New Brunswick: Fredericton - Family Vacations Include King's Landing, Hopewell Rocks, and Dulseing. From the moment we stepped off the train in Fredericton the experience is a string of surprises and discoveries. With enough charm to merit more than one visit, New Brunswick is a place which remains prominent in our memories. It is one of our favorite places on the planet.
This province has much more to offer families than one summer vacation can accomplish. It is an easy going place bordering on non commercial where it is possible to do something every day and have a blast or do nothing and have fun anyway. For adults there is the beauty of nature available for effortless enjoyment. There is also a cultural beauty alive within the residents themselves that make visiting a pleasure. For kids there is action and fun coupled with discovery – the ideal family vacation spot.
Roots and cultural moments. Three distinct cultures are represented within the province; Acadian, Micmac and Anglophone. The influences are apparent in the music, the food and the sign posts for cities as well as businesses. At the edge of the city of Bouctouche there is a man-made island village (theme park) called, Le Pays de la Sagouine. There are shops, stages and costumed staff - children are invited to partake in the music and are provided with costumes. It’s an easy and fun way to experience a bit of Acadian culture. (57 Acadie Street, Bouctouche, NB, Canada E4S 2T7. 1(506) 743-1400, 1-800-561-9188 or www.sagouine.com)
Time travel at its best. One of the best places in New Brunswick is Kings Landing, a historical settlement and open air living history location. A visit to this marvelous village is like going home - home from more than a century ago when everyone was closer to the land and closer to each other. Kings Landing has won numerous awards for excellence. Time spent on the grounds will show evidence of how and why the awards were earned. It is a day experience that is inspiring no matter what your age or heritage. Bonus points: Their site is quite comprehensive and lists a series of events that are well suited for families to enjoy. On-site is a very nice restaurant called The Kings Head Inn. They have a menu with selections fashioned after old world recipes. They also have harvest dinners and special Christmas meals. For the kids there is a 5-day living history camp entitled “Visiting Cousins” which offers participants the chance to live, work, and eat in history – a truly amazing experience. (20 Kings Landing Service Road, New Brunswick, Canada, E6K 3W3. 1 (506) 363-4953 or www.kingslanding.nb.ca)
Celebrate, celebrate! On the streets of Fredericton visitors will encounter the interesting and lively group called the Calithumpians, an outdoor theater group contagious spirit. They offer live theatre in the square and dramatic walking tours of the city. The term calithumpians means those who create a large commotion or cause a celebration to occur in the streets. Often they are masked or costumed revelers making noise for an official occasion. We can only say they are talented and innovative. We watched them perform their lunchtime theatre with unbelievable energy. (745 George Street, Fredericton, NB E3B 1K6. 1 (506) 457-1975 or www.calithumpians.com)
Not to be missed - Hopewell Rocks. It is at the base of these continuously photographed natural sculptures that our youngest child exclaimed, “Good grief, there used to be water here!” Making this excursion with children is wonderful at any age. The rocks are about an hour south of Moncton along the ever-narrowing bay. The key to being able to walk at the bottom of the sea is to plan for the tides. This extra planning is worth the view. Of course the best plan is to be able to return at high tide if only to marvel at how high the water rises. There is state-of- the -art interpretive centre at the top of the main trail. It is the best place to start because the hands on exhibits make the visit much more important. It is there that we learned why The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world. They range for 32' to 46' depending on the phase of the moon. Discovery: The meandering trail is slightly deceptive because it leads to stairs that complete the first part of the trip. Now there are trams for the weary so for those needing an easier return it is an option. This is an all day experience. Most kids do not want to leave the mud. There are huge rocks to climb along the underside of cliffs and there plenty of ting creatures as well as seaweed to inspect. Luckily there are two food options at the top as well as a picnic area. ( Toll-free 1-877-734-3429 or www.thehopewellrocks.ca)
Our Favorite Eating Places
The Lunar Rogue. A maritime pub with spirit and great food the Lunar Rogue will quickly become any dad’s favorite spot in town. They have outdoor dining and their lemonade is noteworthy. (625 King Street Fredericton, NB E3B 1E9. (506) 450-2065 or www.lunarrogue.com)
Regency Rose Café. This place is for children with adventuresome eating habits and is located across the street from a captivating street theatre. (608 Queen Street, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C2. (506) 455-2233)
McPhail’s Lobster Haven. No music but a great location, terrific food and the kids were able to eat outside on the deck of a dry docked lobster boat. The lobster is very large and was served perfectly. (Dixon Point, Bouctouche, NB E0A 1G0. (506) 743-8432)
Street Theatre. It's free and fun for all ages. In St John while we were staying at the Hyatt there was a Busker Festival on the street leading to our hotel. The word busker comes from the old English word for street performer. The talent was exceptional. Our children figured out how to worm their way to a viewing position next to dozens of other children seated in front of the busker. We adults took refuges at a window table on the second floor of a nearby restaurant. The night was cool and damp but no one seemed to notice as a juggler, a fire-eater, a singing troupe from South America and an acrobatic mime took their turns at entertaining.
Taste treats in the province.
Dulse. Pronounced da-walts. Residents say it is an acquired taste, but nevertheless it is worth a sample. It is harvested off the coast of Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. Residents use it as a snack with an apple. It also shows up as a garnish in salads or soups. We have used it when cooking pasta. It changes the whole complexion of pesto. It can also be used instead of bacon. Fry it in oil until it is crisp and then chop it up and mix with scrambled eggs. Who makes the best? We like treats from Leroy Flagg and Son because the pieces are almost potato chip size. We have also tried the pretty blue and gray bag Atlantic Mariculture Petit Goemon. Kid's note: You can try it baked crisp and dipped in chip dip. Actually the most fun is to take it to science class because even my science teacher didn't know what it was.
Gagnons Candy. Invented in St. Stephens this candy company makes lovely chocolates. Each year in the summer they have a chocolate festival.
Information and photos by FTF. Copyright 2013.