St Andrews By-the-Sea is an idyllic maritime town in New Brunswick bolstered by the famous Algonquin Resort established in 1889. The moment you see the Algonquin in St. Andrews you’ll feel like you are in a time warp. I felt as if I had stepped right onto the set of Dirty Dancing, with this old style family resort feel complete with wrap around porch and a castle like appearance. This was one of the few remaining resorts owned and operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway shuttling tourists to their grand resort in the 1900’s. Having just undergone massive renovation, the resort looks better than ever, and is welcoming visitors into St. Andrews By-the Sea once again.
So once you arrive at Algonquin, next you’ll need to determine what things to do in the little town of St Andrews New Brunswick. Luckily I found a nice mix of relaxing and more adventurous activities to keep you busy during your stay.
Games at Algonquin
Most hotels have a lobby that is seldom used but for checking in and out. They are often beautifully designed, and untouched. But the Algonquin Resort is different – it had one of the most inviting and social lobbies and porch I had ever experienced. Just wander around the lobby area and you’ll see families sitting around on couches playing games, reading books, and socializing. It felt like a giant family room and gave the entire resort a vibe of fun. Games were found on all of the coffee tables; scrabble, chess, checkers, cards, and more.
More Information: Algonquin Resort Website
Have a beach day in some of Canada’s warmest saltwater swimming. Katy’s Cove, a supervised sandy beach ready for swimming, volleyball, sandcastles and summer fun, offers picturesque views of Passamaquoddy Bay. Cost to use the beach facilities is only $2 and it’s open from 10am to 6pm in the summer. It’s a great day out for the family, but on the day we visited it was a bit stormy – but still beautiful.
It’s a family affair at Island Quest Marine Whale Watching. Captain Chris comes from a long line of fishermen and grew up scalloping and lobstering. However he changed gears when he started to study boat building and decided to move the family business into tourism. He built his own boat that you’ll board and take out on the Bay of Fundy for whale watching. The day we went out the tide was low when we left the docks in St. Andrews and the weather was really foggy. You could barely see the shoreline, but as the morning went on the fog burned off and whales revealed themselves, along with lighthouses, seabirds, and aquafarms. We spotted a number of humpback whales on our outing and we were thoroughly entertained by the crew who educated us on whales and other sea life. It was a great way to get out on the Bay of Fundy and by the time we got back to the dock the tide was higher and the whole waterfront looked different!
More Info: Island Quest Marine Whale Watching Website
Add a dash of color to your stay by strolling through the Kingsbrae gardens. 27 acres of botanical paradise. Beautifully kept and landscaped, the gardens are bursting with color and bees with over 50,000 perennials and various themed gardens! In addition to wandering around the gardens, we also wandered back in the woods and met the latest artist in residence at Kingsbrae, Joe Palmer, a chainsaw artist who was in the middle of making some large and complex creations! It was fun to talk to him about his craft and see him at work.
More Info: KingsBrae Gardens Website
A short drive out of St. Andrews in the little town of Bethel you find the famous Ossie’s Fried Clams diner/truck stop. It’s been a staple in the area since 1958. We drove up to the white building parked the car, ordered a full meal of fried clams, scallops, and fish – plus milk shakes and got ready to stuff our faces. Sit at picnic tables and enjoy this basic yet historic experience of eating the best fried clams in the region! It’s absolutely worth it…and don’t skip the milk shakes!
Fine Dining at Rossmount Inn
Known throughout the Maritimes for it’s creative market fresh cuisine and upscale yet small town atmosphere, the Rossmount Inn is a must stop for foodies. The menu changes daily depending on the local ingredients and harvest season for Chef Chris Aerni. The big yellow Victorian at the top of the hill was bustling the night we went to dinner. We dined on oyster shooters served in a shot glass, halibut ceviche with sweet potato, quick seared yellow fin tuna in hoisin glaze chia seed black peppercorn crust, and a carrot-ginger puree. Make sure you make reservations well in advance, as this is a popular stop in St. Andrews By-the-Sea.
More Information: Rossmount Inn Restaurant
Go for a Run
One of my favorite things to do in a town is to go running. It’s a great way to cover more ground than you can walking, but yet you are still going slow enough to take it all in. St. Andrews is a perfect little town to run around(it’s relatively flat!) and get to see a diverse set of sights in a simple little 5k. I started at the Algonquin and ran around the peninsula on Water Street. It took me by the coastline at low tide, all muddy and foggy, and then it turned the corner around the peninsula and it took me into the heart of the colorful town. Cute little homes and neighborhoods, and eventually the business district of St. Andrews full of restaurants and shops. It was a great way to see the town wake up. And if you really love running, check out the unique Beat the Tide 10k or 5k where you actually run on the ocean floor before the tide comes back in!
After seeing all the sights, it’s a great time to sit and relax on the big open porch of the Algonquin and sip a martini. The bar, Braxtons, served up my favorite drink in the world; a gin martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. It was a great evening to sit out on the porch with my parents, sip a martini and watch the sun go down on this idyllic town.
Disclosure: I was a guest of New Brunswick Tourism, however all opinions are my own.