These are weird and hard times for the tourism and service industries. It’s more important than ever to get out there and support our local businesses. Go for a drive, shop and eat at little mom and pop shops; who would have thought that eating and shopping in 2020 would be considered an act of love and support? But that is currently the case.
Here are a few activities that will be a win/win, for you and local businesses…you’re welcome!
Cool places are less peoply
Here’s what’s in it for you, besides feeling good about helping to support local businesses, our region has amazing things to do and see!! And since our region is less populated than other regions of Canada and their are no outside tourists, this is a great opportunity, and hopefully the only time, that we’ll have our beautiful region all to ourselves.
This became crystal clear to me last weekend when I visited Peggy’s Cove, just outside of Halifax. We basically had it all to ourselves. Ok, there were other people there, but there were no buses with loads of tourists; full disclosure it’s after Labor Day, so not prime time, but it was still oddly eerily void of crowds.
We got to explore the tiny village peacefully and look, no people in our shots. Hopefully this will be the last season without outside tourists, so go! This may be a once in a lifetime chance?
Ok all you instagramers out there, look at how amazing these pics are!! And while you’re out there getting the perfect shot, have lunch at the restaurant beside the lighthouse and spend some money; we had the fish n chips and they were delish!
We also visited Lunenburg and Mahone Bay, what a beautiful region!!!! Get in your car and drive!! Drive to Saint Andrews, Saint John, Moncton, the Acadian Cost, Charlottetown, Cavendish, Souris, Cape Breton, Halifax…. and if you had a European trip planned that got canceled, go to Newfoundland and pretend you’re in Ireland or Scotland, they accent will be a little different, but just go with it.
Hotels need heads in beds
The fall is typically conference season, hotels are usually fully booked with business travelers attending trade shows and meetings. Sadly corporate travel has been halted, this means that a lot of hotels are empty. The lack of business travelers means that some local hotels are offering great deals!
We stayed at a brand new hotel in Halifax, Sutton Place, and in addition to getting a great rate, we were upgraded to a room with a view. When checking in tell them where you are from and be nice and you may get upgraded?
The Sutton Place is attached to the convention center in downtown Halifax, this is the typical kind of hotel that I would book for my company during trade show season (I plan events for a large company); the rate we got was certainly not the a regular fall rate. Once life gets back to normal, the rate for this hotel in September/October will be double. So look up that fancy hotel that you’ve always wanted to try, call the front desk directly and tell that you are booking a mini staycation.
Do fun weird stuff!
Go on Pinterest and search fun things to do in your region, then do them! People always ask me how I find things to do, my big secret is I look up fun things to do, lol, it’s just that simple. Lately though, people have started to send me suggestions, which I love!
Here’s a fun thing, go visit some llamas!! This past summer I walked llamas and alpacas at Llamazing Adventures in Shediac; it was cool, but my cousins and I have made friends with Janet from Petitmore Alpacas and her gang of alpacas. Look them up on Facebook, you’ll need to make an appointment to visit. They’ll be open for a bit until the weather gets too wintery.
What we love about visiting Janet is that after we are done feeding apples to the alpacas, which is awesome, we get to shop!! She makes beautiful hats, mittens, scarves….
I bought a few things, some will be Christmas gifts! Speaking of Christmas, because of Covid a lot of Christmas markets and craft shows will be canceled. So please get out there and find then buy products from local artisans.
Want to find llamas in your area? Google, llamas in my area!! Lol
Here’s another fun thing to do, find a local potter, get a few friends together and visit their studio, I’m certain that they would love to have you visit!
Thank you for reading, take advantage of this lull in tourists to explore our bubble, book a hotel night, eat out, shop, just be a tourist in your own area; whether you’re lucky enough to be in the Atlantic bubble or not.
I’ve always been proud to be from Moncton and after living in the US, Las Vegas to be specific, for the past three years; I worked my magic to get transferred back to my hometown.
The most common questions asked about my big move news were: really??? And: are you happy about that?? My reply to both were yes and YESSS!!
So, why was I so keen to move back to this, who are we kidding, small city? What is there to love about Moncton?
The little city that could.
If I had to describe the people of Moncton, known as Monctonians, in one word, it would be: resilient…and industrious. OK, that’s two words, but whatever.
Our little city has been sucker punched a few times in its history. Each hit should have knocked us out and made us throw in the towel and fade away quietly.
But what can I say? Monctonians are scrappy by nature. What do you do when you are a one industry town and that industry picks up and walks away? You pick yourself up and shake it off…oh, and you take a look at what you have to offer, then hustle to get new industries to move to your city and completely reinvent yourself.
The city with a certain, je ne sais quoi?
Oui, c’est vrai, Moncton’s French speaking population, helps make the city pretty unique. Think about it; without them Moncton may as well be Saint John; not that there’s anything wrong with being Saint John.
Moncton’s vast bilingual population is one of the resources that helped to reinvent the city. When other New Brunswick cities struggled to modernize their economies, Moncton thrived; surpassing Saint John to become the largest city in New Brunswick; oh wow, I am really picking on SJ aren’t I? Sorry!
Moncton’s mix of French and English, who BTW live together in peace and harmony, also give the city a live & let live/laisser faire, vibe, which I love.
I’ve visited many small towns and cities in both Canada and the US, that have very small town ideas/thinking, which is perfectly fine, but Moncton is a small city with a big city vibe and outlook. Maybe we don’t realize that we are small? Or maybe thinking big just comes naturally to us?
Whatever the reason, this big, little city, has a very cosmopolitan vibe and is open to new ideas and new people. Maybe it’s because Monctonians are so well traveled? People here travel…a lot. I thought that this was normal until I went to smaller and bigger places and met people who had never been anywhere.
