This oceanfront New Brunswick town has historic charm, fab restaurants, whale-watching and lots more for every age.
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St. Andrews by-the-Sea is a sweet little New Brunswick town located just across the border from Maine. It first became a popular spot for well-to-do Americans and Canadians at the turn of the 20th century, with much of the town’s architecture reflecting this. To this day, St Andrews remains a gorgeous and laidback spot to enjoy a good old-fashioned family vacation, with plenty of attractions to entertain young and old.
The Algonquin Resort allegedly has its share of ghosts, including a Crying Bride and ever-helpful Phantom Bellman, so complimentary ghost tours make an interesting diversion if you tire of the indoor pool and three-storey waterslide, the beach or outdoor pool.
The Huntsman Fundy Discovery Aquarium has massive tanks displaying native sea life, and two inquisitive and friendly seals, Loki and Snorkel. There are huge touch pools where you can hold (with assistance) brightly coloured starfish, squirting sea-cucumbers, lobsters, anemones and crabs. Over at the Wild Salmon Nature Centre, you can learn about and observe fish, or traipse along one of the centre’s groomed riverside hiking trails (something even little kids will enjoy).
Food-wise, St Andrews serves up treats that all ages will love. There’s fine dining at the Algonquin’s Braxton’s Restaurant and Bar or the Rossmount Inn Restaurant (get a babysitter if you choose that one), while Water Street, the town’s main drag is packed with restaurants serving up seafood and plenty more. The Red Herring Pub dishes up lobster rolls that are all meat (no filler!) and whole sides of fish in perfectly crispy batter with hand-cut fries.
St. Andrews is a hub of arts and creativity. Throughout the summer there are art classes and camps for kids and adults, a full performing arts program plus lots of fabulous artists living in the area. You’ll find their work at galleries along Water Street and at the superb St Andrews Farmers’ Market every Thursday. A drive out to Jarea Art, a workshop and gallery space showcasing fine and folk arts that also offers classes, is a real treat.
Kingsbrae Garden offers 27 acres of beautifully designed spaces, including a maze, children’s fantasy garden, sculpture garden and more. Its café serves up delicious locally-sourced gourmet lunches, plus made-up picnic baskets that you can take into the gardens to enjoy.
The Bay of Fundy is a phenomenal whale-watching spot. From St. Andrews you can go out on a historic schooner, catamaran, or Zodiac boat to spot minke, humpback and finback whales, as well as dolphins and porpoises. A short drive across the seafloor at low tide to Ministers Island is also a must, where you can explore the historic summer estate of Sir William Van Horne.
The Chocolate Museum in nearby St. Stephen is a final treat, serving up so many samples that you’ll end your vacation on a sugar high.
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