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Nova Scotia Dream Vacation

Step Back In Time

The Ivy Cottage - named for the Boston ivy that climbs over the south façade - is a home of quaint charm and immediate warmth. It’s particularly renowned for its spectacular views of picturesque Antigonish Harbour and the surrounding beautiful countryside. Not to mention its English-style country garden.



Your experience begins as you drive along the South Side Harbour Rd. This undulating lane runs along the eastern side of Antigonish Harbour, starting as the South River empties into a picturesque estuary. From there, the road twists past hedgerow lined fields, traditional farms and wooded copses as it makes its way along the Harbour.

Eight kilometers in you’ll see the sign for Aveline Ave. – our private lane that we whimsically call, “Monk’s Gut”. The cottage is to your right as you come down the driveway. From the parking area, you enter the front gardens through a bijou grapevine-laden arbor – a gateway to your vacation, one might say. Here, surrounded by verdant hedgerows, you feel as though you have entered a living, open ceiling-ed room. If you enjoy gardens you’ll adore the Ivy Cottage. Between the bonfire pit, picnic table and Adirondack chairs, many visitors rarely venture indoors. Depending on the season you can even pick wild bumble berries to enjoy with cream or find some organic vegetables delivered from the kitchen garden to your doorstep in time for supper.
Inside the Cottage
Upon entering the cottage proper, you will feel as if you have stepped back in time. Much of the structure is made from reclaimed building materials and even though there is every modern comfort, this cozy space instantly makes one relax and breathe out. The burnished wood, hand made cabinets and comfy antique and rustic furnishings make this a true treat and retreat. And, sshh! there are arguably the best harbour views in all of “Monk’s Gut”.

Now, getting down to business, the main level is small but perfectly formed. It comprises a master bedroom, bath, kitchen and combined dining and living rooms. There you will also find the entertainment system, satellite TV, a veritable library of great books and magazines and, in the unlikely event of a cool evening, a robust little Jotul wood stove. In the kitchen is everything needed to set up housekeeping. Beyond the standard items – fridge, stove, microwave - you have a toaster oven, French press, expresso pot, wine glasses, spices and a delightful collection of lanterns and candles. And while on the topic of spices, just outside the mudroom door, you will find fresh chives, oregano and basil to add a little zip to your culinary offerings.

A small dining area has views of the neighboring countryside as well as Antigonish Harbour and the lane outside the house. Or step outside onto the front deck and watch the world go by as you sip your early morning coffee. There is abundant bird life and, from the front windows, it’s not uncommon to see porcupines, raccoons, deer, the resident red tailed hawk or an enormous pair of bald eagles.

The main bedroom is tucked quietly at the back. It has a ceiling fan, closet and chest of drawers. The bathroom is also on this level and has the usual tub/shower set up plus a sky light and of course, ample hot water.

On the lower level, there’s a studio space complete with single bed, a laundry room and a second full bedroom. This space, with its salvaged wood floors (salvaged from the local dance hall no less – go ahead, try a Highland Jig!) and ample light can prove a peaceful retreat when you want a break from the great out-of-doors… or simply yearning for a cool, quiet space.

Perhaps the best space in the house is the screened porch. Perfect for early breakfasts at first morning light, a bit of shade or pleasant shelter from an afternoon shower. Better still, it is the perfect setting for a delightful candle lit evening meal. A cozier spot you are unlikely to find. Ivy Cottage is romantic and secluded and sitting on the porch at night you can listen to the croaks of the tree frogs or the yips of coyotes.

Outside you can meander further down Monks Gut lane until, in a couple minutes, you come to the Harbour – a beautiful and secluded spot with shallow, warm waters and a beach perfect for digging clams or finding drift wood. Swimming from the shore is also possible – due to the Gulf Stream and the shallowness of the bay, the water in the summer is a balmy 75F. Eagles nest on the island out in the middle of the Harbour – an easy canoe trip from the shore (feel free to use the canoes, kayaks and row-boat that are available for guests). Or, turn left out of the drive and walk a mile or so up the hill to Dunn’s Beach – a beautiful sanctuary where lobster boats drift and you can swim in the lagoon or make your way to the Atlantic shore where you can feel the full power of the ocean.

Ivy Cottage is the perfect vacation spot for one or two couples. Children – human and those of the pet variety - are also welcome. It’s an authentic Nova Scotian seascape cottage and you will want to return again and again.


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