My grandparents, who were two old school Acadians, became globetrotters once they retired. They had a lust for life and wanted to see and experience as much as they could, this is a very Moncton way of thinking. They even visited China! Fun fact, I didn’t realize how insecure my grandmother was about talking in English until my dad and I took her to Florida and she kept asking me to ask the waitresses stuff, yet she visited Europe and beyond; my dad was also a globetrotter; I discovered that he had traveled to Africa twice when he was in his twenties. I guess that’s where I get my globetrotting genes?
I think that because so many Monctonians travel the world it makes us, well more worldly, lol.
It tastes good.
It’s easy to take local things for granted until you have something to compare them to. Growing up in the Maritimes, going to the wharf with your dad and waiting for the fishing boats to come in to buy lobster wasn’t a big deal.
With a little perspective, you realize that there aren’t many places that offer the world’s best seafood, literally, fresh off the boat…like literally!
World class lobster, crab, mussels and oysters can be found here, all available in this little city.
Growing up here, in the 70’s & 80’s, there weren’t a lot of different « exotic » foods available; by exotic, I mean stuff like avocados, lol. We did have a few Chinese food places, but that was pretty much it.
Moncton now has a great diverse foodie scene, with authentic Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Syrian…options. I was just told about a super cute Korean BBQ place in Dieppe, which technically isn’t Moncton, but tomato, tomato. Lol, it’s on my list to try.
So let’s be proud of our city and if you live in Saint John, be proud of Saint John!!! No matter what city you live in, big or small, get out there and find new things to try, do, see and taste!!
If you‘re wondering where the best beaches in Canada are, let me, let you in on a little secret, they’re in New Brunswick!! Yes NB, that little, sometimes forgotten province that you need to drive through to get to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Yup that’s the one!
And although we have beautiful beaches up the entire Acadian Coast, the best of the best are in the south eastern part of the province. Why? Because this area has the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.
Why is the water in this area warmer than Main which is just to the south of us? The area, between NB and PEI, is shallower because it’s in between two land masses, so it warms up quicker.
I bet you didn’t think this was going to be geography lesson? Keep reading, the pretty beach pics are coming up, lol.
This is my last map, I promise; now you may have noticed that PEI’s south side also faces the Northumberland Straight and you may be wondering if the beaches along that coast are just as sandy and warm as the ones on the NB side? Well probably, but those beaches are most likely full of potatoes and really who wants to lay on a beach full of potatoes?? I know that I don’t. (Please note that the amount of potatoes on the PEI beaches may be slightly exaggerated for comedic effect? But honestly, who really knows?)
What isn’t in question are the beautiful, sandy and warm beaches from Murray Corner, Cap Pelé, Shediac to just past Bouctouche.
How warm does the water get? In August the average temperature in Shediac can reach 24 degrees Celsius. That’s pretty much bath water for most Canadians, lol.
Now the beaches in Nova Scotia aren’t littered with potatoes, but they are very rocky, unlike NB’s sandy beaches, so don’t bother going to those.
The dark colour of the sand gives the water the most beautiful shades of blue.
We are also blessed with the highest and lowest tides…in the world!!! You’re probably a bit skeptical about my accuracy after my potato beach statement? But this is a fact, you can look it up if you don’t believe me. This freakish phenomenon means that at low tide you can walk on the sandbars looking for sand dollars or starfish.
The three most popular beaches are Parlee Beach in Shediac, l’Aboiteau in Cap Pelé and les Dunes in Bouctouche. But there are many more that are just as lovely, like Grande Digue, Caissie Cape and Cape Bimet. Soooo many amazing warm beaches!!!
Living away from the Maritimes for the last few years, I now have a new appreciation for fishing boats, lighthouses and colourful buoys. They are post card perfect and very Instagramable.
For my Ontario and Prairie readers, these are buoys, see below. They get attached to lobster traps and fishing nets. Each fisherman will have his or her own colour or their specific number on them. You don’t touch another’s buoys! Unless you want to sleep with the fishes.
The blue water and sky are made even more beautiful with pops of the bright green shades of beach grass. If you can’t see the beauty in this, then we can’t be friends, you can stop reading at anytime now, I am breaking up with you.
Our pristine NB beaches are littered with oyster, mussel and clam shells with the prettiest shades of blues and purples.
Having grown up swimming in the ocean this is my happy place, I love floating about.
The smell of the salty air is intoxicating, I think anyone who has grown up near the ocean feels the same way, even those from the PEI potato beaches.
Another bonus is that there really aren’t things in the water here that can kill you, even our jellyfish are pretty tame and they are all but gone by July.
Sooooo, this just in! Apparently there are great white sharks a little too close to the Northumberland Straight for my comfort. They’ve been spotted and tracked to the north and south of us, but there have been no sightings or attacks in our area. I am hoping the tides will keep them at bay? I’ve also been told that they have always been this far north, but we didn’t know until they started tagging and tracking them. I am choosing to not dwell on this so that I am able to enjoy my swims without hearing the Jaws theme song in my head, over and over again.
In August one of my favorite things to do is to meet a friend or two at the beach for an early evening swim. Watching the sunset from the water is truly magical.
And there is nothing better after a hard day of beaching than a fresh seafood feast!! Like, fresh, fresh!!
I do have to warn you that all day beaching, sun-ing and swimming is exhausting!!! Oh and I have one other cautionary advice for you, when snorkeling, don’t forget to put sunscreen on your butt, speaking from experience…ouch.
I think this picture above tells the tail of how exhausting all that sun and sand is; I could barely keep my eyes open while we waited for our fried claims and scallops at Pirate de la mer.
My plan is to get in as much beach time in the next few weeks until the air turns and gets cooler, announcing the arrival of fall.
