Things to see and do in Saint John

Tristan’s Trip Report – Week 2

road trip new brunswick
Mt. Carlton, New Brunswick to Charlottetown, PEI

July 4th, 2016 (Day 8)

From: Miramichi, N.B.
To: Fredericton, N.B.
Activities: Driving, B-Roll Filming
Stayed: Delta Hotel

Today’s breakfast… continentally yours. Packed up Jane (the Civic), and as the Aussie’s lovingly say, “hit-the-frog-and-toad”.

We took Hwy 108 out of town in order to broaden our horizons in terms of view during the drive. New Brunswick, you will notice, has a lot of trees. A lot of rivers as well, but you’re mostly going to see trees. The 108 at least kept us next to the Miramichi river, before we were forced to merge with Hwy 8, and alas tree-fueled tunnel-vision.

The moment we entered New Brunswick, I noticed signs in every corner of the province advertising “Chase the Ace”. Even in little towns, it seems that “Chase the Ace” is the thing that is happening. What is it? I don’t know. Going to investigate.

Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge in Fredericton.
The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge in Fredericton.

Well, we made it into Fredericton and checked into the Delta. Really nice room. Very modern bathroom, and hey, access to the club lounge. Don’t I feel like big shot?.

Speaking of big shots, Arienne was requested to be the civilian who inspects the changing of the guard.  At the end of the ceremony, spectators were invited to come up and take photos. While telling me how she would like the shot to be set up, I turned to the soldier beside me and joked, “man, you see this? And you think your drill sergeant is tough!” The soldier calmly replied to me, “I am the drill sergeant.”

Arienne inspecting the changing of the guard.

Before supper we checked out the Fredericton walking bridge, which runs about 600m across the width of the Saint John River. It was one of the first evenings we were blessed with little cloud cover.

We then headed off to eat at the King Street Ale House where there was a sign for, you guessed it, “Chase the Ace”. “What’s Chase the Ace?” I asked our waitress. “I don’t know”, she replied.

The chase continues.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,139km

July 5th, 2016 (Day 9)

From: Fredericton, N.B.
To: Fredericton, N.B.
Activities: Filming, Chasing the Ace
Stayed: Delta Hotel

Today was a big-shoot day. Arienne is working on a new series and the very talented Mike Corey from Kick the Grind came out to be part of the Fredericton episode. If you haven’t seen any of his videos, he is an incredible videographer and editor, and he sure knows how to have a lot of fun on and off camera. Unfortunately, Mike doesn’t know what Chase the Ace is.

Mike Corey
Mike, Tristan and Arienne

I won’t bore you with describing all the places we filmed as you hopefully will get to experience all of it when Arienne releases her Fredericton video. The one thing I will say is that it is incredibly difficult to fly and film with the drone when little children continually ask question after question. Trust me, as a teacher, I celebrate an inquisitive young mind. Just not when I’m controlling a flying lawn-mower.

All over town, I chased the ace… well, the meaning of Chase the Ace. It took me until just before midnight to finally figure it out. I got to meet Mike Corey’s lovely mother who taught me that Chase the Ace is a clever fund raising game of chance that has taken the Maritimes by storm after it raised a boat-load of cash for a small community. After searching for a couple of days for the meaning of Chase the Ace, once I finally found it, I felt a little disappointed. I suppose the old idea of the hunt being more thrilling than the catch holds true. Arienne wouldn’t know about that 😉

I’m exhausted from filming all day. Sorry the report isn’t that thrilling.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,174km

July 6th, 2016 (Day 10)

From: Fredericton, N.B.
To: Saint John, N.B.
Activities: Driving
Stayed: Homeport Historic B&B

Woke up early to raid the club lounge continental breakfast. Made off like bandits and returned our haul to the mini fridge in our room. Then back to bed. It’s hard being classy on the club floor.

We packed up Jane, and after running into a few old friends at Chess Piece Café we headed out to Saint John.

A few notes about Fredericton. It really is a beautiful little city. I’d say that it has all the charms of country living, with the conveniences of urban life. The downtown area isn’t booming, but it offers good eats and drinks, historic architecture, and really nice greenery that makes you want to get out for a walk, run, bike ride, or excursion on the river. The city is incredibly welcoming to tourists (ex: 3 days of free parking for out-of-province visitors), and the locals will have you chuckling at their humourous North-side/South-side rivalry.

Anyways, off we went to Saint John. If Fredericton is a green town, Saint John is a brick town. We could see smoke billowing from a stack kilometers out from the city, and as we got into the city we could see that it is much more commercial and industrial than Fredericton.

Checked into the excellent Homeport Historic B&B (built in 1858) and immediately headed out to the Reversing Falls which was only a 5 minute drive up the street. We arrived just as the tour buses were pulling out, so we enjoyed a good 20 minute filming/photoshoot session, having the platform to ourselves.

The Reversing Falls of Saint John, New Brunswick.

Had dinner at the Big Tide Brewing Co. Ate an awesome peanut butter, bacon cheeseburger. Definitely worth trying.

Headed back to the B&B for some writing and editing.

No funny business to report. Whoa… meaning I have no jokes for today. I’m not referring to… oh never mind.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,296km

July 7th, 2016 (Day 11)

From: Saint John, N.B.
To: Saint John, N.B.
Activities: Exploring Saint John
Stayed: Homeport Historic B&B

Breakfast, post-up on the website, e-mails… let’s hit the town.

