Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Travels

I've travelled so many places that it was a little hard to pick a place for my first "travel" post. You may be expecting something strange and exotic but somehow I just kept coming back to our recent trip to a beautiful place practically in our own backyard.  Fundy National Park. For those of you who live in New Brunswick, head out and explore the wildnerness this summer; there's no excuse. 

Look out view

A couple of weeks ago my in-laws visited from the UK.  We packed up the dog (and left my parents in charge of the cat.  She was completely spoiled), four adults, a cooler of food and a crazy amount of luggage (my in-laws were heading back to the UK immediately after this trip) and headed off in the pouring rain.  The chalet in Alma was booked so we were going to the park no matter what.  I was more than slightly concerned it was going to be a mess! When we pulled into the park (we entered from the Sussex side what with having driven from Saint John) it was still blowing and wet. Bennet Lake was a good pit stop for using the facilities but it still didn't look promising.  However, by the time we pulled over at the look out the rain had stopped and we had great views of the retreating fog.

Now most people do not head to the wilderness to go shopping but I have to say that the gift shop at the visitor's centre was a wonderful little place.  We found adorable t-shirts and Canada socks for the nephews and the best postcards we'd seen during their visit.  If you're looking for Canada or New Brunswick items for visiting guests or to take to friends and family who "live away" that is a good spot.  I mean if you're going to the park anyway.  I'm not actually endorsing driving the park to shop... except I kind of am.

Dickson Falls Hike

By the time we'd finished shopping the fog had largely cleared and it was shaping up to be a comfortable, if cloudy day.  We stopped and hiked Dickson Falls before lunch.  It was beautifully lush green after all the wet weather.  A special treat was watching a bat fly up and down the stream hunting bugs.  It was cool to watch one fly in the daytime though it wouldn't hold still long enough for any sort of photo opportunity at all!  My father-in-law and I tried hard.  We had a lot of fuzzy photos of trees and water to prove it!

We stopped and had lunch near the start of the Point Wolfe trail and had a lovely view of the covered bridge.  The park is full of conveniently placed picnic tables and nifty raccoon proof garbage cans.
Picnic Site

Following lunch we walked out to sea at Point Wolfe.  The extreme tides of the Bay of Fundy never cease to amaze me.  I was particularly taken with the large tree trunks deposited here and there.  My mother-in-law collected "seaweed flowers", beautiful dried seaweed.  The dog just enjoyed sniffing everything in site.  Everyone was very pleased.

Looking down at Point Wolfe

Sea level at Point Wolfe

Vista Ridge Cottages
 We spent two nights in the town of Alma, which is basically at the entrance to Fundy Park.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Alma had a well stocked General Store and a variety of food options.  We'd brought quite a bit with us both to keep down costs and because I wasn't sure what we'd have close at hand.  We needed pet-friendly accomodation and had booked at Vista Ridge Cottages as they were Sadie-welcoming.  The cottages are on the hill over looking the harbour and the town of Alma.


View from loft
Booking online for a new place and taking your in-laws along for the experience can be a little nerve wracking but I was very pleased with our little cottage.  The layout utlised the small space very well and we had a beautiful view from the deck, eating area and the loft where husband and I slept.  The coattages are open all year round so they're winterised with a gas fire place for chilly evenings. The kitchen was narrow but offered a full sized fridge-freezer and full stove-oven as well as kettle and coffee maker.  Our one complaint was the tiny mugs but we fixed that by heading into town and purchasing gorgeous, big lobster mugs. To give everyone some privacy the in-laws took the down stairs bedroom and we took one of the rooms in the loft.  The loft rooms are divided by a wall but no doors so if you were sharing with more people you'd want to know them fairly well! Sadie had a very cozy spot under the stairs and loved the whole place.

Sitting area. Digital TV available.

Bedroom in loft

Indoor eating (and laptop) area

My in-laws are bird watchers so over the course of the week I became increasingly interested in the feathered wildlife of New Brunswick.  I don't think they're ever going to convince me that identifying types of ducks is interesting but it was amazing traveling with high powered binoculars and my father in laws fabulous camera lense.  Often you look up and think "that's a big bird" but identifying it as a turkey vulture or golden eagle or peregrine falcon (which are actually kind of small so I wouldn't have noticed it) is pretty cool.  At some point I'll have to share some of my father-in-law's wildlife photos. Our deck offered great bird watching opportunities. Sadie didn't necessarily get the bird watching but she loved the cuddles.

I love how cute Husband and Dog are together!

Alma is a little place but my in-laws were thrilled to find that it had made its way into the Rough Guide to Canada for its world famous sticky buns found at Kelly's Bake Shop. My father-in-law did not hesitate to splurge and get plenty for us all. They were worth every calorie (many of which I'd already walked off that day).

How about you? Got a Fundy memory? A suggestion for good places to stay in the area? Questions, comments, concerns? Love to hear from you; that's what the comment box below is for! 

No comments: