New Brunswick’s St. Andrews-by-the-Sea is a pretty seaside resort town with shops selling antiques and sailing gear — the sort of place where Cranesbill geranium fill window boxes and gardening is de rigueur.
Settled by the United Empire Loyalists in 1783 after the American Revolution, today it’s full of people with a natural, deep ingrained passion for land, sea and home and garden. The town has been designated a National Historic district with many fine examples of New England Colonial architecture from Saltbox, Cape Cod, and Georgian to Victorian Romantic Revival.
Copyright © by May DeLory
John and Lucinda Flemer’s historic St. Andrews summer home, with romantic views to Passamaquoddy Bay, was built in 1907 and designed by the great early 20th century Montreal architect Edward Maxwell. The famous architect also designed CP railway magnate of the day Sir William Van Horn’s nearby summer home on Minister’s Island, Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts and Regina’s legislative buildings.
Rosemount was once part of a much larger majestic estate with several houses, mature cedar hedges, stately trees, and old-growth Acadian forest. At one time there was a house named Kingsbrae on the estate at the top of a hill on King Street and was used by Mrs. Flemer’s grandparents’ as a summer retreat. In 1998 the name Kingsbrae was adopted by Kingsbrae Garden—one of Canada’s Top Ten Public Gardens—the 27-acre parcel of the original estate that was donated by the Flemers almost two decades ago to the province of New Brunswick.
Mrs. Flemer’s parents summered on the estate in an Edward Maxwell house built in 1911 that now serves as Kingsbrae Garden Art Gallery, Gift Shop, and Garden Café. In place of the once elegant Kingsbrae summerhouse stands the garden’s Visitors’ Centre.
The love of gardens is in Lucinda Flemer’s bones and is part of the natural driving force behind her personal interest today in overseeing Kingsbrae Gardens’ continuing development and success.
There are two magnificent old and rare cucumber trees ( magnolia acuminata) that stand at the top of a gentle slope at Rosemount. The trees live to be 150 years in the wild and are part of the magnolia family; these two trees are known to be the only such trees in St. Andrews. The gardens are for the most part set out in formal square configurations with black urns and fountains as hard accent points and softened with massive plantings of flowering bushes, trees and ornamental shrub, variegated boxwood, rhododendrons, hostas, delphiniums, astilbes, iris, phlox, tall grasses and graceful spikes with a border of red impatiens. There is a low growing, bushy rose shrub, rosa rugosa (snow pavement), fragrant with an old-fashioned rose scent, protected by large rhododendron plantings to one side.
A number of years ago a field behind Rosemount was dug up and made into a lawn. “Mr. Flemer decided it would make a good spot to practice golf,” Mrs. Flemer recalls. “So, a golf hole was added, and for the rest of the summer the lawn was a brown blob. It is now a beautiful place where friends congregate to play a little friendly golf.”
And spend time in what was once a “secret garden” but is now a pleasure for all! Don’t forget to visit Kingsbrae Garden’s windmill, tea house and gift shop and the miniature garden houses that are delightful to one and all but especially to children.
The view from Rosemount across to Passamaquoddy Bay gives rise to a memorable landscape—gently undulating lawn, and Mr. Flemer’s little practice golf course. Rosemount so near the sea often sees to great effect a soft mist settle over the gardens obstructing for a time Kingsbrae Garden’s working replica Dutch windmill surrounded by dancing shades of pink, red, mauve and yellow astilbe.
Sandy and Donne Smith
The fascinating thing about Sandy Smith is that she takes her inherent green thumb with a grain of salt; she’s had a rose garden for over 40 years. “I bought roses when you could buy them at the 5 & 10 and at the local hardware store. I never bought by name. I was interested in the colour.”
There is a large bed of roses still blooming and strong going into September — pinks, reds, and buds of tangerine and pale lemony colour in perfectly tended mounds between the house and a 1 ½-storey frame garage that once served as a small barn about sixty feet from the house. A most spectacular climbing vine covers almost completely two sides of the pretty white garage.
