There’s Still Time to Visit Beaubears Island and Wilson’s Point
This article was first featured in the 2019 Early Fall Issue of the Giv’er Miramichi Magazine!
Though our summer staff members have returned to their studies, with our thanks, the Friends of Beaubears Island are set to close out the 2019 summer season with a bevy of activities throughout the month of September. From picnics to plays, outdoors to olden days, there’s no shortage of events to experience on and around these two National Historic Sites.
Access to the Island by ferry ($10/person), for hiking, will be available daily until September 28th. Self-guided walks allow you to marvel at the lofty pines which have stood sentinel for more than two centuries, and keep watch for the Island’s abundant wildlife, including our family of bald eagles – maps and Flora/fauna guides provided at no extra charge. For those looking for something more in depth, a visit alongside one of our guides ($15/person) lasts about 45-minutes, but can be adapted to long-form to suit your interest. This tour covers only a portion of the Island’s trails, the area where habitation occurred. Hear history come alive, with stories of Acadian mothers and Commander Boishebert himself. From there, our historic tour carries you and yours into a time when the sound of auger, saw, and file were heard plainly among the pines and the Island shipyard turned out some of the finest vessels in the world.
In addition, a new, “Bite of Beaubears”, picnic experience will debut on Saturdays in September ($30/person). Tapping into the rich history of the Island as a recreation destination between 1857-1913, period-inspired alfresco dining will be hosted by proprietors Peter Mitchell and Ann Harley. Guests are invited to take on a role of their own or choose to see the experience through the lens of a past personage. Games and music will pervade the experience, closing with a period photo – a keepsake given to each participant upon returning to the Interpretive Centre.
Another new experience, debuting this year, is forester, Jim Saunders’ “How to Grow an Island” ecological walks ($20/person). These 90-minute trail-based encounters with nature, focus on the seasonal changes that take place in the Beaubears Island ecosystem. Key stops will be made on each tour, but spontaneity will be built in, to allow guests a role in choosing other stops, and topics of discussion, as the tour progresses. These excursions will attempt to take a holistic view towards relational ecology, paying particular attention to biological associations, particularly across species and between the plant and animal kingdoms. Highlighting the interconnected nature of the Beaubears Island Acadian Forest will be a priority; prior reservation is required.
On September 22, Friends of Beaubears Island partners with the Highland Society of New Brunswick at Miramichi to offer a reprise matinee performance of Courage in the Storm: A Tale of William Davidson at 2pm at Wilson’s Point (admission by donation). The play, well received when it was first staged in 2015, explores Davidson’s role in Miramichi the last, and arguably most eventful, years of his life.
In the first act, Davidson faces off against Loyalists Benjamin Marston and John Willson, and both sides propose divergent futures for the River in the course of the province’s first election.
In the second act, William deals with new challenges, posed by his friend, and local merchant, James Fraser, while Sarah Davidson and the enigmatic Charlotte Taylor are forced to contend with the destructive forces of gossip and rumour. The entire production allows its audience to look back at a history filled with triumph, levity, drama, and a determination that’s come to characterize our region; certainly a chance not to be missed.
Our team is very much looking forward to seeing you and yours this September, join us and hear the stories of a place where fortunes were made and lives were lost.
Wilson’s Point Historic Site
At the point where two rivers converge lies a protected historic site. Make you way to the end of the Enclosure Rd where you will find the best kept secret in the form of Wilson’s Point Historic Site. Visit the St James Church Replica, which houses an interpretive centre where knowledgeable staff greet you with a smile and regale you with stories the tumultuous history and happenings of Wilson’s Point beginning nearly three centuries ago.
This spot has been summer hunting and fishing grounds for the M’ikmaq, a refuge for expelled Acadians, the site of a bustling Scottish settlement and the midway point of a horse powered ferry system from Nelson to Newcastle and later a gift to the Province from Lord Beaverbrook. It is now cared for by the Miramichi Scottish Heritage Association. There once was a tavern and several businesses on the property and a graveyard that predated the original church.
The church replica is built in the same fashion as the original with only wooden pegs and tongue and groove boards, there isn’t a nail to be found. This beautiful little building is naturally air conditioned and has perfect acoustics to hold musical events in as well as the annual church service that is held the last Sunday of July.
Ever dream of a small quaint wedding in a little country church? You can make this dream come true at Wilson’s Point. The church is the perfect place to begin a life together and is available for rent. The area is a great venue for weddings and family photos.
The Church and Trading Post are open daily from June to October, and admission is free. The grounds are available to visit at your leisure year-round.
Seek out the troubled spirits of times long past…if you dare…on October 26th as part of the Graveyard Tour at 7pm and at 9pm. Make sure to bring a flashlight and someone’s hand to hold as you brave the dark and enter the gates that are normally locked for a very good reason.
For more information and times of events please check out the Wilson’s Point Historic Site Facebook page, Instagram, and website at www.highlandsociety.com or call 506-627-0162.
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