With a beautiful botanical garden, a sweet downtown, and an intriguing island mansion only accessible at low tide, we had plenty to keep us occupied for a few days.
Exploring St. Andrews-By-The-Sea
True to its name, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea sits on an inlet of the Bay of Fundy. We were delighted with our waterfront site at the Kiwanis Campground. Yes, you will have neighbors here. Close neighbors. Truthfully, we might not have been as enamored with our site had we not been overlooking the bay.
But even with RV’s to the right and left of us, and tow vehicles helter-skelter, this was our view, and we were very happy.
The campground also gets bonus points for being within walking distance of the cute little town and within easy biking range of most other attractions. We strolled into town to admire the historic buildings and treated ourselves to afternoon coffee at the delightful Honeybeans.
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On another afternoon, we biked to the lovely Niger Reef Teahouse for lunch, where we enjoyed crab cakes and butternut squash soup in a restored 1926 teahouse overlooking the bay. Mid-September is a good time to be in St. Andrews. Apparently it’s a popular summer resort destination, but there aren’t many people around after Labour Day (the Canadian equivalent of Labor Day in the States).
Enchanting Kingsbrae Garden
We were happy to find that we could easily bike to Kingsbrae Garden, one of the prime attractions in St. Andrews and considered to be one of the finest botanical gardens in Canada. This is my favorite kind of garden, with all kinds of random things: lush plantings, winding pathways, cozy garden nooks, garden art, a fabulous on-site restaurant, and adorable miniature goats.
There are dozens of interesting sculptures throughout the gardens and plenty of blooms, even in late summer.
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And there’s a giant avocado. How does someone decide that they want to create a giant avocado?
Musings from the present: If we weren’t still intending to travel, I’d be getting a herd of miniature goats to help keep this crazy jungle in north Florida we’ve inherited under control.
A Low Tide Adventure: Ministers Island
Just a few miles from the campground is Ministers Island. The 500-acre island was the summer estate of Sir William Van Horne, a true Renaissance man, who among many other accomplishments was the president of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
At low tide, you can drive, walk, or bike one-half mile across the ocean floor to the island.
The island gets its name from a minister who settled on the island in 1790. One hundred years later, Van Horne bought the island and began building his vast summer estate.
Van Horne was born in Illinois and left school to work on the railroads at the age of 14. His interests were vast, and included raising Clydesdale horses and Dutch Belted cattle (the black-and-white cows that look like Oreo cookies) in a fancy chateau-style barn.
Not only was Van Horne the driving force behind the construction of the first Canadian transcontinental railway, he was an avid and accomplished artist, botanist, gardener, sculptor, and violinist. Many of his paintings hang in Covenhoven, the summer home he designed on Ministers Island.
We really enjoyed our visit to Ministers Island, and of course, had to rush to leave the island before we were stranded there overnight by the incoming tide, lol. There is always more to see and do than time allows.
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Our few days in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea was a relaxing way to finish up our summer in the Maritimes. We spent the fall of 2019 traveling through New England and visiting all of the cool East Coast cities…but I’m going to save those stories for later this year. Right now, we’re preparing for a trip to North Carolina—our first trip in a year-and-a-half. I hope we remember how to do this!
Much enjoyed the info about the Van Horne estate on Minister’s Island, especially the little tidbit about the Dutch-belted cattle, often wondered how, why, when etc about that rarely-seen breed. I would have enjoyed a long sociable dinner with Van Horne, a man of many interests and talents! By the way, I arrived in the Research Triangle area of NC recently (cat-sitting) and will be in Beaufort NC (cat-sitting) for 3 months. My sister toured these areas a couple mths ago, and we both love this state. You have lots of good things to look forward to :)
Terri, I would have enjoyed the opportunity for dinner and conversation with Van Horne, too! People who are so accomplished in so many ways always fascinate me. He apparently was outgoing and had a great sense of humor to go along with his impressive list of accomplishments.
How cool that you’re cat sitting in North Carolina! I wish we were going to be closer (it’s 450 miles from Brevard to where you’ll be) because I would love the opportunity for dinner and conversation with you. I’m betting it would be every bit as interesting as dinner with Van Horne, LOL.
