Posts filed under ‘New Brunswick’

that time i almost fell into a river

Christina, Jules, and I left Campbellton, New Brunswick, after having breakfast at our B&B (Dans Les Draps de Morphée) and taking a quick tour of the town’s sights. I should add that Nicole, our host, was very accommodating and pleasant, and the house was great. Being able to add a foldout bed to our room was a big help in keeping this trip on budget and being able to stay somewhere convenient. And I should add that by “town’s sights,” I mean sculptures of salmon. More than one salmon-themed sculpture.

First, I should mention that we were staying a block down the street from the Campbellton Curling Club. The girls and I have a longstanding joke (only it’s not a complete joke) that we’re someday going to go to the Olympics for curling.

The weather wasn’t so great, but we enjoyed the view of Campbellton’s leaping salmon fountain…

…and the stylish fisherman catching a salmon.

The salmon industry has long been crucial to the city of Campbellton, and they even hold a festival for the salmon every summer. Sadly, we just missed it in 2012. The girls and I are quite fond of salmon and would have loved to celebrate it. After our quick driving tour of the waterfront and its fish statues, we were back on the road for another long day in the car. There’s a quicker way to get to Québec City, but in order to complete our circle tour of the Gaspé, we drove north, back to Matane, our starting point for the Gaspésie portion of the trip.

Not too far into our day’s journey, we stopped at a particularly pretty spot where Route 132 crossed a rive, probably the Matapédia, since Route 132 follows it and crosses it a few times.

Pretty enough for a self-po moment!

We stopped at a rest area (I think?) that had a fantastic surprise, just a little while later. Routhierville, QC, boasts a covered bridge spanning the Matapédia River! Serious photo op. I learned later that Québec has quite a lot of covered bridges and that they’re often called “ponts rouges (red bridges)” because of their usual colour, but at the time, the covered bridge was an unplanned bonus.

We took some photos leaning through some trees, and we naturally wanted better angles. Jules had the brilliant idea of walking down the road towards the bridge, as she figured there must be some access point to it, right? I, on the other hand, was desperate for a shot of the majestic red bridge spanning the river, so I started creeping down the steep riverbank. In flip-flops. Holding my camera.

Christina stayed with me, probably because she knew that I was likely to injure myself. It’s a good thing she did, because when I lost my footing and shot down towards the river, I was able to grab onto some plants to keep myself from falling in, but I never would have made it back up that incline with my camera in tact, if she hadn’t been there to take my camera. And since I never would have relinquished the camera, I know that I was just a flimsy branch-footing away from shooting all the way into the river and floating downstream. Which would have totally ruined my camera. Also I don’t know how deep that river is.

But at least I got the shot, right?

Once I was hoisted back to steady ground, C and I found Jules at the entrance to the bridge and we took some more photos there.

And once I recovered from the near-camera-death experience, I skipped back to the car.

One of the other reasons why we’d chosen to take Route 132 north before heading back west for Québec was to go back to Sainte-Flavie (just west of Matane) in daylight. It had been late when we’d arrived in Matane a few days earlier, and we had missed seeing the “Grand Rassemblent,” an installation of slightly creepy wooden sculptures emerging from the St. Lawrence.

And we really did not want to miss this!!

The sculptures are by Marcel Gagnon, and they are outside of the Centre d’Art Marcel Gagnon, where various members of Marcel’s family do various artistic things. There’s also a restaurant and an inn. We browsed in the shop for a bit, but we were mostly there for the “Grand Rassemblent.”

Really cool, slightly creepy, and totally worth backtracking! The overcast weather was actually the perfect backdrop for these photos. Normally I prefer a blue sky with puffy white clouds, but I think that would have looked a little out of place here!

We still had a few hours to go en route to Lévis, across the river from Québec City, and with another stop planned, we had to get back in the car and keep on moving if we wanted to make it to Lévis in time for St-Hubert and ice cream. Which, obviously, we did.


