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Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada

By alison - September 13, 2010 (Updated: November 24, 2014)

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Atlantic Canada.
On the Way to Grand Manan

On the Way to Grand Manan

One nice thing about living overseas is being a tourist, when you visit your own home town. While spending the summer on the East coast of Canada, with family and friends, we had the opportunity to take in some of the sights we hadn’t bothered to see when we actually lived there. My favourite of these was Grand Manan.

Grand Manan is the largest Canadian island in the Bay of Fundy. It is technically part of my home province of New Brunswick but it is actually closer to the coast of Maine. The island has a population of about 2500 residents and besides summer tourism, the main industries remain fishing and aquaculture.

They say the journey is more important than the destination. If you enjoy boats than this is true of Grand Manan. You reach the island by one of two ferries that leave from Blacks Harbour, the location of last week’s Photo Friday.

Blacks Harbour

Blacks Harbour
Fishing Boat off the coast of Blacks Harbour

Fishing Boat off the coast of Blacks Harbour

We had a beautiful sunny day for our excursion to Grand Manan and spent the two hour trip on the boat deck. We admired the beautiful Bay of Fundy coastline and were also able to spot some wildlife. The Bay is home to many different varieties of whales and we made numerous sightings from the ferry deck. We also saw porpoises and seals as well as many different sea birds.

Spotting Whales from the ferry

Spotting Whales from the ferry
Knot there yet...

Knot there yet…

It was lunch time when we arrived on Grand Manan, so we stopped at the Back Porch Cafe, for a bite to eat. I enjoyed the perfect lobster-roll, an Atlantic Canadian favourite, which consisted of a plain hotdog bun, one leaf of lettuce, a mountain of lobster meat and just enough mayo to hold it all together. Perfection.

Lunch break

Lunch break
The Perfect Lobster Roll

The Perfect Lobster Roll

After lunch we set off to explore the island. Grand Manan is only 34km long and 18 Km wide, so it doesn’t take long to explore by car. Another popular option is to walk on to the ferry and rent bikes on the island.

The main sights on Grand Manan are the beaches, rocky cliffs and the lighthouses. It’s a haven for artists, bird-watchers and hikers. We visited two of the most famous lighthouses, Swallowtail Light and Southwest Head light. There are great coast views from both points.

Swallowtail Light, Grand Manan

Swallowtail Light, Grand Manan
Dark Harbour, Grand Manan

Dark Harbour, Grand Manan
Southwest Head, Grand Manan

Southwest Head, Grand Manan
Southwest Head Lighthouse

Southwest Head Lighthouse

Our ferry ride back to the mainland was as enjoyable as our earlier trip. We set off just as the sun was beginning to set. Once again we saw whales and porpoises not far from the ferry.

Enjoying the ferry ride

Enjoying the ferry ride
Whale watching at sunset

Whale watching at sunset
Sunset over Grand Manan

Sunset over Grand Manan
Sunset over Swallowtail Light, Grand Manan

Sunset over Swallowtail Light, Grand Manan

I’d like to visit Grand Manan again sometime and perhaps stay longer in one of the many B&Bs on the island.

A day trip by car costs – $32.55 plus $10.90 per passenger. You only pay when you leave the island and reservations are recommended. For a full listing of the fares visit the Coastal Transport website.

Have you been to Grand Manan? Leave your experiences and comments below.

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison
Cheese + Goats = My personal heaven. We discover an oasis in the cheese desert. https://t.co/Os8U86UEiX - 5 days ago

24 comments

  1. Comment by Amy

    Amy September 13, 2010 at 20:20

    Oh so beautiful! This really makes me want to visit the east coast of Canada.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison September 14, 2010 at 09:54

      Thanks Amy! I think you’d love it there.

