Thursday, April 12, 2012

How did you find it?

We were often asked how we found it.  And, actually how DID we find Campobello Island?
It was a beautiful day when we left Maine and crossed the border at St.Stephen, New Brunswick. Our destination was Nova Scotia, where we thought of looking for a suitable property. We had been fulltimers for 12 months after we had sold our Alberta property. I was born in a coastal fishing town in Northern Germany and wanted to get back to Saltwater and harbour life. That, and the affordable price level of Real Estate were the reasons behind looking  at the East Coast of Canada.

Kiwani RV-Park, St. Andrews By-The-Sea

So, on that sunny day back in August 2009 we were on Hwy 1 –the Trans Canada Highway, which leads up North through the Province of New Brunswick. This new Highway is a bit removed from the coast line and we saw mostly forest, something we had already seen lots of when coming up through Maine. We were longing to see the water and some shore line.
So I figured we’d have to leave Hwy 1 and make a turn to the East to see whether we could get somewhat closer to the shore. As it turned out the exit we were taking brought us to the town of St.Andrews by-the-sea. Exactly what we were looking for. And what a great RV-park they had right outside and within walking distance from downtown.
View from Kiwanis across Passamaquoddy Bay
It was a Kiwani-Resort and obviously very popular as we had to sit in the overflow one night, as the place was packed. What we intended to last a few days only grew into a longer and longer stay. Finally Bea said, “Why don’t we look for a house right here. I like the area”. And so did I.IMG_3780-mi
We contacted a realtor in town and met Leona Golding from Fundy Bay Real Estate. Leona was as helpful as can be and showed us quite a few properties within our price range. First we looked at the mainland, but soon we realized there were islands out there in the Passamaquoddy Bay. Deer Island was the first place we looked at. It had nice properties for sale at very reasonable prices. But there was a catch: We could not use the government ferry from Letete to Deer Island because of a very steep ramp onto the ferry. Our motor home was too big for it. Disappointed we were sitting in the RV-Park contemplating what to do. We scanned the realtor listings another time and found properties for sale on another island. This island had a bridge to the mainland, just that it was not the Canadian mainland. The bridge was the Roosevelt Campobello International Bridge. Only 500ft long it connects two Nations, Canada and the U.S.A. It is also the life nerve of a small community to the outer world.  IMG_3782-mi   IMG_3864-mi
Water Street, St. Andrews                           The Fairmont  Algonquin  Hotel

We phoned Leona again and  sure enough we went to Campobello Island. The first trip was by way through the U.S. and back by ferry, using our Jeep.
Coming to Campobello we immediately fell in love with this island. Visiting here we became part of the laid-back island mentality. Life out here felt like it might have been in the last century. It was still August and still vacation time when we got here, and yet there was very little traffic. We have been to islands on the West Coast, f.ex. Salt Spring Island which is full of harrowing traffic and has very few possibilities for people to enjoy a shore line. What a difference it was out here on Campobello.
International Bridge across “The Narrows”                  Our house back then
We made a bid on a property and waited through a few negotiating days. When our bid was accepted we had a meeting with Leona and papers were signed.

On possession day we said Good Bye to the Kiwani resort and went south again through the border and followed Maine Highway 1 along the St.Croix River until we reached the turn-off to Lubec and Campobello Island.

Roads are often narrow and winding in Maine, but we had all the time in the world. It was another beautiful sunny day when we arrived at the International Bridge. We left the small U.S.-border Station behind and crossed the “Narrows” a tidal current between Lubec and Campobello. The view from the top of the bridge is still one of the best views I have ever enjoyed. 

Mulholland Lighthouse at “The Narrows”

Slowly we descended on the other side towards the Canadian Customs Station. A proud maple flag was fluttering in the wind. Rolling up to the booth we were  greeted in the most friendly way. When we told the officer that we had purchased a house on the island she was all smiles and wished us welcome to the island.

We couldn’t really have asked for more.
We knew that our house needed major renovations before we could think of moving in, so we still lived in our motor home.
It was September a few days after we moved to the property. That last month of the summer was a busy one for us. We needed to fix the bathroom in the house and “pronto”. Before we were heading South that year we had actually done both the bathroom and the rear entry, which serves as a mud room.

So now you know how we ended up in this sorta remote part of the world.

Of course, we still haven’t set foot onto Nova Scotia.

Thanks for following the journey.

PS: If you want to learn about “Peter’s Stick-Pea-Burgers” click


  1. What a fantastic story! Glad you shared that with all of us. I always wondered how you happened to find that beautiful island. Now I know.

    1. Hey, Thanks for explaining that as I also wondered. Very pretty spot - as long as you can get away from the Winters.

  2. Well, I know I was sure smitten with the island when I was there for a visit all those years ago.
    I do note however that you're cleaver enough not to hang out there in the winter. I lived a mile from the Bay of Fundy on the Nova Scotia side for the first ten years of my life, and I'll just say that I sure wished we could have kept warmer in the wintertime. It was brutal.
    I suppose if we had had a better insulated house that would have made all the difference.
    Summers were great though. Moderate temperatures. No humidity.
    I still have fond memories of summertime in the Maritimes. Probably why I enjoy visiting my brother in the Annapolis Valley so much.

    Thanks for that snippet.

  3. It sure looks like an idyllic spot - even to us 'west coast' Islanders!!

  4. You're experiencing a part of the continent that I just love. Great pics. Thanks!


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