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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 – $35.80 plus $12.00 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.