Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Snapshots of Saint John, New Brunswick // Cruise // July 2013

Hello everyone!

We're moving into/settling into our new place, so I apologize for the lack of posting. But I thought I ought to get to our cruise pictures before we get too far away from the time we went... I don't have the best track record for that.. :)


(photo cred to KC!)
So we left Boston and got onto our boat (I'll post boat pictures later on) and spent a night and a day at sea before we ported in Saint John.


We ate an early breakfast and got off the boat as quickly as we could so we wouldn't miss anything. We walked into the cruise port building and the people welcomed us ashore with pins for the men, roses for the women and Canadian flags for the kiddos. That was a sweet welcome! :) The weather was a welcome in and of itself, it hovered between 65 and 80 F! SOO much better than the 90-100 F that we had at home!


We booked a short excursion so we could make it out to the Reversing Rapids and still have time to enjoy the city. We left the building and got on our trolley (Tilley) for a tour of the town, stopping at the rapids.


We stopped at the rapids for only ten minutes, but it was the most beautiful sight! The sky and water was foggy and gray, the grass was so green and filled with wildflowers. The river was gorgeous and the rapids were so intense (class 6)! I wanted to stay there all day! However, the fog would have cleared and it would have looked a little less magical with the Brewery tanks across the water... :)

We got back on the trolley and made our way through town. Our tour guide was really cute, she told us a bunch of quirky little stories about the history of Saint John and different cultural points. Gas there was $5.40 a gallon! WHEW! Also, lobster used to be food that only poor people ate. Kids would go to school and hide to eat their lobster because they didn't want to be made fun of! Now it's one of the most popular expensive dishes that you can get! Although  she did say that "nothing is sacred at McDonald's" because they serve a McLobster there. :) 


Our trolley tour ended at the top of the Old City Market, my new favorite place... ever. We walked into the market and were immediately enchanted by the place in front of us, so filled with life! There were so many things to see, smell, taste and hear. The shopping was also magnificent! I bought so many wonderful souvenirs in the market! Especially at a stall called The Butcher's Daughter. She sold local crafts and jewelry and I was in love! I was in heaven when I realized that there was no end to the whale and mermaid items! There were also many other artisans, we bought a cute watercolor painting of a lighthouse and a whale tail that is also a fun souvenir addition. 

Another big plus was that ALL of the people continued to be very friendly, very helpful and genuinely interested in our story. We even got a compliment on being "intelligent" .. which is just kind of funny. But I suppose the typical "cruise crowd" is not always the most culturally aware... ;)

We tried the coffee at Java Moose (how cute is that?!), the gelato and stocked up on plenty of souvenirs for ourselves and our families.


After we shopped and explored we sat down to lunch at Billy's Seafood Company. The food was incredible! I had crab cakes and a delicious salad and Kyle had fried clam strips and fries. It was all AMAZING! I love seafood, so it was great to have it that fresh and expertly cooked!

Once we'd ate our fill, we paid and walked back through the market and down the escalators to the newer shopping center (Brunswick Square Shopping Centre), where we didn't explore more than the floor we were on, since the stores were mostly chains and that wasn't the type of shopping we wanted to do. We did find an adorable knitting store though! I didn't buy a gorgeous pair of mittens they had, but I might order them online when winter is getting closer, because I can't get them out of my head! 


At the end of the shopping center is skyway that takes you to another sort of shopping center that also houses a fountain, the New Brunswick Museum and the most adorable library I've ever seen. I'd gone straight from mermaid/whale heaven to book heaven. It was a great day my friends!


We visited a few shops and ended up in the museum gift shop which was incredible! So many great finds there (including MORE whale things!), we had plenty of time so we decided to go into the museum itself for a quick walk through. We didn't have time to read every exhibit's information or to take in all there was to see, but we definitely enjoyed it! The first level was a lot about ship building, sailing etc. since we were in the maritimes. 


The second level was natural sciences including lots of (you guessed it!) WHALES! I had the best time staring up at the models and skeletons, marveling at the size of those magnificent creatures! 


I learned a lot and also identified the strange creature that I'd seen flailing around in the water from the ship window. Everyone, meet the ocean sunfish. Strange looking thing huh? They can grow to be up to thirteen feet in length and swim on their sides. They are the largest bony fish in the world. Crazy.


