We take our visitors' comments very seriously, and are delighted that so many of them have positive things to say. Be assured that if you do find something the matter during your visit to Kingsbrae Garden, we will attend to it promptly.
Below you will find two types of visitor response to the Garden. In Visitor Experience, you will read the results of a "Mystery Shopper" visit and in Comments you can find the reactions of a number of visitors who have left us notes.
Yes, it's a lovely entrance, isn't it? And there's lots more to see! But what is it really like to visit Kingsbrae Garden? In this section, we'll give you the impressions of a pair of "Mystery Shoppers" who visited us as an evaluation by the Bay of Fundy Recommended Experiences organization.
Kingsbrae Garden is a member of this tourism partnership, an eco-friendly network of Fundy-heritage inns, exhilarating outdoor adventures and the areas' most mesmerizing natural and cultural attractions. Find out more about Bay of Fundy experiences at http://www.bayoffundytourism.com/
Members are evaluated every two years by a “mystery shopper” who arrives unannounced and unidentified to visit and assess each partner. A report is produced and sent to us, giving us an overview of our ranking in a number of areas.
What follows is part of a report from a mystery shop visit in August of 2007. In the six categories of evaluation, we received 5 grades of excellent and 1 of very good. We hope that these excerpted comments from the evaluators will give you a good idea of what a visit to our Garden is like.
Q How easy is it to get information or make reservations before a visit?
A The toll-free phone number and e-mail address are both readily available on their website. We tried to call at 4:45 p.m. to make lunch reservations to discover that their phone changes to voicemail at 4:30 p.m. We immediately sent an e-mail, which was promptly responded to the next morning by Mary Jones, in which our 1:00 lunch reservations were confirmed. Mary’s response was friendly and professional, and she even asked us if we preferred inside or terrace reservations. This initial contact gave us a great first impression.
The website includes up-to-date photos of what is presently in flower, gardening tips, news on events, a coupon for ½ price admission of a second person, and much more. We were particularly impressed that their luncheon and afternoon tea menus are available on the website. We also enjoyed the photos that changed from one season to the next.
Q What is a visitor’s initial impression of the Garden?
A The facility and grounds are beautiful. The parking areas were clearly delineated with ample parking spaces. The attractive walk from the parking lot to the entrance provided a glimpse of what was to come. It gave an excellent first impression. This impression was confirmed as we entered the facility. The admissions area was spotless and the washrooms were ultra-clean and readily available. Bottled water and homemade gelato were available for purchase. The garden itself is huge and provided a delightful afternoon experience. It was divided into many different zones to illustrate a variety of plant life and habitats.
The site is extremely well maintained, which is impressive considering the size of the gardens. A clear map provided easy directions to all of the garden areas. The maintenance staff was industrious, friendly and helpful. Many of the trails are easy to navigate for persons with disabilities. We found nothing in need of repair.
Q How were you treated as a visitor to the Garden?
A All off the staff were professional, friendly and well organized. Douglas, in his kilt, provided useful and interesting information on the Secret, Therapy and Vegetable Gardens.
We were received with a smile upon arrival. The admissions person was friendly, enthusiastic and efficient. She seemed genuinely interested in making our visit memorable. She, along with all of the staff, was appropriately dressed.
All staff that we encountered were enthusiastic, courteous and friendly and provided us with a most enjoyable experience. The level of customer service was consistently excellent. They answered all questions professionally and in a friendly manner.
The garden, with its amazing variety of trees, shrubs and plants, together with the professional, friendly and efficient staff made this an excellent experience.
Q What are the dining options like?
A The dining facility was clean, bright and cheerful. We had lunch on the patio, which was a real treat. The food was superb. Our server recommended the fresh, local lobster roll and it was excellent. It was beautifully presented and was complemented with a nice glass of white wine. We thought that the lunch was a very good value.
The menu has a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and pastas with vegetarian options. The seafood dishes used fresh, local ingredients. A children’s menu was also available.
Our server Lindsay was both efficient and friendly. She offered suggestions when asked. We observed her providing Bay of Fundy activity suggestions to neighbouring diners.
Q What was the visiting experience in the Garden like?
A We were given an overview of the garden map and an orientation of how to best visit the various gardens. We were advised that our ticket was valid for the entire day, even if we left the facility and returned later.
Our only contact with interpretative staff was background information provided by Douglas on the Therapy and Vegetable Gardens. We saw numerous staff working throughout the gardens. They smiled and greeted us as they were busily digging, planting and weeding. We didn't feel it necessary to ask them any questions, though we thought that they would not mind our doing so. We did observe other tourists being guided by staff through the gardens in small open vehicles.
