If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ll have experienced those days when your vacation came right off the rails. You’ll also be able to relate to the day we spent – or tried to spend – touring the city of Fredericton.
The weather didn’t help. The 30C heat and high humidity made our 20 minute walk downtown from our bed and breakfast an ordeal. Construction around the Garrison District, the main tourism area, meant some of the sites we wanted to visit were closed off, and the scheduled changing of the guard ceremony at the officers’ barracks didn’t happen. We defaulted to visiting the Fredericton regional museum, whose displays were kind of meh. There was a curious lack of interesting shops so browsing was out and not many restaurants, which made finding a place for lunch a challenge. The historic walking tour we planned to take got canceled because of the heat. We also discovered that Monday is a popular closure day for restaurants so we had to default to the “open now” setting on Google to find a dinner spot.
Thank goodness for the By the River Bed and Breakfast.
I booked our room last May on the recommendation of another bed and breakfast owner who was already full up for the dates we planned to visit. Even then, the Wolastoq Riverview Suite, Wolastoq meaning the beautiful and bountiful river in the Mi’kmaq language, was their only available room so I snapped it up.
By the River Bed and Breakfast is another of the gracious old homes turned tourist accommodation that are plentiful in the Maritime provinces. Originally built by a lumber baron, it’s now owned and operated by Coral and Hao, who completed extensive renovations on the place pre- COVID, and have created an elegant and welcoming atmosphere.
We liked a lot of the house’s innovative touches which we’d never experienced in other old house b and bs. At night, we looked at a menu of breakfast items, and left Coral and Hao a note in the sitting room, indicating what we wanted and when we’d be down for breakfast. There was one dining table for larger groups to eat breakfast, but also one set on the shady verandah, a great choice for a warm morning. Inside, tables for two were scattered through the lower rooms. If we sat at these tables, Coral and Hao’s almost 8-year-old daughter gifted us with a piano recital/practice session, responding to our applause with a gracious nod and smile.
Our room was also a treat. Although we love gracious old house bedrooms, they can be a little squishy for two people and their traveling gear. This one was large and completely renovated, with a gleaming ensuite bathroom double the size of ours at home. Too bad it was too hot to use the equally enormous hot tub.
For me, the most endearing feature of our room came as a complete surprise. As we were getting settled in, Lorne said, “I wonder what’s behind this curtain?” Pulling it aside, he gasped, yanked the curtain shut again, and said, “Oh, Pam. You have got to see this for yourself.”
Behind the curtain and down three steps was a tiny, perfect, pine-panelled room. In the By the River ad, it’s called a sun room, but I renamed it the writer’s nook. Thanks to a lofty ceiling and huge screened windows on two sides, the light poured in, and in the evening, you could enjoy a delightful cross breeze. A little desk with a lamp and chair provided a spot to be seriously productive if you wanted to be. But I spent most of my time in the comfy wing chair, blogging, reading, and gazing out at a towering grove of trees. I imagined myself returning in the fall to begin work on the book I have in mind, looking out at that same grove of trees, their leaves ablaze in Canada maple leaf red.
Please note: This blog post was not in any way sponsored by the By the River Bed and Breakfast. It is an honest appraisal of my experience there in July 2022.