Thank you so much for reading! Please check out my Instagram and Facebook accounts at: oui-liette. And feel free to comment, like and share.
Sorry to PEI and NS for the shade in this post, I still love you! But NB beaches are just better 😬
I’m always on the lookout for fun and different things to do, so when my friend Sue told me about Llama-zing Adventures, I knew that I needed to book a llama-zing walking tour!!
Llama-zing Adventures are located on Aboujagan Rd in Haute Aboujagane, NB and have been in business for a whole three weeks! The owner, Josée, posted a few pics on social media and her little business exploded…well, not literally, but she did get so many hits that it blew up her website, a few times.
Her original goal was to book a few tours that would help pay for some of her animal expenses; but what is happening is that her llama/alpaca gang are raising money that will give them a few more acres to roam free!
Llama-zing Adventures currently offer beach and river walks, with plans to do some fun things during the fall and winter too. I booked the river walk as a thank you to my blog helpers, Monique and Jack; my cousin Nicole rounded up our foursome, yup another cousin, I wasn’t lying, I have lots!!
We got to choose our walking partners; Jack got Linda, Nicole got Luna, I got Brenda and Monique got Pearl.
Once we were paired with our walking partners we were off! They were easy to walk and loved getting their long necks rubbed. They each have their own unique personality.
Nicole’s alpaca, Luna, was very vocal and talked to us almost the entire time, man did she have lots of stories to share! She also had the cutest, little, dainty face.
Monique’s Pearl had crazy bangs and a rad gator Mohawk. Josée told us that both the llamas and alpacas act a lot like cats; they want attention, but can also be aloof. Luna and Pearl are house trained and spend time in Josee’s house. Luna acts more like a dog than a cat…or an alpaca, she loves cuddles and watching TV. We laughed and asked Josée what her favorite TV show was, turns out she loves Blacklist, which is hilarious!!
And then there was Linda, she’s the boss and always needs to be the lead llama on the trail. Jack said that she was a sweetheart.
I waked with Brenda, who’s smart as a whip, we were told not to let them snack during the walk as it would slow us down and take us hours to make it back. I swear she knew that, due to Corona, we needed to stay a llama’s distance apart. She would walk fast to catch up to Luna, knowing that we would then have to wait for Luna to walk a bit in order to keep our distance, which meant that she could snack while we waited. Please note the animals are very well fed and get special treats after each tour. I think Brenda just loves to eat, which is fine, she’s blessed with a great metabolism. Josée did share with us that there was a bit of a wild party a few nights ago and, long story short, Brenda may actually be eating for two?
Our walk lasted about an hour with a few stops to take pics and to enjoy the scenery.
It was a really fun way to spend the afternoon! I am not a llama or alpaca experts, but they were so well behaved, you can tell that they are well taken care of and enjoy their walks; the max that they walk during one day is 4 km.
If you do the river walk, I suggest you wear your sneakers, Nicole had walking sandals and it was a bit muddy as it had rained earlier that morning. You should also come prepared to smile and forget your worries for at least an hour.
To book a walking tour go to the Llama-zing Adventures website: llamazingadventures.ca and follow them on Facebook & Instagram!! We all need more cute llama faces on our feeds!
Thank you for reading!!!
Liette & Brenda
If you liked this post check this one of Jack and I riding camels in the Mojave Desert!
After posting my Bouctouche edition of Day Tripping in NB, my friend Lisa, who now lives in Montreal, told me about a lavender farm in Bouctouche that I needed to visit.
It just so happens that the following day I had a beach day planned at the Dunes in Bouctouche with my friend Alie. I asked her if we could make a stop before heading to the beach and she was onboard.
She had never heard of Lavender at Ocean Breeze Farm and she’s originally from Bouctouche, so we looked them up and we were off!
As we approached the parking area, we could see rows and rows of beautiful purple lavender fields. As we got out of the car, I could feel myself getting more and more excited; if you don’t feel happy walking in fields of lavender, there is something seriously wrong with you..like seriously, you need to get that checked, lol.
These fields are an Instagramers dream and we did see a few photo shoots while we were there; the owners, Carly and her husband Paul, welcome anyone who want to visit and walk their fields, sniff their lavender and take a few pics.
I asked Carly what inspired her and her husband to start a lavender farm here in Bouctouche of all places? Carly has a British accent so it was very apparent that she isn’t from the region, she’s from Whales, but Paul is from the region.
They met 26 years ago when they were both working on a cruise ship, Carly still works on ships as a Cruise Director. She explained that they had all of this land and decided to plant an acre of lavender and see how it would grow? Well it grew so they planted another acre and then another; they now have 4 acres in total; and having traveled the world they wanted to bring a bit of the French countryside to New Brunswick.
They are in the process of restoring their barn, it’s already beautiful, I can’t wait to see it when it’s fully completed. They’ve already booked two weddings!!
Look at all of this natural wood!! It’s so impressive when you walk in and look up.
They also have a shop in the barn where you can buy their lavender products. I bought their facial scrub and body lotion and I need to go back for some lavender oil.
I also bought a bunch of fresh lavender and should have bought more, it’s the prettiest darkest shade of purple that I’ve ever seen, it’s my new fav colour.
Lavender at Ocean Breeze Farm is the first agrotourism lavender farm in the province; Carly explained that because of our winter’s their fields will never be perfect or look exactly like the ones in Europe, but being able to visit a lavender farm, then cross the street to a beautiful beach, Les Dunes, followed by a fresh lobster roll, at Pirate des mers, on your way home seems pretty close to perfect to me!
