Nova Scotia’s Most Luxurious, but Affordable, Destination

by Andy Hayes

Nova Scotia, in itself, is a very value luxury destination. Apart from sometimes high airfare cost (or an awfully long drive), this less-well-known Canadian province offers some fantastic lodging options, world-famous cuisine, and some of Canada’s most memorable outdoor experiences.

The value luxury destination of Nova Scotia is, without question, the Authentic Seacoast. A place which defines hospitality; after one night here, you’ll never want to leave. Here’s why.

First Impressions – the Details

The best sleep of your life will happen right here. Yup.

When you arrive into Guysborough, you’ll quickly find that hospitality that I mention. The village (or town?) is tiny, and one interesting quirk is that everyone waves to you. Yes, everyone. And if you need directions or get lost? You’ll find people almost bullcharging to help you with your map. Guysborough is clean, well manicured, and is kind of the place you wish you actually lived in.

Guysborough and the Authentic Seacoast properties are set on gorgeous Chedabucto Bay, giving the town a wonderful vantagepoint; the small set of piers with their vintage boats is a perfect gathering place for impromptu gatherings during the summer. And every street in town offers great views.

DesBarres Manor. Simply. Incredible.

The views never stop being good.

DesBarres Manor is where you’ll be sleeping, a wonderful manor home that has been converted into a very comfortable bed and breakfast. The home has a sitting parlour and drinks lounge, but it’s the rooms that are the real draw: as you walk up the stairs, past centuries old paintings and period decor, and swing the door open, you’ll no doubt be aghast – either by the enormous size of your room, or the detailed furnishings (mine had a typewriter and ink well – I’m guessing they knew I was the writer).

The beds are one of the most comfortable I’ve ever been in – and I have dangerous news; you can buy the bedding in the Authentic Seacoast’s shop across the street. (They’ll ship as well – but careful, as their hand-crafted housewares and whimsical Christmas decorations are hard to resist, especially if someone else is lugging it home for you.)

Don’t get too comfortable in that bed – there’s more to experience at the Authentic Seacoast!

Alternative: The Authentic Seacoast also has several motel-like rooms at the golf course. These are more inexpensive but feature some of the same top notch amenities, but without the period home charms. It’s a good tradeoff if you plan on spending most of your time putting or want to often take advantage of the golf courses’s swimming pool and BBQ area – great for a family or group retreat!

The Best Food in Nova Scotia


Come Hungry.

Before dinner, grab an aperitif or two in the parlour/lounge, where one of the staff will be happy to whip up a fresh cocktail of any sort, but you’ll want to try one of the house selections, that have fresh local fruit and Nova Scotian ingredients, such as the local whisky, Glen Breton. (Delicious booze – I swear it has hints of maple syrup.)

Now, onto the food. Des Barres has won awards for their wine list selection and their pairings menu. When you check in, be sure to ask for a dinner reservation – it’s a very small dining room, intimate, classy but friendly-casual. The chef, whom I had the pleasure of meeting, is deserving of Michelin stars – this place is so good the Michelin people are probably intimidated. The menu is Nova Scotia inspired and is based on what is fresh – including herbs and veggies from the garden out back.

And save room for dessert. It is so good you will weep.

Home Brews, Fresh and Waiting

The Rare Bird Pub. Great views, great drinks, great company.

I suggest at least once during your visit you skip the house dinner and walk down the hill and across the street to the Rare Bird Pub, owned by the same management. You’ll find equally-tasty grub at lower prices and a friendly, casual environment. Perhaps try one of each on your first two nights, so you can decide which one you prefer for the remainder of your stay.

The Rare Bird also serves up plenty of beverage, both drinks local to Nova Scotia (such as BEER??) but if you’re lucky they’ll be brewing some of their own hoppy goodness. Sadly they were not brewing during my visit, so I’ll have to make a return visit, but I have it on good word the know their way around a brewery.

Tip: There’s also a fantastic bakery on main street. If you’re headed out of town for a hike, out on a boat for the day, or just want some snacks for your room, stop in. Everything is made fresh daily – and the head baker (a local, naturally) takes made-to-order requests; DesBarres Manor can help you coordinate.

How to Get There

The Authentic Seacoast experience is located in Guysborough, Nova Scotia – located on the north-eastern edge of the mainland, just before you cross over onto Cape Breton island. Driving here is probably your most realistic option, as you’ll want a car to get around, but if you aren’t interested, you can either take private transport or the bus from Halifax, which drops you off in Antigonish. And if you call ahead, the nice folks at DesBarres Manor will come and pick you up.

Guysborough is perfect for a sidetrip during a visit to Halifax (be sure to give yourself 2-3 nights to enjoy the full experience), or it can easily be combined with a driving tour of Cape Breton. The Authentic Seacoast is a summer destination – winter options are fairly limited. Visit their website to learn more and book today!

Photos courtesy of Authentic Seacoast Resorts.

Disclosure: The author’s visit to the Authentic Seacoast was part of a Visit Nova Scotia sponsored itinerary.

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