Laurel what a lovely post to wake up to and read while having our morning coffee in bed! That walk through the carriage lanes is most inviting and made us want to be there for a stroll, today preferably.
Botanical gardens are always a lure for us too ~ and these look particularly inviting and interesting. Isn’t it fun when sculpture is incorporated into nature. Not sure the avocado works that well though haha but love your favorite.
Okay you had us with two things: that adorable micro goat and that incredible looking bowl of very refined chowder. What a great combo… miniature goats and delicious chowder!
Good luck for your upcoming trip.. what a wonderful region you are heading to. Quite sure you will have no problem getting “getting back on the saddle” so to speak..
Beautiful photos and post, as always a pleasure to read.
Peta & Ben
Thank you, Peta. I always enjoy hearing from you and Ben. We’re excited about getting back to traveling, and it’s also quite a lot to prepare for leaving since we’ve been stationary for more than a year-and-a-half now. Plus…we have a kitty!! But you know all about traveling with an unexpected pet. :-)
We loved our two-and-a-half months in the Maritimes. They do make the most fabulous seafood chowders. I’ve been doing my best to replicate them here in Florida and am happy we have such an abundance of seafood to work with. Yum!
I love the “Blah, Blah, Blah” sign in Honeybeans coffee shop. And those chowders! The birds at the garden? Our Scrub Jays feel like they are that big about right now. I have a conversation with them every afternoon.
What a wonderful bikable area, so many beautiful gardens. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Haha, isn’t that coffee shop sign great, Nancy? As for your giant Scrub Jays, they certainly have enormous personalities and big voices! Maybe you need a ‘blah-blah-blah’ sign for your backyard?
St. Andrews was a wonderful place. We loved being able to bike or walk everywhere we wanted to go.
That RV spot on the water reminds me of Port Townsend. We love the view and the close proximity to town, but the sites are pretty close together.
Kingsbrae Gardens looks like a lovely spot to spend an afternoon. Great inspiration for garden lovers, although the large avocado is a bit strange. ;)
How exciting that you are preparing to travel again! We have a short trip coming up next month, but our big plans are for a trip in 2022 to Alaska with some camping friends. Lots to plan!
Les, now that you mention it, the campground at St. Andrews does reminds me of our stay at the harbor campground in Port Townsend. As you said, the sites are tight, but the views and being walking distance to town makes it a wonderful place to stay (as long as the neighbors are quiet).
We’re looking forward resuming our travels, and it’s also a LOT of work getting ready. How exciting that you’re planning a trip to Alaska in 2022! You definitely have a lot of planning to do!
Loved the miniature goats. Mo would love to have goats here, but like you we are still traveling. Also, I worry about critters getting to the sweet little ones so would need to strengthen our acre of fence, which is really only critter proof on one side. I would love chickens too, but those two pleasures will have to wait until we really are no longer able to travel. But then…will we still be able to fiddle with critters? LOL I love a good botanical garden and have seen some spectacular ones over the years. Many come to mind of course, some you may have seen as well. Butchart is really over the top I would say, but there is one in Wenatchee, Ohme Gardens which is refined and a treasure of rock plants and conifers growing in a spectacular sagebrush setting overlooking the Columbia River. Ah well. Glad to hear you are heading out for a trip. Read about the hurricane and wondered if you were traveling or still in Apalachicola. But further reading seemed to insure you were ok in the storm. Travel safe and keep us posted on your whereabouts!
Sue, I’ve wanted to have goats and chickens for years…but we were never in a place to do that. And then with traveling so much, it doesn’t work. I’ve often wondered if the idea of having goats and chickens is more fun than the reality would be, LOL.
We love botanical gardens and search them out wherever we go. We’ve been to Butchart (many years ago) but I had never heard of Ohme Gardens. It sounds gorgeous and unique and is now on our list! As far as storms, they’ve passed us by (fortunately).
We too loved the Maritimes, and your posts make me want to return (Canada is going to reopen, right?) Having raised Nubian goats, I can tell you they’re easy keepers, and will definitely keep your “jungle” under control – just don’t plan on enjoying any flowers while they’re around! Have a wonderful time in the cool mountains of NC!
