Bay of Fundy Time Lapse

I came across this video earlier this afternoon of the Bay of Fundy time lapse at Burntcoat Head.  A couple of weeks ago, two of our guests were celebrating their 29th anniversary with a trip to Nova Scotia and wanted to have a lobster picnic at Burntcoat Head, located less than an hour’s drive from the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast‘s location in Truro.  They went to the store and bought lobsters and salads and we provided a picnic bag with dishes and ice packs.  We were delighted to find the following review on Trip Advisor after they arrived home:

“Anne and D’Arcy were wonderful hosts! We arrived quite early in the afternoon (before check in times) and they welcomed us and let us put our things in the room before exploring Truro. We wanted to take a lobster picnic out to Burntcoat Point for dinner followed by a walk on the ocean floor at low tide. I asked if we could borrow a few forks to take with us, and that was not a problem. They directed us to the store to buy lobster and salads, and when we returned a complete soft sided picnic pack was ready for us complete with plates, table cloth, cutlery, wine glasses, lobster cracking devices, ice packs and even wetnaps! That was way beyond a couple of forks, and it made our romantic picnic by the Bay of Fundy so special. The room was very good and the breakfast was excellent. You’ve got to try D’Arcy’s warm freshly baked blueberry muffins in the morning.”

I have to admit, I was a little bit jealous of their romantic date and I’m hoping that D’Arcy will do the same for me some nice summer day – hopefully before we hit 29 years of marriage!  🙂  When you watch the time lapse, I’m sure you’ll be able to see why!  Can’t you just see yourself sitting on the bank by the lighthouse (or at one of their picnic tables), eating lobster and watching the Bay of Fundy go in and out?  I can!

And please remember to !

Running in Truro

I admit that I am more of a fair-weather runner than a serious runner.  I do go out running, but more because I should than because I have a burning desire to run.  D’Arcy, on the other hand, really seems to enjoy running.  I enjoy running in races like the Bluenose Marathon 5 & 10k, but that’s because there are people lining the streets cheering me on!

Truro is a great place to run, with routes of varying degrees of difficulty.  You can run around the downtown which is very flat, or expand your run to include hills.  Victoria Park is a favorite of many, running on groomed paths under the overhang of evergreen trees.  The park has many more challenging trails and even the dreaded Jacob’s Ladder!  It always amazes me to see people running up & down and up & down Jacob’s Ladder!

One of my favorite trails to run in Truro is the Cobequid Trail.  The Cobequid Trail is a 14 km walking and cycling trail network through central Colchester County. The Cobequid Trail takes you along a former railway, through Acadian dykelands, through forests and along brooks, and beside the tidal Salmon River.

Last Sunday, after the cleanup was finished, Alex & I set off to run the 3.5k (each way) Old Barns section.  It was beautiful!  When I run along that trail, I can hardly believe I am so close to Truro!  I took some photos with my phone, as the camera would have been a little awkward to carry! Despite the poor quality of the photos, I think you can get an idea of the beauty!

Off we go!!

Taking a break for a moment to capture the beauty before turning around...

A view of the trail.

When you come stay with us at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, don’t forget to ask and we’ll share our favorite running/walking/biking trails with you!

Cycling for Augmented & Alternate Communication

We were very lucky this week to host some very special guests – Skye Wattie, his mom Gail, and their new-found-friend, Janice.  Since May, Skye has been cycling across Canada, raising funds and awareness for vital Augmented & Alternative Communication services, supports and technology.  Please check out their website:  Kilometres for Communication for more information!

Janice, Gail & Skye at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast in Truro!

Camping for much of their journey, I think they were happy to find a comfortable bed, hot shower and plentiful breakfast here at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast!  Skye & Janice, (having just met!) spent the evening chatting and tuning up their bicycles on our back deck, before storing them in our locked basement for the night.

For breakfast, we made sure that they would be well-fueled for the 100km ride from Truro to Halifax.  They had fresh local strawberries & yogurt, muffins, juice, Eggs Florentine and a side order of four extra (just delivered!) farm-fresh scrambled eggs.

D’Arcy was sure to get a few photos as they set out for the day:

Getting final travel details sorted out!

Heading down the driveway...

And they're off!

