Tag Archives: St. Martins

My Favourite Place in the World…The Bay of Fundy

Since my posts this week have been in the “tourism” vein, I thought that rerunning this post from last April would be a fitting way to end the week…feel free to vote…we need all the help we can get:

For the last 26 years, I have lived within half an hour of my favourite place in the world: the amazing Bay of Fundy!  On the CBC news this morning, I learned that the Bay has made the finals of an international contest to designate the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.  It’s the only Canadian nominee in a prestigious list of 28 tourist attractions which includes the Dead Sea, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon rainforest.  I’ll put “my Bay” up against those places any time…

Located on the east coast of Canada, the Bay of Fundy stretches some 170 miles between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (http://www.bayoffundytourism.com/).  It has the highest tides in the world: 50 feet (time between low and high tide is 6 hours and 13 minutes).  There’s even a blog about the Bay of Fundy: http://bayoffundy.blogspot.com .

My first experience with the Bay was when I lived in Moncton – we had relatives visiting from Ontario, and we took them to Hopewell Rocks to show them the huge flowerpot rocks carved by the powerful tides of the Bay.  I remember going down the many steps to the beach (and then huffing and puffing all the way back up!).

Hopewell Rocks at Low Tide...

After moving to Saint John in 1997, the Bay was literally five minutes away…this is where I discovered my beloved Bayshore Beach – the place I have already instructed my loved ones to scatter my ashes when I’m gone.  Bayshore was a “happinin’ place” in the early part of the 20th century, but fell out of favour when West Side residents started travelling more in cars.  The water at Bayshore is bone-chillingly cold a lot of the time…you wade in, and by the time you get to shin-depth, you’ve lost all feeling in your ankles – the kids still swim there though!  The beach is sandy, but also covered with interesting stones and seaweed, as well as driftwood.  The kids love looking for “beach glass,” small pieces of glass that have been worn smooth by the action of the sometimes violent waves of the Bay.  There are a few shells on Bayshore, mostly clamshells, and the occasional hermit crab.  A few years ago, I remember sitting on the beach for at least an hour, watching a small bright green beetle crawl around on my arm (people think I’m strange, but I happen to like insects that don’t bite me!).  Fog can roll in from the water at any time – the West Side is known for its natural air conditioning!

Bayshore Beach...

A few miles from Bayshore, the Irving Nature Park offers a picturesque mix of nature trails, beach, marsh area, and cliffs.  Each trail (varying lengths) is named for an animal found in the area: Squirrel, Seal, Deer, Heron, Frog, and Chickadee.  All trails are groomed with cedar chips.  We have spent many happy hours at the Nature Park…I remember seeing the biggest porcupine I’d ever seen there…he came lumbering out of the tall grass as we walked by, and then waddled off on his way.  Periwinkle shells, as well as pretty stones can be found on the beach at the Nature Park.  We also like to visit the park in the winter and toboggan down the big hill.  More athletic types bring their cross-country skis and use them on the trails.

Irving Nature Park Coastline...

If we want a change of pace, we hop in the van and travel 45 minutes to St. Martins.  There are caves there that we enjoy exploring at low tide.  Fishing boats equipped with lobster traps bob in the water nearby.  There are some beautiful nature trails on the Fundy Trail as well – in August, we take buckets along to harvest wild blackberries.  I’ll never forget my oldest daughter’s stricken expression when she found out after walking for an hour that the trails there weren’t circular like at the Nature Park – “You mean we still have to walk back to the van?!”  One of the most challenging trails is the Hearst Lodge Trail – I would recommend it only to people who enjoy fear!  After starting out on what we thought was a nice little walk, we arrived exhausted, muddy and traumatized at the Hearst Lodge some 2 hours later – not for the faint of heart!  I wondered why we saw people walking with ski poles on the way up, and I soon found out (note to self: flip the map over next time to see the level of difficulty before starting on the trail)!

St. Martins Caves at High Tide...

Another pleasant drive is in the other direction to St. Andrews (about an hour).  This charming little town was originally settled by the Loyalists – many of the original 18th century structures survive.  St. Andrews is known for the century-old Fairmont Algonquin Resort, the Kingsbrae Garden, the Huntsman-Aquarium Museum, and the Sunbury Shores Arts and Nature Centre.  Its main street is lined with boutiques and cafés…I enjoyed a lovely cup of blueberry tea there once.  We have also visited railway magnate William Van Horne’s 50-room mansion on Ministers Island – the island is accessible only at low tide.   

It would be awesome if the Bay of Fundy became of the official Seven Natural Wonders of the World…please place your vote here: http://www.new7wonders.com/en/index/.  Winners will be announced next  year.


Filed under memories, tourism, travel

It’s My Birthday, and I’ll Pie If I Want To…

Today is my 49th birthday…yes, I know…it’s very hard to believe!  I am fortunate and grateful for good genes and good health!