Janie, how fun that you’ve kept Nubian goats! We have some ferocious vines here that are constantly trying to take over. I’ve pulled 30-foot vines out of the trees and shrubs. It would be ideal to turn goats loose, but as you said, they would probably also decimate the azaleas and everything else.
We’re looking forward to NC and are hoping for cool mornings and evenings! And one of these days, we’ll return to Canada.
How exciting to be back on the road. This was so beautiful and so much to see and do.
We’ll be back on the road at the end of the month, Deb. Lots to do to get ready to roll!
Rounding off the old to prepare for the new adventure!!! Maiden voyage for Magnolia! Glad to hear your voice after the hurricane and know you’re safe and will get out of the heat … wish I could say the same … fires, smoke, and adrenalin rush residue! Luckily I have a radio station “”the Breeze” playing nothing but instrumentals from pan pipes to harpsichord, jazz to country…all day and no ads! Keeps me sane especially on the road! Love and bon voyage!
I wish you and John were coming along with us, Diana! I don’t like to think of you guys dealing with a summer of heat and smoke. :-( But I know you make the best of every situation. Listening to “The Breeze” sounds like the perfect way to stay sane and cool. I’m sure it’s great accompaniment to whatever creative project you are currently immersed in! Love to you both. Miss you!
Just learned that Canada will open the border in mid-August. Hopefully, it will remain open long enough for us to see some of the beautiful country that you have shared with us. Helen loves gardens, I love goats, and we both love chowder, so this was a fun read. Saw some Oreo cows near Ennis, MT a few days ago. Hope they get enough to eat–it’s very dry here. Enjoy NC, we’ll probably be home too late to look you up. Joe
Joe, I hope the border stays open, too, and I hope this pandemic somehow gets under control. We have loved all of our adventures in Canada, both on the east and west coasts. We found lots of good chowder on Vancouver Island as well as in the Maritimes. And now that I think about it, lots of goats, too! I remember goats mowing the grass on a rooftop on Vancouver Island, LOL. Enjoy the rest of your west coast travels! Maybe we’ll see you in the winter here.
What a wonderful trip that was! We look forward to going back there one of these years, Laurel.
Jim, it really was a wonderful trip, and we will happily return. Hope you and Diana are enjoying your summer in Michigan. You two are making great progress on your home!
Ok, we loved St. Andrews, and I particularly enjoyed Kingsbrae Gardens, but there were no goats when I was there – miniature or otherwise. What the hell, Canada? I live for this stuff and you hold out on me?? That is SO unfair.
Anyway, thanks for taking me back to that stunningly beautiful place. St. Andrews remains one of those towns that stands out for its charm, its walkability, and its wonderful food. I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it as much as we did.
And I’m SO excited that you guys are getting back on the road! You’re totally gonna forget stuff… but it’ll be fine, and it’ll make for great stories later. My guess is you’ll be amazed by just how much crap you need to bring with you for your newest crew member. :)
Laura, I cannot believe the goats didn’t make an appearance for you. So unfair! Well, that just means you have to go back sometime. Even without the goats, the gardens were every bit as beautiful as you told me. It really did have everything that I love in a botanical garden, and more.
St. Andrews is delightful in so many ways. It’s good for me to be writing about our travels and remembering how much I enjoy our adventures because right now, it just seems like a ridiculous amount of work to prepare for traveling again. And yeah…the amount of crap we need for our newest crew member is insane! And embarrassing! I just bought her a kitty outdoor playpen so that she won’t be stuck inside when we’re outside. (No, I am NOT getting a stroller!)
September anywhere in North America is almost always the very best, and it sure looks like it proved true for your last few days in the Maritimes. Charming seaside towns with cute tea shops and cafes are such fun. The botanical gardens are lovely, though I’m still not a huge fan of the weird sculptures that all such gardens seem to showcase, particularly that big honking avocado. Now little goats? They go with everything! :D
Yes, September and October are the best just about everywhere! I vote for six months of fall! Although as I look back, we had fabulous weather for our entire summer in the Maritimes. Seaside towns in the PNW or in the Maritimes get my vote for the best places to be in the summer.