The third level featured some fantastic Canadian art. I loved seeing all of the beautiful carvings and paintings. My three favorite (left to right) were 9 O'Clock by Dennis Burton, Italian Symphony by Peggy Smith and First Dance/Last Dance by John Hooper. 


After we left the museum we stopped upon a cart that was selling these pastries called Beaver Tails, which were basically fried dough topped with various fillings. Kyle got one that was topped with Nutella, Reese's Pieces and Peanut Butter. He let me try a few bites and it was really pretty good! 


We walked through a few more shops and saw this fun mermaid in the window of one!


After the other shops we walked back to our ship (gigantic isn't it!?) where we shopped more in the booths at the pier. I found a great pair of pearl earrings.. that weren't all that expensive. Once again I should have stocked up on the inexpensive Canadian pearls! 

So I'm sure you can understand why Saint John stole my heart; gorgeous scenery, beautiful weather, whales, mermaids, books, lots of culture. Oh, I could go on and on.

I would definitely love to go back and explore even more someday. 

Add Saint John to your travel list ASAP!

Up next: Snapshots of Halifax & Peggy's Cove

Have you ever been to Saint John? 

Where have you had the best vacation shopping?

All for now,

Alexandra

54 comments:

  1. That beaver tail looks diviiiine! I've never been to Boston, but I've heard so many great things about it. One day! :)

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  2. It was yummy! Got to love Canadian cuisine! :)

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  3. Gorgeous photos!! Googling Saint John, New Brunswick now. :)

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  4. Thank you! We had the BEST time! I hope you get to see it someday soon! :) -Alexandra

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  5. Hello,
    I get such a kick out of seeing my city & beautiful market through the eyes of others. So happy you enjoyed your visit :) Hope you don't mind, I shared on the shoppe's facebook page. Here's a link to copy/paste: https://www.facebook.com/TheButchersDaughterGiftShoppe

    It was lovely meeting you both, and thanks so much for your kind words!

    Cheers,
    Cindy a.k.a. The Butcher's Daughter ;)

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    1. Cindy: Thank you so much for sharing my little post... it really and truly made my day! (or maybe season!?) hoping that we make it to visit you again in the future for a much longer and extensive trip! -Alexandra

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  6. A great post!! So glad you enjoyed our fine city!! Please do come again!! FYI, the woman that looks after the gift shop in the Museum and is responsible acquiring all the lovely gift items for sale, is the daughter of Mr. Hooper who carved the wonderful carving you enjoyed so much of the "First Dance". I thought you may enjoy that bit of trivia. Thank you for sharing your very enjoyable blog and Thank you to the Butcher Daughter for posting it for the people of Saint John to read!

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    1. Wow Sharon, I've lived here, in Saint John, my whole life, frequent the Butcher's Daughter stall often, and didn't even know that tidbit of trivia, myself!

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    2. Sharon: thank you for the trivia piece about Mr. Hooper and his daughter! Such a wonderful fact to know! Thank you for reading my little post :)

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  7. thanks for all the beautiful thing said about our city .... having lived in a big city(Montréal) for 13 years and moving back to New Brunswick to raise my son I will admit that the maritimers are by far the nicest people in Canada(being very objective here eheh). Hope you will come back and visit the whole province there is so much more to see....like Cape Enragé, Hopewell Rocks(Bay of Fundy), Le pays de la Sagouine, Le Village Acadien, Magnetic Hill.....So much more to see.........

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    1. Linda: I can't wait to explore more extensively through the whole region! Thank you for the specific list.. I promise that it will be taken into account!! :) Thank you for reading!

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  8. This is so lovely. As a native Saint Johner who has lived several places in the States and Asia, it is delightful to see a visitor's point of view on my amazing city! My favorite place ever is the City Market, as well.
    P.S. I am absolutely thrilled to see you spell out the "Saint" and not abbreviate it; seeing "St. John" is a pet peeve of many locals.

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    1. Terra: Thank you for your kind words! We so loved Saint John! I understand about the pet peeve. I make as much as an effort as I can to pick up on things like that.. no one likes to realize they were being silly after the fact! :)

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  9. Loved coming across this view of my city! So happy you enjoyed yourselves!