I asked Carly about their future plans for their lavender farm, their venue lends itself perfectly to weddings and events, so they will be hosting more events in the future, as the word gets out. Their lavender product lines will grow, as will the size of their fields, but her ultimate goal is for people to come visit the farm and to just breathe, she wants us to relax and to “take a breathe”.
I love that sentiment and you really feel that vibe when you’re on the farm. Some will never get the opportunity to walk the lavender fields in the countryside of France or England, but you can walk the lavender fields of Bouctouche!! Ok technically they are in Saint Edouard, but tomato, tomato…did you just read that with two different pronunciations?? Ah!! Of course you did! Lol
Thank you so much for reading!! I am going to share a few more amazingly pretty pics and here is a link for my two last Day Tripping in NB posts. And finally, I have a cool give away coming up so go like my Instagram page: oui-liette for details on how to enter to win my Sassy Summer Basket!! Launching my contest this Friday.
Défi Best Lobster Roll in le Sud-Est/South East NB
Lobster is serious business in these parts of Atlantic Canada; the Bay of Fundy has the best lobster in the world! It’s a fact, look it up.
I grew up eating lobster, my grandfather’s family were lobster fisherman, as was my father’s favorite uncle on my grandmother’s side. His name was Livain and he used to take us out on his fishing boat and let my brother and I help him pull up his “special” lobster trap. Looking back, it now seems a bit fishy that there were always a few lobsters waiting for us.
I am sharing these details of my childhood to demonstrate that I am more than qualified for this special challenge; to find the best lobster rolls dans le sud-est du Nouveau Brunswick! We also mix our French and English in these parts, so try to keep up! Lol
**I obviously didn’t try every place in le sud-est, but I did my best. Feel free to leave a comment if there is a place that I need to try.
For our first lobster roll we went to Shediac, pronounced: shed-dee-ack, for my none Maritime friends. Why was Shediac our first stop? Because it’s the lobster capital of the world, that’s why.
Here’s the proof in case you didn’t believe me.
Golden Fry, Shediac
I’m not going to lie, when I opened my bag and saw that the mayonnaise wasn’t mixed in with my lobster, I was a bit worried; I like it all mixed together, but it was really yummy!! The lettuce, which I don’t love in a lobster roll, I prefer celery, was fresh and crisp, so I didn’t mind it. There was enough mayonnaise and most importantly the lobster didn’t taste frozen!!! I am giving Golden Fry a solid 8 claws out of 10.
Chez Léo, Shediac Bridge
Chez Léo has been open since 1961 and reminds me a lot of my dad; he used take me there for fried clams. Here’s another fun fact, it’s on the other side of a bridge that only has one lane. It has no lights or stop sign, yet people instinctively take turns going across; three cars will go and then the fourth car will let a few cars from the other side cross. That may not sound abnormal for my fellow Maritimers, but in Toronto or the US that would cause anarchy, lol.
Back to lobster rolls; the lobster was fresh, they asked me if I wanted with or without mayo, which I appreciated. It was tasty, giving it a solid 8 claws out of 10. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
It’s funny that Moncton, even though it’s exactly 15 minutes from the ocean, isn’t considered a coastal town by the locals and not the place to go for a great lobster roll; like Monctonians are way too far inland to know anything about lobster, lol.
Hynes Restaurant, Moncton
Hynes restaurants is probably Moncton’s oldest dinner; it’s been around longer than I have.
Their lobster was lightly mixed with the mayonnaise, which I like and they didn’t have lettuce, which I appreciated. Some places add lettuce as a filler, I am not down with that trick! Lol. The lobster was most likely from a lobster pack, which is frozen, but that’s fine, most places do use lobster packs for their lobster rolls.
Giving Hynes a respectable 7 claws out of 10.
Skipper Jacks, Moncton
Skipper Jacks apparently has a new menu, according to my mom, who had lunch there recently; she had the lobster chowder and raved about it. I got a lobster roll to go and it was delish!! The bun was toasted extra crispy the way I like; they didn’t have their lobster mixed with the mayo, but I am starting to change my point of view regarding this important aspect of lobster rolling.
The lobster tasted fresh and not frozen and it’s one of the few rolls so far that had pieces of tail and not just claws and knuckles. I am giving Skipper Jacks 9 claws out of 10!! 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
Euston Park, Moncton
This was my first time at Euston Park, which is an outdoor eating/bar area. It’s so cute!!! But how was their lobster roll??
It looked really pretty, the bread was fresh and crunchy, the lobster was overflowing out of the bun and it was tasty. The curveball is that it included Tarragon; it wasn’t a traditional lobster roll, it was a fancy lobster roll. My first bite was like oh!! I wasn’t 100% sure about it, but my second bite was like, ok, I could be down with this?
I am going to give it 8 claws out of 10, but if you aren’t a fan of Tarragon then this isn’t the roll for you; roll on. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
You can’t be on the hunt for the best lobster roll without rolling into the Bay of Fundy.
Fundy Take-Out, Alma
Our first stop is the little shop on the right of the entrance of Fundy National Park, it’s appropriately called Fundy Take-Out.
This lobster roll was ok, I can imagine how good it would taste after a long hike in the park. There could have been a little more mayonnaise, but the bun was the best to date; it was nice and crispy. I found it a bit bland and had to add a bit of salt, which is fine. I think the more lobster rolls I eat the pickier I am getting? I am going to give Fundy Take-Out 7 claws out of 10; which is still a solid score. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
Our next two stops are in Cape Pelé; Fred’s and L’aboiteau.
Fred’s Restaurant, Cape Pelé
I had options at Fred’s, with or without mayo and with or without lettuce. I’m not going to lie, having the mayo just drizzled like this looked weird and plain, but it was yummy, the lobster was fresh and the bun was crispy. Giving Fred’s 8 claws out of 10. 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
L’aboiteau has a restaurant in the beach area and a small place right on the wharf; we ate at the wharf location.
