As New Brunswick begins gradually opening back up, the business community of Alma would like to extend a welcome to residents across the province interested in visiting our area to experience all we have to offer. Here in Alma, social distancing is almost a way of life. We’re a village of only 200 year-round residents next to a national park that offers wide open spaces for hiking and recreation. Alma is the perfect spot to get away from it all, and to remind yourself of what many of us have forgotten: the beauty and wildness of New Brunswick's coastal communities.
Exploring the woods, meadows and beaches of Albert County brings me joy and peace, as well as improved mental and physical health.
I must admit that, in many ways, I am and have always been, terrible at sticking to the trail. As a child, when my family went cross-country skiing during the long Manitoba winters, I constantly created pile-ups of skiers. Every time I saw animal tracks, scat or anything interesting (and I find the natural world to be full of amazing sights), I would stop or veer off the trail. Whoever was behind me would often end up on my skis or falling.
I still stop constantly. The sound of a grouse drumming, the wonderfully earthy sweet smell of woods in the autumn, the meandering path of a periwinkle, a cluster of bouncing snow fleas in the hoofprint of a moose, the sparkle of waves: every time I go outside, I experience something wondrous.
In Exploring Our Trails, writers share their personal stories about how trail use has influenced their lives. We use the term ‘trail use’ to refer to the non-motorized use of wild areas. This includes fat biking in Fundy National Park, strolling along an isolated beach, a weeklong backpacking trip, and even bushwhacking–finding your own path.
The COVID-19 pandemic that the world is currently experiencing parallels a similar reality of 100 years ago. Over 1918-1919, the Spanish Influenza, which began in Kansas, eventually claimed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. The virus spread from one infected individual to the Fort Ripley Military Base as American troops were preparing to embark for military duty in Europe (shortly after the USA's late entry into World War I).
The Hillsborough Public Library is one of the earliest public libraries in the area. Preparation of a history of the library is in its final stages. A few details are still eluding us after scouring Village records, the minutes from the library’s board meetings, local newspapers such as the Albert Star and The Albert Journal, and the memory banks of residents of the village and beyond. We are now seeking the assistance of the general public.
In our last issue, I asked readers to let us know what they love about rural Albert County. Feel free to add your comments below.
By George Sinclair
Now that winter is almost gone
Spring will soon be coming on
The daylight hours will get much longer
Every day the sun is getting stronger
By Dorothy (DeMille) Steeves
The following article was written by Dorothy (DeMille) Steeves (1917-2017), mother of Idella Lazar (a regular contributor to Connecting Albert County). She raised four children (the first two born within a year--Idella and her sister are the same age for ten days each year!), and worked alongside her husband doing farm chores, milking, haying and cleaning out the barn even when she was in her 80s. Idella writes, “You've heard the song that they don't make them like that anymore? Well, that was my mom!”
By Jim Liar
The alternative title of this story is “Olivia’s Flying Outhouse” for reasons that will appear.
Like the tides in front of the house, your life, your times and your fortunes come and go. Trouble is, sometimes your tide goes out so hard and so far you find yourself stranded in the weeds unable to return. This is a story of one of those strandings and how a personal art, something we all have if we look deeply enough, came to the rescue.
By "Jim Liar"
Hey Boomer, this is why you need to join a farmers’ market… or start one.
To illustrate, let me continue the story from last month. During the first year I lived on “The Island,” a large fishing resort plunked down in Lake Huron, we cut ice with a team of horses and a big work gang, just like everybody else had done forever. The second year, maybe 1964, we turned a very long page in history that had begun when the modern horse was brought to Canada.
by Anna Holdaway
It all began right around the time of the first Santa parade of 2019. As we turned into our rural driveway there it lay, all prettily packaged in pink plastic, a large bundle of colourful commercial flyers.
How strange I thought. Many years ago when we used to have our own mailbox, there was a period when flyers would periodically appear in it along with my then frequent personal mail. I remember mentioning to our friendly mail lady that I preferred not to receive flyers and that’s all it took. I never received one again. Why would someone suddenly start throwing them into my driveway now? And if they kept doing it, what would I do about it?
by Idella Steeves-Lazar
If I were to ask you what the word "school" means to you, what would you say? Homework, studying, the strap, graduation, a favourite teacher, sports, Christmas concerts, bus rides, grades, or...? I would anticipate answers such as "I hated it," "I was so glad to get out of there" or "I loved it" and so on.
written by Jim Liar
In the early 1960s, I was moved from New Brunswick to a cabin on the Whitefish River exactly where “Rainbow Country” was filmed later in the decade. This had once been an Indian Reservation until the pure silica discovered in the adjoining La Cloche Mountains was needed in a Sudbury smelter. Regardless, the Ojibwa, who were there at least since the Huron extermination, weren’t going anywhere.