We will be following the rest of their adventures through their website & blog: and we encourage you to as well!  Janice should by now be heading home to Toronto to be with her family, and Skye & Gail will be continuing on to Newfoundland where Skye will complete his journey in St. John’s, on August 4th.

Safe & happy travels – we hope to meet again!


Please welcome our new part-time help!

Over the years, many people have asked us, “How do you run a bed & breakfast with a family?”

Honestly… we just do it!

Before we had the B&B, D’Arcy and I both worked in the restaurant and hotel industry, so hospitality and service are all our family knows!  In fact, the year our daughter Sarah was born, we had two rooms the night we brought her home from the hospital!  (Looking back, we do wonder, “What were we thinking?” But it was October, she was early, and we already had guests booked!   We couldn’t cancel!)  Of course, it does help that our home is large, well-built (read: mostly sound-proof) and is laid out in such a way that we are able to have our own space for our family. Our children have been taught that if they are willing to be polite and mature, they may join us around guests, but if they need to act like children, they have to go to their own areas of the house!  Also, my parents live just a bike ride away – and they have a pool – so they are not always tied here to the B&B with us.

In the eight years that we have had the B&B, our children have had many experiences, opportunities, and met many people that they would not have had growing up in a “regular” house.  They really do seem to appreciate this and we are proud to have children who are kind, intelligent, thoughtful & mature as a result.

They each have various chores that they do to help out with the B&B, but this summer, we’re happy to have Evan helping us in an even larger, official capacity!

You can't tell in this photo, but he's drying the dishes for me!

Evan is raising money to participate in a two-week school exchange to Brazil next winter.  He’s been mowing lawns for neighbours (and his grandparents) and as of this summer is also is the official lawn-mower at The Belgravia Bed & Breakfast!  This morning, while D’Arcy was in Halifax attending a conference on adolescent mental health in schools, Evan was my breakfast sous chef!  We served omelets.  Evan was in charge of cooking the bacon and helped me serve our guests!  He has also capably taken reservations and records some of our book-keeping work for us.

In his spare time in the summer, Evan plays both baseball and golf.  The Truro Golf Club is just on the other side of our block, so he can be found there most sunny days.  He is an excellent student and in the winter, he is a curler, plays basketball, and is in both the Intermediate Band and the Jazz Band as a percussionist at his school.  He loves geography & travel, wants to see the world, and has future plans to be a cartographer.

We’re happy to have you working along side us  Evan – we hope you love it as much as we do!

How does your garden grow?

Truro is being judged in the 2011 Communities in Bloom competition.  As stated in their website, Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on the promotion of green spaces in community settings.

Here at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, the yard work is continuous.  Just last month, I was lamenting to the key-note speakers from the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Conference that we had not yet had the time nor the resources to fix our stone wall which fell over in a frost heave two Easters ago.  There always seems to be other priorities…  (Like a husband finishing his Masters Thesis!)  They each took a look at our wall, but one said to me, “Fixing the wall is nice… BUT… Your real priority is cleaning out that garden on the side of your house!”

I knew exactly which garden he was talking about – the one located on the Prince Street side of our home.  Because it is set off the sidewalk, I was always able to argue that “at least it looks green from a distance!”  Apparently having all that greenery against the wood shingles is not good for them…

As you can see, we had our work cut out for us!!  In the eight-and-a-half years that we’ve been here, this particular garden has been sadly neglected, but not any longer!  D’Arcy & I spent a number of hours weeding, pulling, cutting, trimming and planting…

The yard is slowly, but surely coming along and will hopefully be looking great by the time the judges arrive in Truro on July 22nd!

The Back Deck

Heavy peonies and mock orange bush at the front of the house

South-west flower bed

The Belgravia Bed & Breakfast from Broad Street

The view from the north-west corner of the property

Ta-Da!! We can see out our kitchen window again!

We'll trim the rhododendron when it has finished blooming!

The dining room window

I love to sit on the front porch in the afternoon!

The garage

Our garden this year: tomatoes, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, radishes, carrots, peas, beans, beets, spinach, cilantro, rosemary, corn, cauliflower, cucumbers, watermelon and...

... one GIANT pumpkin! (If it grows properly, it could weigh up to 500 lbs!)


