Karenhammond's Blog

October 17, 2014

New Brunswick, Canada, Part 2. St. Andrews

Funky art galleries and craft stores featuring clever, handmade items line the streets, while a charming mural brightens the outer wall of the local drugstore. St. Andrews, New Brunswick, is a worthwhile stop on its own and an easy add-on for those traveling to Campobello. As with the island, fall is a great time to visit. Summer tourists are mostly gone, the weather remains bright and sunny most days, and the small town of about 1800 residents is quietly settling back into itself.
First, check out that handsome mural at 192 Water St. Designed and painted by local artists Andrea Mulder-Slater and Jantje Blokhuis-Mulder, it’s a startling rendition of the exact area where you are standing. Next, stroll along the nearby waterfront and choose among several restaurants for lunch. Afterward, you’ll want to wander into the town’s many galleries and shops.
Those with an interest in architecture won’t be disappointed. Many of the homes here were moved from what is now Castine, Maine, just after the American Revolution. Many Loyalist families dismantled their homes and transported them, sometimes by water, north to St. Andrews in order to remain under the British crown.
If you can’t visit in the fall, springtime in St. Andrews is also a great time to enjoy the town before the summer bustle. Gardeners should plan a lengthy stop at Kingsbrae Garden (www.kingsbraegarden.com). Named one of Canada’s top-ten public gardens, it will open again in mid-May. Among its themed gardens are a Bird and Butterfly Garden, Rose Garden, Rhododendron and Hydrangea Gardens, an eerily beautiful White Garden (try to see it at dusk), as well as a labyrinth maze, intriguing sculptures, and much more. Kingsbrae is also home to alpacas, peacocks, ducks, and other animals.
In addition, Kingsbrae boasts one of the best restaurants in Canada, Savour in the Garden (www.savourinthegarden.com). I recently had one of the best meals of my life there, enjoying a tasting menu that highlighted local seafood in such dishes as Jonah Crab Cakes with champagne vinaigrette. A clever lobster presentation called Lobster and Pearls included local lobster, couscous, and roasted carrot puree. The menu changes regularly according to what is fresh, but you can check out a sample menu on the website.
On November 17 from 5-9 PM, on Water St. in the heart of town

A bright mural in downtown St. Andrews, New Brunswick.  Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

A bright mural in downtown St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

, Savour chef Alex Haun and a guest chef will prepare samples of tantalizing food to welcome the start of the holiday season. And if you’ll be in the area over Christmas, inquire about Savour’s holiday dinner, which is sure to be the epitome of delicious indulgence.
I can recommend the Algonquin Hotel as a place to stay. Open year round, the hotel and resort recently underwent expansive remodeling. Among the amenities are an elegant spa and, for warm-weather visitors, a challenging golf course. But before we pick up our golf clubs again, we have to get through the fall holidays and the upcoming winter. The Algonquin is offering a “Twas the Month Before Christmas” event from November 28-29 that includes meals and crafting, decorating, and wine-pairing classes. Find the details at algonquinresort.com. It sounds like a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Advertisements

October 10, 2014

New Brunswick, Canada. Part 1. Campobello

Campobello Island is quiet now, with just a few visitors on these last, bright autumn days. The big draw here is the summer home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, which closes for the season on October 18. The surrounding Roosevelt Campobello International Park, jointly administered by the US and Canada, is open year round, however, and in late fall is a glorious spot for walking along forest trails and enjoying the dramatic ocean scenery.
Strolling the grounds, you’ll soon understand why the Roosevelt family vacationed here for decades. FDR was just a year old in 1883 when he first came to Campobello with his parents, James and Sara. As an adult he loved spending summers on the island with his wife, Eleanor, and their children, swimming, biking, playing tennis, and sailing in Passamaquoddy Bay. Sadly, it was also here where, in 1921, he fell ill after a vigorous day of hiking and swimming and was ultimately diagnosed with polio. With decreased mobility, his visits became less frequent. After he became president, he managed just three more trips to Campobello, in 1933, 1936, and 1939, but his “beloved island,” always remained close to his heart.
The 34-room cottage itself, a bright vision in red and green, opens annually on the Saturday before Memorial Day. Unlike many historic homes, virtually everything in the house is original to it, including furniture, toys, and such homey objects as an unfinished piece of knitting. It’s easy to imagine its creator hurriedly putting it aside to join the rest of the family for a swim or a picnic.
For now, however, if your fall travels take you to northern Maine, cross the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Bridge from Lubec to the park and enjoy the quiet natural beauty

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's summer home on Campobello. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s summer home on Campobello. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

that many visitors miss during the hustle-bustle of the summer season. The park is open from just before sunrise to just after sunset.
There’s lots more to explore nearby, as New Brunswick is a delight in any season. We’ll discuss more in a future post.

October 2, 2014

Fall on a Small Maine Island

A busy schedule and a family illness have kept me away from my blog for a bit, but I’ll be working to catch up. Fall has fully arrived in Maine, and here on the island it’s one of the prettiest I can remember. The maples are just coming into their peak color and the contrast against the evergreens is spectacular. Every doorway, including my own, is sporting some kind of fall decoration as we transition from the bright colors of summer to fall’s more earthy tones. I love redecorating for the seasons, and if I hadn’t become a writer, I probably would have worked as an interior decorator. It’s really a stress reliever to swapfall flower arrangement around everything from pillows to pictures as the seasons change.
Meanwhile, most of our summer residents and visitors have departed, although a few will remain until Columbus Day. Things are definitely quieter as the island settles in for the fall months and the long winter ahead. One of our two island stores has closed for the season; the other has changed hands, but fortunately will continue to remain open throughout the year.
I’m looking out my office window at a maple that is blazing scarlet in the late afternoon sun. I’ll enjoy every minute of October, which is always a lovely month here. As I’ve written before, I’ve never liked gloomy November, except for the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
If you’re looking for something to do in Maine over the holiday weekend, I can suggest the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest on the midcoast, a great family event. I attended last year with some young family members who loved every minute. The painted giant pumpkins created by local artists are quite a sight, and the pumpkin races (yes, people really race on the Damariscotta River in hollowed-out giant pumpkins) are a hoot. For more info go to damariscottapumpkinfest.com.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.