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    1. Thank you for your comment! We loved Saint John so!

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  10. Seeing this blog post about Saint John melts my heart and makes me homesick! My family and I moved from NB to Alberta, and miss it terribly! SO glad you had a great time in Saint John :)

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    1. Thank you for your comment and for reading this post! What a wonderful place to live I'm sure! :)

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  11. Alexandra! Love your posts, well done! Please come back and bring more friend and family :D

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    1. Gary: Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words! I promise that we will be back! :)

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  12. You did a wonderful job of detailing Saint John! That's where I'm from, though now in Calgary, and I'm so impressed with your recap that it really makes me miss home. Thank you so much for all the kinds words about the area, I hope you have a chance to explore it again soon.

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    1. Elizabeth: Thank you for reading this little post and for your sweet words. We loved Saint John so much that we will certainly re-visit for a longer and more expansive trip! Thank you again for reading!

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  13. I loved this post. I was born and raised in Saint John. It was so nice to read from the perspective of a visitor. Thanks!

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    1. Jeni: What a wonderful place to grow up! Thank you so much for reading and for your sweet words!

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  14. So happy you enjoyed our great city........I have lived here my entire life and cannot imagine living elsewhere. I chuckled when I read the part about the fog making the landscape at the falls beautiful, I always feel bad for the cruise ship people when it is foggy.......now I know it adds to the splendor. Come back and see us anytime..........we love having you all.

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    1. Pat: What a wonderful place to live! Thank you for reading and your comment. I certainly loved the fog! So know that at least some of the visitors find it breathtaking. (granted we are VERY landlocked in KS and rarely have fog! Though sometimes around the rivers and lakes we do..) Definitely coming back to visit again, and for much longer!

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  15. What a wonderful post you made of our beautiful city! Saint John, NB, to me is the most beautiful place in the world and reading your kind words made me believe that I was not wrong in always thinking that. I am very glad that you and your husband enjoyed your time here. You must return and spend more time with us as there is so much more for you to see and do. You could even go out whale watching if you had more time. :) Again, thank you for visiting and thank you for a great post on our city.

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    1. Sheila: We will most certainly be back! We wished that we could have spent longer everywhere we went (but especially saint john!) However, this was a very good budget friendly way to explore a new area of the world and get a decent introduction! It definitely made me want to know more! I have been reading many of the books that I picked up along the way (Evangeline, whale watching books, folk tales etc.) Thank you for reading and we will definitely be back for whale watching and even more! :)

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  16. Thank you all for your wonderfully sweet words! I woke up to quite the surprise this morning and am overwhelmed by your kindness once again! I can't wait to return to the maritimes for a proper tour and to spend more time with such genuinely kind people. :) -Alexandra

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  17. It was great to see your positive post! I travel a lot and realize how lucky we are. I am a local artist and and would like to thank you by sending you one of my prints of a local scene. My email is jocelynbichard@gmail.com and my blog is beautyinmyworld.com. please e-mail me your address and I will mail you a 5x7 print.

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    1. Jocelyn: That is so sweet! Thank you for your generosity! I will email you shortly.-Alexandra

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  18. Saint John is my home town, and I love it! Thank you for sharing your experience and pictures! I live on the opposite side of the country now, so it's nice to have a peek at things back home. Market Square and the city market were almost daily stops for my Dad and I as a child. Those places as well as John Hooper's carvings are such a big part of my childhood. I hope you had the opportunity to see more of his carvings while you were there, they can be found at various spots in and around Saint John :)

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    1. missavene: Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment. We loved Saint John so much and don't doubt for a second that it would be a magical place to grow up! So much natural beauty and lively culture! We'll have to make a point to see more of his carvings next time we venture out that way :) -Alexandra

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  19. We also had a great time in Saint John despite so many people badmouthing it (especially people from Halifax). I loved the market also and we had a delicious coffee at Java Moose. How amazing are beaver tails! I get them all the time when I'm in Canada. The locals are so friendly and its such a pleasant town for a walk. We had lobster poutine and it was divine. I highly recommend Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick as well, it was one of my favourite spots in Canada during our 4 1/2 months there :)

