Garden House B&B, Wolfville NS, on the Bay of Fundy
PLEASE NOTE: This post has a minor edit because I was corrected by a B&B owner as to the definition of a Nova Scotia B&B, which differs from an American B&B. My apologies to my readers.
In case you don’t know the distinction, a B&B (Bed & Breakfast) in Nova Scotia is small, with 4 rooms or less. Some have shared baths, but in recent years, more B&Bs are installing ensuite baths. In contrast is the Inn, which usually has 10 rooms or more, with private baths. Bed & Breakfasts offer breakfast as a value-add, it’s also a great way to meet other travelers at the breakfast table. Inns sometimes have restaurants that offer dinner as their value-add.
In the past 5 years, travelers are dramatically choosing B&Bs and Inns over hotels, preferring the unique experience they receive from a B&B or inn, vs. the bland experience received at a branded hotel. Plus, the pricing is considerably less, as the B&Bs & inns have much lower overhead and pass the savings along to the consumer. B&Bs are also offering more amenities, like free WIFI, free parking, one additional meal, etc.
In Nova Scotia, the existence of B&Bs & Inns has always been dominant, because of the high percentage of Victorian and historic homes that are converted into B&Bs. Also, relative to other parts of Canada, the operating costs and the real estate of B&Bs is much lower than in other provinces, like Vancouver for example.
Below are four examples of Inns & B&Bs in the Nova Scotia & New Brunswick area:
Fundy Heights B&B, Saint John, Most Affordable B&B in New Brunswick
Hunter's Lodge Room at the Fundy Heights B&B in Saint John, NB
As Americans now have to travel to Saint John, New Brunswick to take the ferry to Digby, Nova Scotia, the Fundy Heights B&B is literally a 3-minute drive to the Saint John ferry. Even so, it’s located in a quiet residential neighborhood with the loudest noise being the sound of birds chirping as an alarm clock!
From the outside, it’s a typical two-story house, but once inside, it’s a lovely Victorian style interior with period antiques. Five rooms are decorated with fun antiques, with two serving as weekly rentals when the occasion warrants it.
Downstairs, two rooms are available on a weekly basis. One of the rooms resembles a hunter’s lodge, complete with wood paneling on walls and molded ceilings and a working stone fireplace. The ensuite bathroom has a whirlpool bath and a stand-alone shower, so it’s no wonder it works well as a weekly rental.
Nancy & Terry Cromwell have operated this B&B for the past 10 years, ranked as the most affordable B&B in Saint John, at $85-95/night. Plus, you can’t beat the hospitality of the Cromwells; they’re a wealth of information about the Saint John area and proudly give you advice where to go and what to see.
Garden House B&B, Wolfville, NS,
Right on Main Street in Wolfville, NS, is the Garden House B&B. The house is a historic home, circa 1830, and is decorated with a down-home country-style. Fragrant flowers from the expansive garden are found in every nook and cranny in the house. If you can’t find the owner, Brian MacKenzie, chances are he’s in the garden, and the results are astounding. Plus, he has a backdrop of the Minas Bay and Cape Blomidon on the horizon, in the Bay of Fundy.
The location of the house is equidistant to the panoramic view of the dykes and downtown Wolfville, where you can find anything from chocolatiers, to cheese-makers, to local artists’ renditions of the local landscapes.
Our room had a view of the dykes through the small paned windows, so I felt transported in the time to when the first settlers endured many hardships to survive. Now they are doing much more than surviving in Wolfville; thanks to the burgeoning nearby Nova Scotia wine industry, Wolfville is very much thriving. Single rooms are between $60-80/room, and $80-105/room for larger room, with 3 rooms total.
King George Inn, Annapolis Royal, NS
Upstairs Foyer at the King George Inn, Annapolis Royal, NS
If you’re looking for affordable and romantic at the same time, the King George Inn is the king of romance. The parlor and two dining rooms are furnished exclusively in antiques, with a sweeping Gone with the Wind staircase in the main hall, and a square grand piano in the large dining room. The eight rooms are furnished with oak bedroom sets along with Victorian ambiance lamps, rocking chairs, oriental rugs and Victorian-era paintings.
Operated by Faith McStravick for close to 20 years, she upgraded the inn by building bathrooms in each of the rooms, with jacuzzi baths in some of the rooms. She added portable electric fireplaces as a nice Victorian touch, which she jokingly refers to as “romance by remote.”
You will also find individual coffee makers all prepped and ready to go–if you take cream in your coffee, the “dairy fairy” stops by your room in the wee hours of the morning and leaves a bowl of individual creamers next to your door. Rates range from $74-$99, and from $99-129 for larger rooms and suites.
According to Faith, the New England states of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts used to be the top states coming to her inn. For the past five years, however, the same three have dropped to the last three. Right now, the top three states coming to her inn are California, Texas and Florida. She attributes this decline in tourism from the northeast as a direct result of the cancellation of the ferry service in Yarmouth, NS and the rising gas prices as the secondary reason people have stopped coming from the states.
So even though it’s a bit further for us New Englanders to travel, it’s still very worth the trip. Just make getting there part of the fun, and stop along the way in Portland & Bar Harbor, Maine and Saint John, New Brunswick. All of the above-mentioned inns & B&Bs are available for longer stays and would welcome New Englanders with open arms. Plus, so many ties exist between the two regions, it behooves us as Americans to delve more into this history and embrace it.