New Brunswick October 15, 2018
Leaving Nova Scotia, we cross the bridge to New Brunswick. It’s a fine, sunny day. We stop in Moncton hoping to see the famous bore tide on the Bay of Fundy at the aptly named “Bore Tide Park”.
Alas, not much to see and after a short walk on the boardwalk, we drive on. I need to find at least one memorable NB experience before crossing back to the U.S. St. John’s, the biggest city, is a possibility, and I quickly search the tour books surrounding me in the passenger’s seat.
I’m down to three tour books now and suggest a detour to St Martins Village, on the Bay of Fundy. I’ve found a restored inn, the previous home of a sea captain. Captain David Vaughn built the home in 1857. It stands on a hill overlooking the Bay of Fundy. The village was once the most prosperous shipbuilding area in eastern Canada—500 ships were built here. The rugged coasts and the elaborate homes built at the time now draw artists and photographers to the area.
It is also the start of the Fundy trail, a major project underway to provide a road along the water through the last undeveloped area of the Eastern coast. It includes two UNESCO sites, Stonehammer Global Geopark and the Fundy Biosphere Reserve. The adjacent park is a designated “Dark Sky” preserve by the Royal Astonomical Society of Canada.
We drive the 12miles of the Fundy trail, stopping at the interpretive center and walk down to cross the suspension bridge. The sun is warm and the tide is out. The trees rustle their colorful leaves and water trickles from the stream to the ocean. Stopping at other marked spots brings different views of the rugged coast.
Back in St Martins, we eat seafood chowder at a restaurant on the outside deck, soaking in the warmth of the late fall day. Other diners also stop to enjoy the sun on their face. The tide reveals a small portion of the rocky beach.
The stay at St. Martin’s Country Inn is a special experience. Beautifully resorted with original fireplaces, and some of the furniture, the Inn is filled with antiques. The original wooden floors are buffed to a shine and the stair bannister reminds me that I once wished to live in a house with a bannister to slide down. Our room, that of one of Captain Vaughn’s daughters, is in the front of the house overlooking the Bay.The light dinner we requested is delicious. The chef/manager is known for her cooking skills and reservations for dinner are necessary. She sets a table for two in front of the big window overlooking the water. Other tables look out at the sumptuous gardens, with fall colours replacing the summer bright colours. There is no rush and we linger at the table slowing down for the day.
Jim is in his element looking over the original construction and making recommendations to the owners to restore the Widow’s Walk at the top of the house.. He comments on how the entire house was built with handsaws. Of course we love the two black cats but it seems they only want Jim to pet them.
We climb the stairs to our room. The sky is changing with the colours of sunset.
We sleep the sleep of people at peace with the world and satisfied with the day’s accomplishments. The old wood floors, tall ceilings, with their memories of times past float on the ceiling and walls lending to a restful night.
The sun creeps in the window waking me up. I put my feet on the worn floor boards and cross to the window to watch the morning sun cross the water and into our bedroom. I imagine waking up here 100 years ago. We go downstairs for breakfast, my hand on the smooth bannister that 100’s of hands, big and small, touched over the years. Reluctantly, we check out of the inn and drive down to the water.
It’s low tide. Down at the harbour, the boats pose in the air, the mud far below them. We walk the beach, seeing how far we can walk. Some people wearing boots, cross the stream and go into the sea caves, inaccessible at high tide. One couple takes off their shoes and wade across the cold stream. The woman sits down to put her shoes on and says, “We only live once and I would only do this once”.
The wind is quieter today and the air warm. We walk along the rocks over to the stream looking at how tiny the people appear in relation to the sea cave visible in the low tide. I don’t want to go. I want to get our chair out and sit at the edge of the water and watch the tide come in and the boats float again.
It’s time to leave St Martins. Time to finish our adventure in Canada’s Maritime provinces and Ontario and Quebec.It is hard to decide what part of the trip is the best, but I guess we can have as many bests as we want to. We have miles to go before we sleep….cross back to the U.S. and onto Maine.