MISCOU ISLAND — The winter ice off the very northeastern tip of New Brunswick is about to melt, the seasonal starting bell for summer residents, mostly Quebecers and some from the United States, who in warm weather double this island’s year-round population of about 700. Even then, day trippers to these 150 square miles of bogs, ponds, and beaches will remain relatively sparse, especially compared with the crowds drawn to the Bay of Fundy on the province’s southeastern coast. The island is more than 200 miles from Fundy’s Hopewell Rocks, but the long drive ends with great rewards.
The approach to Miscou is incongruously modern. In 1996, an arched bridge replaced the small ferry that had been the main link between this part of New Brunswick and the rest of Canada. The bridge has encouraged greater promotion of the island’s attractions, including its beaches, walkways, and the renovated Miscou Island Lighthouse, built around 1856 and open for tours in summer. On a clear day, the climb 80 feet up the lighthouse’s spiral steps and through a small hatchway to the roof rewards with wide views of the Bay of Chaleur and Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula on the horizon.