Day 61 – 8th September (Caraquet)

Cloudy and rather humid start.

As planned, we visited the tourist office to get some gen on what there is to do around here. A rather disinterested official there provided us with some info, which we decided to peruse over a coffee and snack at a Tim Hortons, a very well-known coffee and snack chain, simply because I’ve never been in one.

The coffee and snack experience was pretty dire, to be honest – we won’t be in a hurry to go back to one. Shame, but at least a plan came out of it.

About 12 km out of Caraquet is a representation of an Acadian village (https://www.villagehistoriqueacadien.com/), which looked very interesting, so we decided to visit it.

A bit of history. Ever since Jacques Cartier discovered the eastern coast of Canada in the 16th century and claimed it for the French, his countrymen had sailed to this part of the world to make a living from the land and the sea. In 1604, Acadie was formally declared as a French territory, an area that covered northern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia today. The French people lived in more or less peaceful co-existence with the local First Nation people for many years.

Along came the English, having taken Québec in 1759 and now reigned supreme over Canada. They took over much of the land from the Acadians, deporting many thousands, but allowing others to stay to farm the land and make a living under their iron fist.

This large site represented an Acadian village that might have existed in this area from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century.

It’s a 2 km walk around it, with about 40 buildings closely replicating different building styles, people’s lives, livelihoods and lifestyles for that period. Most of them had an individual inside, dressed as they might have been back in those days, impersonating actual people who would have lived here. This was a very powerful touch – they told you about how life was like at the time with a lot of personal detail.

Bread oven
Pleasant walk through woodland
Lady picking cabbages
Cash register in the general store. The compartmented tray was actually a cigar box. It does actually work
1850s house owned and built by James Blackhall, a Scot.
Proper stone walls

Most of the houses were nominally owned by French speaking Acadians, but the Blackhall house was an exception.

We carried on around this very big site on a warm and humid day until we reached the 20th century area.

House with a cooperage behind
1920s garage
Takes you back
Château Albert Hotel (1907). You can stay here.
Working cash register in the hotel bar
Barman, cash register and old style phonograph
A most welcome beer
The cooperage from the hotel terrace. It was whilst we were here we learned of the Queen’s death
Railway station
Front of the Château Albert Hotel
1924 general store
IBM scales
Shuttle service round the site
Very elaborate Aga style oven
Another even more elaborate oven

The visit took around four and a half hours in all, and was well worth the visit.

Next stop was a church called St Anne du Bocage (grove). This is dedicated to the Acadian culture – basically French Catholic – and, although modest, was peaceful and serene. There was a very pleasant walk around it, accompanied by piano music over loudspeakers. Sounds naff, I know, but it actually contributed to the spiritual atmosphere on the walk.

Wooden jetty below the church
Caraquet in the distance
Very tame chipmunk

On the way back, we stopped at the only fine dining restaurant in Caraquet – the Origine Cuisine Maritime, which took some finding, being as it was hidden underneath a Dixie Lee fried chicken restaurant (!) To my delight, they offered a tasting menu with paired wines – just what we needed after days of fried or grilled food, almost inevitably with chips. Booked a table for later and returned to the room.

The restaurant was within walking distance, and we sat down to one of the best meals we’ve had in North America so far. Not sure I agreed with the pairing of the wines, but it all slid down most agreeably.

Back we tottered to the room, with the express intention on my part to finish today’s blog. However, we made the mistake of switching on the TV to see how the news of the Queen’s death was being broadcast.

The answer – very comprehensively and considerably less mawkish than I was expecting. It was actually quite involving, particularly when one realised that the Queen had visited Canada no less than 22 times during her reign. She was obviously, for the most part anyway, held in great affection by the Canadian people as the official head of state. All remarkably well done and without the myriad commercial breaks associated with North American TV.

So I apologise for the late posting, but I hope you understand why.

We leave Caraquet tomorrow for Miramichi further south, but we’re planning to visit the lighthouse at Miscou Island on the way. Hope you will see how that went.

4 responses to “Day 61 – 8th September (Caraquet)”

  1. A different sort of day! Very interesting photos 🙂

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    1. Yes, very. Far less dramatic than the Rockies, but such a very different culture and vibe to this side of the country. Very interesting in its own right.

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  2. Adele Gardner avatar
    Adele Gardner

    looked very interesting especially the old kitchen im always interested in anything to do with food etc by the way what did you have to eat in the restarant?

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    1. It was very interesting. This part of the journey follows the area colonised by the Acadians. The food was tuna, pork, beef and chocolate torte, but all beautifully presented and cooked with smaller portions AND NO CHIPS!!

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