We recently completed our very first year in the Tourism business. We bought seven ocean front cottages around the bay that ‘just needed a bit of TLC’, left the job in St. John’s, and moved to a lovely little ocean front chalet. We had visions of sunset boat rides, afternoon picnics and early morning hikes. After 30 years of working, much of it in big city advertising agencies, I was looking forward to the slower pace of life around the bay.
So….how’s the semi-retirement going you say? Ha! Seems I didn’t know as much as I thought about working in the tourism business. The ‘bit of TLC’ we expected somehow morphed into an ‘Extreme Makeover’ to the power of seven. We worked like dogs, encountered a number of challenges we didn’t expect (including being on-call 7 days a week) – but nevertheless survived it!
In fact, our first year of baptism by fire even resulted in some accolades, including Hospitality Newfoundland’s Accommodator of the Year award, a Canadian blog award, and a Canadian E-Tourism award. Always nice when hard work pays off.
Fast forward to summer 2013 – peak tourist season and our year two. Most people would think we’d be cruising a bit more this year, maybe taking the boat out for a spin every now and then, or enjoying an ocean front picnic or two now that our cottages are refurbished and business is thriving.
So…have you heard about The Doctor’s House yet? Up until this spring, we hadn’t either. Formerly called The Fields of Athenry, it’s a 10-room luxury Inn & Spa situated on over 100 acres, hidden between the trees and the ocean in the charming seaside town of Green’s Harbour. We fell in love with it the first time we saw it about a year ago and finally made it ours on May 1st.
After doing a little research on the property and its current name, we found out it had a bit of a romantic history. It began more than half a century ago by a young Irish doctor of psychiatry that had newly immigrated to St. John’s. For close to 50 years, this beautiful Tudor-style mansion was ‘under construction’ while the doctor, his wife and family lived in a tiny section of it. Outside, they created beautiful gardens and stunning landscaping, including a large number of maple trees and many flowering trees and shrubs that Newfoundland had never seen before. They also added several barns, chicken coops and outbuildings, and had Newfoundland ponies, cows, sheep, hens, and several different kinds of birds roaming the property.
Funny thing was, after almost 50 years, they never did finish the house! When it was sold about 6 years ago, the buyers (Nolan Hall) completely finished it to its current state of splendor. When we purchased it May 1st of this year, it came completely equipped, right down to the Newfoundland ponies. In honor of its original owners, we renamed it The Doctor’s House and opened for business June 19th!
“What were you thinking?!,” we’ve heard numerous times from concerned friends and family who witnessed last year’s mayhem and madness. Quite simply….the place is stunning! It’s more like a movie set than a real place. A period movie set for a Jane Austen novel to be more precise. Located where you’d least expect it…behind the trees in a tiny little seaside town, right here in Newfoundland.
How could we resist? And now with our seven cottages (and one more being built) and The Doctor’s House Inn & Spa, we’ve been able to hire a fantastic team of talented and passionate people who are delighted to be able to showcase some of the best our province has to offer, right in their own backyards. So we’re thinking we might just get to enjoy a boat ride or two this year.
But did you hear about The Shag It Café & Gift Shop?
Laurelyn Berry is owner-operator of Ocean Delight Cottages in Whiteway and Heart’s Delight, and The Doctor’s House Inn & Spa in Green’s Harbour. All properties overlook Trinity Bay on the Baccalieu Trail, just over an hour from St. John’s. She has just opened the Shag It Café & Gift Shop at the Whiteway cottages location. For more information about The Doctor’s House Inn and Spa visit them online at www.doctorshousenewfoundland.com, Facebook, or Twitter. If you would like to learn more about Ocean Delight Cottages visit their website www.oceandelightcottages.com or check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts.