New Brunswick: Where Have You Been All Our Lives?
We scrambled down a wooden walkway and across a grassy path, on our way to a scenic lighthouse out on the northern tip of Grand Manan Island. As we gazed out at the Passamaquoddy Bay, with the light glinting off the water, I turned to my partner Mary and gushed about this place. “Where has New Brunswick been all our lives?” I asked.
It’s true–there are so many aspects of this trip that make this gigantic Canadian province the perfect choice for New Englanders looking for a summer vacation. Here are some of the things we love about it.
- We drove our own car here, and packed it full of everything we could possibly want to bring. That included our favorite beach chairs, a blow up swimming ring, bottles of wine, Mary’s painting supplies and even a bunch of food. We never could have thought about bringing all of this if we flew and needed a rental car.
- We have no plane to catch, no parking to pay at the airport, and no car rental insurance to get anxious about. It’s as familiar as going to the Cape, it just took a bit longer.
- Everyone we have met here has been friendly, curious and willing to share stories about their favorite places. We sat at dinner and the couple next to us struck up a conversation about grandchildren and St Andrews…another couple we met at the ferry terminal wanted to know all about where we lived and where we were headed. People up here are both friendly, curious and interesting…and of course they speak perfect English too.
- The seafood is the best we’ve ever tasted…and nearly all of it is from New Brunswick. Stand-outs were the baked halibut at the Rossmount Inn in St Andrews, and the seafood chowder we enjoyed at the Niger Reef Tea Room in St Andrews.
- With an overnight stopover in wonderful Ogunquit, and another (not really necessary) in Bar Harbor, the total driving time to get up here was less than 10 hours. If we were headed to Nova Scotia, it would have added another 10, or the dreaded airfare and or the ferry cost.
- The stunning views just keep getting better, like the vista we marveled at at the Swallowtail Lighthouse on Grand Manan. This island is a throwback, as is the truly quaint
place we are staying, the Inn at Whale Cove. With weathered shingles, small and large cabins, and ocean views, it’s a relaxing and reviving place to stay. No noise at night and stars as bright as saucers up in the sky.
- The exchange rate of 76 cents per Canadian dollar makes everything more affordable. And everywhere we go, as long as our credit card has a chip in it, it’s smooth sailing.
- Despite the proximity to the ocean, nothing here is crowded. There are no lines, no Ogunquit-style bumper-to-bumper traffic, no ridiculous fees to go to state parks or to park your car. It feels like no one here is out to rip you off.
- We haven’t ever met someone here who wasn’t friendly and willing to help us. Not even road rage seems to be a problem–there aren’t that many cars.