Pages Navigation Menu

Island hopping in New Brunswick, Canada

The Roosevelt cottage, Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Campobello Island
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

The Roosevelt cottage, Roosevelt Campobello International Park, Campobello Island

We wanted a unique vacation and found it. We enjoyed elegant afternoon tea, walked on the ocean floor, experienced the world’s most extreme tides, had the opportunity to bicycle with men in kilts, ate dulse and visited the Sardine Museum & Herring Hall of Fame.

First, we needed to cross the Roosevelt International Bridge, built in 1962, to New Brunswick’s Campobello Island. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt bought a 34-room cottage here that is now the centerpiece of the 2800 acre Roosevelt Campobello International Park.This is the only park in the world owned by the people of two countries and administered by a joint commission.

Tea with Eleanor was a highlight of our visit. Tea and cookies are accompanied by stories about Eleanor told by knowledgeable staff who are clearly avid fans of the former First Lady.

There are walking trails, beaches, and forests in the International Park, and scenic picnic spots along the rocky shore. We spotted whales from East Quoddy lighthouse on the north end of the island.

dining room of the at Owen House, Campobello Island
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

dining room of the at Owen House, Campobello Island

A stay at the Owen House, a large colonial inn overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay and the islands, is an immersion in history. Admiral William Fitzwilliam Owen, son of the Welsh Captain granted the island in 1769, built it in 1835. It still has many original furnishings and most of the original construction–including a Shaker staircase (an extra step on the back stairway for ladies) and an ornate Wedgewood toilet. One room serves as watercolor gallery for artist and owner Joyce Morrell. We relaxed on the oceanview porch where Eleanor Roosevelt sat when she visited. Breakfast included blueberry pancakes prepared in a bowl from the 1880s.

We boarded the nearby Deer Island ferry and photographed fishing villages on the scenic road to the mainland ferry. Our next destination was St. Andrews by-the-Sea, renowned for its golf course, and with a new aquarium at Huntsman Marine Center. We were greeted by men in kilts at the area’s signature hotel, the Algonquin Resort, popular with guests of all ages for its resort facilities and dining , including afternoon tea. We strolled past grand historic homes on the nearby tree-lined streets and visited the Kingsbrae Gardens before returning to the hotel for dinner.

Ministers Island, named for the Loyalist parson who built a stone home that still stands, can be accessed by car or bicycle at low tide or by shuttle boat or kayak the rest of the day. It was the summer estate of railway magnate Sir William Van Horn. Van Horn sandstone cut from the beach to build his fifty room mansion, Covenhaven, and the circular bathhouse from which he loved to draw and paint. He was meticulous in maintaining his animals, including thoroughbred horses and Dutch belted cattle, in an enormous barn. Milk, fresh butter, and fruits and vegetables were produced here to supply both this and his Montreal home.

We had the opportunity to bicycle, kilts optional, with Off Kilter Biking Tours. It is run by personal trainer Kurt Gumushel and artist Geoff Slater, who created area murals and is known for his single line paintings. This enthusiastic duo include the area’s renowned mountain biking and Scottish heritage in a tour customized to interests and ability.

sunbathing seals, whale watch aboard the tall ship Jolly Breeze, St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

sunbathing seals, whale watch aboard the tall ship Jolly Breeze, St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick

We booked a whale watch aboard the tall ship Jolly Breeze and spotted sunbathing seals, bald eagles, finback whales, and sea birds. When the season is right there are also puffins, right whales, and humpbacks. We learned about salmon cages and herring weirs, and there was a touch tank and pirate-themed activities onboard for children.

oyster at Rossmont Inn, St. Andrews by the Sea, New brunswick
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

oyster at Rossmont Inn, St. Andrews by the Sea, New brunswick

For dinner, there’s none finer than the Rossmont Inn on Route 127, a manor house on 87 acres that includes Chamcook Mountain, highest point in the Passamaquoddy Bay area. Graziella Aerni runs the 18 room inn. Her husband, Chef Chris Aerni, creates his menu daily from the freshest foods of the land and sea–regional catches, his own organic vegetables, herbs, and handpicked wild foods like fiddleheads, and mushrooms.