(Photo caption: Brownie snapshot by the late Robert Kitts of his then family, maybe 1964, late wife Alice (Fullerton), daughters Colleen, Cindy, Wendy and son Jim, just beginning to clear ice prior to ice cutting operations. Alice is the author of Emily of the Bend, an English/French picture book recently re-released by the family and the Steeves House Museum. The family sponsors the Alice Kitts Memorial Award for excellence in Children's writing in her memory. )
By Kat Hallett
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, from spending time with family and friends to eating our weight in turkey and treats. In all the excitement it’s easy to get carried away spending money and showering our loved ones with gifts.
For several years now, I’ve been trying to make sure that at least one part of every gift I give is homemade. Sometimes that’s as simple as making the gift tag or wrapping it using craft paper, twine, and greens. Lately, however, I’ve been diving deeper into DIY projects around Christmas time. Not only do I have fun doing it, but I save a little money and usually get really positive reactions from the giftees.
By Idella Steeves-Lazar
Christmas was magical for me in our farm family of three girls and one younger boy in Elgin. There wasn't much money for treats and presents that weren’t necessary back then in the 40s. My parents had experienced the Great Depression. I remember the outhouse and having no running water or bathroom. I remember the excitement of getting a bathtub...who would be the first to have a bath? We girls really appreciated what we received! We knew that things did not come easy and that our parents sacrificed for us.
With under a year until quadrennial municipal elections, it's worth considering a broader function of municipalities and Local Service Districts (LSDs) in the region. Increasingly, initiatives of the big destinations, their partners, private interests and by community organizations and the services commission act together to shape the area.
If the role of the local government organizations on affecting regional economic and social development is not an obvious one, it should be.
by Kat Hallett
This spring has felt like a rollercoaster in Albert County―and no, I’m not talking about the roads. We were teased by lovely warm, sunny days followed by snow and sub-zero temperatures well into April. It feels almost surreal to say that spring has finally arrived.
It was a message forwarded to me by a Riverside-Albert farmer that spurred me to act on a national “Save our Seed “campaign instigated by the National Farmers Union. Just like everybody else, until I received this email, I had no idea my rights as a farmer to harvest, store and replant my own seeds were endangered, and that the issue had reached our federal government.
Kevin Snair of Creative Imagery from the Hopewell area has put his stamp on Canadian postage. Kevin's photo of the Hopewell Rocks at night (left) has been featured on Canadian stamps.
Tracy Munson, a professional photographer from Harvey, NB, won the title of Atlantic Region's Photographic Artist of the Year at the Professional Photographers of Canada Atlantic Region's 2018 competition. 'Enchanted' and 'Flight of the Harrier' won Best in Class Awards (Pictorial/Floral and Fine Art classes, respectively). 'Enchanted' won the Award for Best General Print; it and 'Flight of the Harrier' were also chosen for Judge's Choice Awards.
In her own words, Tracy Munson is a rainbow-haired, wine-drinking, nature-loving, bunny-hugging, award-winning Canadian nature and pet photographer. While living in Toronto, Tracy took every opportunity to escape the city and her rewarding but stressful job in one of the country's largest animal shelters. For many years, she traveled Canada in a tiny car with a large man, a tent, and two chihuahuas. After seeing it all, Atlantic Canada kept drawing her back and in 2018 she escaped city life for good, relocating to beautiful Albert County, NB, to pursue photography full-time.
By Donna Alward
My introduction to Hallowe’en here in Albert County was not a pleasant one.
Many of you are old enough to remember the covered bridge that went to Harvey from Riverside-Albert. Yes, it used to be a long covered wooden bridge, but we all call it the Rainbow Bridge since it was rebuilt. We are not really sure why they made such a high arch above the river, but I've heard rumors that the architect who designed the bridge had used metric measurements and the engineer that was in charge of building the bridge misread the blueprints. So instead of centimeters and metres, he was reading it as inches and feet.
Except for the lies, the following story is true. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.
By Jim Liar
"Yeah, well, here’s your gear, survey van, crew – and them? Them’s your flag girls."
"Flag girls?" I thought. "Never worked with flag girls before. This could be interesting…’"
“Waterside? Where's that?” is the question I get whenever someone asks where our cottage is located. I am always amazed people have not discovered this natural gem along the Fundy shoreline.
Once you have seen it, though, you won’t forget it. I will always remember the exclamation of my niece from New York when she first saw Waterside Beach this past year: “This is Paradise!”
