Since moving to New Brunswick, Steve and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to explore our new home. Normally, I’d be itching to see as much as possible but these last couple of months have kept us waaay busy! Having never lived outside of Ontario (save for my time overseas), the amount of items on my to-do list was alarmingly long. I still have yet to find a doctor (apparently the wait can be over two years?!) or swap the car over, but I’m slowly getting there! It’s been a whirlwind experience so far, to say the least! The majority of our days have been spent working, organizing the house and embracing life as newly-minted New Brunswickers. This hasn’t left us much time to venture beyond Oromocto. And most of the time, truth be told, we’re just too bloody tired!
But last month, Steve and I broke from routine and spent a gloriously sunny Saturday in Saint John. There wasn’t a particular reason to head out this way, but I’m very glad we did. The drive took us less than an hour and was absolutely beautiful (and super relaxing, as is most highway driving in New Brunswick!), with the leaves just beginning to turn those vibrant colours of fall I love so much. [Side note: for all you fellow autumn lovers out there, New Brunswick puts on quite the show!] I ended up making a second trip with my dad and grandmother, when they came to visit a few weeks ago, and we found some wonderful places to stop on the way home too – Lepreau Falls (about 20 minutes outside of Saint John) and New River Beach are easy to get to and definitely worth the detour. New Brunswick has so many natural gems worth sharing, I’ve started compiling a list of my favourite spots for a future post! But for now, my thoughts on Saint John below 🙂
Saint John is one of those cities that seem to divide public opinion here. Some people find it charming, others think it’s a place you visit just once. I, myself, am in the “charming” camp! Maybe it was the gorgeous weather or the much-needed change of scenery, but Saint John had all the right things on offer: delicious food, interesting architecture and a super relaxed vibe that reminded me of Fredericton. Plus, hailing from Kingston, Ontario, I’m forever partial to the water! Steve and I strolled through the streets, popping into a couple of shops (TUCK Studio on Prince William Street has wonderful contemporary decor!) and basked in the beautiful sunshine, catching glimpses of the water every now and then. With few people downtown, we were free to wander at our leisure which is great for me because I love to stop at random and take lots of pictures! Steve knows this all too well!
But if there’s one recommendation I can make when you plan your visit, it’s to indulge in a delicious meal here. These people know good food! Park near Market Square and you’re within walking distance of a variety of wonderful options. Lucky for us, we chose to lunch at the Saint John Ale House. And OH MY WORD. We are both still talking about how excellent our food was! Steve will normally order some kind of chicken dish when we go out to eat. Me, I always order pasta (bonus if I can add seafood into the mix!) because I am a foodie creature of habit like that. So, naturally, I ordered their homemade pasta with scallops – it was one of the most decadent things I’ve ever had! Steve ordered their chicken tenders and, to start, we shared a cast iron dish of bacon-wrapped scallops (because you can never have enough! HA!). We sat outside on the patio under a huge umbrella and toasted our new home. New Brunswick has fast stolen a piece of my heart and I think we both feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to plant roots here 🙂
After lunch, we decided to make the trek along the Harbour Passage. This red-paved path hugs the water and is speckled with interactive art installations and information plaques. I highly recommend giving this walk a go – there’s a lot to learn about Saint John’s history and the path offers wonderful skyline views of the city from across the water. Plus, it’s a sure-fire way to digest that epic meal you just had! As someone who loves a good walk, this was a perfect way to see the city.
Originally, we set out with the intention of taking in the Reversing Rapids (Google this for an interesting read!). These rapids are synonymous with Saint John and I’d briefly read about them in the guidebook I have at home. But if the rapids are on your list, make sure you don’t do what we did and expect to see them whenever you fancy. You’ve got to get your hands on a tides table because this phenomenon only happens, at its peak, when the tide is high! We arrived at our destination and were met by a calm river with an enormous factory on the other side. Little did we know, there is actually a proper lookout further up the road with a glass floor you can pay to walk out onto! But even with this slight annoyance, we managed to make fun of ourselves (or, more accurately, Steve made fun of me and my “rapids”!) and slowly dragged our feet back up to the main road to begin the long walk back to our car. I think I still owe Steve for that one!
But as one of our first introductions to what lay beyond our backyard, I’m pretty excited to explore the rest of what this beautiful province has to offer. Our day trip to Saint John was the perfect reminder of how much opportunity there is to enjoy this home of ours. I’m hoping that I’ll get back to writing a little more frequently, now that we’re settled, because I feel like there’s so much to say about this new chapter in our lives. We didn’t move to New Brunswick by choice, but I’m very happy we did 🙂
Have you ever been to Saint John? What should I add to the list for next time?! Better yet, what is your favourite place in all of New Brunswick?! This Ontario gal wants to know!