The drive from Fredericton towards Woodstock along the banks of the St. John River (on the Woodstock Road or route 102) allows one to take in the beauty of the St. John River Valley. The route north from Fredericton on the Trans Canada Highway or route 2 is faster but certainly not as scenic. Those who appreciate “slow” tourism will get a great view of the Mactaquac Dam which provides a good proportion of New Brunswick’s electric energy needs. Near the dam is the well serviced Mactaquac Provincial Park which offers freshwater swimming, boating and camping.
The construction of the Mactaquac Dam involved the flooding of vast areas of the St. John River Valley and the submersion of several towns and villages. In order to preserve the best heritage structures in these communities they were transported to Kings Landing Historical Settlement. Meticulously restored these buildings now form a living history village that presents a picture of life in New Brunswick in the 1800s.
Loyalists refugees from New England who landed in Saint John in 1783 provided the impetus for the development of the Colony of New Brunswick. The Loyalists came from all walks of life from the wealthy to simple farmers and even slaves. The number of inhabitants of New Brunswick swelled with the arrival of immigrants from England, Scotland and Ireland throughout the 19th century. The life and society that these people created in New Brunswick is recreated in Kings Landing Historical Settlement.
Set in on a hill overlooking the St. John River Kings Landing has over 70 buildings that are inhabited by costumed guides who explain a number of crafts practiced by the early inhabitants of the province. And they present a variety of special events throughout the summer including political debates and performances of music and dance. One particular favourite event at Kings Landing is the Agricultural Fair held annually on Labour Day Weekend.
After you have walked through the village, see a blacksmith at work or a teacher controlling and educating her students in a one-room schoolhouse, or followed a farmer ploughing his fields you will find that a meal at the King’s Head Inn is a perfect continuation of your immersion in 19th century life. At the Inn, dating from 1850, you will be served by costumed staff who bring you the freshest, tastiest food created in 19th century style. Seated amidst furnishings of the period and perhaps entertained by equally authentic music you will feel that you have indeed succeeded in time travel.
One of the feathers in the Kings Landing cap is its program for children called Visiting Cousins. At weeklong camps in the summer, children dressed in costume attend the one-room school and learn how families lived and worked in the early days. The program and registration materials are available on the Kings Landing Historical Settlement website.
Adults also are offered workshops on various traditional crafts from flax processing, quilting and wool carding, dying and spinning. These courses are offered in cooperation with edVentures. Consult their website for details and registration.