There are numerous reasons why I booked a room for a month in Rothesay -- its proximity to water, green space and a small historic city. Time-wise, I needed a few weeks to get bike miles in, work a bit, catch up on emails, and start travel planning for early fall. This is my one stop before I begin camping along the Acadian Coast, and take myself away from the "to do list" till mid-August. Somehow it's been two weeks already, but I'm making progress all the way around! My only challenges have been weather (too many rainy days), and I need to burrow in & out of the house.
A Little History
Loyalists received land grants in Rothesay as early as 1790. It then developed as a shipbuilding center, but it wasn't until the early 1850's that the European and North American Railway opened it up as a residential area for the nearby city of Saint John. Located on the eastern side of the Kennebecasis River, it was first known as Kennebeccasis Bay, then renamed in honor of the Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothesay, after his visit in 1860. Today, Rothesay is a community of summer residents, commuters and retirees, with one of the top 5 richest neighborhoods in New Brunswick. Billionaire James K. Irving and family reside here (yes, Irving Oil).
So Much To Do
When I'm not hobnobbing at the country club (ha ha!), I am thoroughly enjoying the views -- every morning at the window with a cup of coffee in hand, and late evenings for stunning sunsets. I'm literally living at the riverfront with two waterfront parks within walking distance. Cycling takes me along Rothesay Road east along the Kennebeccasis most of the way, then to the Gondola Point Ferry in Quispamsis. Rockwood Park in Saint John, just 8 miles west, has become a favorite spot already, with multiple lakes and nearly 35 miles of walking trails (can I do them all?). And, while I've spent an afternoon in historic uptown Saint John, I must return.
Next update before I roll on July 15th!
On June 10th, I rolled from Calais, Maine into the border town of St. Stephen, New Brunswick. This particular location was well-chosen as my "get it together" spot, as you can easily cross-over for whatever reason. In fact, I chose to do so after a few days to fill my gas tank, get an oil change, and buy groceries. Even with the exchange rate in my favor, food and fuel seem crazy expensive to me in Canada!
While I was busy task-mastering myself, I did get to bike about town, walk along the riverfront, and enjoy dinner with my Airbnb host, her precocious six-year old, and a few friends. St. Stephen (population 4,400+) was once a major lumbering and shipbuilding center, and is still home to Canada's oldest family-owned chocolate company (c.1873), Ganong. It's a very low-key small town where people of all ages always say "hello" to you. When exchanging money, I had a 15-minute conversation with the teller about her family's favorite camping spot in New Brunswick, then left wondering when that ever happens at a bank.
When crossing the border, the officers in both directions asked me why I was spending two months in New Brunswick. They got the short answer -- it's my favorite Maritime province, and it is. I love that it's officially bilingual, and I can read everything in English and French. I love the coastline from the Bay of Chaleur to the Bay of Fundy, as well as the mountains. And I love the slower pace, even in the cities, partly due to the fact that New Brunswick is more than 28,000 square miles, with just 760,000 people.
So, let me admit right now, that my dream is to live south in the US of A for six months (and be warm), then mosey my way to and from New Brunswick for three or four. Dreaming is good.
RETREAT (v): to recede from a position or state attained
(n): a period of group withdrawal
Following the longest, most stressful month of May ever, I did indeed "retreat" for a week. While the calendar reads June, evening temps are still in the '40s, so I was lucky to find an affordable, comfortable AirBnB in the western portion of the White Mountain National Forest. My homestead in Benton NH, shared with a lovely lady named Marguerite, is just a half-mile down the road from the Black Mountain Trail, and 15 miles to the still quaint town of North Woodstock. A great pick!
Besides pampering myself every morning with a book & a cup of coffee, I hiked and biked, picnicked at the summit and by the river, and did some travel planning. In just one week, enough sleep, lots of fresh air, good food, plenty of exercise, and mother nature transformed me from an exhausted, dysfunctional being to a strong, healthy one. Yesterday, I drove across NH and Maine, and I'm now starting my summer in New Brunswick. Je suis heureuse.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover