heading to saint john, new brunswick by way of sackville

Thursday, September 29: We checked out of our Airbnb in Halifax this morning which required quite a bit of packing and cleaning up.

We did a quick drive through Truro, known as “The Hub of Nova Scotia” because travelers go through it on the Trans-Canada Highway. It might have been an okay town to explore, but it wasn’t all that fetching from what we could tell.

Sackville, New Brunswick

Sackville was of interest to us because of the waitress from The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse in Halifax. Our waitress had gone to college in Sackville, an idyllic university town with stately homes and ivy-clad university buildings. Mount Allison University, founded in 1839, specializes in liberal arts education at the undergraduate level. It’s small, with a student population of about 2,400.

One of the things we learned in this small town is that when people cross crosswalks, they don’t bother to look to see if any cars are approaching. They just step boldly out into the crosswalk, deep in conversation with their friends, bringing cars driven by clueless Americans to a screeching halt. In the U.S. people generally try to catch a driver’s eye to make sure they’re seen before stepping out into a crosswalk.

We made it through the town without running over anyone and went directly for the Sackville Waterfowl Park.

What could be better than all these things at once: a sprinkling of fall colors, a boardwalk over marshland, a breeze tickling the marsh grasses, and gleaming birch trees? We found all of these at the Sackville Waterfowl Park about halfway between Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Sackville Waterfowl Park has more than 3km (2 mi) of boardwalk and trails through 55 acres of wetlands that are home to some 180 species of birds and 200 species of plants. Throughout the park, viewing areas and interpretive signs reveal the rare waterfowl species that rest here.

At the interpretive center we learned that this area, once part of a vast salt marsh, was dyked and drained by Acadian settlers in the late 1600s to secure land for agriculture. A century later, immigrants from Yorkshire, England expanded drainage to access more farmland.

The park stands at the edge of the upper Bay of Fundy marshes, the largest wetland in Atlantic Canada. Natural wetlands are important water reservoirs, natural purification systems and wildlife habitats. The park was impounded and flooded in 1988.

The trails had some cute names such as Quack Trail, The Birches, Loosestrife Lane, Redwing Way and Minnow Overpass.

It was such a lovely day, it was hard to force ourselves to get in the car to drive another couple of hours to Saint John.

On our way out of town, we stopped at a cute bakery where we bought a few sweets and savories.

Saint John, New Brunswick

We arrived at our Airbnb in Saint John around 4:00. It was an airy and roomy place, the top floor of a large house within a short walk of the downtown. The host’s father rented the bottom floor.

The apartment was actually lived in part-time by the hosts and they efficiently put their stuff away into locked cupboards when guests came to stay.

We enjoyed drinks on the back porch. Then we drove around to look for a grocery store. At Sobey’s we bought some goods to hold us during our four night stay: eggs, grape tomatoes, Fold-it bread, and creamer.

We ate in tonight but I don’t remember what we had. After dinner, we settled in and watched a couple of episodes of Virgin River on their huge flat screen TV.

It was time for us to begin our explorations of the Bay of Fundy.

Steps: 11,198; miles 4.74. Drove 286 miles.