Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Girls Getaway to New Brunswick - St. Andrews

St. Andrews was our next stop, and the small town of 2,000 is the most picturesque seaside landscape. It may be small but there was so much to do. From sea kayaking with Eastern Outdoors to whale watching with Island Quest Marine, there’s plenty for the more adventurous nature lovers. Local shopping, including a Thursday morning farmer’s marke and relaxing on the waterfront, are options for a more leisurely stay. We spent a couple nights at the Treadwell Inn, a bed and breakfast on the historic main street in town. Gourmet food shop St. Croix Olive Oil is attached to the inn, with more than 60 specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars to choose from.

The Kingsbrae Garden is one of my favorite attractions in town. From the children’s fantasy
garden and a sculpture garden to the scents and sensitivity garden for the visually impaired, there is something for everyone. I munched on blackberries and rose hips in the edible garden, and discovered a new fruit – arctic kiwi. These thimble sized green fruit from Siberia and Northern China look just like kiwi on the inside and taste like their larger counterparts too.

Another must in St. Andrews is whale watching. There are several operators in town, but I liked Island Quest Marine for their knowledgeable and friendly guides. We were lucky enough to see the first North Atlantic Right Whales of the season. This species is endangered – there are only 400 of them left – and I had a chance to see a mother and her calf. The following day, I went kayaking for the first time and became fast friends with my guide, Charlotte. We saw a fishing weir (a big net fishermen use to catch herring and mackerel) as well as seals around Navy Island.

Before dinner at Niger Reef Tea House, we took a guided tour via bike with Kurt Gumushel, I loved biking in a kilt and as a St. Andrews native, Kurt provided fabulous insight on how the town has evolved over recent decades. 

Niger Reef Tea House served some of the best and freshest haddock I’ve had in my life, and it’s the perfect gemütlich neighborhood spot. The following evening, we dined at Rossmount Inn, which bills itself as a “culinary inn set between the forest and the sea,” and it lives up to this storybook description. Chef Chris Aerni and his wife, Graziella, made me feel right at home, while serving delectable dishes like caramelized scallops with summer ratatouille and hazelnut chocolate feuilleté cake.

The following day, we visited King’s Landing Historical Settlement, the most impressive
historical village I’ve ever been to. We had a chance to learn the art of hearth cooking, a home-style cooking school from the 1820s. Evelyn taught me how to make buttermilk biscuits and gingerbread in a Dutch oven with butter she churned herself. Guests here can do everything from spin wool to forge nails and split logs.

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