Roosevelt Campobello International Park

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459 Route 774, Campobello Island, Canada - (506) 752-2922

Roosevelt Campobello International Park Campobello Island Reviews

vances vances
581 reviews
Cottage industry Sep 25, 2017
Witnessing the Roosevelt Cottage was the motivation for venturing to Campobello, and I would be delighted to learn it was managed by a partnership between Canada and the United States. But goodness, there is an incredible amount beyond FDR’s summer home. The Roosevelt Campobello International Park encompasses 2,800 acres, the bulk of which is a nature preserve and covered by a separate review because it is rather distinct. This review focuses upon the variety of attractions easily reached on foot when you park in the spacious lot in front of the Visitor’s Centre.

So let us begin at the Visitor Centre and move on from there. A lovely facility which offers a brief introductory video and two quality exhibits (and rest rooms). The exhibits consist of “The Roosevelt’s on Campobello” and “Legacy of a Friendship”. The latter is a pleasant surprise, focusing upon the close relationship between two countries and a refreshing break from the blatant nationalism you typically encountered at state-run venues.

The Roosevelt Cottage is steps away from the Centre and quite stunning (I was spoiled by a gorgeous fall day to revel in its vibrant red color). No scheduled tours - simply enter at your leisure and stroll through at your own pace. There is an attendant at the entrance and another further along on the first floor, with one more on the second floor. There are three stories to the cottage, but only the first two are open to visitors. There are many rooms and all are wonderfully restored, with most of the pieces being originals.

FDR’s hat, pipe and some of his whittling are laid out in the very first room, setting the tone. The well done presentation truly allows visitors to sense what it must have been like to spend a summer on Campobello. Every attendant introduced their stretch of the cottage with a brief monologue and awaited your questions afterwards. Of course my first question was where each attendant lived, responses confirming international brotherhood: two of three hailed from the USA. Their answers to further questions taught me much. I was intrigued by a very large megaphone in the dining room and tickled when the attendant answered by informing me Eleanor used it to call the children for dinner as they romped about outdoors!

A more telling slice of fact was acquired on the second floor. Here was the Master bedroom, and the attendant’s speech referenced Franklin and Eleanor also had separate bedrooms “later on”. Naturally this begged a follow up question, resulting in some frightening, enlightening answers. I learned it was on Campobello that FDR was struck with polio and languished here for several weeks before being ferried back to the United States. Franklin could no longer climb steps afterwards and took a bedroom on the first floor. As for Eleanor, her memories of the pain Franklin had endured here (treatment was still primitive in 1921 and doctors massaged FDR’s legs, doing nothing beyond causing intense pain) prevented her from inhabiting it. A powerful insight revealing how two people could be estranged yet still care for one another.

There are several more structures on the grounds to explore, the most notable being the splendid Hubbard Cottage. Staffed by yet another knowledgeable attendant (Canadian, evening the score!), I learned Hubbard was an insurance broker from Boston who had no education in architecture but designed the cottage, and it has some interesting but quite unusual features. Even in the fall the gardens surrounding both cottages were wonderful, and the adventure is only beginning if you delve into the Natural Area.
Roosevelt Cottage on Campobello Is…
Visitor Centre at Roosevelt Campob…
Map of the island at Visitor Centr…
Hubbard Cottage at Roosevelt Campo…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
cotton_foam says:
Details on paragraphs 4 & 5 are what fascinated me the most!
As always a superb review, Vance!
Posted on: Dec 05, 2017
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alyssa_ob alyssa_ob
244 reviews
Wonderful Natural Area and Nicely Done Cottage Tour Sep 06, 2012
Roosevelt Campobello International Park is jointly managed by the United States and Canada and is located on Campobello Island, just across the bridge from Lubec, Maine. Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent several summers in the family cottage on the island. The summer cottage is the most visited location in this park, however the Natural Area is a must visit!

The Welcome Center is a great place to start your visit. The little museum inside has a short video and a wonderful timeline with photos. There is also a small gift shop. Walk out the back door, past some flower gardens, and over to the summer cottage to begin your tour. The cottage is staffed with plenty of guides to explain the rooms and artifacts. I imagine they are fluent in both English and French, but I only understood the English :) As soon as you enter a room, the guide tells you about it. If another person enters the room after your talk, the guide will start again. Must get boring speaking the same lines so many times!

The rooms are restored and are very interesting to look at. Of course you can't touch anything, that's how museums are. You start in the game/hobby room, pass some bedrooms and the bathroom, school room, kitchen, dining room, and pantry. I think. I didn't take photos of every room. But the entire cottage was very well done and definitely worth a visit. You can view rooms on two floors. Some days they offer a tour of another cottage nearby, but I didn't take the time.

I wandered down the path to the dock and overlook, then back up and out. The hidden gem of this park is the Natural Area. I spent most of my time exploring that. There are several beaches and picnic areas to visit, as well as a bog walk, hiking trails, and back roads. I didn't see much for wildlife - just a speck of a seal way off in the distance. I didn't take time to walk the trails other than the bog walk, but it was nicely done. Several of the overlooks, picnic areas and beachs offered gorgeous views. There were hardly any people out in this area. I wish I had more time to spend out here.

The website is a great resource to plan your visit. They have an interactive map, photos, and more info on history and natural areas of the park.
Roosevelt Cottage
Game Room
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
sarahsan says:
Nice review Alyssa!
Posted on: Mar 14, 2013

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Roosevelt Campobello International Park Map
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Campobello Island
photo by: vances