Sussex (New Brunswick)
The town’s population is just over 4,000 residents, and the general area is home to some 35,000 people. It’s a quiet, friendly area, where people on the street smile and say “Hi”, even if by chance they don’t know one another.
Called kissing bridges, Kings County has 16 covered bridges, but Sussex has 8 of those within 10 minutes of downtown, making it the “Covered Bridge Capital of Atlantic Canada”. The Kings County Covered Bridge Festival is held here each July, but if you visit during the tourist season, stop at one of the Tourist Information Centres to pick-up a map showing all the local Covered Bridges, and bring your camera.
Sussex is nicknamed Dairytown and is known as the “Dairy Center of the Maritimes”; the reason is obvious when you look in any direction. Farms dot the landscape of Sussex Farm and its outlying areas, and there are even some operating within the town’s boundaries. It’s not uncommon to see tractors and other farm equipment traveling in town or on local roads, especially during fall harvest or haying seasons. Sussex really is an agricultural center, besides the poultry and dairy farms, pastures of cattle, sheep and horses, a livestock auction is held in town every Wednesday, and it's even home to the NB Agriculture Museum.
Overlooking Sussex, Dairytown Products Limited turns New Brunswick milk into award-winning butter, and also operates “Mrs. Dunsters”, a bakery famous for its donuts.
Just east of town in the community of Penobsquis the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan operates an underground salt and potash mine. A mine may not seem to have much in common with farming, but potash is a key ingredient in fertilizer.
Camp Sussex, (which is now the Sussex Industrial Park), housed Camp Sussex Mural - Sussex, NBand trained most of the army personnel who were dispatched overseas during the Second World War. The 8th Hussars Regiment is headquartered here and hundreds of veterans return each year to see the town that they called home during training. There is a Military Museum in the Sussex Train Station with lots of history about the part Camp Sussex played, and as part of the Sussex Mural Project, a mural commemorating Camp Sussex has been painted downtown.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II officially re-opened the renovated Sussex Elementary School when she visited Sussex in 2002. Several of the individual local communities, for example Sussex Corner, Apohaqui and Norton each have their own Elementary Schools, but junior and high school students from these areas are bused to Sussex to attend the Sussex Middle School or the Sussex Regional High School. Local Elementary Schools educate children starting from Kindergarden through Grade 5, the Middle School teaches Grade 6, 7 and 8, and High School Grades 9 to 12. Local Schools feature various sports teams and activities, the High School for example, is host to the “Dairytown Classic”, a great Basketball Tournament that is held annually and attracts teams from all over the province.
Sussex is the main shopping center for eastern half of Kings County. It has 2 small shopping malls, one downtown and second in a growing retail area in the western end of town; featuring 2 grocery stores, 2 drug stores, a new Wal-Mart store - plus various other clothing, book and electronic stores. Sussex also has 3 full-service car dealerships, 2 large building Main Street at Broad Street, Sussex, NBsupply outlets, numerous fast food restaurants, and several banks. Despite it’s continuing growth, Sussex and the surrounding communities have maintained their country-charm.
The Sussex Downtown Business District is lined with small shops, restaurants and offices, while other parts of Main Street feature businesses such as insurance agencies and beauty salons set in attractive older buildings. Sussex has the best of both worlds, the convenience of the city and the friendliness of the country. And if for some reason a resident can’t find an item or service in town… the cities of Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton, are each only about an hour drive away.
It's probably because Sussex is a dairy community and has been famous for its dairy products for over 150 years, but it only seems natural that ice cream is part of it's history. Since the days of the former Sussex Cheese and Butter Ltd., travelers have taken the time to stop for some great local ice cream. Today, the tradition continues as Sussex has several nice Ice Cream Parlours to choose from.
Whether you are visiting Sussex for many of it’s unique features or just stopping for the night on your way through, there are several nice motels, inns, and comfy bed & breakfasts to accommodate you. If you have a RV or if summer camping is your preference, there are 4 full-service campgrounds within 15 minutes of town.
Apohaqui - The village of Apohaqui (pronounced Ap-o-hawk) is about a 5 minute drive west of Sussex by either Route 121 or Riverview Drive.Apohaqui Decades ago Apohaqui was a very busy community, especially in the early 1900’s when the Jones Mill was in operation, but now the pace has slowed compared to its neighbor Sussex. The quiet village straddles the Kennebecasis River, and has nice little streets with new homes nestled next to older ones. The Apohaqui Train Station has been moved to Sussex as part of the New Brunswick Agricultural Museum, but trains still pass thru several times a day, as they have for years. Apohaqui is home to the Atlantic Transport Training Academy, a tractor-trailer and heavy equipment training school that prides itself in putting safe and professional operators behind the wheel.
Berwick, Millstream & Lower Millstream – Traveling 10 km’s north of Sussex towards Fredericton on Route 10, Berwick is a small community at the crossroads of Lower Millstream (to the west), and the Head of Lower Millstream, NBMillstream (to the east). Berwick has farms ranging from poultry to cattle and even an Emu Farm. It's not unusual to see whitetail deer in the morning or evening, snacking in the cabbage fields along the highway. Millstream is definitely a agricultural community, every direction you look… farms fill the landscape. Maritime Sod Ltd. has a sod farm and Brookfield Tree Nurseries operates a greenhouse in this area. On the other side of Berwick, towards the Head of Millstream you’ll find more country homes, family farms, also Millstream Golf Club & Campground. Millstream has another of the Sussex area’s covered bridges.
