“My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience.
I have the good fortune to live in an undiscovered and natural part of the world here at the head of Chedabucto Bay, the largest bay on the Nova Scotia Atlantic coast. People come to places like the Authentic Seacoast to escape – to get away from the crowds, to experience nature directly, to feel a pace of life that harkens back to a different time. We once had a food writer come to review the dining room in our bed and breakfast property, DesBarres Manor Inn, and he commented that as he walked through our seacoast village, people stopped to say hello. To us, this is a daily experience of life in our community, to him it was a profound event which spoke to something in his past which he seemed to have forgotten. I like to think this was his velvet moment.
As hoteliers, our goal is to help all our visitors have velvet moments like this. To offer enough service to let people feel pampered, but to give them enough room to make a connection to our place. People here have a strong sense of place born out of a connection to the sea and land and a shared history that goes back centuries. Our community has been continually settled since 1629 and this history gives solidity in an ever changing world. We know from where we come.
To help people find that special place that they can make their own, we prepared the Authentic Seacoast 101 as a guide to our special places that lie off the beaten track. For some people they find their moment when they drive up the Lundy Fire Tower Road to look out over the coastal barrens and the granite boulders that dot the landscape stretching down to the sea. For others it’s a visit to Fogarty’s Cove, made famous by the legendary folk singer Stan Rodgers, with a desire to have a chance sighting of whales and dolphins swimming in the bay. For others it’s a visit to the fishing wharf in Canso to see the catch come in or a trip to our local wharf during spring lobster season when our Chef goes down the hill to inspect the morning catch with guests and select the best for evening dinner.
Some people like to feel the history of the region, retracing the steps of the past as they walk the Trans Canada Trail along the shore to the remains of Fort Point which guarded the mouth of the harbour in the 1600s. Others have their velvet moment experiencing the regions best estuarial salmon fishing at the mouth of the aptly named Salmon River. And still others make the connection at the weekly community Ceilidh on the harbour when young fiddlers not only play for adoring grandparents, but begin the centuries old heritage of East Coast music.
For me personally, I enjoy a stroll with my dogs along the shore road to drink in the absolute stillness of Mussel Cove. Here I like to sit in an Adirondack chair beside our wharf at Osprey Shores Resort while Spot and Millie play in the water, Great Blue Herons meander the shore looking for breakfast and bald eagles soar overhead.
It is wonderful to live everyday in a velvet escape and to work at helping others find their own escape so they can take home with them a memory of a pace and a place that is authentically restorative for their busy lives. To give such gifts is the very essence of travel.
About this week’s guest writer
Audrey Firth is the General Manager of the Authentic Seacoast Resorts, a collection of historic vacation properties in the seacoast village of Guysborough on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. The Authentic Seacoast Resorts share experiences from their part of the world on Twitter at @AuthenticCoast. Read more about the Authentic Seacoast 101.
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