Story by Katie Marti
PEGGY’S COVE, NOVA SCOTIA — When was the last time you sat down in front of your computer with a bottle of pinot gris and a bag of salt and vinegar kettle chips to plan a romantic, pet-friendly getaway on Nova Scotia’s southeast shore in the middle of winter? If you have to pull up a calendar or count months on your fingers, it’s been too long.
When a similar such evening of Internet searching led me to Oceanstone Resort just south of Peggy’s Cove, I was both surprised and relieved: Surprised because I’d never heard of it and relieved because I was almost out of wine and chips. Needless to say, I booked a room sight-unseen and, within 24 hours, my dog, my boyfriend and I (in that order) were snuggled up beside a roaring woodstove, listening to the ocean crash outside our door and toasting the World Wide Web for being such a diligent and reliable travel agent.
Excellence Is the Goal at Nova Scotia Resort
In truth, of course, all credit must go to the lovely folks at Oceanstone, who have spent an incredibly productive year renovating and remodelling the buildings and property since taking over in December 2011. Before the Moores and Dodds bought the place, Oceanstone was owned by a local couple for 12 years and marketed primarily as a retreat and meditation centre. Now, the property caters to everyone from bridal parties to corporate groups to last-minute road warriors and their golden retriever looking for a bit of privacy and a great cup of seafood chowder.
Lizzie Moore, president and partner in her family’s business, handles the dozens of weddings that take place at the seaside resort each year. “Often times people will have several spots to visit and check out before making a decision as to where to have their wedding,” she tells me as we tour the pristine grounds and facilities. “But then they come here and the search is suddenly over. This is the place!”
It’s no wonder. With a stunning natural backdrop of lighthouses, fishing boats and coastal terrain, you can all but hear camera shutters snapping images of simply beautiful seaside nuptials. Moore and the rest of the ownership crew have also completely overhauled the Great Hall, as they call it, to create an elegant indoor ceremony and reception space should a nor’easter blow through. Their investment of time and money is already seeing healthy returns, with Elle Canada recently naming Oceanstone as one of the top five spots in Canada to tie the knot in 2012.
It’s obvious, watching Moore describe the resort in all its glory and potential, that she’s proud of what her family and the previous owners have created and also excited for good things to come. For example, in addition to staying open year-round for the first time in 2012, growth plans include building a bakery onsite and, possibly, a spa and wellness centre in the near future. “You can’t stop,” she insists. “Just because you’ve got shiny new this and fancy new that doesn’t mean you can put your feet up and relax. Our goal here is excellence.”
Proof of such ideals is certainly evident in the details. Each of the eight cottages and 15 rooms and suites scattered about the intimate and serene eight-acre grounds is like something out of an interior decorating magazine. Think driftwood accents and white linen duvets, hardwood floors and ceramic basin sinks. Waterfront cabins have outdoor fire pits for added space and starry-night ambiance when friends and family gather for weddings or reunions and several of the units can accommodate pets as well, a rare find in a luxury resort. One of the things I appreciate most about Oceanstone, however, is its owners’ dedication to keeping the property as locally supportive as possible.
From kitchens stocked with Halifax‘s very own Just Us organic, fair-trade coffee, to the art, food and furniture at the resort’s charming resto-bar-café, Rhubarb, there seems to be an element of south-shore Nova Scotia in everything you see, smell, taste and touch. Most excellent, indeed.
If you find yourself in the neighbourhood of Peggy’s Cove, or are even just thinking of putting yourself there, go for it and treat yourself to a night or seven at Oceanstone Resort. Maybe get married while you’re at it. Regardless of the event or occasion, it simply doesn’t get better than this.
More About Oceanstone Resort and Peggy’s Cove
Contact: Telephone: 1-866-823-2160 (toll-free); website: oceanstoneresort.com.
Rates: Prices vary depending on the season and type of accommodations. In the off-season (January to May) expect to pay between $100-200 for a room or suite and $150-315 for a cottage. In the high season, prices range from $130-450, depending on occupancy.
Rhubarb Restaurant: Winter hours are limited but they’re open Thursday-Sunday (11am-9pm), Monday (11am-4pm) and closed Tuesday and Wednesday. For reservations or information regarding seasonal menus and event catering, visit the resort’s website or call 902-821-3013.
Nova Scotia Tourism and Peggy’s Cove: Visit www.novascotia.com or call Nova Scotia Tourism at 1-800-565-0000. For information specific to Peggy’s Cove, click here.