“Somebody gave me a little piece [vine] one time about 25 years ago. I wouldn’t put it on the house because vines can be rather destructive.” The vine — Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus Quinquefolia) — as the weather turns cooler, produces a purplish-black ¼ inch fall berry, and the shiny green five-part leaf turns crimson. A mature lilac tree is at one corner of the garage.
“We’re Maritimers, the both of us,” Sandy says. “My husband (Dr. Donne Smith) is a bluenoser from Nova Scotia, a place called Shubenacady. I’m a herring choker from Saint John, New Brunswick.” Sandy gives a little chuckle at the playful slang references used. “We came here (St. Andrews) in 1950.”
Their house, built in the 1860s by the Odell family, is a heritage property with accompanying plaque. Originally the house had eight bedrooms, some used for servants. Exterior painted clapboard had sand in the gray paint to resemble stone, unique for the district. When they bought the house 55 years ago there was an L-shape building on the side of the house that was probably a summer kitchen and stretched to the small barn where chickens were kept.
One of their projects was to get rid of the L, reduce the bedrooms to six and landscape the muddy chicken run between the house and the barn. The house is surrounded on two sides of the property by a white picket fence with plantings of silver birch with its green lacy foliage, honeysuckle, and a few lilacs, and a red maple.
Dr. Donne Smith, a retired surgeon, who delivered many a town’s baby in his day, kept a medical general practice in their home until the 1970s when he built a wellness centre in St. Andrews. Sandy is a retired biologist and active in the St. Andrews Civic Trust, the organization responsible for the designation of the more than 250 St. Andrews homes between the ages of one hundred and two hundred years old with descriptive plaques. Fascinating tours of these buildings take place at various times throughout the year. Sandy tells me the Trust’s mandate is to preserve “built” heritage sites as opposed to recently constructed buildings.
Sandy used to bake fresh apple pies when their two boys and one girl were much younger. There’s a small apple orchard over 60 years old. Recent apple tree plantings will eventually replace old trees past their prime. “That apple tree is coming down this winter,” Sandy says, her voice betraying her reluctance at having to lose the old thing. “It’s seen better days.”
The Algonquin Resort, where history blends seamlessly with today’s resort elegance, graces the languid shores of Passamaquoddy Bay. The Tudor-style “Castle-by-the-Sea” Algonquin has welcomed iconic leaders, world royalty and travellers with friendly Maritime hospitality since 1889. The resort now owned by New Castle Hotels and Resorts has recently completed a multimillion dollar renovation restoring the gentle ambiance of a bygone era with today’s modern standards. New Castle Hotels and Resorts was named in 2013 one of the 27 Best Places to Work in Atlantic Canada by Progress magazine and Best Companies Group.
The resort is spearheading wedding receptions with all the magic of a castle by the sea! and the area’s well-known environmental mysteries. The hotel is just about a stone’s throw from the Bay of Fundy where tides rise and fall 55 feet twice daily. Whale watching tours are available in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea as is shopping, fine and casual dining and a litany of New Brunswick’s famous attractions. Fundy Tide Runners has worked closely with the Algonquin Resort for nineteen years and has a strong connection to the history in this region. Captain David Welch’s grandfather started doing business with the Algonquin in the 1930’s.
The Algonquin Resort offers several wedding and events reception venues, including “The Roof Top Garden with views to Passamaquaddy Bay. The roof garden entertains up to 50-seated guests for a ceremony or 120-guests for a standing cocktail reception.
Katy’s Cove offers you own private beach for the perfect and memorable wedding reception or event. Imagine tiki torch lights escorting you and your guests to a magical lighted seascape. Up to 120-guests dine beneath an elegant wedding tent for a glamorous sit-down buffet-style reception dinner. Katy’s Cove is also the ideal venue for a lobster boil seaside!
