The first time I visited Fredericton, I was only there for 1 day. I was doing a road trip around the East Coast and because I only had about a week out there (not enough time, I soon learned!) my visit was limited to walking around the downtown and not much else. Nevertheless, Fredericton did leave a good impression on me all those years ago, so I was happy to return for a longer visit this summer.
Since Sam’s parents live there, we had a nice place to stay in the downtown area, and they also gave us lots of cool tips on places to visit and activities to check out. Here’s a look at a few of the highlights from our summer visit:
Kayaking on the St. John River
Kayaking was one of the funnest things I did in Fredericton. The St. John River which runs through the city is quite calm, so I felt very confident going out on the water without a guide. Sam and I headed down to Second Nature Outdoors at the Small Craft Aquatic Center and met with Andrew who got us all geared up and ready to go. He recommended some cool areas where we could go kayaking, so we followed his tips and decided to head up a little side stream shaded by trees. Nature at its finest!
If you’re passing through Fredericton in the summertime, I highly recommend you try it. It’s such a relaxing way to soak in nature, plus the kayak rentals are really affordable at $12/hr! If you’re not a kayaker, there are all sorts of other activities you can try out on the water like canoeing and stand up paddleboarding.
Biking the Nashwaak Trail
Sam’s dad is really into biking, so one morning he and Sam invited me to come out for a bike ride on the Nashwaak Trail. What I failed to ask was how long we’d be gone… Two and a half hours later my knees were burning as we made our way back home. I may not have been able to walk for the rest of the day, but I did get to see all kinds of wildlife – a great blue heron, a beaver, and even a cute chipmunk – and even though my fitness levels were tested to the limit, I have to admit that I really enjoyed biking across farmlands, over bridges, and through thick forests.
Attending the Highland Games
It was soon after arriving in Fredericton that someone mentioned the New Brunswick Highland Games would be taking place over the weekend. Highland dancing, bagpipes, kilts? I was in!
Things kicked off with a Kilted Run (a 5 kilometre run in kilts!), but the most impressive part was watching the Heavy Events take place. Some of the events included the caber toss, the ancient stone throw, and the weight toss for height. Some serious showmanship took place.
Aside from the heavy events there were all kinds of workshops happening over the weekend. I decided to sit in during the 1 hour intro to Gaelic, which I now believe is the hardest language I’ve ever attempted studying – yes, even harder than German! Some words appeared to have silent letters, others had letters that made sounds completely different from those found in the English language – it just made no sense to me! I do remember Fàilte = welcome, Sláinte = cheers, and is mise Audrey = my name is Audrey. But that’s it. Let’s just say I wont’ be speaking Gaelic anytime soon.
First let me start off by saying that this place has nothing to do with Game of Thrones! I had people commenting about GOT characters as I was posting photos on Instagram, and I was so confused…apparently I’m out of the loop when it comes to popular television.
King’s Landing is a small historical settlement located about a 45 minute drive from Fredericton, and it’s a cool way to travel back through time and see what life was like in New Brunswick during the 1800s. I really enjoyed it because you’re not just walking through historical buildings, but you’re also meeting people who are playing characters from that time period.
My favourite part of the visit was attending a temperance meeting. The Canada Temperance Act was a hot topic back in 1878 and it allowed certain municipalities to opt in to a prohibitionary scheme – basically, no booze! At King’s Landing they reenacted a temperance rally, and we were invited to drink lemonade and sign petitions against the “Demon Rum”. We also sang songs, which went something along the lines of “lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine!” (You’ll be able to see a clip of it in the video located at the end of this post.)
Going on a Haunted Walk after dark
If you find yourself in Fredericton during the summer months and are looking for a unique look at the city’s history, I would suggest going on a Haunted Hike of the town. The tour is run by a theatre troupe known as the Calithumpians and they put on such a good show! We set out just after 9 p.m. as it was starting to get dark out, and met various ghostly characters along the way. We even stopped at the Old Burial Ground which dates back to 1787! It was a fun way to spend the evening, and a few families even came with their young children, so you know it’s not that spooky.
And lastly, here’s a little video that Sam and I filmed during our visit to Fredericton:
Have you been to Fredericton or somewhere in the Maritimes?
What was it like?