An Unforgettable Week in the Maritimes
On behalf of her sisters and mom, one grateful daughter thanks her dad for this amazing adventure.
The fall of 2019 came with a huge surprise from my dad. My mom had always wanted to travel to the Maritime provinces, but her dementia was getting worse and Dad’s walking ability was deteriorating, so Dad decided to send his “girls” the following year. The COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, which postponed the trip. Finally, in the spring of 2021, provinces began to lift their restrictions and Dad planned the whole trip for us, from plane tickets to Airbnb accommodations to our meals. My sisters Leona and Anita and I, along with our mom, prepared for the trip; our older sister, Leah, was the only one who didn’t join us, as she lives on a farm and couldn’t get away. Sadly, our dad passed away just three weeks before our flight, but he was with us in spirit the whole way.
Touring the Maritime Provinces
On day one, we flew to Fredericton. Anita’s son, Taylor, is stationed at Gagetown and welcomed us into his home in Fredericton. New Brunswick reminded us of the Whiteshell area of Manitoba, full of lush forests and rushing rivers. No wonder our nephew calls it his home now.
By 11 a.m. on day two, the four of us were on the road in our rented car, headed to Windsor, Nova Scotia, with a stop first in Sackville, New Brunswick, for lunch at the Black Duck Café. We tried homemade items on the menu—with all the ingredients coming from the café’s garden. We then crossed into Nova Scotia, heading to Burntcoat Head Park, home to the highest tides in the world. You can walk down to the beach and watch the tide slowly come in, which we did. When the rocks were engulfed by the water, it was time to head to our first B & B for the night.
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We woke up to rain on day three but decided to head to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, anyway. Our first stop was the Annapolis Cider Company, where we sampled three types of delicious apple cider and got to see how they make it—there were huge drums of it down in the basement area. Next, we drove to Just Us!, a coffee and chocolate establishment focusing on fair trade. Our final stop on this rain-soaked day was Tangled Garden, a little cottage shop nestled among vines, trees and paths. We walked those paths with umbrellas in hand and peace in our hearts—the exact feeling the labyrinths were intended to invoke.
Finally in Windsor on day four, our first stop was lunch at Bent Ridge Winery, where rows upon rows of vines were weighed down with enormous grapes. When we closed our eyes, it felt as though we were in Italy. We sampled the house wines along with a cheeseboard featuring brie with wine-infused jellies.
Then it was off to Mahone Bay to drop off our luggage at the B & B before heading to nearby Lunenburg. The tall houses are painted in every colour of the rainbow. The streets are steep, so wearing good, sturdy footwear is a must. The shops were crowded on these streets but worth the wait for souvenirs and amazing ice cream. The Bluenose II was not docked that day, but so many other ships were—we watched as crew members cleaned their boat decks. We also stopped at the Fishermen’s Memorial to read the names of those lost at sea.
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On day five, we spent the morning shopping in Mahone Bay in the many charming shops that dot the main street. In the Amos Pewter studio, artists can be found making their wares for later sale and answering any questions you might have. Day five was also when I would finally try lobster for my dad. In fact, a lot of seafood was consumed on this day! The restaurant, Oh My Cod!, in Mahone Bay has very friendly staff and amazing food.
We then headed off to Peggy’s Cove, where the scenery was very different. The power of the sea was fierce and the salty air filled our nostrils. There was construction under way, but a safe walkway still allowed access to the famous Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. I was true to my word and tried the lobster, but I’m a bona fide Manitoba girl and, after three bites, had to give the rest to Anita. But I tried it, Dad!
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Arriving in PEI
It rained again for our drive to Prince Edward Island on our sixth day of this trip. We dipped into New Brunswick to cross Confederation Bridge and arrived in Canada’s smallest and most beautiful province. Rolling roads pass rich fields of potatoes and other crops; the rich soil is so red that I had to take a bit of it home with me. Our first stop was Avonlea Village, which features replicas of houses and shops from the time of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Our last stop on this day was Cavendish Beach, just a few miles away from the village. The water was warm and the sand, red. We looked for brilliant white clamshells, of which there were many, and thanked Dad for such a wonderful day.
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Green Gables Heritage Place called to us on day seven. The large building houses an exhibit of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life and how it mirrored her most famous character, Anne. Then you are able to walk out into the world Lucy knew and shared with us in Anne of Green Gables: rolling meadows, babbling brooks and even the famous Haunted Wood. For lunch we drove to North Rustico Harbour, a small fishing village that is home to Maritime music and the Blue Mussel Café. Again, wonderful food and staff greeted us.
Glasgow Glen Farm was on our way home so we just had to stop. Thousands of wheels of delicious Gouda—including the famed original recipe from the “Cheese Lady”—lay in the back cooler. There were so many varieties with amazingly rich flavours, they made a nice snack for a relaxing evening.
On day eight we left Prince Edward Island, but not before doing some more shopping in Summerside and Borden-Carleton.
Back in Fredericton, we spent our final day of this memorable trip taking a walking tour of the historic city. We strolled the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge over the Saint John River and later stopped at some of the charming shops dotting the city streets. It was a much-needed walk in the sunshine—and a much-needed trip in general.
We had the most amazing adventure thanks to Dad, who until the very end thought about his girls and what could possibly heal our hearts.
Thank you, Dad, for everything!
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