Miramichi, Canada

Photo: Rodd Hotels & Resorts
Photo: Rodd Hotels & Resorts

You started exploring the Canadian Maritimes when the foliage season began. You traveled along the coast of Nova Scotia, crossed over to Prince Edward Island, and finally entered New Brunswick. By the beginning of November, it should be time to turn around. The brilliant colors have disappeared. There are more leaves on the ground than on the trees. Plus the sun is no longer warming up the crisp air. But you can’t leave without visiting Miramichi.

Miramichi straddles the Miramichi River where it enters Miramichi Bay. The largest city in northern New Brunswick is heaven for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Ice hockey, skating, and curling rule in the winter. Hiking, canoeing, and kayaking begin as soon as the spring arrives. The summer is devoted to sailing. While fishing—for Atlantic salmon and largemouth bass—lasts until the end of October. You may have just missed the end of the fishing season, but you can still enjoy the local delicacies.

These fishing grounds once belonged to the Mi’kmaq people, who settled the area long before the Europeans arrived. After the French declared it part of Acadia, they built a fort and eventually a village along the riverbank. Most of the homes were destroyed during the French and Indian War, and the village became part of British Nova Scotia. To this day, colonial historic sites dot the waterfront, and many people have a Maritime English accent that’s difficult for outsiders to understand.

Photo: Rodd Hotels & Resorts
Photo: Rodd Hotels & Resorts

You’ll feel just like a local when you check in at the Rodd Miramichi River, though. The recently renovated hotel sits next to the Waterford Green on the south side of the river. Its grand hall has a fireplace that warms you up almost instantly and large windows overlooking the choppy water. Your room is more modern than you expected. Natural wood, muted colors, and soft light give it a calm vibe. While the only thing keeping you from pushing open the door to the patio is the strong wind. Luckily, there’s an indoor pool and a whirlpool to keep you occupied until it dies down.

You’re also looking forward to dinner already. 1809 Restaurant has another fireplace to keep you warm and a menu full of salmon. Yes, salmon dishes galore. Appetizers include a blackened salmon salad with maple-dijon dressing and smoked salmon toast topped with tomato jam. Then Atlantic salmon is served six ways—from poached to grilled to cedar planked—with another six sauce—including a citrus dill cream and a pineapple-mango chutney—choices. Smoked salmon is also served over linguine, if you’d prefer pasta as your entrée. Dessert, thank goodness, is the only course that doesn’t feature salmon.

After a relaxing night at the hotel, you’ll be ready to get outside and explore Miramichi first thing in the morning. You can walk along the sandy beach in nearby Kouchibouguac National Park, which has the warmest salt water north of Virginia. You can visit the islands. Beaubears Island is home to two historic sites, and Middle Island was once a quarantine station. You can check out the art galleries and the little shops along Ritchie Wharf. And you can eat more salmon in the waterfront restaurants. Autumn adventures don’t have to end after the leaves fall.

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