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Visiting New Brunswick, Canada’s coastal gem

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28 April 2017 by Simon Langley

New Brunswick is in a corner of Canada that’s unspoilt – and wildly beautiful – with the magnificent Atlantic rolling alongside lush scenery, but New Brunswick is crammed with culture too, old and new. Here you’ll find surreal modern art alongside a strong tradition of local crafts going back centuries. Natural diversity includes a sweeping mix of dense forests and charming Acadian villages, hiking and surfing, coastal islands and chic cities, small craft breweries and sophisticated restaurants, whales to watch and cool-climate wines to taste. It’s a land made for lingering – the only way to fit in all the diversions delivered by an extraordinary geography and history.

You can immerse yourself in the best of New Brunswick on our brand-new New Brunswick Explorer holiday, a 9-day fly drive designed to showcase the best of the area. The local attitude may be understated and laid-back, but the appeal is world-class.

Coastal delights and caviar

New Brunswick’s coastline is as strong a draw as the waves that break along its many beaches. Some of the country’s most impressive wildlife can be seen here, in dramatic settings. In the Bay of Fundy you can find the highest tides in the world, which, when they rise nearly 50 feet twice each day, draw in enough food to attract more than a dozen species of whales to the region every summer.

Humpback whales breaching in the Bay of Fundy

Charming small towns lie along the Atlantic too, and dreamy islands can be found amidst it. Of these, Campobello is one of the most enchanting. Surrounded by seals, filled with birds, it’s easy to see why former American president Franklin D Roosevelt came back here to holiday time and time again. It’s just a short ride via water taxi from St Andrew’s-by-the-Sea, where time seems to stand still, suspended in colonial architecture and pretty gardens. Or, island-hop with a combination of short, scenic ferry rides between the village of L’Etete, Deer Island and Campobello.

The fun of heading out with fishermen from the Kingston Peninsula to join them as they bring in mighty sturgeon is only bettered by tasting caviar at the end of the expedition. This is confirmation, just in case it was needed, that as well as being a great adventure destination, New Brunswick is a fine foodie one as well.

The summer home of the Roosevelts on Campobello Island

Inland pleasures and inspirational art

From caviar to craft beers, New Brunswick is all about superb local ingredients. Fredericton, the capital, features the highest concentration of award-winning craft breweries in the Maritimes, and, here and in the charming city of Saint John, culinary treats abound. No city is far from the abundant fresh produce this province excels in especially sparklingly fresh seafood from lobster and wild salmon to blue mussels and oysters.

Moreover, New Brunswick is about more than gourmet hedonism – heady heritage architecture and high culture are also highlights. One of Dali’s most striking works – and that’s saying something – his homage to St James, the patron saint of Spain, is the signature piece at Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery, a destination venue also featuring Turner, Magritte and Lucien Freud and gifted to the people of New Brunswick by Lord Beaverbrook, a notable New Brunswicker who was a cabinet minister in Sir Winston Churchill’s government and the first Baron of Fleet Street. There’s art in the colonial architecture in Fredericton and Saint John too, with Fredericton regularly hosting Doors Open events to welcome the public into historic buildings. There’s a long tradition of performing art too, culminating in the very contemporary and huge Harvest Jazz and Blues festival that sounds out around Fredericton in a cadence as exhilarating as the seascapes of this Maritime province. 

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