I love Canada’s Maritime provinces and who doesn’t? With the friendliest folks on the planet, a laid back vibe and abundant seafood, it’s a summer lover’s dream. But there’s more to this land of thick forests and windswept beaches. Maritime travel is ideal for tight wads (like me), who like to watch their pennies even when they’re on the road. I was thrilled when visiting the Maritimes last month at how blessedly cheap it all was. Here’s a look at why tight wad travellers ought to Maritime it!
Luxury Hotels in the Maritimes Aren’t Crazy Expensive
It’s summer, it’s high season, hell it may even be a long weekend, but the most expensive rate we saw was $120 a night. I was floored by this considering we were staying at lovely historic hotels like The Great George in Charlottetown, Dalvay-by-the-Sea on PEI’s Cavendish Coast and The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews.
Where to get the best Maritime Lobster
The price of lobster is at an all time low. Not that you’d know that out west, where I paid $68 for three lobsters on Mother’s Day! In the Maritimes you can get a lobster roll for as little as $7 (at a decent place, not the MacDonald’s version) and a full lobster dinner comes in anywhere from $20-$25. Guess who gained seven pounds on her holiday? (It wasn’t my daughter.)
Food on a Budget in the Maritimes
On the food wagon we rolled! The most expensive glass of wine I saw on a menu was $12. Most were $5.25. And the ice cream! I asked one man I saw giving a toonie to the cashier if he had a double scoop. Nope, it was just a regular cone for $1.75, but it was the size of a double in Alberta. Maritime portion sizes are generous – almost American in scope, making it easy to share, or put on seven pounds.
Best Sandy Beaches in the Maritimes
Some beaches in the Maritimes might be strewn with the occasional jellyfish, but that’s just a two-week period, where kids learn to conquer their fears. I mean, who doesn’t have fond memories of poking a massive stick into a jelly and flinging the wobbly bits at your mates? I digress…
Typically not over crowded, Maritime beaches are just as pristine as you’ll find in tropical resorts. OK, the water’s cooler, but that doesn’t stop the kids from plunging in. Several beaches in PEI like Brackley Beach, bring in sandcastle masters several times a week to teach us civilians the finer points of sand sculpting.
80s Pop Culture Lives Strong
You don’t have to spend money keeping current on the latest music. Turn on the radio, any station and I promise you, it’ll take you right back to 1987. I hadn’t heard this much Honeymoon Suite and Bryan Adams since high school. And you know what? It was really refreshing. No need to try and keep up with the hipsters. No need to ask my daughter, “Hey, is this a new song? Who sings it?” Nobody here cares. They just like the music they like.
Save on Energy Bills
Whenever I drove through a residential area I was surprised by two things. The lack of fences (I guess everyone has decent neighbours on the coast) and the abundance of clothing lines. My mom used to hang our washing out on a line and it smelt so fresh and fantastic when she brought it in. I’m sure Maritimers have dryers, but that they prefer to hang their washing out, is not only thrifty, but speaks to a lovely, more leisurely pace of life.
Choose to Rent or Buy a Home in the Maritimes
It was tempting not to want to pull up sticks and move to either New Brunswick or PEI (we didn’t get to Nova Scotia this trip). Colourful gabled Victorian houses can be had for less than half the price of a bungalow in any major Canadian metropolis. Many are set next to a river or in charming little communities where the grass really does look greener!
Have you ever visited the Maritimes? What did you think of it?