I’m with you, Joodie. Little goats go with everything! :-)
What an all-around beautiful trip you enjoyed in the Maritimes! We really must put it high on the list now that travel is happening again. I agree that every place is made better by the addition of little goats. Too bad they don’t travel well :-( LOL at the giant avocado! I’m sure the Minister’s house was cold and drafty much of the time, but I just love the feel of it’s strong bones.
Jodee, I know it’s a long trip for you guys from Arizona, but you and Bill would love the Maritimes. And traveling within the Maritimes is easy! Let’s hope it stays that way. Definitely put St. Andrews on your list…we enjoyed everything about the little town by the sea. I think September after Labour Day is the best time to be there if you want to avoid crowds.
As always, your photographs are fantastic. The gardens look wonderful and the avocado made me laugh. Yes please to a bowl of that chowder. Not sure how you managed to see Minister’s Island before the tide came in. It looks like a place one might spend days. 500 acres to hike in on an island in New Brunswick – swooooon! How does one quit school at 14, run away from home and end up a Millionaire owning an island with Clydesdales? And so multi talented. Very interesting to learn about him. I hope it is cooler where you are going than where you are although I must say, I’ve been checking the weather since it is so wonderful here in Vermont and I see that Virginia and specifically my town is hotter than anywhere in Florida including south in Sebring.
Thank you, Sherry. I’m so glad you enjoy our photos. I could have spent a lot more time on Ministers Island, but we were there as soon as the tide allowed and stayed until we were chased off the island by the incoming tide. It’s a lovely place, and a very interesting story about Van Horne.
We’re hoping for cool weather in Brevard…it hasn’t been too bad here in Florida (for Florida, LOL). You made a great decision to spend your summer in Vermont! Those temps in Virginia are crazy. It makes no sense that it’s hotter there than in Florida.
I would not have thought that goats would be a good addition to a botanical garden given their habit of eating everything in sight, but your mega-cute photo has convinced me. Plus I could easily spend days at Kingsbrae. St. Andrews looks like a fabulous place to finish off a really memorable journey through the Maritimes. I know we will put these spots on our itinerary someday and your posts will be a perfect guide for us.
I loved the baby goat as well. They are so cute.
The little goats were so adorable! They always make me happy. :-)
Shannon, I think when they turn the goats loose in the garden to mow the grass they are closely supervised, LOL. We enjoyed our few days in St. Andrews. It really was the perfect place to end our Maritime adventures—as I mentioned, I highly recommend visiting in September after the summer season since it’s a popular resort town. You guys are going to love exploring the Maritimes, including all of the wonderful botanical gardens!
How beautiful! That place, especially Minister’s Island has such quaint architecture- so endearing. It’s on our list.
The food looks right up our alley too- especially that chowder with scallops- Oh boy! We’ll be seeing Spencer’s Spit in August for the first time in two years. Excited but will miss the two of you. Well think of you when we look up at the Eagles nest. Take care folks, and (assuming you’re back down South now) watch those hurricanes! Love, Tom & Georgina
Oh, you’re heading to Spencer Spit!!! We’re so happy for you, and also sad that we won’t be seeing you. We have such wonderful memories of our times with you guys.
If you ever feel like making the long cross country trip to the Maritimes, I know you will love it. So much music, and art, and unique culture, and seafood…let us know and we’ll meet you there! Have a wonderful time on Lopez Island and say ‘hello’ to everyone for us. Thanks for staying in touch, love you two!
Another beautiful post but my favorite part is the last sentence….Next Up: Preparing to Travel Again…..that means we’ll “see” you more often, right?
Sue, I plan to post more often during our North Carolina travels. And I hope that as we begin traveling again, we’ll get to really see you in person!
I wonder if St. Andrews is smoke free and cool right now?–I could use some of both. Lovely blog Laurel, gorgeous photos! Do people get stranded on the island by high tide??
Janna, I just checked the weather in St. Andrews and it’s currently 68 in the late afternoon. That sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? I can’t believe the heat/drought/and smoke that the entire west has been suffering from. And I can’t believe that you guys have been without air-conditioning. :-(
They do their best to shoo people off of Ministers Island, but I heard stories about stragglers being stranded until the tide receded! I’m glad it wasn’t me.
