This New Brunswick retreat blooms into life in summer
Summer has officially arrived when you can enter Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews and view the thousands of perennials in bloom, bursting with every color found on an Impressionist painter’s palette. As the hummingbirds feed on the red Monarda flowers under the shade of the expansive horse chestnut tree, I bend down to smell the perfumed scent of June, thanks to the rugosas in the rose garden. The attack on the senses continues at the Scents and Sensitivity Garden, where I touch the velvety lamb’s ear and sniff the lemon-scented geranium. Ah yes, inhale deeply and you’ll never want to leave.
Located on the southern tip of New Brunswick, the seaside village of St. Andrews has been a healthy retreat in summer for more than a century. People come to stop and smell the flowers at Kingsbrae Garden and walk Water Street, where two- and three-storey clapboard buildings from the 19th century are now home to shops, restaurants and bars. Most of all, visitors venture to St. Andrews to experience the 16-m (52-ft) tidal shift on the Bay of Fundy, the highest tide in the world. By all means, get out on the water via guided boat tour or sea kayak to discover the bevy of sea life, from the arched back of the minke whale to the equine snout of the gray seal to the harbor porpoises jumping in tandem to the eagles flying overhead.
Back on terra firma, spend the night at the Kingsbrae Arms, a Relais & Chateaux property that was once the country home of the very family that created the neighboring Kingsbrae Garden. Chef Guillaume Delaune has no regular menu. His select group of fishermen and farmers meet him daily to deliver locally caught halibut, lobster, scallops, wild mushrooms, organically grown greens and blueberries. One bite of the tender pan-roasted halibut and you’ll realize that St. Andrews is now a luxurious retreat, one that continues to stimulate all five senses.
Kingsbrae Garden, 220 King St., 1-866-566-8687, kingsbraegarden.com
Whale Watching Cruise, Quoddy Link Marine, 6 King St., 1-877-688-2600, quoddylinkmarine.com
Kingsbrae Arms, 219 King St., 506-529-1897, kingsbrae.com
Tourism New Brunswick, 1-800-561-0123, www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca Steve Jermanok’s frustration at gardening has only taught him to appreciate even more the splendor of a well-manicured garden. He blogs daily at ActiveTravels.com.