East Coastal Drive, Day 11 – Roosevelt International Park

Today was hiking day, with stroller, along easy trails. We had a good night’s sleep but with the temperature going down to about 12 C. Still, everyone was warm and snuggled through the night.

In fact, it was so comfy that Eve and Greta did not want to leave the tent. So Raisin and I went for a walk. Rebels that we are, we headed down the boardwalk to the No Dogs Allowed beach (otherwise known as Herring Cove beach). It was 5:30 am.

It was a nice beach with soft sand. We walked to the water’s edge but it was too cold for little paws. Sunrise sky was lighting up with the sun just behind the hill.

There had been a pamphlet in the registration office of the walking trails of Herring Cove Provincial Park. There was one that led off from the parking lot. I searched for it but found no trail signs or markings. I did find this one but after awhile it didn’t look safe so we turned around (lesson learned). Greta asking – “oh, not again?”

We hopped into the car and drove to the registration office. Remember that the campground was split into 2 parts. The parking lot with the trail was in the other campground. We decided to go explore Roosevelt Cottage instead. Greta and Raisin weren’t really into the cottage at first. It was around 8 am and no one was around.

The Visitor Centre was not open until 10. The area is officially called The Roosevelt Campobello International Park. It is maintained by both US and Canadian staff. I noticed they used the Canadian spelling of Centre.

The cottage was where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor and their family spent summer vacations. The FDR Memorial Bridge connects, 2 km away, connects with the state of Maine.

In 1964 Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson and Mrs. Lester B. Pearson officially opened the park. In 1966, President Johnson and Prime Minister Pearson laid the cornerstone of this reception centre. And, in 1967, Queen Elizabeth, declared the building open. Quite the contingent of ceremonies. Eve, Raisin and Greta opened to park to pugs.

The original gate leading to the cottage. It was not opened until 10 and I don’t think they would let the pugs up on the couch anyway. We were content with viewing the outside.

Built in 1897, it was a gift to Franklin and Eleanor by Franklin’s mother, Sara Roosevelt. After he became paralyzed from the waist down, Franklin wasn’t able to visit to cottage. Although he did sail to Campobello Island in 1933. The cottage and area was deeded to both the USA and Canada in 1962, after Eleanor’s death. A birch bark canoe on the back porch.

Looks like they are building a deck on the back.

A view of Main across the water.

We did find one trail but it was not marked on our map and I didn’t know where it led. We went down it for a bit as it was easy to navigate (although Greta did not like the stones and walked on the grassy edge.

Coming back we heard a group of voices in a parking lot. It was the staff of the Visitor Centre. One woman came over to us. She was obviously a dog person as cooed when she saw Raisin and Greta in the stroller. I told her I was looking for a trail. She said the park had just finished putting together a whole series of trails. Said to drop by the visitor centre and she would give me a map.

Next to the parking lot was the Prince Cottage where they have a restaurant called the Prince Cafe. We could hear people inside getting ready to open. Eve went looking for crumbs.

The woman at the Visitor Centre came out with not only a map but a bunch of info pamphlets on the area. She explained that, across the street, the whole area was part of the Roosevelt Park and that is where the trails were. She highly recommended the Eagle Hill Bog. She also said there was a dog water bowl over by the washrooms. Such kindness.

There was a main road that went through the area. I liked the sound of Racoon Beach so we headed there first.

It was a long staircase to get to the beach. I let Eve go ahead and carried Raisin and Greta down. Raisin has weak hind legs and Greta is developing arthritis in the knees so they can’t do stairs very well.

Racoon Beach is a cobble beach. The cobbles indicate many different geological periods. Pink, green and gray granites; or volcanic red, flinty stones; flat, shiny with mica flakes; and igneous quartz and feldspar rocks. Out of the hundreds of thousands, I picked two as souvenirs.

While sitting on the beach I heard Greta sniffing something. It was a crab shell. Guess she was planning on taking home a souvenir as well.

We watched the waves for awhile. The cobbles were surprisingly comfy to sit on. We then headed off to the Eagle Hill Bog trail.

I had been given a brochure which was a self-guided tour. But the big plus was the boardwalk trail. The stroller glided over it making it a wonderful experience for both me and the pugs.

The bog is basically layers and layers of built up sphagnum moss. It’s so thick that other plants can’t get the nutrients from the ground. They get it from rain or snow – known as cloud-fed plants. The tour provided reading points. Post 4 was about the black spruce tree (also known as bog spruce) which can survive these conditions.

There were also information displays to add to the tour.

However, we bypassed the Observation Deck. There was no shade and open sun. Eve was starting to pant so we finished off the trail.

Earlier, before crossing on the ferry, I had stopped in St. George for supplies. There was a terrific butcher shop called Terry’s Beef n More. I got a seasoned steak along with stuffed potato.

I had thought about going back to the Roosevelt Cottage to tour the inside. But It had been a long day so settled on a campfire and reading while the pugs slept after a busy day. Tomorrow we head to Saint John.

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