The Impact of Heritage on Local Economies

Last week was a very busy week here at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast. School activities are wrapping up while tourist season is in full swing. We’ve been attending recitals, concerts, and parties. Thrown into the mix was the Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Conference, in Sydney, of which I was asked to be a panelist. Our topic? “The Impact of Heritage on Local Economies.”

The Conference ran from June 12th – 15th, but NSCC Graduation was on the 13th and I chose to be on stage to hug my eleven Tourism Management graduates on their big day. After the graduation was over, I hopped in the car and left for Sydney, Cape Breton, which is about a 3.5-4 hour drive from Truro, depending on which road you take. I was booked into the beautiful Colby House B&B, my third stay there.

Colby House B&B, Sydney

I was exhausted after a long day, and the beautiful bed was calling my name. I chatted with Bev for a few minutes, then set to work tweaking the slideshow for my presentation the following morning. There are many things I enjoy about staying at Colby House B&B – it’s a beautiful property for starters, immaculately kept! Bev & Gordon are wonderful hosts, and their attention to detail is superb. The first night I was there, they had a full house, with couples from Germany, Saskatchewan, and Vancouver. We had a great chat during breakfast.

The beautiful bed, calling my name in the MacLellan Room at Colby House B&B.

I could see the home that D’Arcy’s father grew up in from my window. Gordon mentioned the connection to the other guests at breakfast and we had a great chat about D’Arcy’s great-grandfather, a Sea Captain.

The conference was very interesting and I was disappointed I had missed the previous two days – especially dinner at Fortress of Louisbourg, and the Sydney Ghost Walk! The panel I was on included Dan Coffin from Destination Cape Breton, Cheryl Chambers of Chambers  Guest House B&B, and Stan Munroe of Port Morien Rectory B&B. Dan led the session, discussing market research which shows that most people traveling to Nova Scotia are looking for authentic cultural experiences and will visit at least one heritage site while here. We know from experience that there are many people who stay in Bed & Breakfasts for the duration of their entire trip for just that reason. You don’t get a much more authentic Nova Scotian experience than staying in a Nova Scotian home! (B&B’s in Nova Scotia MUST be owner-occupied.)

By preserving our heritage home and welcoming people into it from all around the world during the past ten years, we have had a huge positive impact on our local economy. In addition to the obvious taxes we pay at all three government levels, we are certain to send our guests to locally run restaurants rather than chains, we shop at the local Farmers’ Market during the season, we use and recommend local companies for gas, we recommend gift shops run by locals rather than encouraging guests to shop at the malls. Even when doing our renovations last month, we used companies with a connection to our area, and chose to install the solar panels that were built in Dartmouth, rather than in the US. By having local knowledge, we are able to tell our guests about events going on in our area, hopefully keeping them in our area longer. We have such a long and rich history here in Nova Scotia, and we sometimes forget that the western half of the country is much younger than we are – one of the points which had been made at the breakfast table by the couples from Saskatchewan and Vancouver at Colby House!

That evening, we had dinner and “A Taste of Celtic Colours” at the Sydney Cruise Ship Pavillion. What talented artists performed. We enjoyed guitar performances, Gaelic storytelling, singing & fiddling. It was a toe tapping great time! Back at the B&B, I chatted with Bev & Gordon until much too late! Bev was one of our “regulars” for many years here at Belgravia in her former career, so we always have lots to chat about!

After another delicious breakfast, I said my goodbyes and headed for home via Guysborough. It was a road I hadn’t driven in a long, long time and I wanted to check out the DesBarres Manor Inn and Rare Bird Pub which I have heard so much about. It was a beautiful drive, and I landed at the pub in time for lunch on opening day. They didn’t have their craft beer on tap yet, but I was driving, so wouldn’t have been able to enjoy one anyway. I sat by the window,overlooking beautiful Chedabucto Bay and had a delicious lunch with attentive service. I would love to go back and take D’Arcy sometime.

The Rare Bird Pub

I arrived home mid-afternoon, just in time to get the girls ready for their Highland Dance Recital and welcome favourite guests from the UK, staying with us for the third time. I do love exploring our beautiful province and am grateful for our rich heritage! I am happy that we chose this home to raise our children and build our lives. One of the nicest comments we had when we started this adventure ten years ago was from former owner, Mary Shephard. She had come to visit when we had our initial renovations complete and wrote in our guest book: “I’m so happy that this house is full of life again!”

