Although the summer temperatures can reach into the mid 30's C, the winter temperatures can also reach the 30-40 C range, trouble is it's in the MINUS direction!
Because New Brunswick is so heavily forested, over 20% of the population still use wood in one form or another for heating. In my case, although I have electric baseboards in each room as the main source of heat, I also have a wood stove centrally located in the basement. I actually use this as much or more than the electric heat through the winter. It is nice to fire the stove up and enjoy the warmth that it offers. Because of the tempered glass door on the stove, the flickering flames cast nice shadows on the family room as well. An advantage of the electric heat is that I can close off individual rooms and heat them up as desired and the heat is more controllable.
I guess I just know too much about the electric power industry - I always like to have a backup system of some sort (especially at those temperatures)!! The two rows here are about half of what I would burn in a winter. The best types are hardwoods like beech, maple and birch and when their leaves turn from green to these various colours, it is time to get the wood under cover for winter!
Every Saturday morning until noon , the Boyce Farmer's Market takes place in the core of downtown Fredericton. This is a great spot to mingle with the crowds and you can enjoy all manner of foods and goods for sale. Both inside the market building and outside along 'food alley' there are vendors selling BBQ sausages, chicken kebabs, samosas, drinks, and all sorts of things (there is even a restaurant inside where you can order breakfast). There are booths selling all sorts of home-made goods, fish, meat, fresh vegetables, furniture, crafts and so on. It really is worth a free visit!
It is considered to be customary to tip your waiter/waitress. Ussualy a tip should consist of about 15% of what you buy (or so that is what everyone around here says). If you have a good server make sure to keep in mind that they probably only get paid minimum wage. A nice tip might just make their day!
A local tradition that I grew up with was eating a dark reddish seaweed called Dulse (many 'inland' Maritimers cannot stand the stuff). Dulse is native to the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific Ocean areas and it grows attached to rocks in the zone between high and low tide as well as in deeper water. With the huge tides of the Bay of Fundy (30-50 feet), New Brunswick is a prime location to pick the seaweed and then lay it out on the rocky shores for sun drying. In Ireland and Atlantic Canada, it is usually eaten raw and it naturally has a salty taste. Sometimes we used to 'cook' it by laying it on top of a hot wood stove and pressing it flat with a clothes iron. That turns it slightly green and makes it crisp like a potato chip. A cold beer goes well with this delicacy, and Moosehead is one of the oldest independent breweries in Canada. It was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1867 by the Oland family but the main brewery has been in Saint John, NB since 1928. Its premier golden lager is now popular worldwide, with 40% of production exported to the USA and 9 other countries. The dulse from the NB island of Grand Manan is said to be the best because the high cliffs around Dark Harbour shade it from the morning sun when the tide goes out. When I was working in Papua New Guinea, my parents would ship me the odd consignment to literally give me a taste of home! I never could get anyone else over there to eat it!
If you time things correctly, you may 'luck out' and catch a Tall Ship regatta such as this one held in Saint John. With the cold Bay of Fundy in the south and the warm Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence to the east, water activities play a big role in local affairs. Check out the light houses and two coastal National Parks - Fundy and Kouchibouguac!
Southern NB is dotted with covered bridges, originally built about 100-years ago to protect the wooden planking from rotting as a result of the winter snows. There are a number of scenic locations scattered throughout the province including the longest covered bridge in the world (over 1000 feet at Hartland). It is said that, in the horse-drawn buggy era, a young woman should be on her guard for a 'rogue' if she was crossing with a young gentleman and the horse stopped automatically in the dark area of mid-bridge! Photo of a bridge near Fredericton on one of the tributaries of the Saint John River.
Growing up in the US, our history lessons typically end where our involvement as a country or people ends, so, my Maritime Province Roadtrip turned into a psuedo cultural history lesson as I moved from city to city and province to province.
In general, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia received a large influx of British loyalists after the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th century. So, the existing settlements of towns like Fredericton, Saint John and Halifax rapidly grew in size virtually overnight, which the French didn't like (and that's why we have so much French Culture in Louisiana).
During the 19th century, large numbers of Irish immigrants arrived fleeing the potato famine as in the US cities of Boston and New York. So, Fredericton has strong ties back to mother England and the British Isles in general which can still be observed today in the people who live there. For instance, one of the bartenders at the Lunar Rogue spoke with an Irish brogue largely, but had typical Canadian undertones thrown in for good measure…
Throughout my travels in the Maritime Provinces of Canada I would constantly be reminded of the history surrounding the eastern coast of Canada and the United States. There is a very strong tie between the two and the British Isles. Britain really has a lot to answer for.