Goodbye to Summer: Campobello Island

Summer officially ended on Tuesday, and while MP is slowly accepting the cooler weather ahead, she thought she’d share the last of our camping adventures with you. After trips to Quebec and Moosehead Lake, the final leg of our 1,750 mile tour brought us to Campobello Island, New Brunswick. The weather was bright and beautiful in Lubec, but as soon as we reached the Canadian border, a dense fog covered the Roosevelt International Bridge. MP asked the guard at border patrol if this fog was a regular occurrence. The guard looked at her watch and said, “Yup, always around 4:00. Welcome to Canada!” Thanks to the fog, we also noticed the temperature dropped 10 degrees. Despite the change in weather, we all looked forward to seeing our friends at the campsite.

Herring Cove Provincial Park is only a few minutes from the border, and the campground is situated near a mile long beach with views of the Bay of Fundy. There is a small playground area for the kids and if you prefer an easier camping experience, there are rustic cottages for rent.

beach

We threw on sweatshirts and joined our friends, who had already set up camp, complete with tiki torches to keep any hungry mosquitoes at bay. MP and DP unpacked the car quickly so we could explore the grounds and prepare for dinner. There is an easy rhythm that occurs when gathering with old friends, and before long, all of us settled around the campfire to catch up on our summers.

chef

DP served as our chef for the evening.

Grilled chicken and sautéed peppers and onions for camp fajitas.

Grilled chicken and sautéed peppers and onions for camp fajitas.

CP#2 and a friend hang out by the campfire.

CP#2 and a friend hang out by the campfire.

The next morning, we decided to visit Roosevelt Campobello International Park. The park was once a summer getaway for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his wife, Eleanor, and their children. CP#1 and #2 recently finished this book about Eleanor Roosevelt, so they were excited to learn more about the family. A friend and teacher also told us the park offers a free afternoon tea and discussion about Eleanor Roosevelt. The staff at the Visitor’s Center confirmed we could get free tickets for the tea that day — all we needed to do was commit to a time. Once we secured our tickets, we watched a short film about FDR and the time he spent on the island. Then all of us left to explore the property.

flowers

It’s no wonder FDR fell in love with Campobello island. The grounds that surround the 34-room, family cottage are lush and green, and the well-manicured gardens are bursting with flowers. MP couldn’t get over the size of the Dahlias that were in bloom.

dahlias

Inside the house, we were invited to take a self-guided tour. There are docents in each room to share facts about the Roosevelt family and their home. The kids were also challenged with a scavenger hunt that had them searching for everything from tennis rackets to model airplanes. What is amazing about the cottage is that most everything in it, down to the furniture, is just as it was since 1920.

house

After our tour, we followed a wooded pathway to the pier below the cottage, where we could spot Deer Island across the way. MP would have loved to take the ferry to the island – next visit!

pier

more-pier

docks

Our tea time wasn’t until 2:00 p.m., so our group returned to the campground for a big lunch and a little rest. After lunch, we decided to explore Liberty Point with the kids, where there are views of Grand Manan Island and Sugar Loaf Rock. The kids and DP climbed big rocks along the seaside, while MP, who is nervous nellie, shouted, “Be careful!” from the sidelines.

sugarrock

rock-climbing

moreclimbs

All the climbing made everyone look forward to spending some downtime at tea. We returned to the Visitor’s Center and walked to Hubbard Cottage — another stunning, seaside home located on the park grounds. We were invited into a bright and cozy dining room. The tables were set with generous plates of homemade ginger snap cookies and floral tea cups. The two ladies who led the talk were also our servers. While one spoke about Eleanor’s life and times, the other poured cups of tea. The women were good-natured and laughed at their own slip-ups now and then. “I’m sorry,” one speaker said, “I keep saying okay between sentences.” Their honest delivery made them all the more endearing. The kids even felt comfortable approaching them after the talk to ask more questions about Eleanor. The ladies gave each child a card with a quote we’ll return to again and again:

Surely in the light of history, it is far more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try.
For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says,
‘It can’t be done.'” – Eleanor Roosevelt

tea

tea-time

We couldn’t have asked for a better learning experience. We learned that Eleanor was a true humanitarian — she spoke on behalf of the poor, worked towards Civil Rights, advocated for women in the workplace, and after her husband’s death, she became an integral part of United Nations.

After tea, the kids spent a lot of time talking with our hosts.

After tea, the kids spent a lot of time talking with our hosts.

As our day began to wind down, we returned to camp for another big dinner followed by blueberry pie for dessert. Another family invited all of the kids at the campground to watch “Home” on a portable outdoor screen nearby. Our kids were delighted by the invitation, and the adults were glad to have a some kid-free time by the fire. When we left our site to check on the kids, we found they were huddled together, munching on popcorn and having a wonderful time.

Our stay at Campobello Island was short, but we will return again to explore more of the trails and sites throughout the park. The weather was near perfect on our departure day, so we decided to spend some time in Lubec and Quoddy Head State Park with friends who have a summer home in the area. Much like FDR’s feelings for Campobello, MP fell hard for this rugged but beautiful coastal town. She’ll share more in a future post but for now, goodbye sweet summer. We’re going to miss you.

On the way to Quoddy Head State Park.

On the way to Quoddy Head State Park.

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