Published September 2016
I took my first trip to New Brunswick this past August and boy, was I impressed. I’m a regular world traveler, traveling once a month to somewhere around the world yet I had never been to our neighboring province New Brunswick. I came away with breathless admiration. I have become a New Brunswick booster!
What I thought when I first got there was how great it was to be driving to a foreign country. All the things that we wanted to bring fit in our car’s trunk and there’s no security line and no airport parking. The border crossing was just a few minutes, bring your passports!
Plus the drive through Bar Harbor and the coast of eastern Maine is beautiful all the way around. Our first stop was right over the FDR Memorial Bridge from Lubec, Maine where we discovered the Campobello home of many generations of Roosevelts. A Canadian park honoring a US president. Talk about allies!
At Campobello, though, Eleanor Roosevelt is the biggest star. We enjoyed having tea with two ladies, Carolyn Newman and Debbie Mitchell, who are docents at the museum and who provided amazing glimpses into Eleanor’s work and life, and what it was like for her to be in Campobello, a place she adored.
For anyone who is interested in US history, the museum here provides a wealth of information about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s life and the story of how Eleanor remained connected to Campobello for decades after she married FDR.
We headed north and soon arrived at the beautiful Algonquin Hotel in Saint Andrews, perched up on a hill and looking regal in red and white. This was once the town’s train station, and the wraparound porch is inviting, right in front of the long glass enclosed dining room where breakfast is served.
They have an 18-hole golf course here that’s being renovated—to emphasize even better views of the Passamaquoddy Bay that you can see from many of the holes. Golf pro Jason Porter took me out on the course and though injured and unable to play, he still helped me with my swing as we toured the course, rated in the top ten in all of Canada.
After a few days in Saint Andrews, it was island time. We headed south to Blacks Harbour where we boarded the 90-minute ferry for Grand Manan Island. This turned out to be a real treat. Grand Manan is a small island where 90 percent of the residents work in the fishing business.
For visitors, that means some of the world’s best seafood, which is served in small family-owned restaurants like the Compass Rose Heritage Inn, and the Inn at Whale Cove. From locally sourced mussels, halibut, and lobster, to the world’s best seafood chowder, this island is the epicenter of seafood, and like the mainland, it’s not overrun by tourists.
We drove to the southern-most tip of Grand Manan, to see the cliffs at Southwest Head. There is a simple dirt path along the top of the cliffs, and the only thing man-made is a big lighthouse and radio tower. Nothing. What a marvelous chance to see nature and nothing else!
I kept thinking that if we were in the US, there’d be a snack bar, paved paths, and it would cost $10 to park here. Nope. This is Grand Manan, where there’s plenty of room on the beach, up on the cliffs, and everywhere so it’s never crowded.
Read a feature story on GoNOMAD about St. Andrews-by-the-Sea
Listen to an 8-minute audio interview about St. Andrews, New Brunswick and Grand Manan