Saint Andrews

Saint Andrews holds a special place in my heart. I have fond memories of going there as a kid with the family. It really is a great place for a day trip with a family or without. I thought this would be a good adventure for my mom and me to do together; so on Monday, we headed out on the 2 1/2 hour drive to Saint Andrews. 

We started the day off right with "take out" from Clam Digger. Now, if I haven't already stated on here, I don't like seafood (I know, I lose MAJOR maritime points - I'm working on it), but my mom got the fish and really enjoyed it. I actually loved what I'm pretty sure was home-battered chicken fingers. From what I've gathered as a non-seafood lover, this is the place to go for some fresh, deep-fried seafood goodness.

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After an extremely filling lunch, we head to the aquarium. I remember coming here as a kid and loving to touch all the creatures in the touch pool. It's a pretty cool experience! 

But since I was a kid, they made an entirely new facility that has a lot to offer: touch pools, huge tanks with seals and other underwater animals, a visual of the highest tides in the world, daily feedings of seahorses, seals, and salmon, and more! Check out all they have to offer on your trip here

One thing I love about Saint Andrews is the beauty of the waterfront shops and pier. Before whale watching, we did a quick tour of some local shops. I managed not to buy another beautiful mug and just came away with an underwater phone case. :) 

And now for our adventure of the day! This was only my second time going whale watching so I was pretty excited! After a final trip to the bathroom (no bathrooms on board), we headed to Fundy Tide Runners for our trip! 

We got suited up in these sweet flotation suits that I actually loved. The last time I went whale watching, I was super cold, so it was nice to be warm out on the water. Feeling like an astronaut was pretty cool, too.  After a safety talk from witty Captain Dave, we were on our way! 

We traveled on a 24 foot Zodiac. This made the journey out to the whales quick and intimate. You're really quite close to the water/whales. It was a full boat with 12 passengers - two families of four and my mom and me. It's cool being in an environment like that where you become friends with strangers for 3 hours. Dave made it easy to do so, remembering almost everyone's names and giving each kid a chance to steer the boat as we cheered them on! 

Between jokes and driving, Dave pointed out a few key landmarks. This was our "haul": 

A million (ok, like 100) seals! 

A lot of porpoises (they were hard to capture): 

East Quoddy Lighthouse: 

And a whale!! 

We saw a minke whale, affectionately called Rudolph because of his bent dorsal fin. It's so cool/impressive that Dave knows many of the whales they see, because many of them have been traveling there for over a decade. Fundy Tide Runners has been in the business for 23 years now, so they're experts! 

Even though the weather wasn't great, and we didn't see as many whales as I would have liked, it was awesome to be out on the water and see Saint Andrews and the Bay of Fundy from that vantage point. It was a really great experience hanging out with fellow travellers and seeing all kinds of wildlife. Although they don't guarantee a whale sighting, their record is almost perfect during peak season. The Friday before our trip, they saw a couple of right whales, which is one of the rarest whales in the world!  

After our whale watching adventure, we raced to Ministers Island to get there before low tide was over! Yeah, you read that right - you can only get to the island during low tide, when you can drive across the ocean floor! It's a pretty neat experience. The island is named after one of the first owners, a minister, and it has SO MUCH interesting history to take in, but I won't get into a lot of it here. 

The extremely impressive buildings on the island were owned by Sir William Van Horne, an American responsible for building the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). It was expected to take ten years to build; but under Van Horne's leadership, it was completed in five. The multi-talented man, had Covenhoven built - a 50-room summer home with walls constructed from sandstone cut from the shore, a windmill, leading edge gas plant, carriage house, garage, circular bath house and farm buildings. The centrepiece of the agricultural buildings is the livestock barn, a massive two-story timber structure with a hipped gable roof, which was home to Van Horne's thoroughbred horses and prized herd of Dutch belted cattle" (MinistersIsland.net).

Covenhoven

Covenhoven

The living room. 

The living room. 

The billiard room.

The billiard room.

The Bathhouse. 

The Bathhouse. 

There are also hiking trails to explore on the island, but we didn't have time to get to those today. We did see some wildlife though - horses and a deer! 

I didn't plan out my day very well, but all the timing ended working out great. I would highly recommend planning your day around the tide, feedings at the aquarium, and availability for whale watching! Or, stay overnight and you can take your time. :) 

There's really so much to do and see in Saint Andrews! You've got your quaint town, history, science, adventure, and shopping! We didn't even make it to the block house or the Kingsbrae Garden! Will have to go back again soon . . . 