This lobster roll had pieces of tail; it was fresh, crispy and super tasty! I am giving this roll a 9 of 10 claws!!!! 🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞🦞
I obviously didn’t get a chance to eat at all the lobster places, sadly. A few places in Alma were closed when we went, due to COVID. We didn’t make it to Bouctouche, where in the past, I’ve had the best lobster rolls ever. That’s why none of the lobster rolls on my list got a 10 out of 10; I was saving some room for Bouctouche. So please when doing your own taste test, do not forget to go to Bouctouche!
Of the 8 places I visit, two places got 9 claws out of 10; Skipper Jacks in Moncton and L’aboiteau Wharf in Cape Pelé. They both had juicy pieces of tail, oh that sounds odd and mildly inappropriate, Lol. What I meant is that most places only had pieces of lobster claws and knuckles; that’s what made the difference for me and why they scored higher.
Let’s be real, it’s really hard to make a bad lobster roll in these parts, but these two stood out from the crowd.
Thank you for reading, I hope you get to try a few of these places on your own this summer. It’s a tough job, but I am willing to keep eating local lobster rolls until I’ve tried them all…you’re welcome!! Please shop local and tip your server a bit extra! Especially the seasonal places.
Feel free to recommend a place I should to try, here in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page.
Hey check mes pen d’oreilles de homard!!! 🤣
Behind the Scenes Extras
Fun fact, I thought that others added celery to their lobster rolls, but turns out they don’t, but they clearly should! Try it.
I created a fun side list; here are the winners!!
Best View – Alma!! To be eating your lobster roll on a wharf or beside an actual fishing boat is pretty awesome. The boat, pictured here, will be completely submerged at high tide; FYI for my readers that aren’t aware of our crazy tides.
Best view runner up was L’aboiteau. This view is not too shabby either.
Most Impressive Lobster – Shediac, it wasn’t even a competition, it’s ginormous. I invite locals to climb up on it and take tacky tourist pics; live a little. I hadn’t climbed up in….mmm a decade or two?
Cutest Lobster Accessory
Torn between my Sex, Drugs & Lobster Roll t-shirt and my giant lobster earrings. I chose not to wear them together as that would be too much; yes, I guess that’s the line! Lol
Cutest Lobster Shack – It’s a beautiful shade of purple, so it wins! Sadly it wasn’t open yet for the season, but it still wins as cutest and I will be back!
One of the things that struct me when I first moved, to the west coast of the US, was that all the houses were the same colour, a light beige ish, they also all looked the same. They were all Spanish looking, at least they looked Spanish ish to a girl from the east coast.
I would go to my friends homes and have to look up the house number because once on the proper street, I couldn’t remember which house was theirs, even though I had been there before.
I moved to the desert in the summer when everything was brown and dried up. I remember how green everything looked on my first visit back to Canada. I had never noticed how freaking green New Brunswick was; I was seriously amazed.
The same was true with the houses; who knew that Maritime houses were so exotic? Growing up here exotic was the last word I would have used to describe anything about us.
Since I’ve moved back, I’ve been unconsciously taking pictures of colourful houses. I am always taking pictures of random things. I notice my new obsession with brightly coloured houses when I happened upon this pink house, below, during a Covid sanity drive; as I drove past it I had an uncontrollable need to turn around and take a picture of it. I physically had to stop, turn around, and take a picture.
My hope for this post is that my fellow Maritimers will look at the pretty pictures and be like; she’s right, these are pretty funky. And that my American desert friends will enjoy looking at exotic homes from where I grew up.
These houses just make me happy! These are anything but mellow yellow!
Yellow seems to be the most popular colourful house colour around here.
I know that colourful houses are not unique to Atlantic Canada. I did a bit of research and the most common explanation is that it ties back to fishing villages. Fishermen would paint their homes vibrant colours in order to see them as they sailed into the harbour. I’ve always loved colour, as a Maritimer, I guess it’s in my DNA.
I love the purple houses the best…I think? Which is your fav?
Once we are allowed to roam between province, I am going to add to my colourful house pictures to my collection; ouff I can’t wait to roam!
This post could have been called Colours of Atlantic Canada in order to include Newfoundland and it’s beautiful row houses, I’ll do a dedicated post to them on my next trip to the rock.
Thank you for reading this cheery post, I felt something light, fluffy and pretty was called for.
In this post I would like to highlight a few local businesses who are trying to make the best out of a really difficult situation; they’re trying to make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons…or lemon drop martinis; yes some are making really, really strong lemons drop martinis!!
For the last 6 weeks, I’ve been socially distancing in my downtown Moncton apartment feeling a bit lost and helpless. I’ve tried my best to create positive, entertaining and who are we kidding, sometimes super silly, blog posts to share with my readers.
And as everyone else, I’ve probably been spending too much time on social media? And although there are lots of Debbie Downers out there; I’ve felt a lot of pride being back home in my native province watching my fellow New Brunswickers being so compassionate, resilient and downright scrappy!
Please note that these are just a handful of local businesses. My goal for this summer is to visit every inch of our beautiful province; if you have recommendations of things I need to experience, please let me know. I will also be making trips to PEI and NS once we are allowed to cross borders.
And lastly, I am not getting any freebies from anyone mentioned in this post; the last thing any of our local businesses need right now are people hitting them up for free stuff. OK, let’s get started!
Blue Roof Distillers
When you’re able to make vodka out of potatoes, making lemonade out of lemons seems like it would be fairly easy right? That’s exactly what Blue Roof Distillers are currently doing.
