There’s nothing hip or trendy about the Tattingstone Inn, 620 Main Street, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. Built in 1874 for an early mayor of the town on the Acadian Coast, the Italianate home is a registered historic landmark that exudes refined elegance.
The original entry door is still in place, welcoming guests to a well-appointed yellow and white house with ten-foot ceilings, three black marble coal-burning fireplaces and almost-Victorian period furnishings.
Five of the 13 guest rooms are in the main building, which has a library, common sitting room and sunroom where breakfast is served. The other eight are in the detached carriage house; the entire complex with its ornate gazebo and heated swimming pool are on 1-1/2 acres. One room — Toad Hall — welcomes pets. Needless to say, it’s a popular wedding venue.
The home’s most noted occupant was Leslie R. Fairn, a Canadian architect who designed many public buildings in the province. He lived in the house for more than 35 years, and during that time he supervised the construction of Acadia’s University Hall as well as many other buildings in the community. He kept his office and workshop in the Carriage House, and raised his family in the Main House.
The property was transformed into an inn in the late 1980s by Halifax restauranteur Betsy Harwood. It’s named for Tattingstone, a small village in England where an ancestor hers had lived in the late fifteenth century. In 2015, Randy and Erika Banting (originally from Ontario) bought the inn.
My second floor room had a four-poster bed and spacious white-tiled bathroom. The color scheme was cream with touches of cranberry (for example, in the toile fabric around the bed and covering the windows. I paid $145 CAD; the rooms range from $135 to $225 CAD per night.
The inn offers free parking and free high-speed WiFi, but it’s the included breakfast that has guests raving. No cookie-cutter buffet or spare Continental here. Each offering is made to order. Options vary by season, but choices typically include French toast, eggs with Nova Scotia bacon and banana pancakes.
Wolfville, located in the Annapolis Valley, is home to Acadia University and the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens, showcasing native flora of the Acadian Forest region. The main draw, however, is the Grand-Pré National Historic Site. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it tells the story of the Acadian culture which once flourished here. (Did you know that these early French settlers drained the salt marshes for farmland using a system of canals and dykes?) There’s even a statue of Evangeline, the tragic heroine of the epic Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem about the forced removal by the British of these settlers in the mid-1700s.
(Photos by Susan McKee)