• Tracy Dunn

Staycation in NB

With all the uncertainty of 2020 it was difficult to make plans for vacation this year. All of the restrictions meant our original plans were out the window so we had to come up with a new plan. We had many options in the province of New Brunswick but finally settled on the Acadian coast and Kouchibouquac National Park. Traditionally, we would have went camping with friends however the park was closed and not accepting reservations at the time and the kennel was also closed so we would have to bring our dog, Dallas, with us.

We settled on accommodations at Sejour Kouchibouquac Resort as they allow dogs. We had a one bedroom unit with a small kitchenette in a four unit cabin. The staff was friendly and helpful. There was a BBQ,

lawn chairs and fire pit near the cabin as well as a small playground on site. An added bonus was that it is located just outside the Kouchibouquac National Park (which is where we planned on spending the bulk of our time).

Now that we had a destination in mind, I searched online for other attractions that we might enjoy in the area. To be honest I didn’t find much before we left home but I knew we would take the Acadian Coastal Scenic route and enjoy the adventure. We packed up our bikes and the dog and headed out Monday morning towards Shediac, NB. It was nice to explore without any real agenda for the day.

I had always heard that Parlee Beach was a nice spot but we had never been so we stopped on our way and went for a walk. Dogs are not permitted on the beach so we walked along the trail beside the dune. It was foggy and moist that day so it was not busy, just a few people walking and biking. Most things were closed while we were there but it had a large parking lot, washroom facilities, a playground and places to get food.

We continued north along the Acadian Coastal Drive stopping for lunch in Bouctouche, NB. We debated the many restaurants in the area and finally decided on Pirate de la Mer for fish and poutine. While in Bouctouche, we took note of all they had to offer knowing we would be back for a day trip later in the week. It was a beautiful drive through all the small Acadian villages. It is quite obvious that they are proud of their heritage as you can see all the Acadian flags and the red, white and blue at every turn. We arrived and checked into our cabin by early afternoon.

Kouchibouquac National Park is well known for its bike trails. When it wasn’t raining we took advantage of as many trails as we could. The first day we set out from our cabin and drove to Pijeboogwek where information is set up for this season. From there we set out through Petit-Large, Middle Kouchibouquac, (stopping for a snack on the bridge near Sipu) Patterson for a ride of about 13 km of bike trail. The next day was Canada day (free park entrance) so we drove up to La Source with the car and biked from there to Kellys Beach

to walk out along the boardwalk and back. We also took advantage of the hiking trails: Salt March, Migmag Cedars, Pines and Claire Fountaine. Later that day we biked from our cabin

and back. We also biked out to Patterson and back after supper a couple times. On Friday, we made the longest trip of our journey; from Pijeboogwek past Petit-Large to La Source (where we stopped for a break) on to Middle Kouchibouquac, Patterson, Pijeboogwek and back to our cabin for a total of 18 km. In total, we biked 68 km and hiked 9 km. It was great to explore nature and we felt like we had the park to ourselves.

We took a day-trip to Bouctouche. We were planning on enjoying Le Pays de la Sagouine, however because of Covid, the island was closed and the presentation was in French only. We did have free entrance to the grounds and Walks Alone gave us a brief history of the Acadian people. We will definitely be going back another year. We explored the Irving Arboretum, Eco-Centre: La Dune de Bouctouche and the Rotary Park.

When the pandemic started we were not even sure if we would have a vacation. We really enjoyed staying in a cabin instead of a tent when it was raining. We didn’t spend any money but enjoyed exploring this beautiful side of NB. It turned out that it was one of our most memorable and relaxing vacations.


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