The Coast News
December 2007

Happy holidays and all good wishes for 2008

Dear Friends - I hope that you are doing exactly what you want over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I would love to hear about your plans - when you have a few minutes, be sure to get back to me to tell me all about them.

For me, I am planning to spend Christmas at The Beach House on Hatfield Road, in Nova Scotia – which many of you have visited or have heard about over the past few years. As you know, I live in downtown Toronto and, on a day-to-day basis, work with my health and human services management consulting firm – Liz Yorke and Associates. At the same time, I own and manage the Beach House, which is, without doubt, the most beautiful vacation rental beach property in the province. I love its complete privacy and its spectacular panoramic ocean views, all day long, every day of the year – even in winter.

As soon as I get to the Beach House, the first thing I intend to do is decorate my tree with my collection of vintage ornaments. Once the tree is decorated, I’ll be getting ready for Christmas day and dinner with Sheila and Ivan Richardson - my guests who’ll be coming from Halifax for a few days.

If you look carefully, you can see Cape Split and Blomidon through the windows on your left. I know the tree needed more ornaments – I ran out of time!

If you are thinking about traveling to Atlantic Canada in 2008 – by car, air or ship - please get in touch with me at or at 416-481-4096 to discuss your customized visit to the Beach House. A reminder… the Beach House is an easy travel trip – it is just over the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border, which decreases driving time for visitors from Quebec, Ontario, Western Canada and the US. The Beach House is also a very easy drive from Halifax and Moncton International Airports and to Charlottetown, Halifax, and Moncton for day trips.

Best wishes for a wonderful, prosperous and satisfying 2008!

December 2007

A couple of years ago, I included this story in an issue of The Coast News. I had so many people comment on it, that I decided to include it in this holiday message.

Winter Walks

One of my true pleasures at the Beach House is to take winter walks. I try to take a winter walk every day that I am there, and I’d like to share some of my memories of these walks with you.

Always, the first thing I do to get ready is to go out on one of the balconies and check the weather, and sometimes I am so surprised with something so unexpectedly beautiful that I am absolutely overwhelmed! That is what happened to me one January day. There had been lots of snow over the holidays and lots of bright days, and one morning I happened to notice how gorgeous the snow looked on the front balcony table and benches. It reminded me of lots of things – calm, peace, creativity, whipped cream on coffee or hot chocolate, puffy homemade baking powder biscuits, and mushrooms.

Isn’t this wonderful?

Where else would you find pink and yellow snow, with the Bay of Fundy in the background?

After I’ve checked the weather, I bundle up and start off, down the lane and on to Hatfield Road. I listen for birds and watch for animal tracks and move along at a nice quick pace. As those of you who’ve visited the Beach House know, the house is on a point of land at the end of a small forest area. As I walk along the road through the trees, I often think about the first walk I ever took, on my own, along this road. I was five and both my maternal grandparents were still alive. My family and other relatives were staying at my Auntie Em’s cottage, which is near the Beach House. For reasons I no longer remember, Auntie Em and I were on our own that day. I absolutely adored my aunt, but as the day moved along, I was getting bored and decided I’d like to visit my grandfather – Grampe John. By the end of the next year, both my grandparents would have died but, at that time, they were both fairly active and living in the house that my grandfather, a skilled carpenter and wooden-hull boat builder, had built for them before they were married.

Auntie Em was a very industrious person and busy with something just then. She told me that I could make the visit, but that I’d have to go on my own. She did agree to go with me to the edge of the woods. We packed a basket of cookies and started out. I felt like Little Red Ridinghood! We got through the woods, and I had a few second thoughts about going on my own, but Auntie Em had things to do. So, away I went. The sense of adventure and accomplishment from making the mile and a half walk on my own, past a few scary places, is still so vivid that I could weep over it. By the time I arrived at my grandparents’ house, with my little basket of cookies in hand, I had the walk and scary parts well under control and was loving every minute of it. I look back on that day as a turning point in my life, and am filled with gratitude that my aunt encouraged me to take on this adventure on my own and that she was confident that I could do so.

I move along and stop and look back to see the Beach House through the trees, and to admire the amazing and ever-changing views of the marsh. I think of the Acadians who must have built the dike and the people who harvested marsh hay there. I also think of all the times we went cranberry and apple picking with my Mother, and how good and clean a berry and apple picker she was.

Next, I follow along the road and make a left, go by fields that my grandfather used to own, and soon reach my cabin and barn – that my Dad built in the 60s. My good friends Al and Elaine Smith, who live in Sackville, New Brunswick, call this The Royal York, and they peal with laughter when they say it. I always get a kick out of their doing this. The cabin is a cozy place, and has its own unique pleasures, just as the Beach House has, and I often stay there in the warm months.

Past the cabin, I go by the old schoolhouse, which is now a cottage. My Mother and all her brothers and sisters went to this school, she taught there and her father was on the School Board. I can remember a long-ago visit to the school, sometime when our family came up from Halifax to visit my grandparents. At the time, I would have loved to have been part of the action, as all the grades were in one room.

View on the way back to the Beach House.

Past the schoolhouse, I head up the hill and make a left turn on the paved highway towards the main part of the villages. At Christmas, almost every house is decorated and people tend to keep their lights on for hours. With snow on the decorations, roofs and trees, it is just beautiful – like everyone’s fantasy of Christmases past! Going through the village, I arrive at a building which is owned by the telephone company, past all the lovely old white houses, and then turn around and admire the ocean and water and watch for the Beach House all the way back.

It is my hope that all visitors to the Beach House will create their own activities and special memories from the time they spend in this magical place.

Can you see the beach house nestled in the trees? Rudy Vodicka took this gorgeous picture in early January 2006.