Experience Great Cultural Travel on the NB Acadian Coastal Drive
Cultural travelers visiting the New Brunswick coast will be swept away by the great seafood, historic Expulsion of the Acadians, and lively music that is Acadian culture.
Visitors to New Brunswick will thrill in an Acadian cultural immersion when traveling along the eastern coast of this maritime province. Take in a foot-stomping music show, visit a restored historical village, or party with thousands of Acadians at the Caraquet Acadian Festival.
How Acadian History Shaped Acadien Culture
In the late 1600s and early 1700s, French settlers arrived in what are now the Maritime provinces and was then called Acadia. Although the region changed from French to English control several times, the Acadians (also spelled Acadiens) remained neutral.
But when the Acadians refused to pledge allegiance to the British crown, the English organized a mass deportation in 1755 now known as the Expulsion of the Acadians. Families were fractured as different groups were sent to Louisiana and other parts of the continent. The expulsion also inspired the famous poem Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
This torn history, strong traditions, and the joy of a reunion means that every gathering of Acadian people will be a grand party.
Travel the Acadian Coast on the Acadian Coastal Drive
Starting in the south in the tiny Aulac, the Acadian Coastal Drive travels north along the coast, passing through Port Elgin, Shediac, Kouchicouguac National Park, Miramichi, Tracadie-Sheila, Chaleur Bay, Caraquet, and Bathurst. For more than 400-km coastal roads trace the rich music and delicious seafood that provides the joyful energy of Acadian culture.
The coastal drive also provides access to Miscou and Lamèque islands—a taste of rural life with great birdwatching.
Visit a Historic Acadian Village: Village Historique Acadien
Live a day at the Village Historique Acadien—a restored village that revives the lifestyle of the Acadian people who returned to New Brunswick after the 1755 expulsion. Visit the general store and post office, then take a lesson in the school house before watching water-powered daily grind at the Riordon grist mill. Other village activities include:
Exploring the print shop
Sipping a beer at the Poirer Tavern
Eating sumptuous meals at the restaurant La Table des Ancêtres
Learning about the fisherman’s lifestyle at the Godin House
Seeing how fish was processed in the Robin Shed warehouse
Uncovering the many uses for flax at Cyr farm
And remembering the history of the English and the Acadians at Blackhall House
The village opens from June through September and lies a 15-minute drive from Caraquet, 3 hours from Moncton, and 10 hours from Montreal.
Taste Seafood and Seaweed in Acadian Cuisine
Based primarily on seafood, Acadian cuisine spans fresh treats to spicy eats. One particularly unique ingredients is dulse: a dark-red seaweed rich in nutrients and a distinctly salty taste.
If dulse isn’t to your liking, watch for other Acadian specialties such as fish chowder, clam chowder, oyster soup, or Acadian-style cod.
Festival Acadien de Caraquet: Caraquet Acadian Festival
Music is the heartbeat of the annual Caraquet Acadian Festival that runs in early August for two weeks.
Join in the loud, boisterous fun of the Tintamarre—a large street parade where 25,000 participants dress in the red, blue, white and yellow of the Acadian flag and pass through the streets creating a pride-filled din. The object of the parade is to make as much noise as possible, with prizes to those who make the biggest uproar.
During the rest of the festival, expect plenty of beautiful voices singing in the Acadian language (an alteration of French) during the Gala de la Chanson, theater shows, and poetry readings.
Plan a Trip to Explore the New Brunswick Acadian Culture
New Brunswick Tourism offers trip-planning resources and maps of the Acadian Coastal Drive. Be it for a weekend getaway, the Caraquet Acadian Festival, or a tour of an historic Acadian village, Acadians and non-Acadians alike will get caught up in the lively spirit of this welcoming region.