Friday, July 11, 2008

Thin Places

They don’t call New Brunswick “The Picture Province” for nothing – the scenery here is magnificent. Everywhere I go I think, “Oh, I’d love to have a little house here.” I should be posting pictures on this blog but somehow I get caught up in the moment and don’t even get my camera out! Even though I grew up here, I am still filled with wonder and awe at the beauty of this special place.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Sandra and I headed down the coast to St. Andrews for the day. A St. Andrews’ day-trip is de rigueur for those who visit the southern part of the province.
St. Andrews is a coastal town where well-heeled English Montrealers summered in their large summer homes (mansions is a better description) at the turn of the century. The women and children would arrive by rail with their trunks and household help to enjoy the more moderate coastal climate. The men would join them when they could. The wonderful old summer homes have by and large been well kept and are still occupied today.

The CPR also has one of its resort hotels there. The Algonquin is of the same vintage as the Banff Springs though not so large or quite so grand.

St. Andrews' main street is lined with shops and art galleries and Sandra and I went into all the shops on the water side of the street, stopped for lunch when we ran out of shops and then poked in all the shops on the other side of the street!

There are many other things to do in St. Andrews (whale watching tours, a visit to the Kingsbrae Gardens, golf) but Sandra and I headed back to Saint John along the coastal route. We went through fishing villages such as Maces Bay, Beaver Harbour, Dipper Harbour. We stopped in Penfield, the blueberry capital of the province and bought blueberry muffins that were still warm from the oven.


This week I went to Cambridge-Narrows, a lovely village on the Washademoak Lake. This is where Leslie and Todd and the girls are staying in a rented cottage. I visited with them on July 1st and spent the night; this week they are in PEI for the “All Things Anne” festival. I spent a couple of nights parked at their cottage and dunking myself in the Lake trying to keep cool. The temperature was in the low 30s.

I then headed up the Acadian Peninsula along the western shores of the Northumberland Strait. Again I took the coastal route feasting my eyes on the villages, harbours and small towns. I ended that journey in Kouchibougauc National Park where I camped overnight. Kouchibouguac boasts the warmest ocean water north of Virginia – by mid-summer the water temperature at its white sand beaches reaches 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yesterday I poked my way back down the coastal route stopping in Shediac for lunch. Last night, after a supper of lobster rolls at the Reversing Falls restaurant, my sister Shirley and I sat on Saint's Rest Beach on the Bay of Fundy and watched the breakers roll in. We marveled at the sound the water makes as it rolls back out to sea over the smooth pebbles on the beach.


The world is full of “thin places” if we can be quiet enough or intentional enough to find them. Thin places are those places where the veil of the earth becomes almost transparent, where we can touch God or all that is good, where our heart tells us the universe is unfolding as it should. New Brunswick is full of thin places.

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