Day 1: Bangor – Saint John – St. Martins – A Walk Back in Maritime History
We’ll greet you at 8 a.m. at Bangor International Airport in Bangor, Maine and transfer to New Brunswick, Canada by private van, stopping first in Saint John, a city with the highest tides on earth and history equally as deep. We’ll eat lunch in the lively Saint John City Market, hopefully joined by a guide from the New Brunswick Museum. DLT (dulse, lettuce and tomato) sandwich anyone? (Dulse is made from a type of sea weed that grows along the Bay of Fundy and is quite good.)
We’ll then travel to the quiet seaside town of St. Martins and check into our inn, which was built in 1856 by Captain John Carson. This lovingly remodeled house has changed hands only three times in 150 years and the rooms are named after past and present St. Martin personalities. Our afternoon will be spent on a history walk, led by the director of the local museum through the village, past the harbor with colorful fishing boats and covered bridges, and ending up at the justly famous red caves. Our guide is a resident of the Village, and has a very long connection with the area (his family were original settlers in New Brunswick in the early 1700s). He is an expert on shipbuilding and logging history, and the role of women in the golden age of sail. We’ll eat dinner at an informal family restaurant with a great view of the caves. Hike: Easy; 3.0 hours. Meals: L, D. Overnight: St. Martins Country Inn, St. Martins.
Day 2: St. Martins – Sea Kayaking - Fundy Trail Parkway Hike
After our morning coffee, a hearty breakfast, and a discussion of today’s adventures, we’ll enjoy a guided sea kayaking trip around St. Martins’ Harbor and Sea Caves, paddling under or near two covered bridges before visiting the Caves themselves. This is another great way to experience the beauty of the coastline around St. Martins from a different perspective. We’ll stop on a beach below the towering cliffs of the Bay of Fundy to learn about the area’s geological history. Former sea kayaking experience is not necessary, those with some paddling experience will be paired with those without experience in tandem boats, and life vests will be provided. This activity is weather and tide dependent.
In the afternoon we’ll trade our paddles for hiking boots and head out for a walk and picnic lunch along the Fundy Trail Parkway, a spectacular coastal road with an adjacent network of hiking trails. One of the last remaining coastal wilderness areas in North America is accessible via the Parkway. Our hiking trail runs along the cliffs, providing spectacular views of remote, pristine beaches and dramatic stone formations, some of which we can visit. We’ll also visit the Big Salmon River, once the location of a flourishing logging, fishing and shipbuilding community with a lively and evocative past. We’ll venture across a suspension bridge and the very brave among us may go for a dip in one of the River’s beautiful swimming holes. Depending upon timing, we may visit the Interpretive Center, a re-creation of the bunkhouse, which once housed the single men who worked and lived here, and which provides information on the area’s history. A visit to sea captains’ cemeteries will add to the historical vibe we’ll experience today. We’ll have dinner in the inn and rest up for our active, fun day tomorrow. Sea kayaking: 2 hours. Hike: 3 hours. Meals: B, L,D. Overnight: St. Martins Country Inn, St. Martins.
Day 3: Alma – Fundy National Park
We’ll pull up our (metaphorical) anchor today. A short drive through a beautiful rural countryside with family farms will bring us to Fundy National Park, established in 1948 as New Brunswick’s first national park. Over the next couple of days we’ll immerse ourselves in the culture and scenic beauty of the Park and its neighboring fishing village of Alma. Fundy National Park is a designated Dark Sky Preserve (the dark skies here are perfect for some of the best stargazing on our planet) so, after spending the day in awe of the immense tide, we can spend our evenings looking at a sky lit with a million stars. Today we’ll drive to the end of Point Wolf Road in the Park, the scene of a lovely covered bridge and placards celebrating the area’s logging history. Writer Maimie Steeves, a former resident of Point Wolfe Village, coined the expression “people of the salt and the fir” to describe her people and their history with the sea and the forest, and the Fundy National Park borrows this term for good reason. A naturalist will lead us on a hike from Herring Cove into Alma on the Coastal Trail, stopping first if we wish, to skip stones on the beach. We’ll have free time in the afternoon to relax and enjoy Alma with its colorful lobster and scallop fishing boats and immense tides. We can walk way out on the tidal flats (and back before the returning tide). Alma is tremendously proud of its fishing boats, which have to work around the huge twice daily tides, and the pride is evident here. Lunch is on your own today and dinner will be at a local lobster restaurant, or we’ll enjoy a private lobster bake at our chalets. Hike: 3 hours; moderate. Meals: B, D. Overnight: Bayview Motel and Chalets, Alma.
