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Whale, bird watching, lighthouse visits some of many activities for Maritime Provincesí visitorscomment (0)

February 8, 2007

By Martine G. Bates

On the maps used by schoolchildren to learn about the United States, the state of Maine appears to protrude into the Atlantic Ocean.

As they learn later, only part of Maine has a coastline; it shares its eastern and northern borders with Canada. A person can drive eastward through Maine and reach Canada’s Maritime Provinces.

Comprised of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the Maritime Provinces are comparatively small in size and population but are popular destinations for tourists worldwide.

While the three provinces have breathtaking scenery in common — picturesque villages, craggy rock outcroppings and whales in nearby waters — each has unique sights for the visitor to enjoy.

New Brunswick is the closest of the provinces to the United States. The province is perhaps best known for its tides, considered the highest in the world.

At the Bay of Fundy, a 170-mile-long ocean bay between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, visitors can watch the tides rise at the amazing rate of 6 to 8 feet per hour with as much as a 50-foot rise and fall.

At the northern end of the bay, the famous Hopewell Rocks were created by the friction of 100 billion tons of water moving in and out every 24 hours.

Across the Bay of Fundy sits Nova Scotia, connected to the mainland by a small stretch of land at New Brunswick’s eastern tip.

Nova Scotia is also home to high tides on the Bay of Fundy, and its coast boasts picturesque little fishing villages and a reproduction of a famous ship.

The Bluenose was a sailing ship that became a symbol of Canadian pride by winning a number of races beginning in 1921.

Replicated in 1963, Bluenose II docks at Lunenburg on the southern coast of Nova Scotia and makes occasional trips to other Canadian and U.S. ports. Canadians so revere the Bluenose that its likeness has been on the Canadian dime since 1937.

Northeast of Lunenburg is Peggy’s Cove, home of one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world.

The red and white octagonal lighthouse sits on a huge foundation of solid granite and looks over the tiny harbor below.

The lighthouse and cove draw an estimated 750,000 visitors each year.

Prince Edward Island is connected to New Brunswick by an 8-mile-long toll bridge and to Nova Scotia by ferry rides.

Sometimes called "The Garden of the Gulf," Frommer’s travel guide reports that one-fourth of the island is under cultivation, with potatoes as the main crop.

Visitors to the island are invariably drawn to the Cavendish area, made famous by Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel "Anne of Green Gables."

A historically accurate village has been constructed at Avonlea and includes the building where Montgomery taught, which was moved from another location.

A musical is performed during the summer months, and Green Gables, the house that provided the setting for the story, still stands and is open to visitors.

Prince Edward Island has the most hospitable beaches in the area, with water temperatures much warmer than others nearby.

As in the rest of Canada, the visitor to the Maritime Provinces can expect good roads, easy access by air and food and accommodations comparable to that found in the United States.

Americans traveling to Canada by air will need to present a valid passport as required by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The initiative will not go into effect for land or sea travelers until sometime after Jan. 1, 2008.


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