By Walt and Julianne G., Christiana, Tennessee
TIME AND TIDE wait for no man, Ben Franklin once said. We found powerful proof of that adage at Hopewell Rocks park near the town of Hopewell Cape in New Brunswick.
The giant rocks are in Shepody Bay at the northern end of the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the world’s strongest tides. At high tide, they appear as nothing more than islands. But low tide transforms them into four-story-high, fantastically shaped “flowerpots” that you can walk right up to on the ocean floor.
We recommend starting your visit at the park’s Interpretive Center, where a multimedia exhibit is particularly helpful in explaining the phenomenon. We learned the tidal action is greatest during full or new moons.
Stairs that take you down to the beach are about a 15-minute walk away; we took a shuttle bus there (about $1.25 each way). Before descending, we carefully read a posted sign that warns visitors when the high tide will return.
As we walked out and stared up at the flowerpots, we saw seaweed growing high on the rocks overhead. Along the mile-long rocky beach, we admired the arches, pillars, caves and other formations carved over the eons by the raging tides. We were glad we’d dressed in layers and worn shoes with good ankle support and treads—some spots were slippery.
The beach is accessible only for about 6 hours, but there’s plenty to do when the tide is high. We’d recommend sampling the park cafeteria’s tasty seafood chowder as well as browsing the gift shop. The center also features wonderful hiking trails—provided you can pull yourself away from just watching the mighty tides’ hypnotic ebb and flow.
Hopewell Cape is on Highway 114 in eastern New Brunswick, roughly 29 miles southeast of Moncton.
Hopewell Rocks Ocean Tidal Exploration Site (131 Discovery Rd.) is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. mid-May through mid-October (open longer from mid-June through early September); the beach is not wheelchair accessible. For tide charts and other details, call 1-877-734-3429 or refer to www.thehopewellrocks.ca.
More to See… The Albert County Museum complex (12 Hopewell Cross Rd.) in Hopewell Cape features an 1845 jail and other historic buildings. Other displays include a blacksmith shop and wheelwright shop. It’s open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily from mid-June to mid-September. For details, call 1-506-734-2003 or visit www.albertcountymuseum.com.
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