An Ode to a New Brunswick Summer

Ah yes, the first day of fall. It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for Starbucks. The leaves on the trees are changing from green to orange, and our layers from crop tops to flannel. Patio drinks? Not today. It’s time to unleash our inner Marthas and prepare as many apple baked goods as our Pinterest boards will allow. And while they are baking, why don’t you turn on the TV. You’ll be scared shitless by the spooky movie commercials – but hey, at least they aren’t the sappy holiday ones that are just around the corner!

I love the fall. Mostly due to it’s proximity to winter (the BEST season – fight me), but I do love a good pumpkin patch moment. I’ve also become more interested in ghoulish things in my 28th year of life, so I’m starting to get the appeal of Halloween. More than anything else though, the first day of fall marks the end of something that is truly evil – summer.

Listen – I know that in a traditional ranking of seasons, summer ranks pretty high for most people. But with the combination of my insecurities and the fact that heat makes me a completely different (and significantly more angry) person… let’s just say I’d take a blizzard over it any day.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Summer isn’t all bad. And truth be told, I had a pretty great one this year. This summer marked the first that I’ve been back in my home province of New Brunswick since I was a kid. And let me just say, this province did not disappoint. Today, while looking forward to the fall, I’d like to take a look back on my five favourite experiences I had over the past few months. Please be advised that the following will include a significant amount of photos of my dog… Sorry, not sorry.

Saint John – Irving Nature Park

See – told you there would be dog pictures.

New Brunswick as a whole is filled to the brim with gorgeous walking trails, and I’m definitely not claiming to have even hit a quarter of them this summer. But what, I do know for sure, Irving Nature Park is where it’s at. I picked it as a place to take Georgia on a hike, but it is so much more than that.

Within the park, you’ll find beaches, marshes, forest and coastline. There are eight different walking trails, or you can drive around it by car. You can picnic on the beach, or go bird watching in the marsh. I think there is even a seal observation area. Georgia and I can only comment on the trails, however. They were not too busy, not the hardest hike we’ve done, and were very well maintained. I think we’ve got a couple trips left in us this year before it gets too cold – hope so anyway!

Village of Gagetown – Queens County Fair

Maybe it’s because I just spent the last decade in big cities trying to cover up the fact that I’m a small town girl at heart. Maybe it was because of the mini donut “banana” split that I had. Regardless, the Queens County Fair was probably one of the most adorable days I have ever had.

It was straight out of a movie – there were place ribbons for just about everything you could imagine. Pumpkins, cucumbers, every type of potato in existence. Also for livestock, crafts and a bunch of baked goods that were being displayed in a case in one of the buildings. Which is just rude if you ask me. You’ve got a room full of prize winning baking and you aren’t going to let anyone eat it?! Say it isn’t so!

But outside of that tragedy, the fair was awesome. There were rides, and games. Tons of food (that you were allowed to eat). Also cattle and horse events and a lumberjack show. It’s not as redneck as it sounds, promise.

Seriously – look at that mini donut split. I’ve never taken a photo of food in my life, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get this one framed for my house. It was that good. Anyway moving on…

Saint John – Music & The Boardwalk

The Market Square Boardwalk has easily become one of my favourite places on the planet… or at least one of my favourite places to take in the patio drinks I mentioned earlier. The boardwalk has several bars, with each patio area separated from the next only by fences. Across from these is a stage, where something is going on every night of the week.

What I took in the most of this summer (aside from Moosehead Radler) was live music. The city of Saint John is constantly filled with live music – it’s a maritime thing, for sure. And it’s something that I missed when I lived away. Sure, there were live acts from time to time in pubs in Toronto but it just wasn’t the same vibe. It’s different here.

One of the events that the Boardwalk held this summer was a New Brunswick Talent night. Live music is great – live music performed by local artists, even better.

I wish I had pictures to show you all of how beautiful it was. The atmosphere on the boardwalk is crazy. Unfortunately, all my visits were before my “blogging days”, but I’ll make sure I do better for my 2020 update. Which side note, how nuts is it that we’re almost in 2020?

A Dog and A Boat

Without a doubt, my top memory of this summer is not from a public place or a tourist attraction. It was bringing my dog on my grandfather’s boat. Did I do it because I thought it would be cute? For sure. Did Georgia love it? 100%. Is that weird? Probably.

Okay – but is she not the cutest dog ever?

You may be asking “Jess, why are you bringing your dog on the boat and not just letting her swim?”. Valid question, especially since Georgie decided to LOVE water this year. Unfortunately, the Saint John River the past few years has had an increase in something called Blue Algae, which if a dog comes into contact with it can cause incredibly serious problems and has been in several cases fatal. And we’re talking 15 minutes to get to a vet fatal. And although it wasn’t reported in the area we were in, I was absolutely not taking chances.

That got very dark, didn’t it? Moral of the story, Georgia loved being on the boat, and obviously so did I. You should see the embarrassing amount of photos and videos I have on my phone of these events….

Blacks Harbour – Connors Bros Nature Preserve

Last but definitely not least – Connors Bros Nature Preserve. Now, full disclosure, this trip was a bit of a flop but it was not by fault of the park.

I picked this park as Georgia and I’s last summer hike spot the other day. It seemed incredible and it also promised a lighthouse… and if you’ve learned anything about me by now, you know there is NOTHING I love more than a good photo op for my dog. I have a problem. The intervention should happen any day now.

Unfortunately for me (and my Instagram page), the lighthouse was only accessible at low tide – which I did not read until I got home. So in a nutshell, me and my dog ended up walking an entire path while I was very confused about why we weren’t seeing a damn lighthouse. Now, I am incredibly glad though that I didn’t get there any earlier than I did – I had only missed low tide by about half an hour. Imagine – IMAGINE – if I had gotten there just before the tide rose again. I would have been stuck out on a little island until the tide lowered again (which would have been approx 2AM). This would have been very on brand for me, but seriously, what a nightmare.

The trail itself was amazing. The views were incredible. And we’re definitely going to back and see that lighthouse next summer!

I could go on and on about this province. I wanted this post to serve as a story of my summer, and not so much as a tourist guide – if that makes sense. Although I will say, you definitely should visit! There is so much to do here – and coming from an ex-Torontonian, that’s saying a lot.

As busy and amazing as this summer was – I am so happy that fall is here. I’ve got big things planned, so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, I’ll be on Pinterest looking up apple recipes.

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