May 26, 2014 at 11:44 pm 2 comments

Fun @ Fundy

July 8, Day 30 of my epic cross-Canadian road trip. I was exhausted, but we had one big day of travel and sightseeing still ahead of us. From Halifax, the plan was to drive north, back into New Brunswick. Well, NB was a repeat trip for Jules and me. Since Christina had joined us in PEI, she hadn’t been with us for the northern leg of the NB exploration. Plan for the day: FUNDY.

The Bay of Fundy is a sliver of ocean that cuts between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. It’s important because it has one of the highest vertical tide ranges in the world. There’s about a 17-metre drop from high tide to low tide. At the Hopewell Rocks on the New Brunswick side of Fundy, depending on which time you go, you can either kayak around the “flowerpot rock” formations, or you can walk on the ocean floor. We wanted to walk on the ocean floor, so we checked the tide tables and planned our arrival time accordingly.

We knew all of this heading into the trip. What we did not know is that the water at the Hopewell Rocks is brown. It makes sense—it’s laden with all of the dirt and sand that rushes in and out with the tides—but we just didn’t anticipate it. When we finally got to the Hopewell Rocks, after driving along the Petitcodiac River (the “Chocolate River”), I was so disappointed, but I didn’t want to say anything.

Once we got down to the rocks, though, it was really neat. The ocean floor is pretty gross—very muddy and rocky, and sometimes there are dead fish lying around. But when else would I have a chance to say that I walked on the ocean floor?! So I embraced the mud and started clicking the shutter. The landscape shots that I got probably aren’t going to be ones that I will frame for my living room, but they’re important for the memories! Just very…brown.

Hopewell Rocks
Here’s a shot to show the scale of the rock formations. At high tide, the water level is more than halfway up.

Hopewell Rocks
They earned the nickname “flowerpot rocks” because some of them have trees growing out of the top, so they look like giant versions of plain clay flowerpots.

Yep, Fundy is brown! There’s also a ton of seaweed that gets washed in at high tide, then stays on the shore when the tide goes out. We ate some.

Ocean Toes
My toes on the ocean floor! (Also trying to get rid of the mud…)

Muddy Fundy Feet
One of the other girls (Jules?) models muddy Fundy feet for me.

We were all feeling pretty exhaustedsilly by this point! Shortly after this photo was taken, I made up a multiverse song while we hiked back to the parking lot.

After we felt like we’d spent enough time among the rocks at Fundy, we decided that we wanted to see the Cape Enrage Lighthouse. Cape Enrage Light is a classic white lighthouse with a red top, and the view is supposed to be one of the most dramatic along the Fundy shore. From the postcards that we found in the Hopewell Rocks gift shop, it looked like the water at Cape Enrage was more blue than brown, and we love lighthouses, so off we went.

It was a beautiful day, as you may have noted in the photos from the Rocks. In fact, it was so bright that I was having a hard time exposing my shots at Hopewell Rocks. So we got in the car, found the lighthouse in Lee’s directory, and had him map a route. After a fairly terrifying and bumpy ride down a “farm lane,” as Jules called it (we defer to her for such matters), we arrived at this gorgeous park in the middle of nowhere:

Lighthouse Park
It had a lovely little pond and a mini lighthouse. The landscape was so pastoral and picturesque, I thought we’d somehow transported ourselves back to PEI!

So we kept driving, past the Ha Ha Cemetery and the Sawmill Creek covered bridge…
Sawmill Creek Bridge

…and then we drove up a mountain toward Cape Enrage. The road was a bit scary and as we drove, we drove into a cloud. The fog (which there’d been no sign of 10 minutes before) became more and more dense as we drove up the mountain, until we arrived near the top and saw a sign that informed us that we’d have to pay $4.50 each for the view. For the view of fog? Um, non. So we turned around and drove back down the mountain, and back into the beautiful day.

I’d still love to see Cape Enrage sometime, but if it’s completely under fog on a gorgeous, tank-top wearing, blue-skied sunny day in July, I’m wondering when exactly they get those fantastic postcard photos!

