The great Canadian forest meets the sea in New Brunswick, which is sliced by sweeping river valleys and modern highways.
The province is an old place in New World terms, and the remains of a turbulent past are still evident in some of its quiet nooks. Near Moncton, for instance, wild strawberries perfume the air of the grassy slopes of Fort Beauséjour, where, in 1755, one of the last battles for possession of Acadia took place, with the English finally overcoming the French. Other areas of the province were settled by the British; by Loyalists, American colonists who chose to live under British rule after the American Revolution; and by Irish immigrants, many seeking to avoid the famine in their home country. If you stay in both Acadian and Loyalist regions, a trip to New Brunswick can seem like two vacations in one.
For every gesture in the provincial landscape as grand as the giant rock formations carved by the Bay of Fundy tides at Hopewell Hill, there is one as subtle as the gifted touch of a sculptor in a studio. For every experience as colourful as salmon and fiddleheads served at a church supper, there is another as low-key as the gentle waves of the Baie des Chaleurs. New Brunswick is the luxury of an inn with five stars and the tranquility of camping under a million.
At the heart of New Brunswick is the forest, which covers 85 percent of the province's area—nearly all its interior. The forest contributes to the economy, defines the landscape, and delights hikers, anglers, campers, and bird-watchers, but New Brunswick's soul is the sea. The biggest of Canada's three Maritime provinces, New Brunswick is largely surrounded by coastline. The warm waters of the Baie des Chaleurs, Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Northumberland Strait lure swimmers to their sandy beaches, and the chilly Bay of Fundy, with its monumental tides, draws breaching whales, whale-watchers, and kayakers.