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Road Trip to Gagetown

About 56km (35 miles) southeast of Fredericton is the village of Gagetown, a scenic driving detour en route to or from Saint John. It's been named one of the 10 prettiest villages in Canada, and has somehow remained largely unchanged through the years — still backed by farm fields on one side, and cozied up to by Gagetown Creek, a placid inlet off the Saint John River, on another. The peaceful surroundings and simple country architecture here have attracted craftspeople and artists, who have settled here and slowly made it over into a quiet arts colony — quaint and creative, but never annoyingly so. Look for low-key enterprises like art galleries, a cafe, a decoy carver, bookstore, cider press, crafts cooperative, and several potters.

You can also bird-watch and explore here; the region is noted for avian life, with a wide range of birds enjoying the local marshes, forests, and fields. (Nearly 150 species of bird have been reliably identified in and around Gagetown.) Where to do it? Gagetown Island is just offshore and easily accessible by kayak or canoe, which some local inns provide. The island is about 405 hectares (a thousand acres) in size and features a glacial deposit that rises some 23m (75 ft.) high, plus the ruins of a stone house dating from the early 19th century. That's all nice, but birders go for the osprey-viewing platform.

While in town, drop by the Queens County Museum (tel. 506/488-2966), birthplace of Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, one of the fathers of Canadian Confederation. The 1786 home, located at 69 Front St., is open to the public daily from mid-June through mid-September; admission costs C$3 per person, free for children under 12. You can also buy a pass here (C$5 to C$7, free for children) allowing access to several more of the town's historic homes including the Flower House and a simple courthouse.

If you want to stay the night, check with the simple bed-and-breakfast in town, the Lang House B and B (tel. 506/488-1808) at 58 Front St. Owners Marian and Bruce Langhus maintain six rooms costing from C$110 to C$130 per night, and their inn's open year-round.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.