Anyway, we’d worked up a pretty good appetite by then, so we headed back to Moncton, where Christina had recommendations from a foodie friend. After a stellar dinner at Calactus, we picked up some frappés at a great coffee house near downtown called Cafe Archibald.

Moncton Castle
Moncton was cute, even though we really only saw it from the car! It made me wish that I’d planned for more time in Moncton on the trip itinerary. I hope to have a reason to go back sometime!

From Moncton, we had to drive along the Saint John River to Fredericton, where we were staying for the final night of the Canadian road trip. It was dark, and when I say that it was dark, I mean that it was pitch-black, increda-creepy, darker than a black hole kind of dark. It also felt like we were going to fall into the river at any point. But we made it, arriving at the Ramada Inn only to discover that when I’d booked it, I’d failed to note that the rate was for a room with only one bed. Oups! After 30 days of traveling, I was bound to stop noticing a few details, I guess.

On July 9, we woke up impossibly early, because I thought that I was supposed to get the car back by noon. In Manchester, NH. Fredericton failed to produce an open Starbucks for us, so we declared it the most disappointing capital in Canada and headed for the Maine border, the great Canadian road trip nearly over.

May 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm 3 comments

Introduction to Acadia

Acadia is one of those places that’s hard to define. In the 18th century, Acadia was a definite place: French lands along the Atlantic in the New World, stretching from the Canadian Maritimes to New England. Then many of Acadia’s inhabitants were ousted, and a large number resettled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns. Now, Acadia is generally used to refer to parts of the old Acadia that have retained French culture, most often in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

For me on this trip, Acadia meant three things: francophones, big churches, and delightful seafood. I love all three of these things deeply.

After the foggy moose on the loose night of driving, Jules and I arrived at Crystal and Matt’s brand new home in Bathurst, NB. Literally, they’d just moved in a week or so earlier, but were gracious enough to host us. They even had a guest room ready! Jules had known Crystal for about 8 years, and I’d “known” here for a long time through Jules, but we’d never met in person before I showed up on her doorstep at 11pm with a giant suitcase. Crystal had made adorable gift baskets for us with New Brunswick guidebooks, local soap, and saltwater taffy. I really love saltwater taffy, especially when travelling.

Crystal, me, and Jules
Crystal, me, and Jules (photo courtesy of Jules) — it was too bad that we had to leave so soon, but she sent us on our way with breakfast and a fab pot of coffee.

Our planned destination was Caraquet, straight east of Bathurst, and proclaimed the “capital” of Acadian New Brunswick, but as usual, we found some places to stop on the way. Driving out of Bathurst, we hopped on Highway 11 and the scenic Acadian Coast route, as designated by New Brunswick tourism. The route is marked by a cheerful red sign with a starfish logo. Our starfish friend stayed with us until we crossed into PEI later that day and he showed us some fantastic sights.

Around Pokeshaw, a small town on Chaleur Bay, we caught sight of a striking coastline, and eagerly turned into the first driveway that we saw for a park. A handwritten cardboard sign nailed to the side of a makeshift shack said that we had to pay $2 to drive in. We were skeptical. The whole thing looked fairly sketchy, and the driveway was configured so we couldn’t really see the park. A girl, who looked about 14, trotted out of the shack to collect a toonie from us, and we handed it over.

We were pretty glad that we decided to take the $2 plunge.

One of my favourite portraits that I’ve taken of Jules

me and Jules
Happy girls at the Pokeshaw park! (photo courtesy of Jules)

Looking back up at the highway from the water at Pokeshaw — the “toll” shack is hidden behind the clump of trees, and my little rental car is on the right.

Our next stop was Grand-Anse, the next town on Highway 11.

Grand-Anse church
Grand-Anse, like most small Acadian towns, boasts a large, impressive church.

After Grand-Anse, we stuck to the path and continued on to Caraquet, which was clogged with tourists. It took next to forever to get through town to the information centre, where we had planned to ask for a restaurant recommendation. So many people were in front of us in line, though, that we decided to just pick up a guidebook and do it ourselves.

