Beachcombing Destination: Campobello Island
Campobello Island, a Canadian island located in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of New Brunswick, is only about 15 square miles in size. But that didn’t stop Stephanie Anthony, a Campobello native and an avid beachcomber and sea glass collector for over 20 years, from organizing and hosting in 2019 the Campobello Sea Glass Festival for over a dozen vendors. Along with Angela Smart, owner of the Campobello Island Gift House, the festival welcomed over 250 sea glass lovers looking for crafts, jewelry, clothing, and more.
As Stephanie puts it, “Campobello Island is a wonderful beachcombing destination (there really is a beach around every corner) and we felt that it would be a great event to have at the end of our busy Summer season.”
Featured on the Canadian TV show “Still Standing” about small towns and the people who choose to live there, Campobello Island is home to two villages, Welshpool and Wilson’s Beach, and has a population of around 870 people. According to Stephanie, the beaches are quite varied: some have dark gray sand, some are rocky,and some have smooth pebbles. Some of them are easy walk-up beaches while others require climbing cliffs and/or ladders.
The 2019 festival included beachcombing on two separate beaches, one easy and one difficult, to accommodate everyone’s needs and expectations. Beachcombers on Campobello Island can find shells, sand dollars, driftwood, stones, and of course, sea glass, which comes from dump sites and shipwrecks along the Maine and New Brunswick coasts. Beachcombing is not a popular pastime with the locals, but Stephanie recommends the ferry landing and any Maine-facing beach as a good place to start your search.
Beaches are not the only attractions on the island, however. Campobello was the summer home of President Franklin Roosevelt, and his International Park is a meticulously kept must-see. The natural areas connected to the park offer trails and views aplenty. The Provincial Park at Herring Cove contains a fantastic campground and a 9-hole golf course, and the Campobello Library and Museum built in 1898 is perfect for rainy day explorations. And the two lighthouses on the island are both worth visiting.
There are a few restaurants with superb ocean views (although no bars), but according to Stephanie, “locals can usually be found with a takeout box in hand, watching the water and the whales right from the wharf.”
Stephanie started the Campobello Sea Glass Festival in the hopes that more people will discover the charms of the small island just like she did. The friendships made at a sea glass festival are what make all the planning worth it for her, and she can’t wait to do it all again.
Campbello Island is celebrating Sea Glass September and visitors are welcome to come enjoy the island beaches and events hosted throughout the month.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine May/June 2020 issue.