  2. Comment by Tez

    Tez September 14, 2010 at 11:07

    Stunning photos, Al! Makes me want to take Phill to Eastern Canada even more than I wanted to before. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison September 14, 2010 at 11:21

      Thanks Tez! Drag that boy over there ASAP! 🙂

  3. Comment by Louise

    Louise September 14, 2010 at 12:24

    I haven’t been to Canada at all but you surely make me want to go. As always awesome photos that make me dream…

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison September 14, 2010 at 12:43

      Thanks Louise! It’s a beautiful place to visit in summer and autumn… just try to avoid the winter 🙂

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  5. Comment by Elizabeth Osta

    Elizabeth Osta September 16, 2010 at 18:32

    My husband and I have just returned from Grand Manan and you’ve captured it well in your description. We were on the Island for five days and stayed at the historic Whale Cove Cottages with Laura Buckley. Her meals are far and away some of the best we’ve ever had. We thoroughly enjoyed the Museum and learning about the fishing industry, the herring weirs which dot the perimeter of the island which is the main source of income. We also heard a talk given by a marine expert from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her research on lobsters, another mainstay of the Island fisherman. We enjoyed one overnight and a dinner at Shorecrest Inn, a simple, unadorned sanctuary. There is much to learn about the people of Grand Manan and the people of White Head Island. Whales abound and earlier in the season the puffins are in plenty. A most desirable vacation away from it all.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison September 21, 2010 at 09:59

      Sounds like you had a fabulous visit! I’ll have to keep some of these places in mind if I make it back there next summer!

  6. Comment by Sandy Snyder

    Sandy Snyder September 19, 2010 at 22:37

    We spent a week on Grand Manan last fall. A part of my heart will remain there always.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison September 21, 2010 at 09:58

      I’m glad you enjoyed it too! I’d love to go back and spend more than just a day.

  7. Comment by Nancie

    Nancie November 16, 2010 at 10:22

    I’m from Halifax, so I’ve seen a lot of beautiful place in Atlantic Canada. I’ve never been to Grand Manan. After seeing your beautiful photos I’ll have to make a point of visiting next time I am home.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison November 18, 2010 at 10:15

      It’s definitely worth a day trip Nancie!

  8. Comment by Sophie

    Sophie November 16, 2010 at 12:55

    I really like Atlantic Canada, but never heard of this island. Sounds lovely.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison November 18, 2010 at 10:16

      It is lovely! Thanks for commenting Sophie 🙂

  9. Comment by wandering educators

    wandering educators November 16, 2010 at 15:32

    WOW – i can’t WAIT to go. what an incredibly beautiful place – thanks so much for sharing!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison November 18, 2010 at 10:16

      You’re very welcome. I hope you get to visit someday!

  10. Comment by ayngelina

    ayngelina November 17, 2010 at 14:29

    Oh my I grew up on the other side of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia and I had no idea this was in New Brunswick.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison November 18, 2010 at 10:16

      It’s not very well known but that’s one of the things that makes it special 🙂

  11. Comment by Gery

    Gery May 26, 2011 at 19:08

    My wife and I “found” Grand Manan in 1990 and couldn’t help but return twice a year every year until 1999 when we decided not to make the trip back to the USA again. That year we moved permanently to our fantasy island and have rarely left since. We qualified for permanent Canadian residency by starting a small business, became citizens four years later, and are now retired. We are enjoying our senior years in both summer and winter with some of the finest people in the world. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 27, 2011 at 09:31

      That’s great Gery! I love hearing about folks who adopt my home country and Grand Manan seems like a special place to live 🙂

  12. Comment by Melanie Small

    Melanie Small May 27, 2011 at 00:45

    Hi Alison! I live here on Grand Manan…so glad that you liked our little island! I really loved your photos – such vivid colour and detail! May I ask what kind of camera you use? I’m planning on getting a new camera someday (soon,I hope!) and would appreciate some input. Thanks….and thanks for visiting Grand Manan! I hope you make it back here some time!…and stay longer!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison May 27, 2011 at 08:27

      Hi Melanie! Thanks so much for stopping by CheeseWeb and for your kind comments on my photos. Right now I am shooting with a Nikon D300s and I love it. I have a few few different lenses but most of the Grand Manan shots were taken with an 18-200mm zoom. We’d love to spend more time on your beautiful island… maybe this summer when we visit NB again 🙂

  13. Comment by Hayley

    Hayley July 22, 2011 at 15:55

    Wonderful photos of my home!!! I now live an hour south of Chicago and I miss my island every single day! I am so glad you enjoyed it =)

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