scallop and blueberry salad at Tides Restaurant., Alma, New Brunswick
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

scallop and blueberry salad at Tides Restaurant., Alma, New Brunswick

The next morning, we continued along the bay to Fundy National Park and walked a trail. We stopped for lunch in Alma, where lobster boats were idle on the ocean floor awaiting the incoming tides. Lunch at Tides Restaurant was a scrumptious salad with freshly harvested wild blueberries and scallops.

flowerpot rocks at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

flowerpot rocks at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

Then we were off to Hopewell Rocks, timing our visit for low tide when we could walk on the ocean floor. Low tide exposes 300 million year old rock formations with sandstone bases that have been eroded by waves and angled by the earth’s movement, creating shapes now called Flowerpot Rocks. Once the world’s highest tides roll in, kayakers head out to paddle past the rocks’ treed tops.

Hungry for seafood, we headed for the lighthouse and Cape House Restaurant on Cape Enrage. Chef Jeremy Wilbur, grew up in the area, attended the Culinary Institute of Canada and worked internationally before returning here. We enjoyed Bay of Fundy Scallops, an order of local fiddleheads large enough to share, and a “raging chowder” of local Fundy seafood, all with a bay view.

The secluded mountain chalet at Broadleaf Guest Ranch, with plenty of bedrooms and baths and a large kitchen and living area, was an ideal choice for the six of us. It’s on Route 114 about 45 minutes south of Moncton, and is part of an 1100 acre family owned and operated adventure business. There are also three country cabins, dormitory-style cabins, a bed and breakfast apartment, and summer camping hookups in the apple orchard. Hearty ranch cuisine is served in the restaurant.

Adventures include horseback riding along the Bay of Fundy marshes. Special summer, winter, and riding packages are offered, as well as the Broadleaf Stress Breaker, which includes a massage and manicure or pedicure–perfect for a girlfriends’ getaway.

Next, we were off to Grand Manan Island, a fishing community with natural beauty and activities–whale watches, kayaking, hiking, beachcombing, art galleries and museums–that draw tourists. The dulse from the west side of the island is said to be the best in the world, and its unique Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame shouldn’t be missed.

Dulse is an intertidal zone seaweed harvested at low tide and dried on rocks. Eaten as is or added as flakes or powder to many recipes, it is a nutritious food found in Ireland and Atlantic Canada, that is used medicinally and found in many health food stores. Dulse from Dark Harbor is protected from bright morning sun, making it darker and more flavorful, and is said to be the highest quality in the world. A good source is Roland’s Sea Vegetables, 174 Hill Road, where it is also dried and processed.

Volunteer Megan Ingalls holds rack of smoked herring, Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

Volunteer Megan Ingalls holds rack of smoked herring, Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame

New Yorker Michael Zimmer recognized the significance of the island’s lost smoked herring industry. Twenty years ago he bought three neglected buildings and used them to artistically display old tools and equipment he collected from around the island, founding the Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame.

Volunteer Megan Ingalls with founder Michael Zimmer’s boat, built in the shape of a sardine can, Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon

Volunteer Megan Ingalls with founder Michael Zimmer’s boat, built in the shape of a sardine can, Sardine Museum and Herring Hall of Fame

His boat, fashioned in the shape of a sardine can, is also on display.

Our first night, just before it closed for the season, was at the Compass Rose B&B on Route 776, in a room so charming that a cozy covers the TV when not in use. It was originally a post office and telegraph office, and is about half a mile from the ferry terminal. Breakfast is superbly prepared and served with classical music in a dining room, which like our room, overlooked the working harbor. Lunch is available.

We enjoyed a sweeping and serene seaside view at the Inn at Whale Cove & Cottages, built in 1816. Each of the three bedrooms in the main house has a private entrance and private bathroom and shares a library and living room. The dining room is also in the main house, and there are five cottages, most rented by the week. One was owned by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Willa Cather, who spent her summers here in the 1920s and 1930s. A small desk she used while writing some of her books is in the Grand Manan Museum.

We ferried from Grand Manan to Black Harbour. Before crossing the border in Calais, we stopped at Ganong Chocolatier in St. Stephen for a tasty tour that included as many samples as we pleased.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!