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.
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.
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 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 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.