Oh, the stories!

What do you get when you fill a church hall with a group of B&B owners? Stories! Lots & lots of stories!

Yesterday, D’Arcy & I attended the annual general meeting of the  Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association. Each year, the meeting is held in a different part of the province, and this year, we gathered in beautiful Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Because we’re both teaching in Pictou this year, we did not make it to Lunenburg yesterday for the B&B tours and social time, which is one of my favourite activities. Instead, we got up early in the morning and drove to the South Shore.

It was a beautiful autumn day. We took the newspaper with us and did the crossword as we drove. It takes less than two hours to drive from Truro to Lunenburg and it was a smooth drive.

 
When we arrived at the AGM, we had lots of time to get caught up with other B&B owners from around the province.  It was great! As a rule, B&B operators love to visit, chat, and laugh- you can just imagine the volume when we all get together… The meeting ran smoothly and I enjoyed the opening presentation by Pat Sullivan, Chair of the new Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. I am looking forward to new ideas for tourism unfolding with his leadership. I appreciated the fact that he was realistic, down-to-earth, and approachable.

Pat Sullivan of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency addresses members of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association in Lunenburg.

The food, provided by John & Tatiana, caterers in Lunenburg was homemade and so full of flavour. John even serenaded us over lunch with his version of “The Water is Wide”, promoting an upcoming concert on December 15th to aid the Lunenburg & Mahone Bay food banks.

He cooks AND he sings! Just wonderful!

Our meeting was led by out-going NSBBA president (and friend) Gerry Mailloux. He received two standing ovations in recognition for all the work he has done for the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association over the years. He & his wife, Ruth, have been running  B&B’s and mentoring perspective innkeepers in the province since 1986. Gerry has been struggling with some health issues this year, so there were some moist eyes in the room as he read his President’s report.

We laughed and carried on as people told funny (and not-as funny) stories about guests and experiences they’d had during the season. It was generally reported that numbers were up and more tourists were on the move again this summer. We swapped recipes and ideas and rejoiced in the announcement of “Baby No-Name (girl) Falkenham”, born to our TIANS Liason, Jennifer, just the day before. We made promises to one another to get together soon.

Before we left Lunenburg to head back to Truro, we stopped to see the newly re-built and re-launched Bluenose II.

The newly re-built Bluenose II with Lunenburg Academy in the background.

It was a wonderful day.

The 2009 Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association Annual General Meeting

This weekend the Annual General Meeting of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association was held here in Truro.  What a fun weekend!!

 

We woke up Friday morning to snow & slush, so unfortunately some of the Board of Directors weren’t able to make it to our meeting & potluck lunch.  However, we still had enough in attendance that we had a quorum so our meeting took place regardless.  After that was over, the B&B’s in town held house tours for anyone who was here from outside the area.  So often, we are asked to recommend B&B’s in other parts of the province, so it is helpful to know what different areas have to offer. In the evening, we all went over to Tulips & Thistle B&B for a wine & cheese party.  It was such a great opportunity to network with other operators from around the province and share some really funny stories!

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Maarten & Nelly from Baker's Chest with hosts Ann & Larry at Tulips & Thistle

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Gerry (Suncatcher B&B) and myself

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Shelly from Stuart House by the Bay with Jennifer from TIANS

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Some of the Truro B&B owners - D'Arcy & myself along with Janice, Ann & Gerry

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Bill & Ann Marie Monk of A Seafaring Maiden B&B in Granville Ferry, outside of Annapolis Royal

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A fun chance to network together

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Donnie & Janice from Eagle's Landing B&B always have a hilarious story or two!!

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Jill from bbcanada.com, Jennifer from TIANS, Anne from Belgravia B&B & Ruth from Suncatcher B&B!

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Ruth from Suncatcher, Dora from Jonah By the Sea, Connie from A Paradise Found and Mary Pat from Azalea Farmhouse B&B's

The AGM itself took place at First United Church Hall on Saturday and the UCW had prepared lunch for 75 people.  Unfortunately, we did have a few members send regrets at the last-minute due to weather conditions and/or illness.  Regardless, we were pleased with the turnout.  The morning program started off with information sessions by Tom Wilson who spoke about online & social marketing and its importance these days.  Next, Jill MacIntosh from www.bbcanada.com spoke to us about maximizing our web presence and taking full advantage of offers made to us through the bbcanada website.  Just before lunch, Kieu Lam from TIANS along with Doug Matthews from the Department of Tourism, Culture & Heritage came to speak with us about the new Nova Scotia Approved Program for accommodation operators.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by the UCW and then got down to the business of our AGM.  Our Board of Directors is undergoing a tremendous change with eight new directors this year, including a new President & Vice President.  We’re hoping to take the Association in a positive new direction and I’m really looking forward to working with this new group of people.

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Tom Wilson, presenting information on Social Media and Marketing

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Jill MacIntosh from http://www.bbcanada.com

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Kieu Lam from TIANS, presenting the new "Nova Scotia Approved" program to members

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Door prizes of bags filled with "Items a B&B owner might use" (soap, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, hand sanitizer, etc.) generously donated by MacQuarries Pharmasave in Truro

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Jill, presenting a free year's membership to bbcanada.com to Bruce Fulton's B&B

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D'Arcy, making sure all the presentations would show up on the screen

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Ruth, presenting outgoing NSBBA President John Meehan with a plaque of appreciation

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Gerry Mailloux new NSBBA President, drawing raffle prize winners

Jill had suggested that we, along with Ruth & Gerry, Ann & Larry & Jennifer all go out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate the successful weekend. We toasted our successes with some Prost, a sparkling wine made by Jost Vineyards, a local winery. We then all went out for supper at a restaurant close by called “The Lovin Spoonful“. Not only was the company so much fun, but the meal and the service were amazing!! We will all be recommending that restaurant to our guests from now on!!  After three hours at the restaurant, laughing & telling stories, we came back here to Belgravia for coffee and ended the weekend on a high note!

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TTM, ready to celebrate a successful weekend!

Sydney, Cape Breton Recommended B&B’s

I sit of the Board of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association, and this weekend, on Friday & Saturday, we had our bi-annual Directors’ meeting in Sydney at A Paradise Found Bed & Breakfast, run by Rick & Connie Bowers. 

I had the good fortune to stay with Bev & Gordon Gabriel at Sydney’s newest B&B, Colby House.  Bev has been a regular guest of ours since 2003, so I knew that my stay would be fantastic.  She & Gordon surpassed my expectations.  The house was every bit as beautiful as I expected, but the warmth & thought put into all the small touches were what made my stay extraordinary.  My room was calm & cozy, and a special treat for me was that when I looked out my window, I was looking at the home my father-in-law grew up in!  I got myself nestled into the bed for a restful night’s sleep and Bev’s breakfast of fruit, yogurt, muffins, juice, coffee, bacon & orange french toast with maple syrup literally kept me going all day!

I was disappointed to learn that Bev is retiring from her “real job” next month so that she can run the B&B full time; that means she won’t be staying with us as often.  I would recommend Colby House B&B  or A Paradise Found B&B to anyone who is traveling to the Sydney or Louisbourg area while on their Nova Scotian vacation.  I can’t wait to go back & take D’Arcy with me since he had to stay home and run the show here…  Life is tough sometimes!

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Please stop in often to find out what is new at the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, in downtown Truro, the Central Nova Scotia Area, and around the Province of Nova Scotia! Please click here to find out all about us or here to read guest comments and reviews.

Photo credit: Portraits by Johanna