Experience

Kellys Beach

I wouldn’t say that I’m a “beach person”, but NB has a lot of beautiful beaches, so I think a few deserve a feature here! And since I love swimming, I think the beach is pretty cool. 

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I’ve been to Kellys Beach a few times, and it is one of my favourites. It was one of my good friend’s birthday, so we thought a trip to Kellys Beach in Kouchibouguac National Park was in order! It has beautiful sand, beautiful dunes, and some of the warmest salt water in the country! This summer was also a good time to go, with the National Parks being free for Canada 150! 

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The boardwalk to get to the beach is beautiful. It’s a short walk (1/2 km), but nothing too major. There are lots of interpretive signs along the way to explain the evolution of barrier island dunes, which are a pretty cool natural phenomenon, and they are teeming with life! So, yeah, you’re on your own little island, with a 25 km beach!

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It’s also supervised within the swimming area from late June to late August - sweet! 

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And there’s a canteen to get treats, washrooms, change rooms, and showers! Everything you could need. :) 

The lagoon. 

The lagoon. 

If you love beaches, you should check this one out! Leave your furry friends at home though, as dogs are not permitted. 

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! 

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! 

Midland Ice Caves

Well, I’ve been waiting for the snow to go explore the Midland Ice Caves, and I definitely got what I’ve been asking for! As I’m writing this, I just cleared about 50 cm of snow from my driveway. :/ The white stuff definitely did make the trip more beautiful though :) 

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A few friends and I headed out towards Norton from Moncton and met up with my sister in Sussex to make the trek to the caves!  

I forgot to time the way into the caves, but I think it was about an hour. When we arrived at around 11:00, there had already been a pretty obvious trail made and the snow was patted down. The first 2/3 is through a field that gets pretty steep by the end. It will make you want to lose some layers, and we each lost at least one on the way up - some we left in trees with notes in the snow, and others we carried. :) Besides the grade, it's a pretty easy hike. At the top of the hill you can either go straight or turn left, you turn left into a wooded area. 

The last third in the wooded area is quite easy and beautiful.

Once you go in about 10 minutes, you take a right at the sign. The sign was broken, so we tried to fix it for ya! 

You go down this "trail" for under 10 minutes and come to the small valley where the caves are! 

Every year there are holes in the ice so you can actually go in and explore the "cave" and get your perfect photo op! 

It's slippery, so be careful! You can climb in and slide out! (But that really hurt my butt) 

Someone was nice enough to set up these ropes to help you get up and down! 

The way out is pretty much all downhill, so it only took about 40 minutes. We did walk pretty fast though. It was hilarious to go down this field and see 19, NINETEEN cars lined up of people going to check them out. I love the Maritimes, but clearly we could use some more winter entertainment. haha. 

So after this week of blizzards, I'd probably pack some snowshoes, but go check it out! 

For great directions, check out Hiking NB, as usual. Also, this is private land, so let's be kind and considerate so we can enjoy them for a long time!