The tides in St. Andrews by-the-Sea are about 25 feet at this time of year, not the highest on the bay, but still, twice a day the sea sneaks up to lap at the wooden posts of our little deck. She surrounds us closely and makes us a little nervous and wary of her size and power. Then she gently retreats as if to remind us that she’s still close by, playing with somebody else for a time.
St. Andrews is a seaside resort town at the southern tip of the province of New Brunswick. It was founded by United Empire Loyalists in the 18th century and shares much of its history with Americans in the nearby state of Maine, just across Passamaquoddy Bay. Today it’s a picturesque tourist destination and a great place to relax. The main street offers fresh seafood restaurants, historic buildings, artisan shops, whale-watching outfits, cottage rentals and the usual laid-back pace of life common in Canada’s Maritime provinces.
We like to travel a little “off season” (November to April), especially to a popular tourist destination like St. Andrews. Just before everything revs up for the busy months, the locals are a little more talkative and ready to take a minute in conversation. The restaurants and bars are painting their patios and training new seasonal staff. Artisans are carefully displaying a winter’s worth of work. Handfuls of friends gather on the wharf in their cars, leaning on the bumpers, smoking, trading gossip and small talk while enjoying the warmer breezes and the longer days.
At the Seaside Beach Resort we rented part of a small, wooden house right on the bay. Perfect. Not the concierge luxury of the nearby Algonquin Hotel, but, literaly, more seaside. We packed in a few groceries but spent most of our meals in town are over great take-out pizza and lobster rolls. We considered the legendary cuisine at the Rossmount Inn up the road but it just didn’t seem right at the time.
The smells of the ocean are refreshing after a drive through the New Brunswick forests from Fredericton. Seaweed and salt air mingle with the cries of gulls and the ocean herself. Ever present, she touches all of our senses.