We headed back to Maine from Prince Edward Island, thinking about trying to get over to Grand Manan Island for a night, on the way.
When the ferry schedules made that impossible, we decided to stop to see FDR’s summer place at Campobello Island, and spend a night in St. Andrew’s By The Sea.
What a great choice that turned out to be. We booked rooms at the old favorite, The Algonquin, and were pleasantly surprised to find that this lovely old hotel, with marvelous views out to Grand Manan, and other islands, had been completely updated, and enlarged. It is now run by Fairmont, but the update is excellent, the rooms, and public rooms very very well done, and the food and service were excellent. We had a brand new bathroom, and excellent toiletries. In the enticing area called the Library, we had a delicious grilled salmon sandwich with lettuce and tomato, with remoulade dressing, on flaxseed toast, which, with a glass of Lindeman’s Australian pinot noir, was a great supper.
I might suggest that among our daydreams in St. Andrew’s was the thought of going back to stay a while, including a ferry ride and an overnight on Grand Manan.
St. Andrew’s is barely over the border from Maine into New Brunswick, and is very near Campobello.
Campobello, an island in Canada, is reached ONLY from Maine, so there is a complete border patrol at the bridge, which goes from Lubec, Maine, to the island.
It was very pleasant to visit Campobello again, and take another look at the charming Roosevelt summer home. We were glad to see that it was in even better shape than we remembered from our previous visit 40 years ago. (It has been updated since then, with a large new Visitors’ Center, which gives an excellent user-friendly history of FDR’s life at Campobello. It really is a must for fans of FDR, of whom there are many in Dutchess County. It is open, at no charge, from just before Memorial Day through Columbus Day. (www.fdr.net)
The town of St. Andrew’s is very pretty, sitting on a peninsula, with lots of water around, and a very posh looking golf course, surrounded by what seem to be extremely up market summer homes. At the end of the peninsula is a very attractive park, with pleasant views out over the water. The downtown section is charming and an easy walk down the hill from the Algonquin. On the way, one can stop at the well-known Kingsbrae Gardens; worth at least a half-day’s visit.
Other options for overnight are the Windsor House, right on the main street, and the Kingsbrae Arms, which is a member of the Relais & Chateaux group. That means that it is of a very high standard, though maybe a bit pricey. We did not stop to see it, because we were so happy up the hill at the Algonquin.
We chose to walk downtown to find a place for breakfast. We were in luck when we happened upon the Sweet Harvest Market, on Water Street. There we were able to get coffee right away, along with a pear and walnut scone, with fresh local blueberry jam. A complete breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee, along with the scone was only $7.50, which made the breakfast all the more digestible.
After our visit to Campobello, we looked for a place for lunch, and found it in the little rather run-down town of Lubec, in the form of the Atlantic House Coffee and Deli, where we had a pretty good lobster roll, and a tiny Maine blueberry pie, at a very good price. You can get a box lunch here, which would be a great idea, considering all the wonderful picnic spots hereabouts.
Here in Lubec, they say, the summer is short and intense, with the sun coming up at about 4 AM in the summer, the first place it rises in the USA. A very nice Lubec resident told us about Bold Coast Smoke House, where we stopped to pick up some delicious “smoked lobstah pate” and it was “wicked good.”
We couldn’t resist seeing the West Quoddy Head Light, which is the easternmost place in the United States, and where we had spent a couple of weeks in a rented house almost 40 years ago. Driving out to the headland was a great pleasure, and so was seeing the lighthouse (it’s famous for being horizontally candy-striped) in very good shape also. Again the views from this spot are wonderful. (No wonder so many streets around here are named “Water Street.”) I just learned that one could overnight at West Quoddy Station, in 21st Century comfort (they even have wi fi). Check it out at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We decided to continue on the by-ways, rather than getting on the highway, as we made our way down the coast of Maine. Our reward was one delightful view after another, and every now and then we got a special treat, such as the town of Cutter, which appeared like a movie-set of a long ago place, Victorian and colonial cottages, a deep harbor with fishing boats rocking therein, and no restaurants or any other sight of modernization.
If you can manage to drive way up there to Passamaquoddy Bay to experience the end of Maine, and the beginning of Canada, you’re in for a treat.