Canterbury Trails: A New Brunswick Staycation
While many people head south on the March Break, we opted (???) for the New Brunswick Staycation with our little brother, Noel. Between three major Nor' Easters and six feet of snow, we managed to carve out a winter vacation fondly christened Canterbury Trails. Use your imagination and positive outlook as you follow us on our journey from Fredericton to the Orient, a trip steeped in geography, literature, history, nature, physical pursuits, international relations, local economy, career options and gastronomical delights. There's a lot to be learned by travel.
Noel on March Break
The first stop on any Canadian road trip is Tim Horton’s for breakfast!
We took a detour into Nackawic ostensibly to fill up on gas. In reality, I wanted Noel to see the birthplace of my famous friend, Colleen Landry, Miss Nackawic, 1981 and hear about her accomplished life. Colleen is a stand-up comedian, trophy wife, one hot-flashin' mama of two sons,online teacher, coffee connoisseur and wine aficionado. She is a celebrated author with several published books in her repertoire, including Take off to Tantramar which is currently nominated for a New Brunswick Book Award. She and her co-authors, Odette Barr and Beth Weatherbee, have already seen success with Follow the Goose Butt, Camelia Airheart.
And soon to be released is Colleen’s solo work, Miss Nackawic Meets Midlife which explores the trials of a former beauty queen coping with the reality of middle age.
Miss Nackawic, 1981
After paying homage to Miss Nackawic, we took a swing by The Whatcamacallit Diner and The World’s Largest Axe.
World's Largest Axe
over 55 Tons
Nackawic,a forestry town with a population of 941, was developed in the late 60s as a community for people displaced by the construction of the Mactaquac Dam on the Saint John River. Riel Nason, another accomplished Nackawickian author, tells the story of that displacement in her award-winning novel, The Town that Drowned. Nackawic is worth a visit!
The Town that Drowned
The next leg of our adventure took us to Canterbury. I have travelled a lot of backroads in New Brunswick, but I had never been to this charming village. Canterbury was once a thriving railroad and forestry town with over 1000 residents, three general stores, a department store, a hotel, a bank and a butcher.
Canterbury-Back in the Day
By 2011 the population of this village, The Gateway to the Lakes, had dwindled to 336 people.
Gateway to the Lakes
Our next stop was North Lake for an afternoon of ice-fishing with Off the Charts Outfitter, Mike DiCarlo. North Lake is one lake in the Chiputneticook Lakes chain along the Canada/US border between New Brunswick and Maine.
The lodge was beautiful with spacious living rooms, an industrial kitchen, 5 bathrooms, several bedrooms, a games room and a beautiful view.
Lodge at North Lake
We enjoyed a couple of games of pool before heading out on the lake for the big event of the day---ice-fishing. It was cold and windy. I was reminded of a segment from This Hour Has 22 Minutes called Why The Hell Do You Do It? featuring Raj Binder interviewing ice fishers on a frozen lake in Manitoba. He could not quite understand Canadians’ fondness for ice-fishing which combines the “fun of being cold with the thrill of waiting.”
Two hours and four fish later, we were ready to head back to the lodge for our picnic featuring Goldfish, Fluff and Oreos, gastronomic delights denied to my own children, I am told.
Tom on North Lake
Mike and Noel
at the Fishing Hole
North Lake is a 15 minute drive from the US border at Fosterville. The original bridge which crossed the St.Croix River connecting NB to Orient, Maine, was said to be the shortest international bridge between Canada and the USA.
Original International Bridge
We "crossed the lines" taking Noel into the USA for the first time in his 12-year-old life. We saw 4 deer, a burned-down store and a road sign on our five minute trip to Orient, Maine.
Noel in the USA
Once back in Canada, we headed home for an evening of cookie-baking, Crazy Eights, Go Fish, Janitor and warm memories of Canterbury Trails.
In my role as "Big Sister", I strive to offer Noel diverse experiences which are still physically possible for an old lady like me. Believe me, there are limits. But every experience, no matter how ordinary, has the potential to broaden one's horizons. Next year, who knows??? Sussex? Juniper? St. Andrews?
...Until Next Time...