Hurricane Ophelia and a pervasive northern low decided to join us on an early October drive from Nova Scotia to St. Andrews by-the-Sea in New Brunswick — a beautiful, evergreen-lined, billboard-free drive on impeccable Canadian interstates. It's kind of like driving through the world’s largest Christmas tree lot.
As things turned out, our uninvited guests — northern low and Ophelia — like us, fell in love with the charming town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea and decided to stay for the long weekend. It remind me of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quote, “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” Or, to paraphrase, grab an umbrella and go for a walk, followed by curling up with a good book in front of a crackling fire. We did both.
Founded in 1783 by United Empire Loyalists after the American Revolution, this picturesque town with its gridiron street plan, world-renowned Kingsbrae Horticulture Garden, acclaimed golf courses, water sports, whale watching, 18th-century homes and unique art galleries is a delight in any weather. Gray skies blending with the silver horizon of the bay and ominous clouds framing the 1867-built All Saints' Anglican Church actually enhanced the town’s beauty for me.
Our stay at the Kingsbrae Arms, a Relais & Chateaux country house inn, was the perfect weekend retreat. Recipient of countless awards, the welcoming staff spoiled us with quiet, charming accommodations, leisurely breakfasts overlooking a garden vista, cocktails in the cozy library and exquisite, romantic dinners. Lobster, scallops, mussels and salmon run amok here, and Chef Guillaume Delaune knows exactly what to do with them.
Other lodging options include the grande dame perched on the hill — The Algonquin Resort. Built in the Tudor style in 1889, she’s currently undergoing a $35 million restoration that is nearing completion. It is slated to become the first property in Canada to join the Autograph Collection by Marriott.
Steps away from the water’s edge is the Europa Inn, a great maritime village experience for lodging and dining. The Rossmount Inn, a 10-minute drive out of town, was our favorite place for dinner. Don’t miss this one. Harbor-front eateries like the Gables, Lobster Bay Eatery and the Kennedy Inn will satisfy any and all seafood cravings.
But here’s the thing. The amazing thing about this part of Canada is the Bay of Fundy, a 170-mile-long ocean bay. Voted a finalist in the global New7Wonders of Nature campaign, it is one of the world’s most dramatic and dynamic coastlines. It boasts the highest tidal range in the world; 100 billion tons of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy, creating two high tides and two low tides every 24 hours. In other words, a lovely waterfront home becomes a murky, muddy mess for six hours of every daytime and a boat docked buoyantly at high tide 30 feet out in the bay can be reached with rubber hip boots at low tide.
The Bay of Fundy —.truly a phenomenon. St. Andrews by-the-Sea — truly a treasure.