Walk Or Drive Across The Ocean Floor To Get To This Island

It is a street that disappears and reappears each day. Just don’t park or stop on the road for too long.

In fact, Bar Road technically isn’t even a street – it is a gravel bar along the ocean floor. At low tide, Bar Road is the only pathway to access Ministers Island in the Passamaquoddy Bay near St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

But at high tide, the road fills with 20 feet of water, blocking access to the island’s travelers and washing away any of the day’s footprints and tire tracks.

Ministers Island, measuring about 700 acres, has a rich history and has been a provincially protected site since 1977. Today, visitors come for the hikes and beaches, as well as the historical homes, mansions and estates that were lived in by European colonists, reverends and the Canadian Pacific Railway baron Sir William Van Horne.

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Inside Covenhoven, Van Horne’s mansion on Ministers Island. To get to the island or to leave, you can only drive in at low tide.

On the island there is even a secret hammock hidden on a cliff for treasure hunting hikers.

While the first white colonists to the island arrived in 1777 (United Empire Loyalists John Hansen and Ephraim Young aboard a whale boat from Maine) there was already an Indigenous presence and a trading post in the area.

Consquamcook or Quanoscumcook Island, its Indigenous name, had been inhabited by Passamaquoddy at least 2,500 years ago. The evidence of this comes from excavations in the 60s and 70s that found the remains of four houses dating back to at least 1,200 years, as well as archaeological “shell middens.”

Shell middens are mounds of shells left over from generations of shellfish harvesting.

Since 1978, the Ministers Island shell middens have been designated a National Historic Site and commemorated by a plaque.

Check the Ministers Island website for tide news, tour guide options and opening hours.