Like so many local businesses they were looking for creative ways to stay busy and keep their staff employed,during this pandemic; while also helping the local community. The solution was to convert part of their distillery to make sanitizer, which has been in short supply lately; their nimbleness is helping to keep our front line workers safe and germ free.
The Strang family started farming in in New Brunswick in 1855; six generations later they are one of Atlantic Canada’s premier potato suppliers.
Devon Strang, Founder/CEO of Blue Roof Distillers, explains the uniqueness of their production; “Our process is unique in every way, Blue Roof Handcrafted Spirits are made from scratch using whole potatoes. Recipes are tailored to the raw materials available lowering the ecological footprint of the farm. Potatoes that are too small to market are now destined for the distillery. The mash, after being distilled, is then gifted to local farmers for livestock feed. The Strang family is proud to be able to offer value-added spirits that are distinguishable different than others on the market. The distillery produces all of its own alcohol and does not blend any commercial ethanol into its process.”
I love the history and the story of the Strang Family Farm and their evolution over 6 generations. I think we really need to be mindful of where our food, and vodka, comes from and we need to support our local farms!
You can purchase their spirits at NB Liquor; please refer to their website for more information on their products and also on how to order their sanitizer.
Blue Roof Distillers are located on the South-East edge of NB, directly off the Trans Canada Hwy, 4144 Route 16, in Malden.
They offer Tours and Tastings at their distillery. I will be booking a tour as soon as we are free to roam and will blog about it, of course.
I couldn’t help but notice that they have a Gin Soda Citrus Blast mixed drink, which goes perfectly with my lemon/citrus theme. So I needed to buy one and have a little taste test; I mean it would probably be irresponsible not to? It was really yummy and refreshing!
Some restaurants are doing their best to keep as many of their staff employed by offering curbside or delivery meals. One such business is Gusto Italian Grill & Bar, located at 130 Westmorland Street, here in Moncton. As they scrambled to get their takeout only operation up and running; they realized that they had fridges full of homemade cheesecakes, just begging to be eaten.
As a small gesture of gratitude to the local hospital staff, owner Brett Judson, decided to make special deliveries to both Moncton hospitals. Keeping it in the family, he recruited his teenage children to cut and package hundreds of pieces of cheesecake.
Gusto is now open for business from 4pm to 8pm daily; orders can be placed by calling the restaurant directly and picking up your order curbside; or you can also order via Skip the Dish and have it delivered.
Check their Facebook and Instagram for their daily curb side specials. My current fav so far is Pasta Mondays! They’ve also just started weekly food boxes, they are an amazing value! All of their specials are listed on their Facebook and Instagram sites.
In case you didn’t know, Gusto’s make the best cheesecakes, like ever!! The one below is their Lemon Cheesecake and it’s to die for! They also have an amazing gluten free Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake; it’s actually my favorite and I don’t even have gluten issues.
The Zesty Lemon
The Zesty Lemon is a cheerful gem, located at 535 Somerset St, in Saint John; who’s lunchtime rush disappeared overnight once the social distancing rules were put in place. They had to take a serious look at their business model and adapt quickly; their solution was to focus on delicious & nutritious meals, ready for pick up.
What I love about their menu in particular are the family sized dinners. Their Roasted Chicken Dinner for 4 comes with a roasted chicken, roasted rosemary potatoes, carrots, gravy and 2 French baguettes. Oh, I also love their flatbread pizzas…and their soups…
With lots of us working from home and homeschooling, having someone else prepared a healthy, home cooked meal is a treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
If you’re in the Saint John area, please give them a try.
Ali is a mother of two, an early education educator and a photographer. I met Ali a few months ago; she photographed me before this whole pandemic thing started. She’s the perfect example of a scrappy New Brunswicker who’s resourceful enough to make the sweetest lemonade from a bunch of lemons.
Sadly, in order to comply with the social distancing rules, Ali had to cancel her scheduled appointments. As she sat home, she wondered if perhaps her photographs could bring some joy to others and also help our community in some meaningful way? She found a perfect way to accomplish both! She was inspired by a photographer in Massachusetts who started photographing families on their front steps. She decided to do the same with her neighbors, at a super safe distance away of course.
When I saw her post her first few sessions online, I thought they were super cute family pics. But as time passed, I started seeing them differently; or perhaps, like so many things these days, I was seeing the deeper meaning? These family porch sessions are amazing time capsules that will forever serve to document this moment in time when the world briefly came to a standstill and we rediscovered the importance of family.
Each portrait is unique and shows the personality of the family being photographed. And in lieu of payment, Ali has been suggesting that her porch families make a donation to Crossroads for Woman.
In these times of struggle, we all suffer, but we don’t all suffer equally. If you are able, please donate to your favorite charity. I am certain it is needed more than you can imagine.
B HOME is located at 333 St George Street in Moncton. I’ve been a customer of theirs for a long time. I support them because I feel that they are true artists and not just a framing place that frame art. You’ll get their artist vibe when you visit their store, once we are allowed back out.
I was a little surprised when I heard that they would be offering curb side service, because I wasn’t really sure how that would work logically; but guess what? It works!
Here are the three easy steps:
Step 1 – Call them to make arrangements for drop off or to have your art piece picked up; I just dropped off a new piece to them last week.
Step 2 – Is a video consultation session. What I found very cool, was that I could show Marc a bit of my home; he got to see my style and aesthetic. I showed him where I hung the last piece he did for me; who knew that BHome would be in my home? Well virtually anyway.
The consultation consisted of him showing me a few options; as he would have done in his store. We successfully chose a mat and frame that I am absolutely in love with!!
Step 3 – Pick up your framed piece!