What a beautiful way to start my Monday work day. I opened up the email and I just love seeing all of the beautiful photos. Thank you as always for sharing your adventures, food tasting. It makes my heart happy.
Aw, thanks so much, Christine! It makes me happy to know that our blog friends enjoy our blog and photos. And it inspires me to keep writing. :-)
So lovely! I wonder if you could rent goats to control the yard???
Have fun travelling…I hope you have reservations! It sure sounds like the RV parks and campgrounds are really packed from the Covid surge of RVers. Makes me glad I RV’d when I did. Hopefully by the time we are ready to buy another RV things will have settled down a bit.
Haha, that’s a great idea, Lisa! We actually have neighbors with a couple of miniature goats…I’m going to see if I can rent them!
I made reservations early in the year for a month at a little RV park in North Carolina. It’s not the usual way we travel, but we figured for our first foray back into RVing it would be a good idea. Like you, we’re happy that we traveled as much as we did over the past 20 years, and that we full timed when we did. We’re hoping things will settle down, too, because we’re hoping to do a much longer trip next spring/summer.
Hi Laurel, it must feel great to be getting back out there. You are headed to a beautiful part of the country and hopefully will encounter some cooler weather. I always enjoy reading about your travels – past and present. Bon Voyage!
Hi Suzanne, we’re excited about getting back out for an adventure, and honestly, I’m also feeling a bit unsettled. But we’re definitely ready to get out of the heat! Thanks so much for your good wishes. I’m looking forward to following along on your new chapter in life!
Laurel! I love this adventure – I have added this as a bucket-list destination. Seriously, I must see that gigantic avocado! Beautifully written and enchanting photography. Thanks for sharing with us.
Vivian, you really must see the giant avocado, LOL! Thanks for following along on our adventures. I’m happy we ‘met.’ :-)
We loved St. Andrew’s! We stopped twice on our travels to the various Maritime’s. Honeybean was a great find! The woman made our coffees just like Starbucks. And her husband made the best scones. They were moist not dry…soooo good. I would drive in each morning for coffees and scones. It was funny that two years later when we returned, the woman still remembered my Starbucks coffee directions! Too bad the town is so far away!
How exciting that your road trip is almost here!! Have a great time in NC!!
Pam, that’s so wild that you also visited Honeybeans (and that the proprietor remembered how you like your coffee!). It was such a sweet, cozy spot. I’m sure Eric had a scone, too, because that’s always his favorite. We really enjoyed St. Andrews and all of our Maritime adventures. I think you guys should meet us up there for another adventure. :-)
For the same reason you enjoyed your Kiwanis campsite, we enjoyed Seward and Heritage RV Park in Homer … but wouldn’t have stayed in either had we not been able to score a waterfront site.
What great places you visited. We’ve always enjoyed restored tea houses … I still fondly remember the ones we’ve stopped at in various parts of Canada for scones and light meals.
Erin, Homer is high on our list of places want to visit. Even better if we can get a waterfront site! I’ll have to find out more from you about the teahouses you’ve discovered in your travels. I love the tradition of afternoon tea!
Thanks for a lovely post. I hope your trip to NC is nice.
Thank you, Kathryn. We’re excited about traveling again, and are trying to get ourselves and Magnolia ready to go. This should be interesting, LOL. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!
Wow, my return tour to the Maritimes ended with one of our favorite stops, St Andrew by the Sea. But I don’t recall being at Kingsbrae Garden nor the Ministers Island, but thank you for taking me there too.
I missed my oatcake from Honeybeans :(
Does your plan include Arizona? or am just wishing :)
ML, if you and Steve decide to travel again in the Maritimes, I know you would love Kingsbrae Garden! And Ministers Island, too. So fun that you’ve also been to Honeybeans. It’s such a cozy little coffee shop.
Arizona is definitely on our list (we have so many friends who’ve settled down there, including you two!) but we’re not sure when we’ll be there. Wish we could entice you to come to Florida again. :-)