Welcome to Hartland, New Brunswick! Home of the World’s Longest Covered Bridge; The Little Town with the Big Heart; The Holy City. Through its history, it has been nicknamed many times. For us, though, we simply call it home.
However you are coming into this Town, you can’t make a poor choice. From the top of Bridge Hill you can see the whole town stretched out before you. If you are coming across “the Big Bridge” as we call it (it’s the Hugh John Flemming) you can see the town and Covered Bridge just as in a post card. Very likely you can see a few folks standing in the river at the mouth of the Becaguimec fishing the afternoon away. Or, maybe you took the scenic route along the river from Woodstock or Florenceville. Whichever way you are coming into Hartland, you are reminded that there may not be a prettier town anywhere!
We have had floods and fires; droughts and disasters and through it all, this Town has prospered and been poor. The key to our resilience is, without a doubt, the people that live here.
In 2016, my family and I were living 19 miles away in Jacksonville. On a whim, we drove up to look at a house just listed. We had no intention of moving. None. But, we came into town from the Covered Bridge side of Somerville and my wife, Stephanie, commented that it looked like we were driving into a Hollywood set. The river was twinkling, the bald eagles were floating on the thermals above the Courtyard, and (gasp) people waved like they knew us. We knew right then we were someplace special. The house was lovely, and we told our Realtor we were going to have a bite to eat and think about it. As we drove away from what is now our home, I said we better forget lunch because that house is not going to last the day. We called Linda, rerouted, and met to immediately place an offer.
As the man says, “the rest is history!”
The town and the people welcomed us in ways that still surprise us. Pies and loaves of fresh-baked bread were dropped off; neighbors popped by to introduce themselves and tell a few Newfoundlander jokes, people said, “welcome to town!” It really was something out of a movie.
Our kids made immediate friends with other kids. In other words, we felt immediately at home and knew we had found our forever place. This is truly a Town that kids can be kids and parents can be comfortable letting them run “free-range.” A very important quality in a community, I say!
We got involved in some community groups to give back. Revitalize Hartland, The Beautification Committee, The Friends of Hartland, to name a few. There are many places and levels to get involved if you want to. And, if you don’t, guess what? You still will be living in the best Town in Canada. Sorry Whistler.
My point is, if you are coming to “just visit”, be prepared to have an internal struggle about whether to move here. Or, get a little summer place. Or, come back every year to see what changes transpired. Lots and none at the same time.
Lots like our new medical clinic and multi-use trail system including a mountain bike park and a bona fide, good old fashioned swimmin’ hole. None, because the essence of this Town and community is the folks who live here. We have some of the greatest employers in the Province. Day and Ross Transportation is celebrating their 70th Anniversary this year. Craig’s Manufacturing is growing leaps and bounds and, it to, has been around for decades. Third generation, in fact. Valley Equipment, also a third generation employer. Old Dutch, Brennan’s, Aiton Drugs, Two lovely grocery stores, churches, a new school, a new hospital, a world-class golf course. Whatever you are looking for, it is right here. And, if it’s not here, we encourage you to start a business. Put yourself in the picture!
I encourage you to stay a night or, even better, move here lock, stock and barrel. We will welcome you just as my family was welcomed here.
Pop by Town Hall and say hello. Maybe we can sit a spell on the veranda and talk about great things while watching the cars drive by and wave. With the world so seemingly crazy these days, you all need a little Hartland in your life.
Town of Hartland