 

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own! 

BYE GUYS! See you next time! 

BYE GUYS! See you next time! 

Walton Glen Gorge

What better to do on a holiday Monday than go on an off-the-grid adventure! A couple friends and I have been wanting to do this hike since last summer, so we did our research, wrote the plan in the group chat and left Moncton around 8:30 (okay, more like 9:00 - I’m usually late). 

This spot came on my radar just last summer. There are kind of two parts to it - the lookout and the "eye of the needle". I knew this hike was going to be a difficult one and it definitely lived up to it. The views were amazing and I would say it matched the effort it took to see them. :) 

It will really make you wonder if you’re in New Brunswick at many spots! 

About 20 minutes past Adair’s Lodge, we parked on the side of the road and started our trek. The first hour and a half was pretty much all on ATV trail. We found a couple of different ways to get there in our research and then got some more advice from some fellow hikers on the trail.

We meandered to a waterfall, McLeod Brook Falls, down this sweet set of stairs, then came back up to the ATV trail to get to the lookout. 

I had read to do the lookout first as you won’t want to do it after hiking all the way down to the eye, and I’m so glad we did! By the end we were exhausted and I wouldn’t want to have missed this view! It has been called the "Grand Canyon of New Brunswick" and you can see why. 

(This is the second highest waterfall in NB.)

(This is the second highest waterfall in NB.)

After lunch with an amazing view, we followed the pink ribbons back down to the brook toward the Eye of the Needle. 

After a few river crossings, climbing down ropes, our “dad” friend warning us to be careful (thanks, Mark), and about 60 more mins, we made it to the Eye of the Needle. 

Obviously, this section is amazing!! But the trek down is breathtaking too! 

I’ve said it before, but I’m obsessed with rocks and water, so this was just up my alley. There was enough water to swim, so we all (except one) swam through the eye of the needle, and relaxed in the sun for a little bit. 

(PS - the water was “out of this world” freezing!!)

(PS - the water was “out of this world” freezing!!)

Over the course of the hike, we saw at least 4 waterfalls. It was really cool! 

We decided to try to “book it” out of there, and made it back to our cars in 1.75 hours. The whole venture took us 6 1/2 hours! A long and GREAT day! 

Time for the nitty gritty . . . 

There seem to be quite a few ways to get to the lookout and the eye, so do your research and have fun figuring it out! :) As always, Hiking NB has great directions and he also updated it because of the construction on the Fundy Trail. Be aware of this construction as the trail head may be in a different spot, depending on where they’re at with construction. (Can’t wait for them to finish the Fundy Trail!)

Getting to the Eye of the Needle is a very difficult and often dangerous hike. Please be careful and be prepared! 

Disclaimer: I've heard that there often isn't enough water to swim and sometimes the highest waterfall isn't running, depending when you go. 

Tips: 

  • Screenshot those directions as you’ll lose service before Adair’s 
  • Be prepared for river crossings 
  • Bring a bathing suit! 
  • Be prepared for a long hike. :) 

Here are some different options for you to experience “the gorge”. 

  1. Hike just to the lookout - 1.5 hours one way (to catch the first waterfall, McLeod Brook Falls, on your way, go down the stairs in the woods to your left).
  2. Hike just to the gorge - 2 hours one way 
  3. Hike both A and B! (what we did - 6.5 hrs total incl. breaks)
  4. Hike both A and B and go about a half hour further and you will meet the ocean! (That’s what I’m told). 

So thankful for a beautiful province with so much to discover. 

Quiddy Falls

This adventure was one of my last of summer 2016, but I thought I'd save sharing it for the beginning of this summer! This swimming hole is just a beauty. It's a little bit of a drive to get there, but it's worth it. 

One of my best friends and best cousins were here and I wanted to show them one of my favourite NB spots. After visiting my sister in Sussex, we headed out for an end of August swim. The hike in is only about 15 minutes and it's really quite beautiful. Some parts look enchanted! 

There are sections that are quite steep that you have to shimmy down on a rope, but where it's so short, I wouldn't say it's very difficult. I know kids around kindergarten age have been fine on it. 

It was a little overcast that day, but it was warm enough for a dip. I find the water here not super cold, compared to a lot of swimming spots (ex: Crooked Creek).

