- 1 / 7Canada’s East Coast: Seaside Inns and Historic AttractionsMichael Holtz of SmartFlyer has a secret he shares with his loyal clients, and now with AFAR’s readers as well. At the height of summer, when Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are overwhelmed with visitors and New Yorkers outnumber lobstermen in the fishing villages of Maine, there’s a part of the world where you can still walk along dramatic seaside cliffs and sleep in gray weathered seaside inns without the crowds. Here you can find peaceful serenity, natural wonders and intriguing cultural and historic sites. Here is Michael’s six-day itinerary to two of Atlantic Canada’s provinces, Nova Scotia and neighboring New Brunswick.
- 2 / 7Day 1With nonstop flights from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia (and connecting flights from other US cities), Nova Scotia’s capital city of Halifax is a convenient starting point for your Atlantic Canada adventure. It’s been a gateway for many arriving in Canada since its founding in 1749, a history you’ll discover at Pier 21, the Canadian Museum of Immigration as well as the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Grab some lunch at the Halifax Farmers’ Market before stopping at Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, where you can sample the craft beers at one of Canada’s oldest breweries. Your hotel, the Westin Nova Scotian, has an enviable location, near both the waterfront and the elegant South End of the city, where beautiful Victorian buildings have been meticulously restored. After touring the neighborhood, head to Spring Garden Road lined with shops and restaurants.
Accommodations: Westin Nova Scotian
- 3 / 7Day 2While Halifax was founded in 1749, French settlers had already arrived nearly 150 years earlier and were among the first settlers in North America to cultivate grapes for wine. That tradition continues in the Annapolis Valley, with its scenic farms overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Among the wineries open to visitors are the Luckett Vineyards and the L’Acadie Vineyards. In the afternoon, continue on to the Grand-Pré National Historic Site. Long the site of an Acadian settlement, this was also where the infamous expulsion of the Acadians began in 1755, an event that is most familiar to many because of Evangeline, the epic poem by the American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. You’ll spend the night in Wolfville, a small town where a number of Victorian homes have been converted to inns and B&Bs.
Accommodations: Tattingstone Inn
- 4 / 7Day 3A half-hour drive this morning will take you to the Halls Harbour, a prime area to observe the remarkable tides of the Bay of Fundy. The tides here transform the landscape with the water level rising—or falling—by around 40 feet every six hours. From there you will head southwest along the bay to Annapolis Royal. The settlement was founded 15 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and its long history comes to life at the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens and Fort Anne National Historic Site. Return to the present day and continue on to Digby, where you’ll embark on a three-hour crossing of the Bay of Fundy aboard the Fundy Rose as evening descends. Upon arriving in Canada’s only officially bilingual province, New Brunswick, make your way to the charming village of St. Andrews by-the-Sea, which was settled by Loyalists more than a century ago, and has been attracting visitors from the eastern seaboard ever since..
Accommodations: Algonquin Resort, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
- 5 / 7Day 4After breakfast at the Algonquin Resort, the restored railway hotel sitting high on the hill overlooking St. Andrews by-the-Sea, try an early morning visit to the spectacular award-winning Kingsbrae Garden or to Minister’s Island, accessible by crossing the sand bar revealed at low tide. From the lively wharf amid the town’s remarkably preserved historic buildings, board a Zodiac with Fundy Tide Runners to zip to the Bay of Fundy’s whale feeding grounds and explore the marine wildlife among the western Fundy Isles. Stop for the legendary take-out fish & chips at Ossie’s, then head to the lively port city of Saint John, where you’ll experience more tastes of the region while exploring the Saint John City Market. Explore the city via an Uptown Historic Walking Tour or the many art galleries, and choose from an abundance of excellent restaurants…perhaps the critically acclaimed Port City Royal.
Accommodations: Homeport Historic Bed & Breakfast
- 6 / 7Day 5Start your final full day in New Brunswick with a drive to St. Martins, a tiny fishing village that was a wooden ship-building mecca and has earned its status as a “book town” with a dozen booksellers in a town of fewer than 400 residents. The village is the starting point for the 10-mile Fundy Trail, which offers a rare stretch of undeveloped coast for hiking, driving, and escapes to newly-accessible beaches. Further along the Bay of Fundy are Fundy National Park and the Hopewell Rocks, where you can walk on the ocean floor, then kayak among the giant rock formations six hours later when the highest tides in the world return! Choose to end your Atlantic Canada exploration with excellent shopping in the city of Moncton, or on the water enjoying a dinner cruise with Shediac Bay Lobster Cruises in the nearby village of Shediac, the “Lobster Capital of the World.” Say ahh!
Accommodations: Maison Tait House
- 7 / 7Day 6After breakfast, drive 20 minutes to the airport in Moncton (YQM), or 1hr 40 min to Saint John (YSJ) to begin your journey home…that is, unless Michael has convinced you to continue exploring some of the other areas of Atlantic Canada!