If vacation relaxation is on your agenda, you’ll love Atlantic Canada’s New Brunswick. You can play or lounge on the pretty white-sand beaches, eat fresh seafood just pulled from the sea, watch breaching whales, and boat past the world’s highest tides at the Bay of Fundy. You can also practice your French and learn about this small province’s colorful Acadian culture. While you’re enjoying all that, you’ll want to stay at some of New Brunswick’s most luxurious, unusual, and inviting resorts, hotels, inns, and camping-with-a-twist lodgings — some an adventure on their own. Here are the not-to-be missed places to lay your head.
Teardrop, Fundy National Park
Campers are always pleasantly surprised when they show up at their reserved site at Fundy National Park along the famed Bay of Fundy to find a Teardrop dwelling. Parks Canada is experimenting with a number of unique and unusual structures to make camping more fun, stylish, and comfortable. The Teardrop, or Goutte d’ Ô in French — a bright blue water droplet-shaped modern take on the cabin — is one of those. The cozy designer structure has windows so you can fall asleep gazing at the stars, plus a sofa-bed, cabinets, and storage box inside. There’s also a rope ladder leading to a hammock loft nook. Other options are spherical cocoon tents suspended in trees with ocean views, while others are tiny houses on wheels. Not surprisingly, some campers confuse them with public art at first. No need to pitch a tent, either, just show up and explore.
Inn at Whale Cove Cottages, Grand Manan
Grand Manan Island looks like a postcard with its emerald cliffs plunging to the sea with a lone lighthouse winking above. Step into the scene at the Inn at Whale Cove Cottages in North Head Village. Resembling Cape Cod cottages, these are five traditional, wood-shingle bungalows with claw-foot tubs, antiques, fireplaces, and decks right on Whale Cove, in addition to the main 1816 guesthouse. The place is about rustic comfort, hearty home cooking — oatmeal bread, seafood risotto, walnut brownies — and big views. Comb the library for a good novel, then curl into a Shaker chair in the living room by the fireplace and succumb to slow-paced island life. Hike, kayak, whale-watch, beachcomb, and hunt for local arts and crafts nearby. Grand Manan is the largest of the Fundy Islands, just a stone’s throw from Maine, and American writer Willa Cather once owned one of the cottages, named after her.
Hotel Paulin, near Grande-Anse
In Caraquet, waterfront Hotel Paulin is an immaculate 1891 boutique property still run by the Paulin family. It’s set on the Bay of Chaleur near the dramatic red cliffs of Grande-Anse on the Acadian Peninsula — some say, Atlantic Canada’s most scenic shore. Stay in one of five plush Victorian-style suites and enjoy the ocean vistas. All the top travel critics have praised this country inn for its handsome, historical brick facade, Old World French charm, and luxe-yet-inviting ambiance. Get a spa treatment, enjoy musical entertainment in the piano room, and learn about 1700s history in the nearby Acadian replica village. Don’t miss the innovative cuisine in the fine dining restaurant.
Maison Tait House, Shediac
You’ll want to see pretty Shediac on the eastern shore near Moncton, known for its lobster, charming Acadian village, and warm, saltwater beaches. A luxe stay at downtown country inn Maison Tait House will push the experience over the top. Take up residence in one of nine elegant rooms with fireplaces and canopy beds in this 1911 former mansion of a wealthy merchant. After a day on the shore, relax in the soaker tub, then take your time over a multi-course gourmet meal. There’s roast duck, but you’ll want to try the succulent lobster, expertly prepared. Unwind over a nightcap in the landmark’s lounge among ornate wood detailing and turn-of-the-century flourishes.
Algonquin Resort, St. Andrews-By-The-Sea
Algonquin Resort is a grand, large, old-style retreat on the coast set in lovely, maritime St. Andrews-By-The-Sea. If you dream of “Downton Abbey,” this is your place. In Tudor Revival style, the architectural icon is the most-photographed building in New Brunswick. Expect crystal chandeliers, princess-style beds, white linen, fine china, galas, great rooms, and white-glove service. Not surprisingly, royalty have stayed here and still do. The glassed-in indoor pool is a delight in winter. Otherwise, you’ll want to stroll the sugary beach barefoot, golf, play tennis, lounge by the outdoor pool, and sip drinks by the firepit.
Treehouse camping, Miramichi
If you always wanted a tree fort when you were a kid, now’s your chance. Overnight in one of Camping Miramichi’s 12 treehouses. The Cornell family runs this ultra-tidy, friendly campground on 200 acres in Miramichi on Black River. Wooden treehouses high up in the pines, maple, and birch sleep four to seven people. They are basic, but sturdy and comfy, with bunks and beds. Some have electricity, bathrooms, firepits, and spacious decks, too. Look out for moose, hike, cycle, geocache, swim in the pool, and angle in the river in this area renowned for its fly fishing.
Get ready for your vacation at the Tourism New Brunswick website.