Karenhammond's Blog

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.


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