The real attraction is the summer estate that was built by railway baron William Van Horne in 1890. An extension to the rail line was made so Van Horne could travel to the island in his hown personal train car.
As you go onto the island there is a road that is covered with cedar trees which makes it look like a tunnel and the buildings are spectacular. It’s a beautiful, pastoral island with many fields and interesting flora and fauna. There is a circular bathhouse where the tide comes in and fills the bottom so you could bathe. Now you only can go on the island as part of a two-hour guided tour, but it’s still would be interesting.
I was able to go onto Minister’s Island a few years ago before it was renovated when the Province of NB owned the property, but hadn’t decided what to do yet. We were shooting a film on the island and drove over at low tide and stayed on the island and shot until the tide went out again and then left. It was beautiful and the fascinating thing was that renovations within the buildings were made in the 1960s or 1970s and many of the excesses of the time were throughout the buildings… shag carpets, bright greens and oranges, which seemed to be a startling contrast to the stately architecture of the summer home. At the end of the day we rushed to finish shooting before the tide came in and blocked the road.
I’m assuming that it’s a lot different now with the guided tours and the restoration that has taken place. A few years ago I took a quick look around (I missed the tour) close to the gate after climbing past it. I want to go back and see inside to see what it was like in the past.
tags: 43places, newbrunswick, travel, ministersisland, standrews
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