A short visit to Hopewell Rocks, Cape Enrage and Sackville, New Brunswick

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July 4th 2011
Published: August 27th 2012
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July 4

In the morning our French speaking hostess at Gite Les Leblanc was a bit at a loss with my special diet so she gave me access to her kitchen and watched in amazement as I sauteed vegetables and eggs for breakfast. Since it smelled so good and other guests were envious perhaps she will decide vegetables might be acceptable for a breakfast meal. I will say I was wishing I could taste the homemade peach-rhubarb, pineapple-zucchini, and strawberry jams on her whole grain bread.

There had been a gentle rain throughout the night but the drive to New Brunswick was only overcast. Campbellton is the first town you enter on this road from Quebec and to Dave's relief, they speak English or at least are bilingual. We stopped at the information center and decided to abort our plan to drive to PEI since Prince William and Catherine were visiting PEI and traffic would be horrendous from onlookers. Instead we changed plans to tour to Hopewell Rocks before instead of after Halifax.

Campbellton is a larger city on the St Lawrence and was the site of the first information booth for New Brunswick. We were eager to leave Campbellton where the air had an unpleasant industrial smell so we quickly loaded up on maps and what turned out to be not very useful travel information for New Brunswick. We were told that route 11 was the “scenic” route along the shore but it was mostly commercial and very little shore. It was only after wasting two hours of driving time that we realized this and could not rectify our mistake. Eventually the coast became more interesting and less commercial after we reached Richibucto but it was in Bouctouche that we really hit pay dirt! This coastal town is very much like Cape Cod was in the 50s with long dunes protected with boardwalks, people clamming in the bay and miles and miles of beautiful farmland abutting the shoreline. We found the little Gite Au Bord d' la Baie right on the water and the first thing Charlie, the owner, did was to offer us some fresh raw quahog clams he had dug a few hours before just a few feet from the house. Charlie brought out maps and made many suggestions before we took off for dinner down the road at Auberge vue d'la Dune. This lovely old inn overlooks theNorthumberland Strait, the dunes and PEI. The owner and chef made me a special bouillabaisse that was outstanding and that I gratefully devoured. After dinner we drove down to the dunes and walked a little on the boardwalk but since it was overcast and a little buggy (and we lost an hour due to the time change) we decided to turn in early for our drive to Hopewell tomorrow.

July 5

In the morning Charlie, over endless conversations and opinions, prepared an omelet of venison (he shot the deer in Saskatchewan) and onion for breakfast (that I later got sick on). He did tell us that he was upset about the nearby farms lying fallow or disappearing altogether due to cost increases, competition and being bought out by wealthy vacationers. He is right about this, for the charm and character of this area will surely change and likely not for the better. He also said that most of the churches are falling into disrepair for lack of membership and use. Hmmm, heathens in New Brunswick?

A nice young Ecuadorian couple from Montreal shared breakfast with us and they were far more interesting than our opinionated host. As we ate overlooking the dunes they told us a little about their Inca ancestry and what life was like in Ecuador and Peru. Charlie tried to tempt us to stay another night by offering to sail us to PEI on his sailboat but the thought of his non-stop chatter on what should be a relaxing boat ride sent me packing. Literally.

Before leaving Bouctouche we took a brief tour of the Irving Botanical Gardens, apparently a well kept local secret because there was no sign on the road except for number 44 (we had inside knowledge). This free garden has acres upon acres of trees and “English Gardens” overlooking a small pond. A nice asset for a very small town.

It was overcast when we drove to Hopewell Rocksand the gigantic “Flower Pot Rocks” where you can walk on the ocean floor and a few hours later you can kayak around these same giant rocks. One hundred billion tons of water pours in and out of this narrow river two times a day. It is enough to raise the water level vertically at a rate of nearly six feet of water per hour. The Bay of Fundyhas some of the highest tides in the world reaching up to 46' at Hopewell Cape and 56' in the upper bay. I was grateful that the sun came out just as we reached the Flower Pot Rocks. We walked the ocean floor looking up at the cliffs where I saw Peregrine Falcons flying into the crags. Before we left we watched the tides roll in to cover the sand we had walked on. When we climbed higher for a better look at the tidal change we got a better look at a whole family of Peregrine Falconsperched high up on the crevasse of the cliff overlooking the bay. An awesome sight to see the female bring in fish for the brood!

We didn't have as much luck on the next leg of the trip. We drove about ¾ of an hour out to the lighthouse on Cape Enrageto see what Frommer's called the “best view in Canada”. It may well have been but we were so socked in with fog that you could not see more than ten feet in front of you. We could hear the warning horn at the lighthouse but it was so foggy you couldn't even see the light. Cape Enrage is well named. I did have some sweet revenge on Cape Enrage for when I stopped to get some moody fog photos I found a patch of sweet wild strawberries that softened our disappointment.

After wasting about 2 hours and a lot of gas we made it back to Moncton and down to the town of Sackville, and the Harbor Master's House B&Brecommended by our friend Martha. The house dates back to the mid 1800s and is a combination of three houses pulled together. Our room was charming with lovely antique furniture and conveniently near the Sackville Waterfowl Parkwhere we walked the boardwalks in the early evening light. The air was thick with the sweet scent of Queen Anne's Lace and the water was bordered by many lovely stands of white birch. A nice way to relax after a long day.


27th August 2012

That's wonderful that you went back to complete your blogs for your trip to the Canadian Maritimes in 2011...
I hope that you go back even further in between your new trips. I'm sure you have many to tell about...the pictures and passport stamps will help your recall.

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