The Shaughnessy Room on the hotel’s lobby level, regale guests with elegant bay windows to breathtaking views and chandeliers create a quiet grandeur for up to 350-wedding guests.
Jasmin Kobajica is the Executive Chef & Director of Food and Beverage at the Algonquin Resort and will oversee the two prime restaurants at the Algonquin: Braxton’s and The Clubhouse. Braxton’s will feature local fish and seafood and The Clubhouse, located at the award-winning Algonquin Golf Course, will be a premium steakhouse. Chef will also put his special touch on catering, room service and special service operations, like the Algonquin’s popular, outdoor lobster boil.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FrzlOyEtQo Rick Mercer and opera star Measha Brueggergosman head to St. Andrews, NB to go whale watching in the Bay of Fundy and sing a tune of adventure. Rick and Measha rock it big time!
http://www.thehopewellrocks.ca/ See the Bay of Fundy 55 ft. tides rise and fall! Stunning. Walk on the sea floor bottom!
Stunning historic home now famous fine dining location. http://rossmountinn.com/
http://www.kingsbraegarden.com/ 220 King Street, St. Andrews, E5B 1Y8 Thursday June 13, 2013 is the date for the opening and awards ceremony for this season’s edition of the Sculpture Competition. Kingsbrae Garden has been selected Garden of the Year by the Canadian Garden Tourism Awards.
www.algonquinresort.ca St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. For iphone users, search for “GoExplore Tours”. Download this free App and then look for “St. Andrews, NB, Canada”.
TOLL FREE: 1-855-529-8693 Direct: 506-529-8823 Fax: (506) 529-7162
www.fundytiderunners.com Visit whale feeding grounds to see minke, finback or humpback whales surfacing close to the 25-foot Zodiac Hurricane™, steered by experienced Captain David Welch. See porpoises, seals, and bald eagles as you enjoy the rugged beauty of the West Isles. This adventure offers the rare opportunity to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Share your thoughts over refreshments at the Whale Loft once you’re returned to port.
Searching for your Loyalist ancestors? Visit the Loyalist Burying Ground. King Street between Prince of Wales and Carleton Streets, St. Andrews. Telephone(506) 529-8662 Fax(506) 529-8652 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.fundyculture.ca/sheriffandrews.htm 63 King Street, St. Andrews. The High Sheriff Elisha Andrews, son of a Loyalist Reverend, built this home in 1820 to reflect his position within the community. The house is an excellent example of the neo-classical style of architecture.
www.seascapekayaktours.com Kayak tours in one of the world’s most stunning seascapes. Seascape Kayak Tours’ founder, Bruce Smith, is winner of the New Brunswick Department of Environment’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. Check out the Sea Kayaking and Yoga adventure on Deer Island, August 16 – 18, 2013.
http://www.standrewssportfishing.com/ Shark fishing in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea.
Katy’s Cove: A beautiful saltwater cove with sandy beach ready for swimming, sandcastles and summer beach fun!
Planning a visit to New Brunswick? If you love history, the water, and architecture: http://fdr.net/home
St. Andrews-by-the-Sea is a lovely and very romantic seaside resort town in which to tie the forever knot. The Algonquin Resort has all the bells and modern whistles of grand hotels and expert wedding coordinators to take care of the wedding details. Extend the honeymoon with the Ultimate Road Trip package to see the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy. Package begins at $246*. Package includes accommodations, $50. Irving Gift Card and passage on the Princess of Acadia. Discover Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with this package. Explore world-class and award-winning wineries, dine on succulent scallops and lobster. Telephone for package details: 1-877-762-sail (7245).
Father of the Bride, 1950 comedy. Spencer Tracy tried to arrange his daughter’s wedding himself and got himself into such a tuff he didn’t even want a wedding cake! http://soa.li/SdIEQqJ Copyright TCM
Copyright © by May DeLory. All Rights Reserved
Photo copyright © by Kingsbrae Garden; Algonquin Resort; Fundy Tide Runners