Norton - The Village of Norton is about 10 minutes west of Sussex via the 4 lane highway, but like several of the small communities along the railway in Kings County, Norton gives no hint to its previous busy history. This quiet little village was once where trains crossed the Kennebecasis River heading north thru Belleisle Creek to Cody’s, across the Washademoak Lake and then onto Chipman and Minto. Norton has some beautiful older homes, churches and it's own Elementary School. Farms surround the community, there are small stores, a nice bank, a call centre and residents are very friendly. A recent fossil discovery west of Norton is believed to be the oldest known fossil forest in Canada. Norton is also home to Country Music Artist Chris Cummings.
Penobsquis (pronounced pen-ob-skwis) is to the east of Sussex on Route 114. Penobsquis has lots of beautiful farmland, but also several other points of interest, such as the Plumweseep PCS Mine - Penobsquis, NBCovered Bridge or the cement sculptures at Animal Land Park (seasonal). Also, the Potash Company of Saskatchewan Mine (PCS) is easily Penobsquis’s most prominent feature. The mine-site can be seen for miles and PCS directly employs hundreds of local people, boosting the Sussex economy. Recent test drilling around the Penobsquis mine has led to a substantial natural gas find, so far enough to supply the needs of the mine’s mill. Exploration continues, and talk of a Natural Gas Energy Park has been suggested, should large enough reserves be found. Beside mining, campgrounds and farming there are several other interesting businesses in the area. Avon Valley Ltd. has a wholesale greenhouse in Penobsquis, Cardwell Farms has a composting facility, and Weeks Construction operates a large quarry.
Fundy National Park - Leaving Sussex it's not necessary to travel through Penobsquis to reach Fundy National Park, (using exit #211 from the 4-lane highway is actually faster and shorter), but the eastern exit to/from Penobsquisis is also connected to the road to the famous Fundy National Park and the Village of Alma, and if you enjoy a slower pace... it's a nice little detour. While in the Park take the time to explore a few of the footpaths or plan a round of Golf at the unique 9-hole course. The 1st Tee is incredible.
Smith Creek, Newtown & Knightville – This quiet valley northeast of Sussex via Route 890, is a mix of rural homes and farmland, where it’s common to see cattle in pastures on both sides of the road at once. Oldfield Covered Bridge While traveling east on this winding country road you can continue on Route 890 towards Smith Creek and Newtown, or turn right onto the Knightville Road to go to Knightville. Either way, these 2 roads run parallel along the valley where you can often look across from one to the other. They are joined at several points by smaller, usually dirt roads. One of these roads is the Oldfield Road, which is home to the famous Oldfield Covered Bridge. This bridge was featured on the 1992 Canadian Quarter representing the Province of New Brunswick, and was part of a twelve coin collection celebrating Canada’s 125 Birthday.
Sussex Corner – For a visitor, if you miss the signs it might be hard to tell where Sussex ends and the Village of Sussex Corner begins. Sussex Corner shares a lot in common with Sussex… Main Street, Trout Creek, a Nature Trail and even the 4-lane highway that passes around the 2 communities. Sussex Corner, NBYou could easily travel from one to the other without noticing the boundary, but Sussex Corner has a pleasant personality all its own. Sussex Corner has subtle differences, like the maple trees uniformly planted along Main Street’s green-belted sidewalks, or the ratio of homes to businesses is different… Sussex Corner is more residential. "The Corner" is like a smaller version of Sussex, small stores and service stations substitute for shopping malls and the skating rink is outdoors (and weather permitting, usually busy). The village motto says it all: “A quiet corner in a busy world”.
Fundy Trail Parkway – East of Sussex Corner via the Newline Road is the route to the Village of St. Martins and also the breathtaking Fundy Trail Parkway (open spring, summer and fall). From Sussex Corner, it's about a 40 minute drive to St. Martins and another 10 to the Parkway, but it's worth the trip. You can cruise through in your own vehicle or walk along the well-built paths and then take the Shuttle Bus back to one of the many parking lots. The Parkway has only it's first phase complete, so you'll have to plan for the drive back to Sussex when you're finished enjoying the spectacular Bay of Fundy views. Phase 2 of the Parkway is expected to start in the next few years, and will eventually connect directly with Fundy National Park.
Dutch Valley & Waterford – While most of the Sussex area is hill or valley, Dutch Valley and Waterford probably have the most pronounced landscape. East of Sussex Corner, Dutch Valley is overlooked by a Dutch Valley - Sussex Cornersteep rock face that runs intermittently for several miles to Waterford. Dutch Valley consists mostly of farms, a few small subdivisions and some homes which date back to the 1800's. Continuing 5 to 10 minutes past Dutch Valley towards Waterford is the Poley Mountain Ski Hill. Poley has a nice lodge, great trails and continues to make yearly improvements. Poley has lots of snowmaking equipment, so as long as it's cold, chances are the friendly staff at Poley will be making snow.