Ministers Island – Crossing the ocean floor and stepping back in time
While staying in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, a local was telling me about nearby Ministers Island, a 500-acre part-time island that sounded like a place I needed to visit.
What makes Ministers Island fascinating, and part-time, is the fact that it can only be accessed a few hours a day during low tide. As the water from a low tide recedes, a road is revealed to access the “part-time” island.
With a tide chart in hand, I headed toward Ministers Island around 11:30am, which was the earliest possible time the crossing could be made on this day. When I arrived, there were a couple of other cars sitting in wait for the water to reveal the road. Just a day earlier, I got my rental car stuck in river rocks and sand by going just beyond a parking lot near a beach, so it was with some trepidation that I contemplated this crossing.
It wasn’t long before I saw a car venture across the half-mile stretch of land, that just an hour earlier, was covered in water. [As a matter of fact, at high tide there is as much as 17’ of water over the road.] After seeing a successful crossing, I put my car in drive and headed for the other side. Other than a few potholes full of water, the crossing was thankfully uneventful. On the other side was an attendant collecting $10 to tour the island, which was once owned by Sir William Van Horne, the head of the Canadian Pacific Railway. This estate was merely a summer home for Mr. Van Horne and his family, which made his wealth quite apparent.
Visitors can peruse the 50-room home (referred to in the day as a “cottage.”) that features 17 bedrooms, 11 fireplaces and 11 bathrooms. There are several other structures on the property, including a gargantuan livestock barn, greenhouses, a windmill and many other structures showing the technology of the day.
While I was there, I also saw some beautiful horses grazing. I really enjoy horses, so I ambled up to them with some grass in hand and went to feed and pet them. The entire experience visiting Ministers Island was like stepping back in time, immersing myself into the 19th century while getting close to nature.
While I was only there for the day, I imagine each time one visits Ministers Island, it must be like a new experience given the varying times that one can visit due to the changes in the tide.
Have you ever been to Ministers Island? If so, please leave a comment below and share your experience.
Information on Visiting Ministers Island:
Phone: (506) 529-5081
Address: 199 Carriage Road Ministers Island, NB, E5B 0A4