We ended up picking Café Phare. The price range was a bit more than we wanted to spend, but most of the restaurants in Caraquet were higher than we expected, so in context, it looked like a good option. Indeed it was, because the soup that we both had there was the best bowl of soup I’ve ever had in my life. It was an incredible bouillabaisse, with huge pieces of shrimp and lobster mixed in with whitefish, and I’m not sure what else. The broth was perfect, the seasoning was perfect, the lobster was so fresh. If I wasn’t in love with Acadia already, that bouillabaisse sealed the deal.

And then, when we went up to the counter to pay, Jules dropped a coin, bent down to pick it up, and likely gave herself a minor concussion when she whacked her head on a wrought-iron coat rack on the way back up. It was so loud that everyone in the small café stopped talking and stared at her. Fortunately, she was okay, and I made sure she didn’t fall asleep and could count the number of fingers I was holding up before we continued our tour of Acadia.

October 20, 2010 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Another Disappointing Waterfall

I don’t know what it is, but those keeping up with my blog and my travels know about my bad luck with waterfalls. Chele and I had some waterfall disappointments in Northern Ontario, and while Jules and I saw plenty of falling water at Montmorency Falls, the experience was still strangely not-that-scenic. So when we saw photos of Grand Falls in the New Brunswick guidebooks, we decided to take a little detour. It was less than an hour out of the way, so we figured we didn’t have much to lose.

We read that the falls in Grand Falls is at its highest in spring, like most waterfalls, and at its lowest point in the fall. Since we were closer to spring than fall, we figured we’d see a decent amount of water, right? Unfortunately, no.

The falls are connected to a dam and a power plant, so the water is on a set of cycles. We must have been there when most of the water was being diverted to the power plant, so Grand Falls was a less-than-grand trickle.

Grand Falls
At least I got a nice photo out of the excursion, though, water or not. I stitched this together from three photos, intending to make a panoramic, but the end result came out 4×6 anyway. I guess I can just blow it up to a gigantic size. Anyone want a lifesize poster of Grand Falls, NB?

The above photo was taken from midway across that scary bridge. The bridge is named for Ron Turcotte, the jockey who rode Secretariat to a Triple Crown in 1973. He’s apparently from Grand Falls, NB.

Another gem from our excursion to Grand Falls! On the way back to the highway that would take us to Bathurst, we drove through St-Quentin, the only town on the way big enough for a gas station open late and a Tim Horton’s. They also had, as you can see, a GIANT maple leaf! Whee!

Once we filled our bellies and the gas tank, it was off to Bathurst. It was dusky when we hit the highway and we knew we’d be going through a remote area, but I don’t think either of us anticipated how truly creepy the interior of New Brunswick is at night! We were crossing the northern section of the Appalachians, and not many other cars were interested in doing the same that night, that’s for sure! A couple of moose were, though. We saw our first moose off on the north side of the road. Jules was driving, and she slammed on the brakes, so we got a decent look at it before it lumbered off into the woods. Our second moose probably stopped us less than half an hour later. And when I say that it stopped us, I mean that it’s a good thing that it was such a foggy night and Jules was driving well under the speed limit, or else she wouldn’t have had time to brake when the enormous creature was lit up by our headlights. It was just standing there, in the middle of the road, a huge guy with antlers. If it hadn’t been so terrifying, it would have been an incredible sight. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the camera fast enough. Jules said it was too soon, anyway—she was still having a bit of a heart attack.

October 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm 1 comment

The Suggestion Box: New Brunswick

Jules and I already did northern NB and the Acadian shore, but Jules, Christina, and I are heading back into New Brunswick this afternoon for Fun at Fundy! Our plan includes the Hopewell Rocks and then we are staying in Fredericton tonight, so let me know if there’s anything we shouldn’t miss.

July 8, 2010 at 8:52 am Leave a comment


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