Sandy beaches, breathtaking trails along the seaside, and countless seafood joints serving fried clams, lobster rolls and mussels… this gourmand wasn’t going to need much convincing to spend a weeklong vacation celebrating 3 best friends turning 30 and exploring the northern coastal side of New Brunswick.
About a 30 minute drive from downtown Moncton, we set up shop in a cozy little beach house in Grand Barachois we found on airbnb. Located along a five-kilometre shoreline, the seaside village is central to some of the warmest salt water beaches in Canada including the well-known Parlee Beach Provincial Park, Cap Pélé, and L’Aboiteaux. If the sounds and sights of the shorebirds don’t lure you in, the intoxicating smell of marshes and sea water sure will.
As for every first-time visitor to the lobster capital of the world, a visit to a fishing wharf is imposed. With incoming boats, lobster crates, and countless locals bargaining the $3-a-pound lobster with a cauldron overflowing of crustaceans in one hand and money in the other, the Pointe-du-Chêne Wharf is bustling with activity and not to be missed! Although the scent of fried and grilled seafood emanating from Captain Dan’s Bar and Grill might entice you to try it, you’re best to deal with fishermen and enjoy your feast at home.
If cooking is an issue and you’re looking for something laid-back, then a take-out cantine or dinner is a must. Drop by the family-run diner off the side of the Chemin Acadie, Chez Camille. Their lobster rolls pack a powerful punch of shellfish goodness on a lightly seared hotdog bun, and their fried clams, or “palourdes frites”, will melt in your mouth: trust me, your tastebuds will thank you!
La boulangerie française is another address we picked up while visiting Shediac. In late 2013, a French couple, Stéphane Facon and his wife Béatrice, transformed a beautiful yellow house into a bakery that serves the best freshly baked breads, homemade pastries, and barista-style coffee the region has to offer.
As luck would have it, what we imagined would be a vibrant city centre, turns out to be a deserted college town. During the summer months, the city of Moncton is deserted by its student population, which results in little activity for tourists. Needless to say we were taken aback, as this is where we headed for our birthday celebration dinner… The upside however was a classy restaurant called Little Louis’ Oyster Bar that serves up refined regional and seasonal dining at a very affordable price. My personal favorite was the lobster ravioli with fried sweet bread and lobster bisque.