North Americans travelling to Eastern Canada for their vacation should consider a stop at St. Andrews by-the-Sea, a village inside the western border of New Brunswick.
Named in honour of St. Andrews, Scotland, St. Andrews by-the-Sea is a serendipitous surprise of a resort town that receives much of its heritage from the United Empire Loyalists who settled in the area after the American Revolution. The New Brunswick coastal hamlet still remains an active fishing village with scallop diggers, fishing boats, and barges exiting Passamaquoddy Bay into the Bay of Fundy on a daily basis.
The Fairmont Algonquin Hotel
Entering the town, visitors are overwhelmed by the towering structure that looms over the village like a giant. The granddaddy of hotels, The Fairmont Algonquin Hotel, is a local landmark with its imposing Tudor-style architecture. Built in 1899, the hotel offers a sumptuous setting, grand dining rooms, its own golf course, and an unparalleled view of Passamaquoddy Bay from its rooftop patio. The lawn is the perfect spot to settle in for a classic summer novel.
Another hotel option is the Kingsbrae Arms at 219 King Street, the only Relais and Chateaux east of Quebec. The four-star hotel offers deluxe accommodation and is adjacent to the magnificent Kingsbrae Garden. Visitors will find serenity while enjoying the brilliant foliage, flaming flora and soft shrubbery decked out in individually-themed gardens.
Visitors seeking a more quiet respite may find several bed and breakfasts and inns that offer comfort along Water Street, the town’s seaside thoroughfare. The stalwart Treadwell Inn at 129 Water Street has rooms that overlook Passamaquoddy Bay. The Inn on Frederick, 58 Frederick Street, offers antique-furnishings, including canopied beds and wing-back chairs. For more casual accommodations, visitors can rent a cottage or cabin at the Seaside Beach Resort, 339 Water Street.
Shopping and Dining in St. Andrews
Along Water Street, there is a cluster of restaurants and quaint specialty shops that border the town wharf. Cottage Craft Woolens, Scrooge & Marley’s Gifts, The Whale Store, and the Mariner’s Compass Quilt Shop sell locally-crafted artifacts. Gables Restaurant and Waterfront Patio, the Snug & Oyster Bar, and Fulcrum Gallery and Cafe all offer patio dining along the waterfront.
Whale-Watching in New Brunswick
The can’t miss attraction in St. Andrews is a whale-watching tour. Tour captains guarantee that whales will be seen on every trip. Boats wind out of Passamaquoddy Bay and enter the daunting Bay of Fundy, where Bar Harbor, Maine can be spotted in the distance. Passengers will not only catch glimpses of the Northern Humpback, Fin and Minke whales, but will see an abundance of seals, porpoises, puffins, and possibly an American Bald Eagle or two.
Campobello and Grand Manan Islands
Several nearby islands are worth a visit, including Minister’s Island, originally the home of William Van Horne, the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The island can be accessed by vehicle when the tide is low. Boat tours also travel to Campobello Island, where former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent his summer vacations. The island includes a park and museum dedicated to him. There is a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride that takes visitors to Grand Manan Island, where eco-tourists will delight in cycling, hiking or birdwatching, as well as touring several historic lighthouses.
Whether whale-watching on the mighty Bay of Fundy, or relaxing at the regal Fairmont Algonquin Hotel, visitors to Eastern Canada will celebrate the discovery of this ocean pearl, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick.