A Winter’s Trip to Ministers Island, NB

I don’t know of many islands in the world that you get to by driving over the ocean floor at low tide, but Ministers Island is one of them.  Located in the Bay of Fundy, just off the coast of uber-charming St. Andrews by-the-Sea, a trip to Ministers Island is like stepping back in time.  The island is home to the property of Sir William Van Horne, famous for his role in building the Canadian Pacific Railway.  Van Horne bought part of the island (named Ministers Island because one of the first settlers was Reverand Samuel Andrews) in 1890.  On the property he built a magnificent 50-room summer home named Covenhoven and several other outbuildings, including a windmill, ice house and creamery and a stunning bathhouse built against the cliff-side that offers panoramic views of the Bay of Fundy.

I was really enchanted by our short visit a few weeks ago.  Even though the buildings are closed up for the winter months, you still get a real sense of history as you stroll through the grounds and their beautifully built structures.  You could spend hours here exploring the island and it’s many trails.  Just make sure you make it back over the bar before the tide comes up!

The barn recently sustained significant damage to its silos and requires extensive repairs. For information about how you can help with the restoration efforts, follow their Facebook page Ministers Island or visit their website here.

Here are some pictures I took from our trip to the island.  I would highly recommend planning a trip of your own.  It would be really lovely in the summer!

Waiting for the tide to reveal our road to Ministers Island.  You can see the barn poking through the trees on the far right.
Heading across the bar to the island
The first structure you come to on the island is the house of Reverend Samuel Andrews, built in 1790 and the reason for the island’s name.
The barn and creamery.  The damage to the silos is clearly visible.
One of the trails on the island, that leads through a hedge of eastern white cedar and feels like walking through a Robert Frost poem.
The windmill and back of the main house, Covenhoven.
The pretty front door of Covenhoven.  The house was intended to serve as a summer cottage when construction began in 1891 but underwent many renovations and now stands at 50 rooms.
Front view of Covenhoven.
Beauty view from the front porch of the main house.
Stunning bathhouse, completed in 1912, that inspired many of Van Horne’s paintings.
Garage built in 1917 for Van Horne’s Model T Ford and other vehicles.  Upstairs is the chauffeur’s apartment.















9 thoughts on “A Winter’s Trip to Ministers Island, NB

  1. BjoernTempl March 12, 2016 / 3:54 pm

    love the photos. absolutely beautiful..

    • Melissa Smith March 12, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      Thank you, it’s a beautiful place!

  2. Pamela Gordon March 15, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    I enjoyed this winter trip to Minister’s Island you have shared. We hope to go over this summer when we have more time so we can explore the island. I have been on it several times in my life and am looking forward to seeing the house with furnishings in it as the last time I saw it, it was empty. I have a blog and have done several posts on St. Andrews, a very favourite place for us to visit over the years.

    • Melissa Smith March 15, 2016 / 5:59 pm

      Yes, I would have liked to see inside as well. The whole area is lovely!

  3. annie191 March 15, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    My husband and I absolutely love this place!

  4. nellyvinelly March 17, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Great post Melissa. It’s lovely on the island.

  5. Christian Ba April 10, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Most impressive!

  6. Mark Anderson April 11, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    Hi, Melissa. Thanks for this post. Looking at the great photos, I can immediately imagine what a great setting this place would be for a book or short story. So much rustic beauty! Would love to see it in person some day. 🙂

    • Melissa Smith April 12, 2016 / 9:43 pm

      You’re right, it would make a great setting for a story!

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