This is the piece that they are currently framing for me. The mat options above look red, but they are hot pink; I ended up choosing the gold frame. The painting was a birthday gift from my super talented sister-in-law. I can’t wait to see the finished piece. I’ll post pics on my oui-liette Instagram and oui-liette Facebook accounts, if you want to see it when done.
Another fun option, that many may not be aware of, is that if you can drop off an existing frame and your art and they can custom cut a mat for you. This is very economical without having to give up that professional customized look.
B HOME has the coolest Instagram account and stories, you need to follow them!
To close out this post I reached out to the Mayor of Moncton, Dawn Arnold, for her thoughts on how we are doing as a community in these challenging times; turns out she couldn’t be prouder of us!
“I’ve been so amazed by the ingenuity, creativity and innovation that Monctonians are showing right now. Everything from the non-profits that are coming together to ensure that all the kids who participated in the school lunch programs are receiving lunches daily to Co-Pain that has taken their amazing bakery on-line to Notre Dame de Parkton, who now have weekly “box” filled with local products. The City has responded so swiftly and responsibly to this pandemic and I think that will set up well in the post-COVID future.”
“This has given us all an interesting opportunity to slow things down a bit, to think through priorities and how we want to be when we get back to “normal”; and what we want that “normal” to look like. During a time when nothing seems certain, I prefer to think of this as a time when anything is possible…no one would have believed that oil producers would be paying people to take barrels off their hands! If this is possible, truly, anything is possible!”
Thank you to the Mayor and to the businesses who are letting me share their stories. I do believe that New Brunswickers are resilient AF; we’ve had to learn how to pivot…pivot! More than a few times in our past and I have no doubt that we will get through this challenge as well.
We’re leading the country at kicking COVID’s butt after all. We will get through this by leaning on each other and by being kind to each other, which seems to come naturally to us.
I hope this post inspires you to seek out local businesses and service providers; let’s make supporting them a new habit. And maybe, once we are free to roam, let’s roam all over this beautiful province! We should also share the love with PEI and NS too, they’re pretty awesome as well.
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Behind the scenes
I was inspired by my lemon them to ditch my signature pink color, temporarily, for this cheery yellow and I am kinda digging it!
Here are a few pics from my photo shoot with Ali. We had planned to shoot while it was snowing, but Mother Nature in the Maritimes won’t be bossed around! It started to snow, those beautiful, big fluffy flakes, 20 min after we finished.
I’m a visual person; before I start writing any of my posts I need a theme or a vibe to inspire me. I was looking for an angle for this, support local, post when I happened upon this cheerful house in Sunny Brae with bright yellow doors!
Thanks to Mylène and her family for letting us use their house as our backdrop! She and her wife have a really cool neighborhood Instagram page: wherethepheasantsroam. Which just happens to be my old hood; check them out, they seem to have a cool bicycle gang!! Lol
With 7 days till Christmas, most of us are still looking for one or two….or seven gifts; hey no judgment here.
Why not skip the herds of people at the mall or Cosco and take a walk downtown? It doesn’t matter where you live, each city or town has locally owned shops that would love a share of your business.
I just moved back to Moncton two weeks ago and today I had lunch on Main Street with my friend, Stacey. After lunch, I braved the cold, apparently I am a weather wimp now, lol; and browsed the little shops that line Main Street.
There was certainly a buzz of life to the downtown area. As I walked down Main Street I noticed new restaurants and cafes that hadn’t been there before. I also noticed people, lots of people!!
I could feel my cheeks getting rosy and noticed that I was signing along with the Christmas music coming from Keating’s; even without snow it was starting to feel like Christmas.
I popped into The Home Mercantile and was greeted with warm smiles from the staff. I am not certain what I was expecting? Maybe some tacky touristy tchotchkes?? But what I found made me feel like I was home.
Yes I realize, home is in the name, so obviously that’s the point. Maybe I am being a bit mushy and sentimental being back in my hometown? But it made me proud to be in a store filled with items that highlighted New Brunswick, Moncton and Canada.
This store is sassy and funny! Which reflects the people who live here. I bought one of these candles below; in addition to smelling really good, they made me laugh! The one I bought says: Calm the Fuck Down! Seriously, how could I not buy it???
I am a sucker for stationary and loved the mix of French and English cards with local regional humor.
I seriously laughed out loud when I saw this very Maritime take on Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; Sex, Drugs and Lobster Rolls!
I bought a NB Home T-shirt that I will wear with pride and I may need to go back to get a tuque or a baseball hat? I’m short a few stocking stuffers and these would be perfect.
As I left with my new purchases, in my material shopping bag, of course; I thought what a great shopping experience.
I hadn’t been annoyed by slow walkers at the mall. I hadn’t experiences cart rage; you know when you’re at Cosco and someone decides to park their huge cart in the middle of the aisle while they chit chat away; man I hate that! Pull over for goodness sakes!!!
I left feeling relaxed and pleased with my sassy, sentimental purchases.
Tomorrow is the last Saturday before Christmas, the malls will be crazy!!! Call your friend and have them meet you downtown. Grab a bite to eat, pick up a hot chocolate at Tim’s and brows the small boutiques in your area.
Merry Christmas & Happy Everything!
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Funny things a Maritimer misses when they move away.
There are lots of things that you miss when you leave the Maritimes; most are normal things, like your friends and your favorite restaurant… But then there are weird things that you never think twice about when you live here, but as soon as you move away and come back, you feel all nostalgic about them.
(For my American friends, the Maritimes are the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, also know as the island).
Here are my top 5 weird things
None of us think we have an accent, but it turns out we all do! And guess what? There are lots of different accents in the Maritimes…who knew??
The first time I noticed this was when I was in Vegas watching the Golden Knights play hockey, they were robbed by the way, but that’s another story. At the end of the game, they interviewed the head coach, Gerald Gallant, who is from PEI. As soon as I heard him speak, I thought, OMG! He sounds like home!! There it was a Maritime accent and I love it!!
