Go Nautical in St. Andrews

1. Where to Stay

Kingsbrae Arms was formerly one of the town's lavish private residences.Photo: Courtesy of Kingsbrae Arms

Tap into St. Andrews’s origins as a wealthy resort town at Kingsbrae Arms (from $415, breakfast included), a tasteful country manor originally built in 1897 by a prominent Nova Scotia businessman. The five-star Relais & Chateaux property eschews modern distractions like TVs and radios in its toile-accented rooms; all the more reason to enjoy wireless pastimes like pre-dinner drinks in the intimate library and strolls through the organic vegetable garden that supplies the restaurant.

Watch the tide ebb and flow from one of the Adirondack chairs behind Treadwell Inn (from $149, breakfast included), a cozy six-bedroom property that sits directly on the waterfront in the town center. The antique-filled rooms are outfitted with hues of white, blue, and yellow with dark wood accents, but request room two for access to a balcony without having to upgrade to a suite.

Explore 87 wooded acres overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay at the Rossmount Inn (from $85), a three-story Victorian offering eighteen comfortable (if slightly unremarkable) rooms in addition to a new two-bedroom private guest house. In your free time, you can hike up Chamcook Mountain, forage for mushrooms with the chef (through September), or sample single-malt whiskies in the lounge.

2. Where to Eat

The Rossmount Inn's restaurant serves forward-thinking cuisine in a traditional setting.Photo: Courtesy of the Rossmount Inn

Experience the best of St. Andrews’s many inn restaurants at the justifiably popular Rossmount Inn (reserve in advance if you’re not staying there) to taste vegetables and herbs grown in the kitchen’s garden, foraged fiddlehead ferns, and just-caught seafood from the Bay of Fundy. Chef Chris Aerni’s seasonal menu features artistic, almost precious, presentations, but the flavors in dishes like crispy Atlantic salmon fillet with sweet corn hash in a spicy cherry tomato vinaigrette ($21) are bold.

Try the most exotic new option in town at the Secret Garden, run by a Korean family that relocated there earlier this year. Sit on the outside porch of the Inn on Frederick to avoid the incongruous décor inside, and order the four-course meal of traditional fare ($35), including bulgogi, dolsot-bibimbab, tangsooyook, kimchee, as well as Japanese yakitori.

Fill up on locally raised oysters ($3 each) at Olive Bar, which opened last month inside the gourmet shop St. Croix Olive. Choose from a selection of innovative small plates, like halibut ceviche in a charred pepper emulsion ($10) or watermelon, feta, and mint salad ($9), before browsing and sampling the selection of more than 50 varieties of infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world.

3. What to Do

Whales and other wildlife can be spotted on a bout tour with Fundy Bay Tide Runners.Photo: Courtesy of Fundy Bay Tide Runners

Follow the guides from Eastern Outdoors on a three-hour sea kayaking tour ($59) of Passamaquoddy Bay. You’ll steer toward Navy Island and back, and along the way you’ll see nesting ospreys and sunbathing seals up close. Serious kayakers can embark on a full- ($95) or multi-day ($145 per day) trip out to the Fundy Isles to spot porpoises, whales, and bald eagles.

Throw on a bright orange flotation suit and bring a waterproof camera to spot whales with Fundy Bay Tide Runners. Experienced guide David Welch leads several trips ($55 for two hours) a day on a 24-foot Zodiac boat that include the chance to see several species, including minkes, humpbacks, finbacks, and extremely rare North Atlantic right whales.

Walk across the ocean floor when the tide is out (the waters here rise and fall some 27 feet daily) to Ministers Island, where former Canadian Railway magnate Sir William Van Horne built an escape for himself and his family in the 1890s. Take a tour of the sprawling estate ($15) or ride a horse-drawn wagon across the island ($15), but make sure to walk back to town before the tide rolls in and completely submerges the footpath.

4. Insider’s Tip

The caviar produced in St. Andrews can't be found anywhere else. Photo: Courtesy of Breviro

Some of the world’s best (and most sustainable) caviar is produced exclusively in St. Andrews by Breviro, which breeds a rare type of short-nose sturgeon at its ecofriendly facility. The caviar isn’t available for sale yet, so the only way to get a taste is at a few local restaurants, the best of which is Kingsbrae Arms, where the “Caviar Indulgence” menu ($35) includes gently scrambled eggs with caviar and crème fraîche served in an eggshell.

5. Oddball Day

Whimsical sculptures at Kingsbrae Garden, which is located on the grounds of several old grand estates.Photo: Courtesy of Kingsbrae Garden

Spend some time on land to take in some non-maritime attractions. Start off with a latte ($3.50) and a homemade blueberry scone ($1.95) at Honeybeans Coffee (157 Water Street, 506-529-4888) before donning a kilt (a nod to St. Andrews’s Scottish name and heritage) for a two-hour bike tour ($60) with Off Kilter. You’ll learn about the town’s history—first as a prosperous shipping port and later as a Victorian summertime resort—as you wind along the water and into the surrounding hills. Then stroll through the 27-acre Kingsbrae Garden ($14), divided into more than a dozen sections, including a sculpture garden and a labyrinth. Have lunch on the terrace of the Garden Café, which serves light fare like salads ($6.95–$16.95), lobster rolls ($15.95), and quiche ($12.50). Afterwards, take a scenic 90-minute drive out to Roosevelt Campobello International Park, where FDR and his wife Eleanor spent their summers. Take a free self-guided tour of their 34-room home and the surrounding grounds, or hike along the scenic two-and-a-half-mile trail out to the Mulholland Point Lighthouse. Head back to St. Andrews for dinner at chef Alex Haun’s home, which doubles as the restaurant Savour. Bring your own wine from the province-run Alcohol NB Liquor to enjoy with the six-course seasonal tasting menu ($65), and request the chef’s table if you want to sit in the kitchen and watch Haun at work. For nighttime entertainment, stop by the Red Herring Pub for a beer and live rock or blues concerts. St. Andrews doesn’t have much nightlife, but this spot is lively and stays open late.

6. Links

Refer to the town’s site to find information on camping, as well as local museums and galleries.

Check the tide forecast for St. Andrews to plan your maritime activities.

Find ideas for side trips in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia at the Bay of Fundy’s official site.

Go Nautical in St. Andrews