I love visiting historical villages and living folk museums whenever I travel but nothing prepared me for just how special and moving the Historical Acadian Village in Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada was.
What makes this village so special is not just the great historical buildings and equipment they moved to the village site. It's the passion of the employees for sharing the history of the Acadian people, which is their history, since most of if not all employees there are of Acadian descent. I really saw the pride they had in their job and of the building or home they worked in. It's not just a job for the people that work there, they love the village, and it shows. They are really anxious to share their knowledge with you in French or English. Several people we talked to for over a half hour.
A couple of the workers in the village described how they were personally before they started working at the village. They described themselves as running through life, but now they say they are really living. They are able to take pride in their work and share about the Acadian life, their ancestor’s life.
In one house, a lady described how the home owner built a well in the house for his wife, among many special things, because he loved his wife a lot. At the end, she told us she knew so much about the house because it was her grandparent’s house. She had waited years to become the guide of that house because of the pride she had for it and it's history, her history.
Another lady passionately described how Acadians families were split up and spread throughout the world and why family is so important to Acadians. She said even today, Acadians from all over are making pilgrimages to the village. Hard not to tear up listening to that.
With their origins in France, the Acadians were the first French to settle in North America in the 17th century. The history of the Acadians is a tragic one as they were deported in 1755, deprived of their land with families divided up and scattered around the world.
The Acadian Village in Caraquet takes you through Acadian history recalling the daily life of their ancestors and has more then 40 authentic buildings dating from 1770 to 1949. All of the buildings are occupied with interpreters in costume that relate to that period. I really enjoyed the 1900's era and I felt like I was walking in a street from the past.
Today you can find Acadians in many parts of North America but mainly in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Louisiana (Cajuns)
The adult admission price for the Acadian Village is 17.50 $ CDN and covers 2 days admission (within a 7 day period).Take my advice and come back a second day. If you rush through the village, you'll miss what makes the place so special. Kids under 6 are free and there are special rates for families and seniors. Their open 7 days a week from 10 to 6 during regular season, but their regular season is only during the warmer months. This years regular season was from June 7th through September 19 . Admission includes a horse cart ride.
The village also has a hotel, Chateau Albert, dating from 1907. One can stay there for 149.95$ CDN a night plus taxes from June 28th to August 16 (weekends until Sept 12) That includes breakfast and park admission for two. If you stay there, the buildings in the village that would of had electricity in their time are lit up.
I was taken around New Brunswick by Vivie, who showed me just why the Acadian Peninsula is so special to her. Vivie, her family, and her friends’ kindness and hospitality will never be forgotten.