We woke up early this morning, as we had planned to go to St. Martins for the Town-Wide Community Yard Sale they were having as part of Old Home Week…I love yard sales (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/03/30/yard-sales-the-thrill-of-victory-and-the-agony-of-the-feet/).  We had planned to leave the house at 8 a.m.  We did well to get out the door by 8:20…after stops at the Credit Union and the gas station, we were on our way.

Passing through Fairfield, we saw our first “Garage Sale” sign.  It was in front of a shabby country house with even shabbier outbuildings.  Anna decided to stay in the van – she said it looked “too sketchy” for her to get out.  The rest of us (minus Devin, who hates shopping) headed up the driveway towards a large garage.  It was a complete surprise: inside, an older man in overalls greeted us warmly and made small talk about the weather.  Everything was laid out neatly on tables, or displayed on pegboards along the walls. I found a pretty Ironstone cream and sugar set made by Ridgway in the Jacobean Brown pattern.  I paid $3.

This is the matching cup and saucer for my cream and sugar...

Jim found another bird feeder (just what he needs)…one with small holes for finches.  Hope bought some jewellery.  I found a book I might have purchased had it not been musty-smelling.  We headed back to the van.

Our first stop in St. Martins was the Village Market Building.  This was where the Book Fair was advertised to be.  Unfortunately, there were very few books, and a lot of yard sale stuff.  Jim took Hope in search of a washroom while I bought three books for $7.  Once Jim got back, we headed down the very busy Main St.  We decided the best course of action would be to get out and walk. 

After a couple of hours walking and shopping (along with an ice cream break and another pee break), we had accumulated some more treasures: two more books ($2), a Beanie baby bear, a ceiling fixture with a fan, a large clamp, a Five-Star binder, and a pair of soundproofing headphones.  We were tired and hot, and close to one of Jim’s and my favourite places in St. Martins: Fiori’s Restaurant (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/eating-around-new-brunswick/).

This is Hope's Beanie Baby bear for July...her birthday is the 31st...

We went in…Brianna added a tongue and eyebrows to the happy face drawn on the whiteboard beside the door…I quickly herded the family in and we sat down at a table.

The restaurant was busier than usual…one waitress was running her buns off!  She took our beverage orders: Brianna ordered “Chocolate From The Cow.” Then we studied the menu, some of us longer than others:  Hope took forever to decide what she wanted…after another bathroom break, she finally landed on the children’s breakfast with a pancake (Jim told her he’d pay extra to get sausage and bacon). 

Jim had the Mexican Fiesta Platter (which is what he usually orders).  Brianna ordered the Chicken Caesar Salad in a tortilla bowl.  Anna settled for the BLT Wrap, and I had the Veggie Panini.

Everybody’s food was excellent: the Ciabatta bread in my Panini was amazing!  The filling was tomatoes, cucumber and baby spinach.  A side salad with lettuce, cucumber, dried blueberries, and raspberry vinaigrette completed the plate.  I ate every bite (including Anna’s dried blueberries!).

The waitress was still having difficulty keeping up, so one of the owners, Mike Fiori, came out of the kitchen to clear our table.  He told us a story about an artist who lived across the street.  When the waitress came over, I asked what the desserts were today:  She advised that there were three kinds of cheesecake, Death by Chocolate cake, a brownie with brownie frozen yogurt and caramel syrup, or pecan pie (all desserts are homemade by Barb Fiori).  I informed her that since it was my birthday, I would have the pecan pie.  The staff brought out my piece of pie with a birthday candle stuck in the top, and they were singing, “Happy Birthday!”  I wasn’t a bit embarrassed!  Mike said I must be “29”!  I agreed that I was “29 again.”  That pie was absolutely heavenly (of course, I’ve rarely met a pie I didn’t like, except cream pies!).  Jim, Anna and Hope had the blueberry cheesecake, and Brianna polished off every bite of her “Death by Chocolate” cake.

Heavenly Pecan Pie...

The best part of the meal (besides the fact that I didn’t have to pay for it) was that five of us ate for $76 and change…great healthy food including dessert and taxes!

We were all stuffed as we walked back to the van…

When we got home, I headed for my computer…wow…lots of my friends had sent me birthday messages!  I thanked them all, and then caught up with some of my friends’ blogs (check out the links on the right – not a bad writer among them!).  The kids gave me their presents (Dad gave me some money earlier in the week to get my hair done): Hope gave me a gift card for Shoppers Drug Mart, Devin gave me small earphones for the computer at the store (so I can listen to music, but still hear the customers come in), and Anna and Brianna gave me big headphones for my computer at home (so I can drown out the sound of the TV or the kids’ music while I listen to mine!).  Jim and I are going tomorrow to pick out my big gift from him: a new bike!  Kaylee, Scott and Elise are coming over for supper tomorrow night too.  I finally bought a playpen for when Elise comes over…she finds every bit of lint on my living room rug when she’s here, and tries to eat it!

Kaylee, Elise and Scott in June of this year...

After the presents, Jim, Anna and Brianna took off for Hampton – Jim had arranged to photograph a friend’s wedding, and took the girls along as helpers.  Devin helped me hook up my new headphones, and then I looked up my St. Martins book purchases: not bad – spent $9, and got about $105 U.S. worth of books.  I was pleased…

I paid $3 for this book...it will be listed online for $20 U.S.

