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St. Andrews By-the-Sea, New Brunswick

Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

Would you like to walk on the ocean floor? You can do this as you witness one of the Marine Wonders of the World — powerful tides that rise and fall up to 26‘ twice a day — in a picture-perfect setting with the melodious name St. Andrews by-the-Sea. It is in New Brunswick, which together with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island comprise Canada’s Maritime Provinces.

island, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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island, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

Looking to escape the summer heat in one of the oldest and most beautiful resort towns on the Atlantic coast? St. Andrews By-the-Sea is just twenty miles from the U.S. border. It is on the southern tip of a peninsula that juts out into Passamaquoddy Bay, an inlet of the Bay of Fundy, renowned for the highest tides in the world. This National Historic District is known for its original architecture, unique cultural attractions, dramatic tides, exhilarating marine adventures, and a whale of a view.

whale watching storefronts, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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whale watching storefronts, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

Book a nature and wildlife harbor tour, a whale watch, or go deep sea fishing. Browse distinctive, owner-operated shops or fine arts and crafts galleries where you meet local artisans. Visit museums and gardens established by local residents, kayak, or golf on an award-winning course by the sea. Watch the bay’s tides while you dine on its bounty.

low tide, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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low tide, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

St. Andrews By-the-Sea is on a nutrient rich bay teeming with sea life. It is a natural magnet for marine scientists and research facilities and fish farming.

A Wee Bit of History

St. Andrews By-the-Sea was founded in 1783 by Loyalists from Castine, Maine, who floated some of their buildings here on barges after the Revolutionary War. They designed the town center in a classic British colonial grid style with public squares and gave most streets royal or colonial names.

Water Street, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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Water Street, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

It is one of the oldest and best preserved 18th century towns in Canada. Many of the commercial buildings with gabled ends facing Water Street were here when St. Andrews By-The-Sea prospered as a merchant and shipbuilding town and a garrison for British soldiers.

The artistic and colorful nature of St. Andrews By-the-Sea is evident in the colorful murals that decorate the water tower, drug store, and hardware store, which shows St. Andrews as it appeared about 100 years ago.

St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

Its location at the end of a peninsula and at mouth of St. Croix River was ideal for trading lumber, fish, and wooden sailing vessels for West Indies’ molasses and rum and British manufactured goods. When hostilities between the British and Americans made direct trade forbidden, fortunes were made by those in St. Andrews who served as intermediaries.

When the conflicts ended, so did the lucrative trade, and the economic downturn meant little new construction or renovations. Fortunately for us today, this architectural legacy remains. The area of elegant Georgian homes at the junction of Montague and King Streets by the Anglican Church is said to be the finest street intersection in Canada.

low tide, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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Artists, hikers, and treasure-seekers are drawn to the shore at low tide, St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

Prosperity returned when the railroad came to town in the late 1800s. St. Andrews by-The Sea became Canada’s first coastal resort area, a fashionable seaside escape from the city heat.

A Nugget of the Golden Age

Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

The turreted Tudor-style Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea was built on a hilltop in 1889 and rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1914. It retains the grandeur, sophistication, and impeccable service of its days as a playground of the rich and famous. Attracted by the pristine breezes and “cure all” salt-water baths, they arrived with their servants for the summer season. Some commissioned Montreal architect Edward Maxwell and built luxurious summer “cottages”.

Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick
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Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick

The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea was one of the original grand railway hotels and has welcomed American Presidents and Canadian Prime Ministers, celebrities and royalty. The Prince of Wales suite was named for the visit by HRH Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1983. Visit and you, too, will be greeted by a bellman in a kilt of Canadian Maple Leaf Tartan—the official New Brunswick tartan.

Sip tea from the veranda or lemonade from a brightly painted Adirondack lawn chair while enjoying the sea breezes. If the mood strikes you, stroll down the hill to the swimming pools and tennis courts. There’s a pathway to a sandy beach at Katy’s Cove, a great place for a picnic, a barbeque or simply to bask in the sun. The adjacent tree-lined street is lined with grand homes, many of which are marked with descriptive plaques of the St. Andrews Civic Trust.

Inside the hotel, you can relax and rejuvenate in the tranquility of the Spa. The five restaurants, ranging from pub style to fine dining, are known for their marine cuisine. The breakfast buffet is exceptionally well done, and the Passamaquoddy Dining Room offers the best cuisine in the historic downtown area. Evenings, relax in a comfortable armchair in the lobby and enjoy live music or sip a brandy in the Library Lounge

Top 10 List

Recreational attractions and activities in this exceptional area are of a wide variety and befit the rich marine heritage

Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
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Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews by-the-Sea

Stop and smell the roses at Kingsbrae Gardens, an ever-changing 27 acre horticultural display of themed garden that overlooks Minister’s Island and Passamaquoddy Bay. Built on the grand summer estates of the Flamer family of Montreal, it has been named one of Canada’s Top Ten Public Gardens.

Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
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Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews by-the-Sea

Walking paths lead to themed areas, including the signature authentic 1/3 scale authentic Dutch windmill, a tribute to Mr. Flamer’s heritage. There is also a raised Braille Scents and Sensitivity Garden, a cedar maze, and Children’s Fantasy Garden. No pesticides are used. Daily children’s programs include the live ladybug release each morning at 10:30. Motorized golf cart tours are available. Open mid- May to mid-October.

Algonquin Golf Course, St. Andres by-the-Sea
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Algonquin Golf Course, St. Andres by-the-Sea

Golf by the sea. This area was named by the Loyalists for St. Andrews, Scotland, the Home of Golf, where the sport has been played for six centuries. Little did they know that St. Andrews By-the-Sea would be renowned for its award-winning 18-hole Algonquin Golf Course overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay. With a forested woodland front nine and seaside back nine, it is one of the Top 10 golf courses in all of Canada.

beach overlooking Minister’s Island, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
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beach overlooking Minister’s Island, St. Andrews by-the-Sea

Travel along the ocean floor to Minister’s Island, named for a Loyalist priest, Rev. Samuel Andrews, who settled here. Visit Covenhoven, the 50 room summer estate of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, General Manager of Canadian Pacific Railways who envisioned the transcontinental railroad. By the time the last spike was driven he was President of the company.The island is reached by shuttle boat during high tide or by driving across an exposed sandbar on the ocean floor at low tide. Reverend Andrews’ stone house and Van Horne’s summer cottage are open to visitors May through October.

Fundy Tide Runners’ whale watch, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
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Fundy Tide Runners’ whale watch, St. Andrews by-the-Sea

Search for giants of the sea— We chose Fundy Tide Runners’ 2-hour whale watch aboard a 24’ Zodiac, replete with a colorful captain. Minke, humpback, and finback whales, as well as seals and bald eagles make regular appearances. The best sightings are between June and October.

Crocker Hill Store on King Street, St. Andrews by-the-Sea
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Crocker Hill Store on King Street, St. Andrews by-the-Sea

Critique unique boutiques—This picturesque area attracts artists in a variety of media. Meet them and see their work in shops and galleries located in heritage buildings. The Crocker Hill Store on King Street, for example, showcases the watercolors of winged visitors to the garden of artist Steven Smith. Smith’s wife Gail and English setter Nellie Rose greet visitors to the shop which also features birding, pet, and garden products.

Look out for pirates at St. Andrews Blockhouse, built by the local people during the war of 1812 to keep Americans out. No shots were ever fired defensively, and the blockhouse was mainly used to guard against privateers. It is rumored that there’s pirate booty throughout Passamaquoddy Bay and that Captain Kidd hid in the small coves along the shore. Cannons are fired on Canada Day, July 1.

Get close to creatures of the deep at the Huntsman Marine Science Center. The aquariums and exhibits feature the area’s fresh water and marine environment. There’s a touch tank, deep sea room, theater and ever-popular harbor seals. Open May through October. The privately funded Atlantic Salmon Federation, headquartered here, presents its work in preserving the wild Atlantic salmon.

See treasured collections at the Ross Memorial Museum, a red brick 1824 Georgian mansion. The furnishings and works by local and international artists and craftsmen were acquired during the world travels of Henry Phipps Ross and Sarah Juliette Ross.

Eat all the chocolate you want during your tour of the Chocolate Museum in nearby St. Stephen, Canada’s Chocolate town. The museum is dedicated to candy and the Ganong brothers’ innovations like the first five-cent chocolate bar, Pal-O-Mine, and the heart shaped box, originally for Christmas and later symbolic of Valentine’s Day candy.

Exceptional dining

Sit out back and enjoy the view at Water Street restaurants like The Gables or the Harbour Front to experience the dramatic tides while enjoying fresh seafood.

For superlative dining in an intimate and casually elegant historic country inn nestled between the forest and the sea, head for the Rossmount Inn, just a five minute drive from the historic town center. It is the place to go for that romantic meal, anniversary, or special family gathering and offers a lovely view of the Passamaquoddy Bay and Minister’s Island. The menu changes daily according to the best available local ingredients–handpicked local foods like fiddleheads and chanterelles, and the catch of regional fishermen. Chef/Owner Chris Aerni’s creations might include a starter of saffron scented fennel-seafood soup, melting lobster “cake”, smoked paprika oil, chives or main dish of “naked” lobster with nasturtium perogies, vanilla lobster bisque, borscht drizzle sour cream, and dill. Make a reservation to avoid disappointment.

A Few Special Events

Canada Day — July 1st Water Street is closed to traffic for parades, a farmer’s market, games, and fireworks.

New Brunswick Day — This provincial holiday is celebrated on August’s first Monday. Join the town crier competition on this long weekend.

Chocolate Fest in St. Stephens — This popular August event includes its Chocolate Mania and Taste of Chocolate.

Winter Festival: Season of Light and Wonder is a month-long celebration that includes music and a candlelit parade. Kingsbrae Gardens is decked out with music and lights and Ross Memorial Museum is decorated for the holidays.

 

Note: Prices are quoted in Canadian dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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