Your Travel Wish List Should Include…

I ran into a young man from California last fall while walking around the old Loyalist burial ground in Saint John, New Brunswick. I was taking photos for my story On The Trail of Loyalists. He had come ashore from a cruise ship and was looking around, not sure what to do.

He asked me if I was from Saint John, and what he should see while he was in port.  I took a deep breath and exhaled. It was a big question to answer.

“It depends on what you like.” I replied, “The place is full of historical locations, hiking, parks, the reversing falls is lovely. It is a foodie heaven, art, music,  beer.” He was undecided. He said he only had till 7 pm, then he had to be on board to sail to the next destination. He just wanted to check New Brunswick off his list.

I pursed my lips, thought for a second and responded, “Forget the history, you are in Saint John, the oldest incorporated city in Canada, that is as much as you need to know. Go to reversing falls, take some pictures, then head to a pub. Listen to music, meet some locals, drink some Moosehead beer and let the dead rest. You’ll feel their spirit when you dance.” I pointed him to a pub I was familiar with. He smiled, thanked me and headed in the direction I sent him.  I hope he made it back on board his ship before it weighed anchor.

window of the Big Tide brew house pub Saint John
Enjoying a pint at the Big Tide brew house pub in downtown Saint John

It saddens me to think his short time in port qualified as a “New Brunswick  – been there, done that,” but to many people, that is what travel is. There is a fine line I often straddle, between seeing a place from its origins and seeing it from its dance floor. A person can appreciate a town from both. When time is a limiting factor, the question you need to ask yourself is: what is going to give me the best memories? His seven hours in port could lead to a lifetime of fond reminiscing.

Tomorrow I will be going to Saint John for two days. The first day is pleasure — I will be visiting points of interest I have missed on previous trips. The second day is appointments. I hope to check a few places off my list, but bringing back memories to share is my most important goal.

Cheers and Happy Travels from Maritime Mac

Me beside block house Fort Howe Saint John
Me beside block house Fort Howe Saint John

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40 thoughts on “Your Travel Wish List Should Include…

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      1. That’s so true Kelly! Tourist Trap City! The two cruises were nice but not sure I’d spend the money on it again as the crowding is insane on those mega ships. Maybe you and I can go sometime haha! I’m as single as they come. 😬

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  1. Guilty as charged for this Californian boy, too – when we were making our way up to Moncton, we pretty much tore straight up Hwy 1 with minimal glances either way. We did stop in St. John to wander the city market, listen to some buskers and prop ourselves up with ice cream and a bag of dulse to munch on along our way further north. But we had a tidal bore to catch (oh, these things we rush through life for!) and promised, “next time.” I do wish we’d spent more time there…

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  2. We had an overnight in St John in October and struggled with the same puzzle. We did see the reversing falls – impressive – and found a pub – pretty good – but the most interesting part after that was talking with our B&B owners (immigrants from India) about their experiences – fascinating ! Looking forward to hearing about your visit.

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  3. At least he had the good fortune to see you and ask for recommendations! It’s so difficult for me to answer that visitor’s question too for those who have time constraints. Your answer is such a brilliant challenge to keep in mind not only as a response but also a reminder to myself while exploring.

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  4. Yes! Memories that we carry from a place are true treasures. A jam-packed trip is never enjoyable and it also depends on what you like…nature walk, photography museums or good food. 🙂 Company also matters.

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    1. Thank you so much. There is a lot see in Saint John I am working on a second part to this story. Thanks for stopping by I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well. , glad you like the photos.

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  5. The cruise ships seem to be causing all sorts of problems at the more popular places on everyone’s ‘bucket lists’. Seems as though so many spots are being loved to death. A pity, really, when all you’re doing is checking them off on some elusive brag list.

    I still have fond memories of my one and only trip to Nova Scotia back in 1979 when I traveled from California straight up into Canada and then clear across, over to Gaspe and south to Nova Scotia before taking the ferry to Bar Harbor then visiting family in Boston. I think I heard that ferry is no longer running. It was much better than any cruise ship. I remember a couple playing fiddles as the sun set as we sailed.

    I had hoped to do more exploring in Nova Scotia, but I camped the first night and my Husky had a close encounter with a porcupine. I ended up searching for a vet and ultimately had to borrow a pair of pliers at a gas station and pull the quills out myself. It was definitely an adventure. One I’ve never forgotten (obviously!) I would have loved to spend more time there, but time was running short. (Though way better than what they allow for the cruise passengers.)

    Cheers from the Left Coast! 😀

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    1. Thanks you Gunta for your lovely reply. Lots of people want pampering and luxury when on vacation so cruises fit their style, Sightseeing is second and getting to know a place second priority.
      That was an amazing long journey you had back in the day. I have done a few of those long drives myself. I am glad you have fond memories of NS. That is the difference between being a traveler and being a tourist. How you view and remember you trip in the years that follow it. Glad you stopped by and please do again. I will be sure to check your site as well. Cheer back

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