but stays open another couple of hours on Thursday and Friday. Admission is $5.oo.

Covered Bridges

I love the look of a covered bridge and New Brunswick is home to 58 of them. I am more than willing to drive out of my way just to get a few photos. For a really good listing of all the bridges, check out this fun blog where the author's goal is to visit and photograph every covered bridge in the province.

One of the easiest to visit is the Sawmill Creek Bridge next to the main highway between Fundy National Park and Moncton. This bridge was rescued, moved downriver, and refurbished when a new bridge was built in 1975 to accommodate traffic and heavier vehicles.

Kings Landing

Kings Landing is a living museum, located in Prince William, about 20 minutes west of Fredericton, on Route 102, or via the Trans-Canada Highway at Exit 253. King's Landing is an 1800s Loyalist settlement with costumed actors depicting the original settlers and leading visitors through the life and times of the community. This was one of my most favourite activities in New Brunswick. Make sure to stop in the King's Head Inn for a delicious bowl of seafood chowder and a home-made apple cider.

Kings Landing features farms, restored buildings & workshops and special events throughout the year. Children are welcomed as "visiting cousins" and can enjoy a week of total immersion in the 1800s.

Kings Landing is open Wednesday through Sunday from early June to mid-October and for special events throughout the year. Admission is $26.oo

St Andrews

St. Andrews is a small historic town in Charlotte County that is also a National Historic Site of Canada. It is designed like a typical 18th-century colonial settlement with classic architecture and a large market square.

St. Andrew's Blockhouse was built during the War of 1812 and is one of 12 remaining blockhouses built for protection against an American invasion.

The Kingsbrae Garden is a beautiful oasis of over 50,000 plantings and a lovely sculpture garden. A highlight was a stop for lunch in their award-winning restaurant, watching the alpacas grazing on the lawn.


Fredericton is the capital and a university town with a very chill and welcoming atmosphere. Cars screech to a halt to allow you to cross a road if you so much as pause at an intersection. (I crossed the road several times not because I wanted to but just because someone stopped). It has gorgeous parks, a lively craft beer culture, beautiful Victorian homes, and tons of special events & festivals as well as a beautifully maintained historic centre.

Fredericton takes special pride in the city's microbreweries, claiming that the city has the highest concentration of craft breweries and tasting experiences in the Maritimes. For beer enthusiasts, the Taproom Trail is highly recommended.

Beaverbrook Art Gallery

For culture enthusiasts, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, features works by Dali, Christopher Pratt, Joshua Reynolds, and an extensive collection of works from local Acadian, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq artists.

Sports Hall of Fame

The New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame on Queen Street is a celebration of local sports and athletes with interactive displays and fun activities. This would be a great place for kids and sports fans.

Garrison district

The Garrison District is located next to the river in the city centre. It is one of the city's most beautiful and historic areas. it was once the centre of military activity for the British from 1785 to 1869. The Canadian military used this same area from 1883 to 1914.

The Soldiers' Barracks is an early 19th-century stone building built by the British Army to house more than 200 British soldiers.

The Ceremonial Guard are actors in period dress who stand guard at City Hall, the Sports Hall of Fame, and recreate the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Carriage House Inn

Twice, I have chosen the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast as my lodgings in Fredericton and I cannot praise it enough, even though it had changed ownership between my visits. This lovingly-restored is the former family home of Harry Beckwith, a lumber baron and former Mayor. It retains many of the original features and is decorated true to the period.

Breakfast is delicious with all the breakfast choices anyone can imagine and plenty of good strong coffee. It has a large wrap-around deck with comfortable seating. The beds and bedrooms are spacious, beautifully decorated, and very comfortable. I will stay there again when in the area.

Bay of Fundy/Hopewell Rocks

No visit to New Brunswick would be complete without exploring the tremendous tidal action of the Bay of Fundy. The Fundy tides can rise up to 16 metres (53 ft) washing about 160 billion tonnes of seawater in and out of the bay twice a day. The best place to get a real understanding of these tides is at Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. Check out my previous blog on Hopewell Rocks for more detailed information.

Saint John

Saint John is a vibrant, historic city that combines the charm of the old city with the magnificence of the powerful Bay of Fundy. It is an immensely walkable city with narrow, steep streets , beautiful architecture, fabulous restaurants, funky cafés and rich galleries and museums.

Saint John City Market

In the heart of the city is the Saint John City Market with artisans, food and beer vendors, household necessities and souvenir kiosks. The ceiling of the market is an inverted ship's hull and the entire market is a National Historic Site. It is open daily (except Sundays) from 07:30 to 18:00 (17:00 on Saturdays).

Reversing Falls Rapids

Saint John offers another opportunity to marvel at the power of the Fundy tides at the Reversing Falls, located just off the main road through the city.

At low tide, the Saint John River empties into the Bay, causing a series of whirlpools and rapids. With high tide the river fills from the Bay, causing the river direction to change, creating more whirlpools, rapids and large waves. In between the tides is a short period (lasting less than 30 minutes) when the waters are calm. It is during that short time that boats can travel in and out of the river. It is not unusual to see boats lined up and waiting for the tide shift.

There is an excellent Visitor's Centre with a Skywalk offering overhead views. The Centre includes information about the geology and phenomena of these tides. It is well worth planning your time to visit to coordinate with the tide change. Visit the website to check the tide table.


Moncton is a great mix of English and French Acadian cultures and offers a wonderful mix of outdoor adventure and urban experiences.

A fun activity is Magnetic Hill, an optical illusion where it appears that your vehicle rolls UP a hill. The area also includes a zoo, an amusement park, butterfly exhibit, a museum and a winery. There is plenty for everyone to explore.

I have to admit I was surprised to learn that New Brunswick is a growing wine area. The industry is still fairly young but includes 19 wineries. The largest is the Magnetic Hill Winery.

This family-run winery is located on an 1867 estate beside Magnetic Hill, making the estate as old as the country of Canada. The winery is considerably younger. So far, the winery is doing well and has received many awards. The wines include reds, whites, and sparkling wines that can be enjoyed in their large tasting room or on the patio that overlooks the valley.

The boardwalk area is perfect for meandering. It includes many shops, restaurants, and some very interesting public art. I especially enjoyed some of the fun statues in the area, including this three-armed fellow in green.

Moncton hosts several festivals and events during the summer season. On one of my visits the Buskers on the Bay festival was happening, which was a lively event full of great music of all types, delicious street food and many fun things to do. Make sure to check the city website for upcoming events when planning your visit.

New Brunswick may be small but there is plenty to keep everyone interested. Take time to explore its stunning natural beauty as well as the fun urban experiences. Eat lots of lobster, enjoy some fine craft beer and soak up the incredibly warm hospitality. You will be back.


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