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    1. Katie, how awful that people are bad mouthing it. I loved it so so much. And really just thought Halifax was ok. I think I need to spend more time there to know how I feel about it. I was feeling a little sick.. so I didn't have much of the beaver tail... had I felt better we probably would have tried two kinds. :) That sounds amazing! We will definitely look into Grand Manan Island next time we head out that way! I love every place I've been in Canada! :) We've taken 3 trips there and visited 4 provinces. Thank you for reading! -Alexandra

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  20. Sounds like you had a wonderful day in Saint John - despite numerous trips to Atlantic Canada that is one city that we have not yet visited! The next time that you have a chance to eat BeaverTails get plain cinnamon sugar - it's the best! ;)

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    1. Lisa, I hope that you make it out on one of your next adventures. We just loved the city and the people! I would go back in a heart beat! :) Next time I would love to try more beaver tails I am sure I would love the cinnamon sugar! :) Thanks for reading! -Alexandra

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  21. Looks like a fun day trip! That nutella Reese's pieces concoction looks amazing!!

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    1. Sammi, It was definitely tasty! :) Fried dough topped with sweets... it's pretty fool proof! -Alexandra

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  22. Old City Market looks like an awesome place to roam around and shop at. And I would love to have one of those beavertails. They look absolutely delicious! You definitely enjoyed the sights of St. John!

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    1. Constance, it is definitely a wonderful place. Just experiencing it is amazing. But the shopping, food and people are also SO great. It's such a wonderful feeling to know that you are finding high quality food and treasures to bring home to your loved ones! :) If you ever go, make sure you are careful I learned there that Saint John is in New Brunswick but St. John is in Newfoundland. I guess it's a touchy subject. Who would have thought :) -Alexandra

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  23. Oh beaver tails...a Canadian staple ;) haha. Next time try to Killalou sunrise (sugar and lemon) it's my favourite :)

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    1. That sounds tasty Hannah! I'll have to try so many kinds.. :) Everyone has a different favorite flavor! :) -Alexandra

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  24. Now if our McDonalds at home started to serve Lobster I might be inclined to stop by occasionally. I can't believe that Lobster used to be a poor man's food when it costs so much now!!! I have never heard of Beaver Tails before either so something else for me to note down to try if we ever travel this way! :)

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    1. Hahah funny! I know it is so crazy how it has gone from being a food of the poor to a food of the rich! It is good to start lists for sure! :) -Alexandra

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  25. I haven't been to Saint John and I can't believe they serve McLobster!!! Here in The Netherlands there's McCroquet. Croquet is very Dutch, but it's low cost :) The Beaver Tails look very tasty, I'm sure I would have one.

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    1. How funny. I don't know if McDonald's here in the Midwest have regional foods.. maybe the McRib? It's sort of a BBQ thing. Not sure if it's served elsewhere or not! Everyone wants a beavertail! :) Thanks for reading! -Alexandra

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  26. Those beaver tails look amazing, deep fried + Nutella? I'm in!

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    1. I could have spent weeks in the market alone. Talking with the sweet vendors, trying the foods, shopping and really just watching the people. Oh, I want to go back! :) -Alexandra

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  28. Really enjoyed your post. Have never been but Saint John seem like a great place to visit!

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    1. It's absolutely lovely! I hope that you make it there someday! I am already excited to go back someday! :) -Alexandra

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  29. Looks like you had an amazing time on your cruise to New Brunswick. We were in Quebec last week after driving from Boston and I have to agree with you that the climate north of the border is awesome! We also experienced 55-75 degree weather which is so much better than what we are used to here in Arkansas. Great to see that you had such a wonderful experience both on the cruise and when you docked. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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    1. Thank you Chris, we really did have such a wonderful time. I am so glad to have read that you had a lovely time on your trip as well! Quite ambitious for a long weekend! I'm impressed! :) Oh, I wish we could have that climate year-round! I'm betting that the climate here in Kansas is awfully (and I do mean awful..) similar to that in Arkansas. Thank you for reading! -Alexandra

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Thank you for reading! I love seeing your sweet comments and visiting your lovely blogs! XO