When trying to combine all of the beautiful shots I took while spending three days on Grand Manan Island (selected from over 500 photos in total) it dawned on me that it was impossible for me to simply do one Grand Manan post.

It is without a doubt, one of my favorite places on the East Coast and quite arguably in the world, and so it only felt right to divide the love into two posts. This is the first.

If you’ve never heard of Grand Manan, it’s a small, remote island in New Brunswick, Canada near the American border and the state of Maine. In fact, it’s so close to the USA that when I was on the southern tip of the island, I lost cell service and was quickly picked up my American cell towers and my time was automaticallyset back by an hour to Eastern time.

Accessible only by air or ferry, you can drive from one end of the island to the other in about 30 minutes. Home to beautiful coves, steep cliffs, and one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Canada, Swallowtail, it doesn’t take much for visitors to see why so many of its residents moved from the mainland to embrace island life.

Here are just a few of the many moments from our first day in Grand Manan.

IMG_3411 One of my favorite parts about visiting Grand Manan is that you still have to take a ferry. The 1.5 ride over is always a treat and if you have a good eye, you can often spot playful porpoises and even whales putting on a show on the sail over!

IMG_3417 mom has her spot and she’s ready to set sail

IMG_4029 in case of emergency

IMG_3420heading out to sea – adventure awaits

IMG_3454first stop – a trip to my favorite (and the only) island cafe

When trying to explain to friends or fellow canadians how remote Grand Manan truly is, I always use the example “It’s so small – there’s no Tim Hortons or Starbucks.” That said, they do have the island cafe which is home to one of the best hazelnut iced lattes I’ve ever had.

IMG_4030 typical island decor leaves me with hearts in my eyes

IMG_4031 lunch at a parisian cafe

We had a wonderful time chatting with the french owner of this cafe and sampling some of the most delicious crepes! If you stop by the Bleu Marie, make sure to check out their bakery and treats!

IMG_3459island life is the life for me

IMG_3466smoked salmon, capers & cream cheese crepe

IMG_3464 the happiest vacationer

IMG_3473 hiking to swallowtail

As I mentioned above, Grand Manan is home to one of Canada’s most famous lighthouses – Swallowtail. Nestled on a northern point of the island, it’s one of the first sights you see from sea when approaching by ferry and it’s well worth the hair raising walk over an old bridge crossing a ravine (after descending a steep set of stairs) to get to the lighthouse. But “fortune favours the brave” and you’re rewarded with the most picturesque panoramic views and if you’re lucky, some pretty epic whale sightings.

IMG_3484 island compass

IMG_3510 herring fishing

IMG_3515 swallowtail lighthouse, ferry heading out to sea – best spot on the island

IMG_4032got fog?

IMG_3530 pettes cove – perfect for catching friendly seals

Grand Manan is home to a number of picture perfect coves around the island. Pettes cove offers a fantastic view of Swallowtail (the bridge over the ravine) and the chance to catch some friendly seals swimming close to shore or sunning on the beach!

IMG_3552 would you mind terribly if i pay with my sand dollar?

IMG_4033 the most stunning old rocks made from petrified trees

IMG_4034 standing on history

IMG_3577 evening stroll on the wharf

IMG_3603 sunset vibes

IMG_3624 chasing the gulls

IMG_3620 sunsets on the dock

IMG_3622 day one on the island – perfection

Make sure to come back Thursday for Grand Manan Part Two to see more ocean views and whales, whales, whales!




  • lbowes903
    September 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    I never made it to Grand Manan the whole time I was living in New Brunswick, and now I’m already planning a weekend getaway for Corey and I next summer! Thanks for the inspiration, C!!!

    • crystalrichard
      September 1, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      You are SO welcome! It’s magical and I know you will love it! Message me when the time comes and I’d be happy to give you all my secrets ;)

  • Sarah Ingersoll
    September 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I was born in Seal Cove, Grand Manan and lived there the first few years of my life. I am now 62 and throughout my life, have gone back to Grand Manan as much as I can, usually twice or more a year. I always get excited about the prospect of going because a new adventure always awaits! It is gorgeous and tranquil and fun and it just makes me happy every time I am there.

    By the way, it also does not have a McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, or any of those fast food giants. It does, however, had some local eateries, which serve delicious clams, lobster and other yummy seafood.

    In short, it is heaven!

    • crystalrichard
      September 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Sarah – thank you for the lovely note! I absolutely love Seal Cove! I agree that the local eateries have the greatest food! It’s one of the reasons I love the island – the FOOD! I hope you get to return home to visit again soon! :)

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  • Doris
    September 3, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    What are your favorite places to eat?

    • crystalrichard
      September 3, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Doris, I really love the Compass Rose and the Inn at Whale Cove. I miss Gallaways and was sad to see that it was no longer open when I was there this time. Of course, daily trips to the Island Cafe are a must for me! And I really enjoyed my visit at the Bleu Marie Cafe this time too!

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