ADDA Campground

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When planning out our recent trip to the Bay of Fundy and Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, we searched for a family-friendly campground fairly close to the park. While the walk-in sites at Cape Chignecto seemed appealing, it was not something we wanted to do with three young children. We finally decided on ADDA Campground, run by the community of Advocate Harbour and the closest campground to the park.

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We  loved how much the campground had to keep us busy. In addition to a playground, there was a basketball court (and basketballs were available in the office to borrow) as well as a full baseball field. We spent quite a lot of time as a family playing wiffle ball, and Five Ball and Five of Hearts even had the opportunity to participate in a community tee ball game on the last day of our stay.

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In addition to Cape Chignecto Provincial Park just minutes away, we found quite a lot to see and do nearby. The town of Advocate Harbour itself has some nice walking trails along the Bay of Fundy shoreline as well as paths through salt marshes and past scenic farms. There are also lighthouses nearby with their own scenic views and hikes.

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We couldn’t have asked for a more family-friendly place to stay then ADDA Campground. We felt fortunate to have briefly been a part of the lovely and involved community of Advocate Harbour, and it felt great that camping there kept our travel dollars in the community to reinvest for locals and tourists alike.

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Words Fail Us: A Week in Pictures at the Fortress of Louisbourg

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The Fortress of Louisbourg is an spectacular place for families. We have seen, experienced, and learned so much this past week that we can’t really put it all into words. Why is this such a special place? The short answer is that life in a bustling 18th-century city lives and breathes here (literally). The great condition of the ruins and meticulous records kept of its construction and daily life made it possible to recreate the original port city of Louisbourg, and now it stands as the largest historical reconstruction on the continent. Louisbourg is also the only major colonial city in North America not to have a modern city built on top of it. So when you take the 5-minute bus ride from the Visitor’s Center to the Fortress, you truly are transported to another world with minimal intrusion from the present. Here is a glimpse into our magical week here.

Architecture: The buildings of Louisbourg are accurate reconstructions of the original 18th-century French seaport. From the lavish governor’s residence to humble inns for the common traveler, the walls and buildings themselves taught us about fortifications, food storage, metal working, and everything in between.

Archaeology: We were thrilled to be visiting during Louisbourg 300, a series of special activities celebrating the town’s 300th anniversary. In addition to all the regular demonstrations, we were treated to the opportunity to observe and speak with Parks Canada archaeologists who were recovering artifacts from the harbor, excavating around the walled city, and identifying and preserving artifacts for future generations to enjoy.

Residents of the City: The amount of knowledge the residents of the city (park staff reenactors ) have is truly impressive. Spending time speaking with the residents and learning about their world was one of our favorite parts of our time at Louisbourg. And not only do the residents “know” lots of interesting things, they also “do” lots of interesting things. We saw a ship being built, stew simmering over the hearth, bread baking in a brick oven, and even played a Basque bowling game and learned a period dance.

Beyond the Fortress Walls: The Historical Site is much more than just the walled city itself. We swam at the sandy beach where the attacking British launched their ground assault in 1745, explored the ruins of the town hospital, and posed next to the site of the first lighthouse in Canada, all without leaving the park boundaries.

Fun, Fun, Fun: At the Fortress of Louisbourg, we found surprises and delights around every corner for the young and not so young of us alike. For some of us, it came from climbing into a massive lime kiln used to make mortar. For others (High Five), it came from riding the bus to the Fortress and back. In the end, we could never have wished for a more perfect, fun, and educational week.

Rolling Down the Camel’s Back: A Hike off Dark Tickle Rd, Newfoundland

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The Viking Trail, the area of northern Newfoundland extending from Deer Lake to L’Anse aux Meadows, is truly a hiker’s paradise. Even with three young ones, we have been dazzled by all the family-friendly hikes to choose from. In our experience just about every town in the St. Anthony area has a well-marked, gravel trail at the end of the road. We have enjoyed finding them unexpectedly during the course of our travels, but we must admit we have also peeked a few times at the Viking Trail Tourism Association’s user-friendly map and list of local trails.

Of the nearly dozen trails that we have had the pleasure to explore during our time in St. Anthony, the Camel’s Back trail off of Dark Tickle Rd. in Saint Lunaire-Griquet has been the most spectacular (and given the quality of some of the other trails, that is quite a compliment). The 2 km round trip trail winds through woods, up over a moderate hill with picnic area overlooking the coves, and then winds through more woods to reach the higher Camel’s Back. Breathtaking views of the surrounding communities take a back seat to the icebergs floating just off shore. Of course, when traveling with young children the highlights of the day can come from the most unexpected places: in this case, a solid hour of rolling down the juniper-covered hillside with icebergs bobbing in the water just below.

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These informative signs greet hikers with some useful facts and tips at all the hikes along the Viking Trail.

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A glacial erratic gave us a chance to refine our climbing skills before the final ascent.

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Another satisfied hiker at the top of Camel’s Back.

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A view out into the harbor.

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An iceberg with a ring of smaller pieces already broken off.

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Another iceberg with an inviting green hollow in the middle.

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Half an hour into rolling down the hill. Dizziness must not kick in until you’re older…