St. Andrews by the Sea

St. Andrews by the Sea

No, this is not about Scotland, but the kilted bellhops at The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by the Sea may have you fooled. As the sun rises, a corner of Maine is highlighted out over the water from the driving range at the Algonquin Golf Course in New Brunswick. It is quite a new view revealing the lighthouse and Islands below after a four million-dollar renovation which created completely new 10 and 11 holes. Thousands of trees became firewood to open the water view on every hole 9-18.  Some compare it to Pebble Beach for the magnificent ocean scenery and especially number 12 which resembles Pebble’s number 7. Four tiers of elevated tees overlook the tiny green that juts into the sea. Bunkers guarding the front and shifting side winds make club selection tricky. You don’t want to leave the green for the view but are rewarded with an even more spectacular sight of the ocean and vessels from the 13th tee box.  From there, it is a crescendo of ocean view holes. Don’t be too distracted by the scenery or you may need a rescue from the fescue. The design zigs and zags fairways up the grade of the slope returning to the clubhouse. The patio there has an elevated vista where fine food and musical entertainment combine with stunning sunsets.

Dane joined us on the Algonquin Golf Course to keep the pace of play behind a foursome. His dad is the omelet chef at the Algonquin with whom we had spoken in the morning and recognized us the next day as Dane’s golf partners. The stately Algonquin was recently renovated to the tune of $30m. Keeping with traditions, the doormen as noted are clad in kilts and sporrans to welcome guests. It was a busy weekend with four hosted weddings.  Bridal parties spilled out of the spa while families lounged and splashed at the outdoor pool or sailed down the waterslides at the indoor pool.

Guests may dine at Braxton’s and rock on the Passamaquoddy Veranda sipping cocktails or tea. Rooms and suites are luxuriously decorated with window views of the elaborate grounds. Entertaining is the sight of guests who happen upon the rearing horse sculpture which is spring loaded and moves in the breeze or when activated by pulling the tail or pushing the front legs. Firepits flare up for story hour and smores in the evening.

Shuttles carry visitors to the waterfront shops and restaurants or to Kingsbrae Gardens, all walkable from the Algonquin. The 27-acre property was donated by owners John and Lucinda Flemer to the town for Kingsbrae Gardens. Educational, sustainable and creative, it is really 17 themed gardens including the sculpture garden which began as a competition. A few golf holes and 1200 seat amphitheater were created behind the gardens for fund raising. It is said that John back in the day would challenge everyone to play for $100 and never take the winnings yet he did pay if he lost.

Another fun excursion from the Algonquin is to drive across the ocean floor at low tide to Ministers Island and tour William Van Horn’s estate. He built the Canadian Pacific Railroad in half the time at half the budget with a $1,000,000 bonus. And he was the only American knighted by the queen. Needless to say, the buildings and trails along the grounds are quite grand. Restoration is a continual process so like the Boldt Castle at Thousand Islands, many people return annually to see what new items have been added. The circular bath house was architected with a pool outside that fills with water captured by the tide. Timing for the tours are important as all must leave the island by 3 in order to traverse the sand bar before it is covered by the incoming tide. All along the bar, locals dig for bar head clams, just one of the seafood delights in the area.

St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick is a shorter trip than Scotland with superior golf and accommodations at The Algonquin Resort. It is a member of the Autograph Collection Hotels. Check out the website

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