July 6, 2016
Along the North Atlantic Coast, sheltered by scenic islands and beautiful bays, you'll find the best kept secret in North America - Coastal Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. Unlike any other destination, it remains virtually untouched and has retained an authenticity that will surprise and delight, leaving you to wonder why it took so long to visit.
The Best Kept Secret in North America
By Marianne Moore
There isn’t a valid reason in the world to miss out on this cruise. Maine and the Canadian Maritimes remains the best kept secret in North America and were my summer home for years. Once there, you’ll wonder how you’ll ever be able to leave.
To call it charming would be doing it an injustice. And, don’t call it that to the locals! This area is home to warm hearted, seafaring, hard living people. They are the descendants of some of the earliest settlers to North America and they love their corner of the world unconditionally. Charming? Bah!, they’d say.
This coast, shared by the US and Canada, and the towns and bays that sit alongside the ocean, remain the most authentic, creative, beautiful and welcoming places I know.
Lobster is still fished using the time tested techniques of generations. Houses still feature widow walks where long suffering wives of fisherman have worn the planks bare waiting for a glimpse of their beloved’s ship to appear on the horizon. Cemeteries dating back hundreds of years tell the stories of the villages. And the sheer magnitude of wonders of nature will amaze and delight.
The artist’s community of Rockland, ME is not to be missed. The “presidential” town of Bar Harbor is great to wander around in and as it sits on the edge of Acadia National Park you might just spot some wildlife, including whales and moose.
By the 4th day of cruising you are on the Canadian side of the Maritimes in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, NB, where you can catch your first views of the natural phenomena that is the Bay of Fundy, known as one of the 7 natural wonders of North America and home to some of the rarest whales on the planet. You have to see it to believe it. It was also here that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his much loved island home.
Halifax is a mix of modern city and old treasure. Its big draw for me has always been that it was here that many of the bodies from the Titanic were brought and buried. The visit to Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where those bodies were buried, is not to be missed. My ancestors made the same trip 2 weeks after the Titanic sunk on a ship called the Teutonic. They were no different than the families in steerage on the Titanic. The Titanic set sail with such pomp and circumstance and such promise for so many and ended as a cautionary tale about the hubris of man and sinking with so many dreams of new lives never to be fulfilled. We have all heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books, but to stand among the headstones is something else altogether.
From Halifax you head up the South Shore towards Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to the Bluenose II, a replica of the original, famed for starting as a fishing boat and ending as a racing schooner. The colorful houses that dot the streets close to the coast can’t help but put a smile on your face. Despite the hard living, these are people of faith and optimism and their homes reflect it. Duck into one of the taverns for a pint and a talk with a local or take the optional tour to Mahone Bay, (do not miss it’s wonderful pewter shop or its many unique folk art shops,) and Peggy’s Cove where you can try to capture a unique shot of the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
As you continue to sail around the Maritimes, make sure that you spend some time on deck just looking out at the coast, the lobster boats, the towns and take in a way of living that is little changed from a hundred years ago. The sunsets are magical, the scenery unparalleled and the faces of the locals are etched with the lines of lives lived by the sea. When those faces break into a smile, start to tell you a yarn, or sing out a lively song to the warble of a fiddle, you’ll understand why this place has captivated presidents, enchanted visitors and put a spell on anyone who surrenders to its wonders. This place lives in my heart and always pulls me back. Let its wonderful magic plant an anchor in your heart. You will not soon forget this place and, if you are lucky, it might just keep pulling you back as well.
And when you get to Digby, you must try the scallops. There is nothing better than Digby scallops!
About the Author:
Marianne Moore, having lived in 3 different countries as a child, is a born traveler. To date she has visited more than 24 countries and has at least that many on her list of trips to take. While she has travelled afar, she is a passionate ambassador for North America, believing that some of the best trips are close to home.
Interested in more information on this destination? Click the link below:
Maine and the Canadian Maritimes