Hope was happy too…her friend who just moved to Miramichi was in town visiting her dad, and invited her over to go swimming…Hope had been feeling left out about not getting to go to the wedding, but she was okay now!  Off she went with her friend.

Dad and I watched one of the Ron James DVDs that I got him for his birthday…I love that guy…he’s hilarious!  It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it – it’s still funny!

This is the DVD we watched tonight...there are three more...

So…it’s been a good day (and the only work I’ve done is make supper)…I’m still looking forward to the birthday party at Jim’s mom’s on Wednesday (that’s his 48th birthday – she’s having a party for both of us).  I’ll post pictures of that too!

Thanks to everyone who made this last birthday of my forties a happy one!


Filed under books, family, food, friends, memories, self-discovery, shopping, tourism

Eating Around New Brunswick…

Anybody who has ever read this blog knows that I love to eat, so I thought I would share some of the special places we’ve found to eat in New Brunswick.

When driving up to Moncton for the Book Sale last night, we stopped for supper at a little place in Sussex we’d never tried before: The Broadway Café at 73 Queen Street (http://www.broadwaycafe.ca/). 

The café only has a few tables, but the atmosphere is cosy and inviting – the booths are made of light-coloured wood with rounded corners.  Since we arrived at 4:30, it was too early for the supper menu, so we ordered from the lunch selections.  We both opted for sandwiches – Jim got the smoked meat, and I had smoked chicken.  The sandwiches were served on beautiful homemade multigrain bread with cucumber and tomatoes (Jim’s had dill pickles slices on top too).  Instead of fries, there was a lovely side salad made with a variety of greens, and slivered carrots.  The dressing was pleasantly garlicky and tasted homemade as well.  If we’d had more time, we probably would have had dessert, but we were on a schedule.  We had water to drink (although the café is licensed)…with tax and tip included, two of us had a nice meal for $20!  We agreed that the Broadway will be added to our list of favourite restaurants!

Our favourite place in St. Martins is Fiori’s, the restaurant at Salmon River Bed and Breakfast (http://www.salmonriverbandb.com/) …it is on the main drag and only open March to November.  The dining area is small, but cosy.  The walls are covered with local art, and there are shelves around the room with lots of books (St. Martins is a “Booktown”).  The owners are Mike and Barb Fiori, transplants from Colorado.  Mike, a retired police officer, does the cooking, while Barb serves the meals.  Barb makes wicked desserts, which she delights in telling customers are calorie-free because they’re homemade!  The carrot cake is to die for, chock-full of walnuts and raisins – we split a piece because the serving is so large!  My usual choice for the main course is the Grilled Chicken Breast Platter…I choose fries instead of chips as a side.  There is also a small salad with raspberry vinaigrette.  Last time we went, Jim had the Fiesta Platter, a Mexican-inspired combo of a taco, a burrito and a tostada.  He enjoys spicy stuff more than I do!  Fiori’s is also licensed if you’d like to have a glass of wine or a beer.  With drinks and dessert, a meal for two comes in at around $35.

My favourite lunch place in Saint John is currently the Urban Deli at 68 King St. (http://urbandeli.ca/).  I love a good spinach salad, and the Urban makes the best one I’ve had in a while!  It has grilled portabella mushrooms, feta cheese, tomato, smoked meat bits, and egg, all drizzled with an amazing maple vinaigrette!  It is well worth the $10 it costs.  The service is excellent at the Urban.  It is recommended that you get there slightly before noon if you want to get a table!  They also have great soups and sandwiches, some served on Montreal-style bagels.  The Urban has a good selection of wines and beers on tap.

Our favourite pizza place is Pomodori at 83 Hampton Road in Rothesay (http://www.pomodori.com/Pomodori/Home.html).  The restaurant cooks all its pizza in a wood-fired oven, and all ingredients are as local and organic as possible.  Two types of pizza are offered: Pomadoro (tomato) and Bianca (white) – prices range from $8 to $13 each depending on toppings.  We usually get one of each and share them.  For the red: the Con Carne with Italian sausage, bacon and pepperoni.  For the white: the Chicken Pesto with feta and homemade pesto.  These are traditional Italian thin crust pizzas – the dough does not overpower the taste of the toppings.  For dessert, there’s homemade gelato and/or biscotti, which you can chase with a shot of espresso if you like.  Pomodori is also licensed with many local offerings on the beer list – the fittings aren’t fancy – wine is served in juice glasses.  While you eat, there is a large screen on the wall with a slide slow running – sometimes local photos, sometimes info on local food.  A few months ago, Pomodori introduced a rewards program for regulars like us, Casa di Pomodori – you get a reward for every four pizzas you buy.  Jim and I will celebrate our 2nd Anniversary at Pomodori on Sunday night – I’m going to try their Spinach Salad – they put spiced pecans in theirs!  Yummy…can’t wait!


Filed under food, tourism, travel