Day 4: Hopewell Rocks – Cape Enrage
What better way to start the day than eating breakfast at a restaurant named Octopus’ Garden, after which we will go on one of many hikes in the Park combining forest, coastal views and history. We’ll then drive to Hopewell Rocks, where we’ll “walk on the ocean’s floor,” guided on a private tour by a park service ranger. Older than the Appalachians and once larger than the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the red cliffs of Hopewell Rocks have been chiseled over millions of years by the pounding force of the Fundy tides. These are the highest tides in the world and have been recorded as high as 52 feet. And they happen twice a day, every day of the year. At low tide, the sea retreats so far you can walk for miles to explore a maze of sky‐high rocks that look like sculpted flowerpots. The Bay of Fundy is also the only stopover on a two and a half thousand mile migration south for millions of shore birds, and they pass through the Hopewell Rocks area. The migration starts mid-July and generally lasts 4 – 6 weeks. Depending your tour’s dates, we’ll have a chance to see them – or yet another excuse to return to this beautiful area in the future if we miss them this time.
We’ll return to Alma from the Rocks via lovely Cape Enrage, designated by Frommer’s Guide as the Best View in Canada, and definitely a great view of the Bay of Fundy from atop the 150 foot high cliffs. The former lighthouse keeper’s cottage of the Bay of Fundy’s oldest lighthouse is now a seasonal restaurant and we’ll have lunch or dinner here or at a nearby ranch. Hikes: 4 hours, including a short morning hike and the Hopewell Rocks walk. Meals: B, L, D. Overnight: Bayview Motel and Chalets, Alma.
Day 5: St. Andrews by-the-Sea – Whale Watching – Campobello Island
Today our adventure continues as we start our westward journey back toward Down East, aka Maine. Fortified with sticky buns from a local bake shop we travel to St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea, founded in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists. (The Loyalists, while hugely important to New Brunswick history, are little known in the U.S. Loyalists, better known Stateside as Tories, were American Colonists of different ethnic backgrounds, who supported the British cause during the American Revolution from 1775 – 1783. During the Revolution, more than 19,000 Loyalists served Britain in specially created provincial militia corps. Others spent the War in such Loyalist strongholds as New York City and Boston, or in refugee camps in Canada. Between 80,000 and 100,000 eventually fled, about half of them to Canada.) St. Andrews is one of the best preserved examples of colonial heritage in North America and the town is designated one of Canada’s National Historic Districts. Arriving here is like taking a step back in time into a perfectly preserved seaport village. We’ll explore the town’s wharf and go on a hike on Minister’s Island, water-locked at high tide, if the tides permit.
After lunch we’ll board a whale watching boat for the journey to Campobello Island. We’ll cruise through islands of the West Isles archipelago on our way to whale feeding grounds. In addition to whales, we’ll be on the look-out for porpoise, dolphins, harbor and gray seals and bald eagles. Our journey will end on the Island, where we’ll be staying as guests the next two nights. Campobello, a little bit of America in Canada, was made famous by Franklin Roosevelt, whose family summered here. Today, the 34-room Roosevelt Cottage Museum is a focal point of the 2,800 acre Roosevelt Campobello International Park (RCIP), preserved as a memorial and a symbol of the close friendship between Canada and the United States. The RCIP is the only park in the world owned by the peoples of two countries and administered by a joint commission in their name. The property has turn-of-the-century (turn of the 20th century, that is) cottages, once summer getaways of wealthy American friends and family members of the Roosevelts, and we’ll be staying in one of these tonight. The park welcomes select small groups in an informal and relaxing setting, similar to that which was an essential part of Franklin and Eleanor’s style, and Bredeson Outdoor Adventures has been extended a special invitation. Late this afternoon we’ll explore the Island’s natural wooded park or relax on the veranda overlooking the Bay of Fundy, before dinner in the aptly named Fireside Restaurant. Hike: 2 hours. Meals: B, L, D. Overnight: Roosevelt Campobello International Park (Cottages), Campobello Island.
Day 6: American History on Canadian Soil in Campobello - Walk in the Footsteps of Franklin and Eleanor – Tea with Eleanor
This morning we’ll continue our exploration of American history on Canadian soil with a walk in the footsteps of Franklin and Eleanor led by the local FDR and Campobello historian.
In the afternoon we’ll drink “Tea with Eleanor,” during which expert guides will tell of Eleanor’s life on Campobello Island, and of her years of activism and public service, all accompanied by her favorite blend of New Brunswick “King Cole” tea and delicious home-made cookies. The linen-clothed tables and fine china recall the style and ambience of a bygone era. This is a memorable (and tasty) experience. We’ll toast the week at a private farewell dinner on the Island. Hike: 3 hours. Meals: B, L, D. Overnight: Roosevelt Campobello International Park (Cottages), Campobello Island.
Day 7: Back to the U.S. and Home
Whereas we arrived on beautiful Campobello Island by boat from Canada, today we’ll leave the Island by van today headed back to the United States. The Island is a short distance from the U.S. and is connected to the mainland by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Bridge at Lubec, Maine. We’ll travel from Campobello back to the Bangor, Maine airport for departure home or to other destinations. Meals: B.