The Roosevelt Campobello International Park is on Campobello Island, a part of New Brunswick, Canada. It is just across from Lubec, Maine, the easternmost tip of Maine. It is open for visitors beginning the last weekend in May for 20 weeks.
I am always amazed at how far Americans traveled in the late 1800s for their summer vacations. My husband’s family went to Maine from Cleveland via trains and steamers. Did they not know about the lakes in Michigan? My grandparents went from New York State to Campobello Island also via steamboat and trains. Really? What was wrong with the Hamptons? And, when they arrived at these places, they were very rustic. Clearly a sense of adventure was not passed down to me.
Families from Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Ottawa and Montreal came to Campobello for long summer vacations. Among the most famous of these families were the Roosevelts. The families either renovated and enlarged existing houses or built new ones. These houses were and still are called “cottages” which is the understatement of the year. Five of the “cottages” remain today and make up the historic core of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park.
FDR’s summer home is the centerpiece of the Park, and the other four cottages provide dining, lodging, and meeting spaces for participants in their Conference program. The Roosevelts spent fifty-six summers on Campobello Island where they sailed, canoed, golfed, hiked and picnicked in a ruggedly beautiful landscape. Even in-laws who married into the family loved it. In Ken Burns’ 2014 documentary, The Roosevelts, there is video footage of a trip Eleanor Roosevelt made to Campobello toward the end of her life in the early 1960s. She wanted to go to her favorite picnic spot, which she did.
The Park was opened in 1964 with President Lyndon Johnson and Canada’s Prime Minister Lester Pearson in attendance. The Park is jointly owned and managed by both Canada and the U.S., “created by a treaty that honors the memory of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the legacy of friendship between the two countries”. Last year the Park celebrated its 50th anniversary.
If You Go:
The Park’s website provides information about travel, accommodations, dining options, and activities. Allow enough time for all there is to do. There are trails to hike and nature to see, in addition to touring the Park, FDR’s home, and enjoying the Park activities like “Tea With Eleanor”. Nearby is Fundy National Park, and Acadia National Park is a little further away. Lubec is a cute town with my favorite chocolate maker, Monica’s Chocolates.
The Park is open from mid May to mid October from sun up to sun down. There is still time to plan a trip. I’ll be there in early October myself. http://www.fdr.net/
Admission to the Park and the Roosevelt Cottage is free. The Cottage, grounds and Park, and the Visitors Center are open seven days a week.
For more about travel in the area, read this article about traveling the Quoddy Loop by Chris Tree for Maine Meanderings.