Across Canada: New Brunswick

Exploring New Brunswick actually happened in two parts. First, on the way to Prince Edward Island, and again after our return from Newfoundland. Which is fitting, since it felt like an in-between province anyway; not quite French, and not quite Maritimes, it has its own quiet charm and we enjoyed a few of the gems it has to offer.

But first, Vannessa needed some love. You know how it is with us middle-aged ladies, we’re tough as nails but we still require occasional maintenance. We were noticing a new sound that Kirk figured was the wheel bearing needing to be replaced. Some very helpful parts dealers and a few detours to parts stores along the north coast and we got the parts we needed. ‘Operation Wheel Bearing’ happened in Shediac, mostly because it was a good place for the kids and I to explore while Kirk got to work.

Lobster roll dinner and pictures with a giant lobster was enough to keep us entertained, while Kirk was entertained by a old local guy that saw him in the parking lot and stopped to keep him company (or maybe to supervise?), even coming back with water and an ice cream sandwich for him. Another example of maritime kindness we certainly appreciated.

Unfortunately, the strange sound persisted after the wheel bearing change, and even seemed to be getting worse. Kirk made the rounds with a tire iron and was horrified to realize that four out of five of the lug nuts on the back wheel were loose. Something he definitely checked before the trip started. Which means there is a good chance someone loosened them on us. We blame the racoons with their tiny opposable thumbs. I’m not sure what is scarier, the racoon theory or the more likely theory that a human lacking a conscious targeted Vannessa for some reason. Either way, we fixed it before calamity struck and were happily on our way. It takes more then a loose lug nut or two to shake us up.

New Brunswick is perhaps most famous for the high tides on the Bay of Fundy, where all the power of the ocean is funneled into a shallow bay, making for dramatic tide changes throughout the day. One of the best places to experience the changing tides is Hopewell Rocks, where unique rock formations are submerged, and exposed within each six-hour tide change, and you can walk on the ocean floor among the rocks at low tide, as long as you are mindful of how getting out quickly, so you aren’t trapped by the water that rises as fast a foot a minute. Squishy mud, hermit crabs, jellyfish and lotsa cool rocks made
this a fun place to play for the morning. Then picnic lunch, a nap and voila, back to the same viewpoint that looks completely different at high tide.

Low tide
Rising tide
High tide

A stop to explore Fundy National Park where we were hoping to swim at the outdoor pool near Alma, but a severe staff shortage meant they were operating at half capacity so the wait to get into the pool was far longer than Levi’s patience allowed. We hit pause on the province and crossed the Confederation Bridge to PEI .

A few weeks later, we were headed back to New Brunswick to finish the tour.

It was a hot day, so we took a long stop at Heather’s Beach, (which is actually in Nova Scotia), near Pugwash, where I saw ZERO pugs. I want pugs, and I want them getting baths. I’m very disappointed.

I miss my puppy 😢

Despite feeling so let down over the lack of dogs, we enjoyed playing in the red sand and walking out into the shallow water to perfect our new clam digging skills and find more hermit crabs. Tegan, the fish of the family, could spend all day in the sea and be perfectly happy. Is that why we say “Happy as a clam”?? She was definitely that.

Happy as a clam.

Turns out, there wasn’t wasn’t a whole lot more to do in New Brunswick. By the time we started heading west, it was hard to muster the enthusiasm for much else. The kids had even lost track of where we were. Tegan casually commented that it was so weird that there were so many New Brunswick licence plates all of a sudden. Erm… cause we are in New Brunswick maybe??

Into Saint John where Kirk remembers watching jet boats take tourists up the reversing falls in ’94 and being very impressed. However, after checking out what Wikipedia has declared is “The Worst Tourist Attraction in the World” we decided that what 13-year-old Kirk was actually impressed with was the jet boats, not the reversing falls. It’s a cool concept though, the outflow from the Saint John river competes with the inflow of the high rising tide and the water churns and reverses directions as the tide changes. Not worth the visit, but worth the laugh we had about. We will take a jet boat ride another day.

Our stop in Fredricton was also short lived when Tegan tried to jump a post and rolled her ankle instead.

But just when we thought we were done the New Brunswick, we made the excellent decision to pull over to see one of the covered bridges that the province is noted for. I’m sure it was haunted, but it made for some pretty pictures.

And some creepy ones.

New Brunswick makes some great potato chips and has excellent seafood and impressive fluctuating tides but other that we weren’t sure what else to explore.

One last goodbye to the Maritimes before heading inland for good.

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