The Cornell Experience

Arriving home on Wednesday after an intense few days at Cornell, I hit the ground running.   My flights had gone smoothly, and we even arrived in Halifax a few minutes early (11:30 p.m.) – only to be slightly delayed when the Jetway wouldn’t move to meet the door of the airplane, so we had to wait for the specialists to arrive and fix it.  I sailed through customs in this direction and was so happy to see D’Arcy waiting for me!  We chatted on the 45 minute drive home; he had spent the evening at Graduation and I was excited to tell him all my stories.  I opened my suitcase at home to discover that it had been searched, probably because I had packed my wine, Grappa and Squash Seed Oil from Six Mile Creek Winery in my checked baggage.  Although I was still wound up from the trip, I knew I had to be up early to make breakfast!

Thursday was the last day of school and we couldn’t be more proud of our children – their report cards were outstanding!  D’Arcy said goodbye to Hants East Rural High; he will be switching schools and teaching Grade 7 & 8 Math and Science next year at Central Colchester Junior High, just a five-minute commute from our home, rather than 30 minutes each way.  He will be happy to gain an extra four hours in his weeks next year!

I’ve had a few days now to reflect on my experience at Cornell University’s Professional Development Program.  Was it everything I had hoped for when I applied?

Absolutely – and so much more!

The following is an excerpt from my application:

In 1991, when I began my degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Mount Saint Vincent University in Bedford, Nova Scotia, I would spend many hours in the library, pouring through the Hospitality Journals from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.  I found the articles interesting and informative and of all the hospitality journals I read during my early years of studying, the Cornell Journals are the ones I remember! 

It has been twenty years since I began my Tourism degree at the Mount.  I have spent my working career in the Tourism Industry, starting as a waitress (in those days), and progressing to bartender, server, supervisor, dining room manager, Bed & Breakfast owner & operator, and core faculty member for the Tourism Management Diploma program at the Nova Scotia Community College in Truro.  I have had a position on the executive of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association since 2005, and a position on the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia since 2008.

In 2007, I won an outstanding volunteer award from the Nova Scotia Heart & Stroke Association, presented by Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis, at Province House.  That same year, I was named Outstanding Young Person by the Colchester Chapter of the Junior Chamber International.   In 2008, Belgravia Bed & Breakfast was named Accommodation of the Year by the Central Nova Tourist Association, and in 2010 The Belgravia was named Best B&B in Colchester County by the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce.

The Strategic Hospitality Management course, as part of the Cornell University Professional Development Program is of interest to me for many reasons.  I am a believer in life-long learning and leading through example. After eight years as owner/operator of the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast in Truro, I welcome the opportunity to be challenged and presented with fresh opportunities.  Often we get stuck in our same patterns after a long period of time and I relish the prospect of being challenged. 

I would look forward to developing a “mastery of the analytical tools to perform analyses of the industry and competitors” as well as “strategies for building competitive advantage and generating superior value for customers.”  These skills would be passed on with my colleagues in the tourism industry through my work with NSBBA & TIANS.  Also, the new ideas and information I would learn would translate into positive benefits to my guests.  In my experience, attending a course like this always seems to re-energize a participant in the industry.

As core faculty in the Tourism Management program at NSCC, I would also take these skills back into my own classroom as I guide learners who are about to enter into the industry.   These students are the future of the industry and the knowledge I would gain through this course would be multiplied as I pass it along in the classroom.

The experience at Cornell was intense.  I would meet my group before class, attend class all day and then meet my group again in the evening.  (There was a beautiful welcoming reception after the first night of class where we all got to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting – so it wasn’t all work…)

As I mentioned in my last post, my classmates were from all around the world  and the networking I did was invaluable.  I’ve already lined up a couple of my classmates to Skype into my class when we are completing our Strategic Hospitality Management course, and my professor, Dr. Jeffery Shay, copied course notes onto a USB stick for me to use!  It was challenging and exciting for me to be in the classroom atmosphere, learning and collaborating with other leaders in the Tourism Industry around the world.

In class...

In class...

Break-out groups, discussing our "Atlantis" case...

Receiving my certificate!

My class photo!

These are exciting times of growth & change both in the Tourism Industry and in our family.  Since I’ve been home, I’ve been looking at our B&B through fresh eyes.  I look forward to using my new knowledge to better our B&B, to guide my students, and to support the growth of the Nova Scotian Tourism Industry in whatever ways I can!  That being said, I hope I have the opportunity to take another course next summer!!