Belgravia Best B&B Third Year in a Row!

Last night the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce held the 2012 Best of Colchester Awards. We at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast were honoured & delighted to be awarded the title of “Best B&B” for the third year in a row! Unfortunately, D’Arcy has been off his feet since last Sunday due to what the doctors think is a ruptured Baker Cyst, so he wasn’t able to join me. Instead, I took my parents, Dave & Deanna, as my dates! We had a lot of fun at our table, sitting with Donnie & Janice  of Eagle’s Landing B&B and Lisa & Leigh from Masstown Market.

D’Arcy & I and the whole Belgravia Bed & Breakfast team would like to extend a huge sincere “THANK YOU” to everyone who supported and voted for us! We are so grateful!

D’Arcy & Anne, before Best of Colchester 2012.

Receiving the award for “Best Bed & Breakfast”

The winners of the 2012 Best of Colchester Awards, presented by the Truro Chamber! Congratulations everyone!

Our awards from the past three years, on the dining room mantle.

To see the full list of 2012 award winners, please click here!

Lobster vs. Starfish

One website that we find particularly amusing and informative is the Nova Scotia Webcams site. By clicking on the webcams, you can get a live view of what is going on all around the province – from the 12th hole of the Highland Links Golf Course in Ingonish, to Cape Forchu Light station in Yarmouth.  We’ve been able to watch the waves in the effect of hurricanes at Peggy’s Cove and the reconstruction of the Bluenose II.

This week, however, our we were captivated by altercations between a lobster and some starfish in the “Lobster cam” located in Halifax Harbour.

Who knew that lobster, in addition to being so much fun to eat, are also fun to watch!

 

What’s so special…about Nova Scotia

(The following article, written by Darlene Grant-Fiander, was originally published in the May 2012 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal)

Last month, international media converged on Halifax to share in the anniversary of the Titanic disaster. With the media broadcasting from some of the significant landmarks related to the Titanic story, the long-term impact of this coverage cannot be understated.

As the Discovery and History Channels released new documentaries exploring the human connection to Nova Scotia, renewed interest in our story will be felt for years to come.

Nova Scotia is one of the most significant places in North America –– our link to many tragedies and world events has created a lure and attraction for people seeking out authentic places with a story to tell. This is not about exploiting tragedy; it is a story about our connection to these life-altering events and the human spirit that has come to define who we are in Nova Scotia.

Places rich with culture and history are high on the radar for people seeking authentic and experience-based destinations. Nova Scotia has assets that no other place can duplicate and if we package this with high-quality product and service once they get here, we will be well on our way to greater economic success for the province.

Currently one of the largest visitor segments for Nova Scotia is the visiting friends and relatives (VFR) market. In an effort to encourage more economic activity from people already planning a visit, a new initiative is being launched as part of the 2012 marketing plan. The VFR Campaign is meant to encourage Nova Scotians to continue to invite friends and relatives but more importantly, get out with them to explore and experience the province. Industry incentives will be available for host families to encourage travel within Nova Scotia.

The spirit of this campaign ties in well with the goals of Tourism Awareness Week beginning May 14. It is all about educating Nova Scotians on the economic, social and cultural impact that a strong tourism sector has for the province. Tourism’s role in rural Nova Scotia is particularly important. With appropriate investment and support it can play an even greater role in rural revitalization.

Everyone should take the time this year to explore a region of this province. I guarantee you will discover something you did not know and enhance your own appreciation for this incredible place we call home.

Darlene Grant Fiander is the president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia and executive director of the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council. Darlene has worked in the tourism industry for over 25 years. You can reach Darlene at dgf@tourism.ca

Guest Tweeting for @CelebrateNS

Just a heads up that I am the guest “tweeter” at @CelebrateNS on Twitter for the next week. “@CelebrateNS is a crowd sourced venue to discuss all that makes Nova Scotia great. Past, Present & Future. Arts, Culture, Industry.” The conversation this week is all about Nova Scotian B&B’s and Inns, and I’m happy to help with travel planning! For the record, we can be found all year long on Twitter as @BelgraviaBB

 

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 www.votemyfundy.com !

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!