We visited this little jewel of an island in New Brunswick called Grand Manan.
We left Ottawa at 5am on Monday morning. Why 5 am you ask? Well, this little island has a ferry to it and this time of year they only run one boat. So I was trying to get the 5:30pm ferry so that we didn’t have to wait until the 9pm ferry. An 11 hour drive followed by a 3.5 hour wait was not something that I wanted to do. So we woke up the kids at 4:30, double checked how many hours we would take to get there, figured we were good and off we went. Quick in and out stops, making it through Montreal without yelling at each other, and by lunch time I decided to turn on my phone maps and see when we would get there. It said 5:30. Well, that didn’t make sense since I had scheduled the day to get there at 4:30! I was incredibly frustrated to see that we had lost an hour somewhere. I couldn’t figure it out. The ferry recommended that you be there 45 min early. They also recommended making a reservation, but I didn’t want to do that until I knew we were going to make it. After actually counting the hours out on my fingers several times it occurred to me. Um, Jen, there’s a time difference in New Brunswick. Oh man. Around 3 Michael asked me to take over driving. So once he was asleep I took advantage of the 110 speed limit and made up 10 min:) We called when we were an hour away to make a reservation, but they weren’t taking anymore! They were full! But she said we could go in the standby lane. So we didn’t ask the kids if they were hungry or had to go to the bathroom and the gas tank light was on by the time we got there at 5:19. We parked in that lane and waited. There was a whole lane of standby ahead of us. Just as we pulled up, the man stopped us and asked us to wait until he saw if there was any room left. At this point Emma yelled, “I’ve been praying, who’s turn is it now??” After a most intense couple of minutes, he waved us on and we all yelled!! They only let on three cars after us. I think this will be a memorable part of our trip:)
Our best attempts at selfies on the ferry!
Once we got to the island, after all feeling kind of sick on the boat – I think it was more just that we were tired and hungry and it was too cold to go outside – we went to our hotel, the Marathon Inn. It was quaint and antiquey with a brand new bathroom, the perfect combination. Emma didn’t like it because she thought it was “too old-fashioned” but she survived. The floors creaked and it had a narrow staircase and I loved it.
The next morning we got up and started to explore the island. We started off with a walk on the beach, one of my favourite ways to start a day.
Then we went to this little park called Hole-in-the-wall park where you had to let yourself into the attendants station and use their phone to call someone to let you in:) This park may be one of my favourite places on earth to date. It was the perfect combination of an island, a perfect day, and great company:) We went hiking for about an hour and a half here and it was absolutely gorgeous. We walked on trails that went right on the cliffs and the kids weren’t scared at all! If you remember my hiking experience with my brother in Alberta this year, then you’ll know that this wasn’t scary for me at all now:) I did have some motherly moments of asking Michael if he thought it was ok for the kids in certain spots but they loved every second. I had to keep laughing because they wanted to lead the way, but every time they would come to hard spot, or slippery spot, or something was sticking out, they would yell back, “be careful here mom!” It was quite ridiculous:) But I loved it.
Can you see the little people here? It was high up!
Hard to tell here, but this is Emma’s face looking way, way down! I adore this picture!
Most beautiful picnic ever!
Then we drove just about 2 minutes and went to a lighthouse. More hiking and stairs and gorgeous views.
After this we went for a little drive on the island, saw a heritage site with herring smoking buildings and went for a walk on the beach, collecting more things for Emma’s ever-growing collection of beach things. After that we had about an hour before we wanted to be back at the reserved-not-late-for ferry, so we stopped at this tiny island museum and gift shop. It was only the size of a house, but it was pretty cool and finally explained to us what all those circles of poles with nets on them were and how they worked:)
The ferry ride back was absolutely gorgeous since it was a late afternoon, sunny ride and we were better dressed for it. We stayed outside the whole time and the kids even saw a dolphin. I soaked up the sun with a nap on the bench and renewed my glasses tan.
I had never heard of this island before I started planning this trip, but I’m glad I came across it! We had the best time exploring this little jewel.