For the first date of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a trip to Saint Andrews by the Sea…
I feel like I’ve stumbled into a Christmas book. As we pull into the Algonquin Resort, we’re greeted with a perfect winterscape. Crisp white glistening snow coats the ground, trees, and rooftop, and cascading icicles line the turrets and edges all along the grand Victorian-style building.
As we walk through the entrance, we’re greeted with the Christmas trifecta – coloured lights, candy canes, and carollers. It’s been a long week – a long few weeks- but the festive scene and fireplace is quick to melt my troubles.
The staff flock to our pup, Charlie, with warm welcomes and treats. He wiggles and wags and hands out appreciative kisses, soaking in the attention. We’re here for Twas the Month Before Christmas, a weekend-long workshop on how to deck the halls (and cook, and celebrate, and make the most of the season.)
It started in Ontario in 2013, but has since decided to make The Algonquin Resort in picturesque St Andrews By The Sea, home. I can’t imagine a better setting. The Algonquin was originally built in 1889 but was rebuilt in 1915 after a fire. The historic halls at the resort are perfectly decked. The stately games room that runs along the front of the building has been draped in garland and mini lights, with pops of red and green and gold.
We’re a little late arriving. Fellow guests are already a little “merry” following a late afternoon Christmas cocktail class, and have gathered in the ballroom for a welcome feast.
We check in, change and rush to join them for the seven station meal. There’s a salad bar, a local cheese and charcuterie spread, seared scallops wrapped in smoked salmon, prime rib roast, a range of desserts and a large oyster station stocked with PEI oysters and manned by none other than Chef Michael Smith – famous chef and Culinary Ambassador for Prince Edward Island.
Throughout the weekend, we learn to make wreathes, to decorate our tree in the latest fashion, to make bread, cookies, and cocktails and tablescapes. Drew and I are here as a date – a romantic getaway – but I get a little vacation envy from an amazing group of women we meet at the event. They all bonded during a whirlwind tour of Tuscany last year. A few knew each other at the start of the trip, while others were strangers, but by the end of a week of food, wine, and Italian adventures, they were bonded for life. This was their reunion.
We also take advantage of a little ‘family time’, a stroll through the town of Saint Andrews. We were here in the summer when this street was filled with tourists and pop-up market stands, but it looks even prettier now, set against the sea with a dusting of snow.
We also eat a lot of great food, complete with a full turkey dinner from Chef Michael Smith. It’s the perfect way to kick off the season. I’m so in the spirit, I find myself humming jingle bells all through my Sunday run. Between the meals and the workshops and the perfect winter weather, we couldn’t ask for a better way to greet Christmas.
Twas The Night Before Christmas was a true crash-course in all things Christmas, and something I would definitely attend again. If you want to be first to know when tickets for next year go on sale, the Algonquin facebook page will post updates.
This was our second trip to The Algonquin Resort in Saint Andrews by the Sea. It’s open year-round, and while I’ve only seen the two seasonal extremes, I feel fairly confident saying it makes a lovely retreat regardless of season. You can’t repeat our exact “First Date Of Christmas” until next year, but you can experience The Algonquin in all it’s Just-Stepped-Into-A-Christmas-Book glory for the rest of the month.
Looking for local gift ideas? We’ve compiled more than 250 locally made gift ideas in the 2014 Local Wishlist.
The Algonquin Resort
184 Adolphus St
St Andrews, NB
Event Website: http://www.twasthemonthbeforechristmas.ca/
The Algonquin invited us to experience Twas The Month Before Christmas and did not charge us to stay at the property or attend the event. The opinions and images in this post are 100% our own. Thanks to The Algonquin for making it possible to keep providing our readers with unique East Coast adventures.
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