Haven’t managed to get away this summer yet?  Did you really buy into that “stay-cation” idea?  Or does the news about the economy, the gas crisis and high prices have you worried?  How about a vacation this fall that offers real value? 

Savvy leaf peepers know that come September and October there are lower prices, fewer crowds and plenty of elbow room in Atlantic Canada.  And unlike New England and other parts of the US, prices go down in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island during the fall – sometimes as much as 50 percent.   

The rolling hills and picturesque valleys of Atlantic Canada come alive in a wash of fiery crimsons and scarlets along with bright yellows and golds.  Food and music take center stage at colorful festivals.  And since Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving on October 8, Americans can even indulge in an additional holiday feast.

Thanks to the warm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Northumberland Strait, Prince Edward Island actually has one of the longest fall foliage viewing periods in North America.  The island’s gentle landscape offers up views of apricot-orange sugar maples and the ruby-reds of cherry and sumac.  These jewel tones contrast with the deep greens of spruce and pine. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Prince Edward Island’s most famous personage – the spunky red-haired orphan Anne of Green Gables – and events continue on through the end of November, www.anne2008.com.  For seafood lovers PEI also offers two food festivals this fall.  The 13th annual PEI International Shellfish Festival will be held in Charlottetown from September 19 to 21. The “biggest kitchen party in Atlantic Canada” will feature chowder cook-offs, oyster shucking contests and five daily performances by some of Canada’s best known musicians, www.peishellfish.com. And 10 days later, from September 30 to October 5, “Fall Flavours,” a new island-wide food festival with more than 130 culinary events, will take place with native son Michael Smith, one of Canada’s leading chefs, hosting a gala dinner and cooking classes, www.fallflavours.ca.

From September 3 through 15 at the Cavendish Maples Cottages, room rates go down to $98 from the summertime high of $141, a savings of 30 percent.  From September 16 through the 21, the rate goes down to $84, a 40 percent savings.  And from September 22, a room for two costs as little as $70 – a whopping 50 percent off high-season rates.  A “Romance Package,” which includes two nights’ accommodation, breakfast vouchers for the PEI Preserve Co., passes to Green Gables, a bottle of wine, a chocolate surprise and a welcome gift is available from September 2 to mid-October for $243 per couple, 1-888-662-7537, www.cavendishmaples.com.

Visitors to Nova Scotia will see many autumn colors kayaking along Cape Chignecto or hiking, biking, or canoeing through Kejimkujik National Park.  They might even catch sight of moose.  Several food and music festivals take place in the fall, and farmers’ markets have an abundance of fall produce.  From September 4 through October 26, the 2008 Wines of Nova Scotia Fall Festival will offer more than 25 tastings, grape stomps, gourmet dinners, cooking classes and food pairing events, www.winesofnovascotia.ca.  Melodic voices and the sounds of pipes and fiddles will fill the air in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island at the Celtic Colours International Festival, October 10 to18.  In its twelfth year, this festival will focus on Celtic cultures with home grown Cape Breton musicians as well as artists from Scotland, Ireland, Spain and even Cuba, www.celtic-colours.com.

At the White Point Beach Resort rates also dip in the fall.  Starting September 15, prices for a standard river view room drop to $111 Sunday through Thursday, from the summertime high of $140 – a 20 percent discount.  (The weekend rate is $131.)  After October 19, the rate goes down further to $102 – a 27 percent savings.  (Sunday through Thursday the weekend rate is $111.) The resort’s “Beach Romance” package includes cottage accommodations for three nights, fresh flowers, a fruit basket, sparkling wine, a three-course candlelight dinner, breakfast in bed and a gourmet picnic basket.  Guests may also select a bike trip, round of golf or massage.  The package costs $679 through September 13 and goes down to $621 from September 13 to October 18.  After October 19, the package is only $562, 1-800-565-5068, www.whitepoint.com.

Retracing four centuries of settlement, Newfoundland’s Discovery Trail presents a panorama of stunning seascapes, quiet fishing villages and historic sites.  And the fall colors are spectacular: pin cherry and white birch turn bright yellow, sugar maples become rich orange and blueberry bushes explode into crimson.  Majestic icebergs, pods of whales and puffin colonies lure nature lovers.  A network of foot and cart paths lead to fishing ponds, centuries-old lighthouses and isolated out ports.  Visitors can hike from the abandoned community of British Harbour and the lighthouse of Kings Cove trail to the site of a natural fort used during Queen Ann’s War of 1703-13.  One of the most picturesque spots along the Discovery Trail is the charming national heritage community of Trinity.  Here, narrow lanes lead to restored 19th century merchant houses.   There are some 50 architecturally significant buildings in this small town of 350.  Whale watching is a popular activity from the port and twenty-two species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises swim along the coastline.

This fall, the Artisan Inn and the Campbell House are offering a “stay two nights, get one free” package, which includes accommodations for two, full daily breakfasts and four-course dinners all three days in the Twine Loft Restaurant (featured in the 2008 “Where to Eat in Canada.”)  The package also provides two passes for the Trinity Museum Tour and a year’s subscription to Newfoundland Quarterly.  The rate, at $270 per person, double occupancy, is an 18 percent savings.   After September 15, guests that stay three or more nights, pay a nightly rate of $112, 15 percent off the high-season price.  The Artisan Inn sits on the shore of Fisher Cove in Trinity Harbour and many of its furnishings were created by local artisans.  Rated 4-star Canada Select, the Campbell House is an historic 1840 building with harbor views and sweeping vistas of Trinity, 1-877-464-7700, www.trinityvacations.com.

Fall is also a special time in New Brunswick where wind-swept beaches provide a back-drop for miles upon miles of crimson red peat bogs.  Lighthouses and fishing villages dot the landscape and Acadian joie de vivre colors a multitude of special events.  The 36th annual Oyster Festival, October 2 to 5, will feature tastings, a multi-course oyster supper, and oyster opening and eating contests.  New Brunswick is also home to Canada’s largest jazz festival – the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton.  From September 9 to 14, electric blues, jazz and funk musicians will offer 120 performances, including 40 free shows, in 23 venues in the city’s historic downtown, www.harvestjazzandblues.com

The Hotel Paulin in Caraquet is a charming Victorian hotel built in 1891 and still operated by the Paulin family.  From September 16 to October 15, two people can stay for only $107 per night.  After October 16, the price drops to $102.  The 10-room hotel also has a two-night “Fall for Love” package that includes a full breakfast daily, three-course dinner and wine pairing, Acadian gift basket with wine and cheese, a chocolate and port tasting, Oyster Museum visit with tasting or goat cheese farm tour and tasting.  Additionally, guests may choose between one of the following: a chocolate body wrap treatment, a round of golf, four-course tasting menu with wine at dinner, an oyster cooking class or lobster cooking class.  The package is $405, per person, double occupancy from September 1 through October 15, 1-866-727-9981, www.hotelpaulin.com.

Travelers can download guides and find more information about fall packages, accommodations and events by going to the four provincial web sites: www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca, www.newfoundlandandlabrador.com, www.novascotia.com/fall and www.gentleisland.com/fall.  The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP) is a nine member pan-Atlantic partnership comprised of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the four Atlantic Canada Tourism Industry Association and the four Provincial Departments responsible for tourism of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Source: Meredith Pillon Marketing Communications

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