There are a bunch of Maritimers who work for my company who live in Reno. One of them, I’ll call him Pete Post…ok that’s his name, lol. Anyway Pete was in Vegas on a day that I was feeling a bit homesick. I told him that I missed people who talk English with thick, or like my dad would say, tick, French accents. He then proceeded to talk to me in English, but with a variety of Acadian regional accents. He did Moncton, Shediac and Bouctouche. He had me laughing so hard I was crying. Now when I see him, I ask him to talk fake French English to me. I am pretty sure the people we work with think we are weirdos; they don’t get the joke. But whatever la, we think c’est right funny, pis ont rie. Ok that was Chiac, but you get the drift, if you are a Maritimer.
#2. Canadian Content Music
Growing up radio stations needed to play a certain percentage of Canadian Artists on the radio; not sure if they still do? This meant that even though we listened to all the popular music from the US, we also listened to Canadian bands that my American friends have probably never heard of? Bands like Platinum Blonde, Haywire, Toronto, Headpines…
During university I worked as a banquet waitress, so I worked a lot of weddings. I swear to god that every DJ in the 90’s played the same 40 songs from the 80’s! Tom Cochran’s Life is a Highway, and similar songs, were enough to send me over the edge.
A few days ago, as I was driving and dodging potholes, I found myself signing at the top of my lungs to Patio Lanterns. Yes, Patio Lanterns, from Kim Mitchell; and if you are in my age bracket and Canadian, I know that you know it; and I know that you know every word! I never would have guessed that one of these old songs would make me crank the radio up and sing along, but there I was, patio lanterning my way down Main Street Moncton.
I think it’s safe to say that no one, I mean no one has potholes like the ones in these parts. Seriously, WTF?? Lol. Living in Vegas, where things don’t freeze and thaw, and freeze and thaw, then freeze and thaw some more has spoiled me. So I am shocked by the state of the roads when I come home for a visit.
While I don’t miss potholes, there is a weird sense of accomplishment that comes from driving to work and navigating the roads like a freaking gold metal Olympic solemn skier, that is more than a little satisfying. It’s like, damn, I am awesome! It’s 8:30am and I’ve made it to work without scraping the bottom of my car! I’ve never pulled off the 215 in Vegas on my way to work and felt like a rock star for just surviving my commute.
I am adding this picture, above, so my Vegas friends can see what I am talking about. This is typical and by no means, is I t the worst road. When they have a sign that says bump ahead, that’s when you worry, you brace yourself for dear life! This small section, didn’t merit a sign lol.
There are lots of food that you miss when you move away from home. My number one thing I miss is lobster, fresh lobster. I usually have one waiting for me at my parents when I land. Fun Fact, Maritimers eat their lobster cold 99% of the time; my American friends are always surprised by that.
So missing yummy lobster is not weird, but missing Roasted Chicken Chips is a bit weird…right?? First of all, they aren’t that good, lol. I thought these were a Canadian thing, but in all my travels across Canada, I have never found them anywhere else but in the Maritimes; and I have looked.
The weird thing is that when I lived here, I maybe ate them once or twice a year, but now when I visit, they make me happy, lol.
Another snack that I took for granted is Cherry Blossoms! These are good, but when was the last time you bought a Cherry Blossom?? I am bringing a bunch back to Vegas with me for my friends to try. (Ok, full disclosure, I landed back in Vegas yesterday and sadly no Cherry Blossoms survived the almost 7 hour flight time…sorry. I did save the boxes though, lol).
The thing that I miss the most is my family, nothing abnormal there right? But on this trip home, I am realizing how much I miss and appreciate my cousins.
Now if you are of Acadian decent and in your forties or older, chances are that you have lots of cousins; I have 24 first cousins.
Growing up I couldn’t escape them, they were everywhere! I had 3 cousins living next door, 3 cousins living across the street, one cousin living in the apartment below us and my brother and I. That is 9 cousins on the same street! We all went to the same school and we all took the same bus. I always thought we were sort of like the Kennedy’s, but poorer, lol.
Cousins tease you, they boss you around, they bite, they kick you, give you black eyes and they tattletale on you; so they aren’t always your favorite people growing up. But as you mature you come to realize that apart from being pain in the ass they also looked out for you and stood up for you; they were allowed to bully you, but no one else was, lol.
Now that we are all grown, there is something comforting about having such a crazy extended family with lots of cousins. You don’t see all of them that often, but you know they are there, ready to back you up or hold you up when you need them. I love you all!!…ok most of you…jk, all!
This picture above is just a few of my cousins on my dad’s side, all grown up.
Flash back to the 70’s!! Here is the cousin crew on my dad’s side. We have 3 cousins who weren’t born yet, Julien, Katelyn and Curtis.
Here’s a more candid shot, notice my huge smile, even though I am missing teeth, lol. Also, fun fact, my mom had to put makeup on me to hide a black eye given to me by my cousin Sonya, she’s the one right behind me. It was an accident, but I am totally over it…ish, lol.
Ok, I needed to blow this one up to show my missing teeth. I have to admire the fact that teeth or no teeth, I am giving the camera my biggest smile! I am also happy that I grew into my big mouth, lol.
I can’t ignore my cousins on my moms side, here are two of them. If you were an older cousin, you actually made money off the younger cousins by babysitting. My brother and I were Nicole’s cash cows for years! And I made a small fortune babysitting Genevieve and her brother during my high school years.
I hope you enjoyed this fun post. If you live away, what weird thing do you miss most?
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Thanks for reading!! Working on a super fun project, can’t wait to share.