For my husband and I, this piece of Fundy shoreline has been special to us since childhood. Individually, each of us experienced this natural wonder with friends and family in our younger years. When we were dating, it was a place we would find ourselves either walking the beach or exploring the rock formation known as Red Head. (Sadly, Red Head lost its signature head around 1999 and another section came down in 2017 due to storms and erosion.)
The beauty of Waterside is that it offers such a large expanse of beach to walk on when the tide is out. On a rare warm day, we see so many families come and pitch their chairs and blankets and some do get in the water! Don’t fear: it will never be as busy as that beach on the other coast known as Parlee. One needs to be careful, though, when they head out so that they don’t get caught as the tide comes back in. We love hiking over to Red Head (which is farther than it looks). You can still see some of the breakwater that is in the old photo above when the tide is out. If you time it right, you can even walk all the way to Dennis Beach, which a lot of people know about and have explored as well.
We have enjoyed some entertainment on the beach over the years from kite surfers and powered paragliders to small aircraft, fishing boats and even horses and their riders enjoying the wonderful expanse of the beach at low tide. I would love to get out in some sea kayaks and do some exploring from here but I don’t know if I am brave enough.
Fast forward to 2011—finding us on this stretch of Fundy shoreline again searching for a spot we could call our own. We had spent many years camping with our children in the Fundy area but we were getting tired of the packing and unpacking and never finding one particular spot that we liked to go again and again. One day we spotted a small “land for sale” sign in front of Waterside beach. We immediately scoped it out to see its potential for development and access. It was just an overgrown field but we could see the potential and who couldn’t dream with that view?
We secured the land in 2012 and tried camping on it but the wind and the bugs had us changing our minds very quickly about how we were going to use this property. We drew up some plans with a local draftsman, borrowed some money and found a builder to start building our cottage. After the local plumber, electrician and drywall finisher did their jobs, we did the rest of the finish work ourselves.
We have a lot of pride in what we did because we had never taken on such a project in our lives. By the beginning of summer 2015, we were finally staying there overnight with most of it finished and really starting to enjoy it with our family and friends.
This place has been our escape from work and the city, a place for our family to gather, a place for our kids to find summer employment and, hopefully, a place where we can retire. The beauty of this place has ignited our love for the area all over again and our creativity has blossomed. I like to upcycle and paint furniture and garage sale finds, make signs, and sew decorative pieces. My husband loves photography and is hoping to expand his repertoire as time goes by and he has more time to devote to it. We have found ways to inject our gifts into our cottage and make it feel like an expression of the things we love about this place.
We started a blog this year called “The Road to Waterside” to feature the area and the places you pass from Riverview to Fundy. It will also feature DIY projects, my husband’s photography, and fun information and events going on in our lives, all influenced by our link to this beautiful area. We would love to have people follow us along. I try to post three to four times a month.
We look forward to many years ahead enjoying this little piece of Paradise. Thank you to our wonderful neighbours for welcoming us to your community. We love it!
Text by Sheila Nicole; images by Mark Nicolle.
Subscribe to the blog at www.theroadtowaterside.com. See posts on Instagram @theroadtowaterside or Facebook.com/theroadtowaterside
When the air is crisp, the leaves have fallen, and geese gather themselves for their yearly trip south, thoughts turn toward upcoming special days: Halloween, Remembrance Day, and then Christmas! Christmas is a widely celebrated event where family and community traditions blend in harmony. School concerts, special dinners, holiday parties, music events, charity donations, and travel plans loom over many of us by mid-November, and before we know it we are knee deep in coloured lights, festive ribbon, and list upon list of things to do, places to go, and stuff to buy.
With summer in the air, children’s interests have shifted to endless discussions of what the season has to offer. They question its differences, observe its changes, and view all it has to offer through a lens of wonder and curiosity.
During a spring walk, children noticed a ragged scarecrow, flagging gently in a garden from the previous year. “What’s that?” a toddler asks, as she points. A preschool child answers “that’s a straw man, he’s not real; he keeps the garden safe from big hungry birds.”
By Betty Weston
Some of you may already know that I grew up on Grindstone Island, right here in the Bay of Fundy, and this is a true story.
At the tender age of eight years old, I make a heartfelt decision to run away from home. This is in spite of the fact that I am experiencing a childhood under the watchful eyes of two loving parents who are providing 99.9% of all my wants and needs and I have my own small island on which I enjoy endless days of fun and play -- days composed of long summer afternoons spent swimming, rowing my boat until the tide goes out, rock climbing and exploring adventures with minimal amounts of chore time and physical work.
Views from Albert County
Tell us why you love life in rural Albert County and share your views about the wonders, the treasures and challenges of living here.
|Connecting Albert County||
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