The plan for today was to meander around Saint John’s uptown (there is no downtown) and capture on video the vibe of a city experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. Known in the past as an industrial town that may or may not have had a “smell”, Saint John has transformed itself into a historically hip port town that has great food, great beer, and picturesque brick buildings that make you want to explore. It’s now a port-of-calling for cruise ships that have caught on to the #SaintAwesome that is going on in town. This… this is what we wanted to capture and share in the glory of video.

Things to see and do in Saint John
Uptown Saint John before the rain came.

We started filming, it started raining. We ducked into the Picaroon’s General Store to re-group over a #SaintDelicious craft brew. Okay… got it. We will redo the shoot with the angle of having fun exploring the city in the rain. Hey, it rains when people travel, and we’ll show how to still make a day of it through our video. We got the shoot going again just in time for it to became a #shitshow downpour. Then the memory card in our camera went on the fritz. Game over man… #gamefreakingover!

Where to Eat in Saint John
We highly recommend the buttermilk fried chicken!

Had a nice meal at Saint John Alehouse and tried to keep our spirits up. It’s been 11 days on this road trip, 9 of which have had rain. We really are good people. I swear.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,303km

July 8th, 2017 (Day 12)

From: Saint John, N.B.
To: Saint Martin and Gardner Creek, N.B.
Activities: Driving
Stayed: Moore’s Specialties B&B

Woke up to a #SaintDelicious breakfast cooked by the stellar Ralph, co-owner of the Homeport Historic B&B. After breakfast, we sat and shot the breeze with Ralph, eagerly taking in the humorous anecdotes from a mover and shaker in the Saint John scene. The B&B has a great view overlooking the harbour and uptown core, and has interior décor that could keep me writing ‘til the ships came home. Better you see it than I write it.

So it was another gloomy day (Johnny Cash sings: “and I ain’t seen the sunshine since, I don’t know when”). Arienne and I brooded over an oddly brewed Java Moose coffee. This city is #SaintAwesome, our B&B too. But this weather is killing our mojo and this coffee is downright weird. Arienne and I looked at each other and simply knew… it was time to #getthehelloutofdodge.

St Martin New Brunswick Boats on Ocean Floor Low Tide
Boats sitting on the ocean floor during low tide in St. Martins.

Off we drove to Saint Martins to see the entrance to the Bay of Fundy, then back about 30km to our new B&B, Moore’s Specialties (in Gardner Creek). We booked based on the online comments saying that the proprietor, May Moore, is #SaintAwesome. I’d say #SaintAmazing. She runs an icecream parlour, candy shop, art boutique, antique shop, and a beautiful B&B with a million dollar view of the Bay of Fundy. We asked May about a grocery story. She told us we would have to drive back to Saint John. #getthehellbacktododge.

You know the lack of sunshine is getting to me when I drop 10 hashtags into two days of reports. My brain is turning to bird feed. I don’t even have twitter.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,439km

July 9th, 2016 (Day 13)

From: Gardner Creek, N.B
To: Gardner Creek, N.B
Activities: Explore the Fundy Trail
Stayed: Moore’s Specialties, B&B

Had an absolutely delicious breakfast thanks to our host, May Moore. Gotta eat less with my eyes. Gotta do some push-ups and sit-ups.

Yes, it was a cloudy grey day today. No hashtags, I’m in recovery.

We drove back to Saint Martins and beyond to explore the Fundy Trail. The trail has been a work in progress since the early 2000’s, and is definitely worth checking out. It can be driven, hiked, biked, but not swam. Don’t swim it. Boasting epic views of  the world’s highest/lowest tidal shifts crashing on rock beaches stretched between immense red rock cliffs… yeah, you gotta see it.

Fundy Trail Coastline
Even on a cloudy day, the coastline of the Bay of Fundy is impressive!

Even though it was gloomy, we still got some wicked shots of the coast line and some tantalizing drone footage that will wind up in at least one, if not more videos.

When we got back, May (have I mentioned that she is wonderful?) somehow knew that we were starting to get concerned about our laundry situation and offered to let us use her machines. I texted my family back home praising this woman who could seemingly read our minds. My brother texted back wondering if we smelled.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,549km

July 10th, 2016 (Day 14)

From: Gardner Creek, N.B
To: Fundy National Park, N.B
Activities: Driving, Hiking
Stayed: Fundy National Park, oTENTik

Alright. Today was the end of our second week of our Atlantic Canada road trip. 14 days so far, 12 days of either rain or grey overcast skies. Anytime now Mr. Sun… anytime now.

Drove out of Gardner Creek and headed off to Fundy National Park. We’re staying in an oTENTik for the next 3 nights. If you don’t know what an oTENTik is, it is the perfect middle ground between camping and staying in a cottage. The oTENTik essentially is a permanent tent that has windows, a small wood or gas stove, and bunk beds that can sleep six. It definitely beats setting up and sleeping in a tent. Especially when it’s raining. I’m looking squarely at you Mount Carleton!

Where to stay in Bay of Fundy
Definitely the Cadillac of tents.

We did a small hike to check out the Dickson Falls. We were really impressed with the signage and maintenance done on the hiking trails here in the park. Really top notch stuff.

Got back in time to cook a nice salmon steak dinner and then got in the oTENTik in advance of the rain.

Once again, no jokes in today’s report. As I’ve made clear in my previous reports, the lack of sunlight does strange things to my disposition, and I got nothing.

Total Kilometre Count: 2,698km

Coming up for week 3 – Adventure activities, Hopewell Rocks, Moncton, and off to Prince Edward Island!

Missed last week’s trip report? Check it out here:

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