Douglas had an excellent knowledge of the history and development of the site, specifically the Therapy and Vegetable Gardens. There is a bit of history of the development of the Gardens on the homepage of the website.
The handouts, maps and the video provided interesting and informative background information. We viewed a portion of the interpretive video upon arrival. It provided interesting background information on the history and development of the garden. We were not offered, nor did we request, a guided tour of the gardens.
We were impressed by the number of programs offered at the Gardens listed on the website.
There were many opportunities especially for children to experience Kingsbrae. In particular, the Children’s Garden, the Scents and Sensitivity Garden, the Edible Garden and the Fantasy Garden provided educational and fun hands-on activities.
We were encouraged to participate by voting for our favourite scarecrow in a competition to aid local food banks.
It is obvious that Kingsbrae is an environmentally friendly garden. They have preserved a section of Acadian forest and encouraged recycling throughout the facility. They have taken a major role in the preservation of a presumed extinct Australian pine species.
Q How would you summarize the experience you had at Kingsbrae Garden?
A We had high expectations and they were exceeded. The friendliness of the staff coupled with the beauty of the gardens made this a truly memorable experience.
A particularly memorable part of the afternoon was watching dozens of hummingbirds feeding on bee balm flowers.
It is creative to develop and maintain a garden of such magnitude. The 30 distinct garden areas provide a variety of educational and visual experiences. Very creative and original.
This is a very inexpensive way of enjoying a peaceful and informative afternoon. The restaurant provided excellent food at a fair price. The senior discount was appreciated and family rates are a bargain.
We would recommend Kingsbrae Gardens to adults as well as to families with children. Seniors and persons with disabilities would be equally able to enjoy this fantastic facility. Kingsbrae is a real jewel!
The pictures on this page were sent to us by Gail, who visited us from Maine in season 2007. In her note, she says, "I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for the time and effort you make that has allowed me to have a place to play with my camera and enjoy the beauty of the gardens. It had been a long time since I had been able to spend a day in 'photo therapy', relaxing for a day and taking home many rolls of pictures." Thank you, Gail!
Beside Gail's pictures you will find comments from a number of different visitors to the Garden.
“Spectacular scenery, spiritually warming. Exuberant vivacious, enthusiastic reception.”
“My sister told me I could not come to St Andrews and not visit Kingsbrae Garden.”
“It is so nice to be in a garden that has a very personal touch to it.”
“Now I want to come back every three weeks to watch the Garden change, but I live in Ontario.”
“I have a bulletin board where I collect cards for places that are a ‘must see’ at my cottages, and you just made the list.”
“The Forest Trail is a lot better than walking around the Point.”
"We visited you October 31, 2006 from the Star Princess cruise. It was so wonderful, so beautiful. Everyone was so very nice. We had a tour and an excellent lunch. Our tour guide was extremely informative and funny."
"Visiting Kingsbrae Garden was one of the highlights of our two-week vacation trip to the Maritimes. I hope one day I can return to St. Andrews and visit Kingsbrae again to say hello to every one of you and also to see how the Wollemi Pine is doing. Thanks and best wishes." — a visitor from California
"We were visitors at Kingsbrae Garden today, and I would like to send a very special thank you to Douglas. He was a very special treat. Douglas took the time to personally show us the Cedar Maze as well as the Children's Fantasy Garden. After he spent this time with us, he showed my young son how to make the ducks quack and how the windmill worked. This was a great visit to the garden, and because of Douglas and the beautiful blooms we saw, we will be back again. Thank you and we had a wonderful time."
"Always makes me feel relaxed and joyful."
"This is the best garden of all the gardens we've been to. There is so much more than just flowers—things for the children to do, sculptures, animals, and everything is so lovely. And I have had such a wonderful time."—Doris from New York
"My husband uses a cane and we were given a [complimentary] 'cart' tour. Everyone was extremely helpful and friendly! Sculptures and playhouse, goats etc. all added to the experience. Intend to return and recommend it to our friends! Staff went out of their way to accommodate visitors!" note: Kingsbrae Garden's policy is to provide a personal guided golf cart tour to visitors with mobility issues, at no charge. These are available by appointment or by chance. Pre-booking is advised, to avoid disappointment, as the cart might be in use at any particular time. There is also a one person, self-driven electric buggy that can be borrowed.