(iPhones come in handy sometimes!)

(iPhones come in handy sometimes!)

I have seen people jump from on top of the waterfall, but I can't say I'd recommend it! Seems kinda silly to me. :) But, the view from the top is really nice! It reminds me of a quarry. 

We opted to spend our time under the waterfall instead.

That's some pure joy right there! 

There's also another little waterfall before the big one - bonus! 

If you want in, here are the directions: 

From Sussex, continue past Poley Mountain and follow signs to Adair's Wilderness Lodge, which is a great place to stop for a bite or directions (about 12 km). Continue from there until you come to a fork in the road. At the fork, take the Little Salmon River Rd. for about 2km. Take the next road on your left for about 4.5 km until you come to a bridge. Park here. There are trailheads on both sides of the river. This post was in reference to the trail on the far side of the bridge. You should be able to see the path up to your right through the woods. You'll walk through a camping area and then continue on the trail. (directions taken in part from "Waterfalls of NB: A Guide")

PS - this is also known as Wallace Falls. 

Happy adventuring. 

Matthews Head

Well, there's nothing like a camping trip with a bunch of friends in one of my favourite places (Fundy National Park) to kick off summer. I have high hopes for this one being one of the best yet! A few months ago I booked an Otentik for some friends and then ended up booking a second, and the experience did not disappoint. 

After a great camping experience, a short sleep, and a morning around the campfire, we headed out to hike Matthews Head. 

I consider Matthews Head a great pre-summer trail, as you get some pretty incredible views along the coast, it's a loop, and it's a perfect length - not too short and not too long (in my opinion). If it's still too cold to swim, breathing in the ocean air is a great alternative.

The first half is downhill, which takes you to the first look out: 

Make sure you don't miss it - you have to go left at a fork. 

The trail has a bit of history attached to it as well. It is named after Tom and Ellen Matthews, who settled there in 1865. The first section of the trail is an old wagon road that brings you to what looks like the foundation of a 19th century homestead. If you keep your eyes peeled, you'll find it semi-hidden in the grass on the right a little bit before the first lookout pictured above. 

About 2/3 of the way, you get a good look at Squaw's Cap and the rugged Fundy coastline. 

The trail also takes you through a few different kinds of forest.

This section is probably my favourite: 

And of course, the second half is mostly uphill and gets a little steep at the end, but all in all, it's not too challenging - about 1 1/2-2 hours. And there's nothing wrong with taking a break at some red chairs! 

How's that for candid? ;) 

How's that for candid? ;) 

So, next time you're in Fundy, check out Matthews Head! 

The Sugar Woods

My favourite sign of spring. The sugar woods was always an annual occurrence for our family growing up and I have the fondest memories of it. We grew up going to Beaman's in Elgin where we'd explore the property, look in the buckets, watch the sap boil down while we wait for the "sugaring off".

I can't get over the goodness of maple syrup - this clear, thin liquid that transforms into the purest, most delicious treat - in so many forms!! Candy on the snow has always been my favourite.  

The sugar woods fills me with so many feelings - the smells, sights, and sounds - so nostalgic and beautiful. 

A lot of places use the new fandangled tubing, but I prefer the classic buckets, obviously. :)

For the past couple of years, I've been going to a sugar woods closer to home (EVERY WEEKEND) - Trites Maples. I like that it's just 20 minutes away, you enjoy a short 15-minute walk through the woods, and get to enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast in the coziest pancake house. 

Two weeks ago we brought my nephew - passing the tradition on is one of the best parts! 

I debated whether or not to blog about the sugar woods because it's so "commonplace", but guess what - it's not commonplace at all! Did you know that Northeastern North America is the only place in the world that produces maple syrup? The required climate - freezing nights and warm days - and sugar maples are only found here! I think that's something to celebrate! :) 

According to this website, we're also the 3rd biggest maple syrup producer in the WORLD! GO NB GO!

I had 6 candies on the snow on Saturday, so I'd like to see you beat my 2017 record. I'm working on beating it too!

  • For more info on the maple syrup-making process, check out this website. 
  • For more info on sugar woods near you, check out the Tourism NB's guide to sticky season here.  
  • There's also a maple sugar festival in Riverview this weekend! Find info on that here.

So, find a sugar woods or sugar bush or sugar shack (whatever you want to call it) near you and make a family memory this weekend!