I could see a change of scenery as I drove my car across the border from Calais, Maine into St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. Both sides of the road were populated with reds, orange, and yellow reminding me that autumn had begun. I was in for a treat as I made my way through New Brunswick, Canada.
New Brunswick is often referred to as the gateway to Atlantic Canada and is one of Canada’s three Maritime Provinces. It also features many of the qualities like Maine, its closest American neighbor. You’re never too far away from some of the most beautiful scenery and attractions that include rolling meadows with picturesque farms, covered bridges, a rugged coastline that includes a variety of sea life. French and English are the two official languages recognized by the provincial government.
Exploring New Brunswick, Canada
Saint John is Canada’s oldest incorporated city, first colonized in 1783 and the only city situated on the spectacular Bay of Fundy. This is truly a Maritime community that welcomes visitors with open arms to their charming and vibrant city. Visitors exploring Market Square will discover a number of galleries and shops surrounded by eye-catching architecture. Dining at one of the excellent restaurants featuring local seafood and other fine cuisine is a delightful experience while observing cruise ships arriving and departing port.
Attractions worth visiting include the New Brunswick Museum featuring the Hall of Great Whales and an additional three floors of intriguing galleries. If you love fresh produce, a visit to the Saint John City Market is not to be missed. It is the oldest continued farmers’ market in North America. Some of the businesses date back over 100 years. One of the most popular foods sold at the market is dulse, a dried seaweed with a salty taste. The taste and odor takes a little getting used to, but you couldn’t tell by the way the locals love eating it.
Not too far away is Irving Nature Park, providing individuals with seven miles of nature trails. Or perhaps spend a day at Rockwood Park, one of the geosites inside the Stonehammer Geopark where visitors can experience a billion years of earth history. It is the only UNESCO-supported global geopark in North America.
St. Stephen is a lovely small town located just across the border from Calais, Maine. Each year both towns hold festivities celebrating the friendship between the two communities with the International Homecoming Festival. The town is home to Ganong Bros Limited, Canada’s oldest candy company. Founded in 1873, the company was the first to invent the lollipop, candy bar, and chicken bones (chocolate filled cinnamon hard candies). It also introduced a heart-shaped box of chocolates which eventually were used as presents for the Christmas season and Valentine’s Day.
Visitors with a sweet tooth should definitely plan a visit to the factory. Each year, the town holds its annual Chocolate Festival featuring the sweetest treats on earth. The Chocolate Museum is worth a visit with exhibits featuring Ganong’s role in building North America’s candy industry. Other must-see attractions include the Charlotte County Museum and historic covered bridges.
Fredericton, the Capital of New Brunswick is a quaint old city situated along the Saint John River. Each year, the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is held in the city attracting thousands of spectators. Major attractions include the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Fredericton Region Museum and the Playhouse which also provides a platform for local talent and writers.
One of the most spectacular places to visit are the famous Reversing Falls where some 100 billion tons of seawater rush into the bay every six hours. This phenomenon is created as the tide rushes upstream. The best view of the world’s highest tide surge can be observed from the cliffs above Hopewell Rocks. An abundant amount of sea life flourishes in these waters that include herring, salmon, oysters, clams, and lobster. A number of excellent restaurants can be found serving up delicious seafood dinners. Just a short distance from here lies Fundy National Park providing scenic hikes that stretch some 120 kilometers through the Acadian Forest past stunning waterfalls. A beautiful golf and heated saltwater pool can be found inside the park.
Another region not to be overlooked is the Fundy Trail Parkway, one of North America’s last remaining coastal wilderness areas. This is truly and outdoor paradise providing spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy. A variety of flora and fauna, as well as moose and deer, can be observed along the trail. Be sure to visit the beautiful seaside town of St. Andrews that is situated across from Maine. The town is also home to the iconic Fairmont Algonquin Resort, the Province’s most elegant hotel and spa. Just a short distance away is the restored residence of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne who built the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit one of Canada’s most beautiful Province’ all four seasons. However, autumn was the most beautiful to me, one that I will be sure to visit again.
For more information, visit New Brunswick Tourism