ST ANDREWS was once a busy fishing port and trading centre but is now a leafy resort with a laid-back air that makes for a restful place to spend a night or two. The town is at its prettiest amongst the antique clapboard houses flanking King Street – which leads up the hill from the busy little pier – while Water Street, the main drag, tracks along the waterfront lined with cafés and craft shops. The only sights as such are the Kingsbrae Horticultural Garden (mid-May to early Oct daily 9am–6pm; $9) on the crest of King Street and the squat, minuscule St Andrews blockhouse, a replica of the original wooden fort built in 1813 to protect the area from the Americans at the west end of Water Street.
Most illustrious of the hotels is the Kingsbrae Arms, 219 King St (Tel:506/529-1897, Web: www.kingsbrae.com ; Price: $241 and over), a sumptuous, immaculately maintained mansion overlooking the botanical gardens. There are just eight guest rooms here, six of them suites with balconies offering wide views of the gardens and the bay. An excellent second choice is the Windsor House, on the seafront at 132 Water St (Tel:506/529-3330 or 1-888/890-9463, Web: www.windsorhouseinn.com ; Price: $241 and over; April– Dec), a beautifully restored eighteenth-century inn with antiques in the public rooms and six opulent guest rooms beyond.
More affordable are the B&Bs, like Harris Hatch Inn, an elegant, broadly Georgian mansion with shutters, fanlight and Neoclassical columns a short walk from the pier at 142 Queen St (Tel:506/529-4995, Web: www.bbcanada.com/1439.html ; Price: $81-100). Another good bet is the Garden Gate B&B, whose wide Edwardian verandas and lovely garden are in a quiet part of town at 364 Montague St (Tel:506/529-4453, Web: www.bbgardengate.com ; Price: $101-125). Very different is Salty Towers, 340 Water St (Tel:506/529-4585; Price: $41-60), where guests are encouraged to treat this charmingly ramshackle old house as their own in what can only be described as a cross between a 1960s commune and a 1940s guesthouse; it's unique and great fun. Finally, the popular Kiwanis Oceanfront Camping (Tel:506/529-3439; May to mid-Oct) has a great seaside location just over 1km east of the town centre along Water Street.
St Andrews has an excellent range of cafés and the occasional good restaurant. The inexpensive Gables Restaurant Bar & Patio, 143 Water St (Tel:506/529-3440), is a funky little place serving tasty food from its bayshore location, while the Lobster Bay Eatery, just along the street at no. 113 (Tel:506/529-4840), is a family-oriented restaurant offering up delicious lobsters. The Windsor House, 132 Water St (Wed– Sat noon–2pm & 6–9.30pm; Tel:506/529-3330), gets into the gastronomic act too, offering tasty lunches and dinners in smart, period surroundings; main courses here start for as little as $10.