Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Swing into Autumn 2009

In support of

Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute

"Species at Risk in Nova Scotia" Program


Swing into Autumn

with the


Annapolis Big Band

Sunday, September 13, 2009  2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

on the grounds of


Hillsdale House Inn

Annapolis Royal, NS


Swing into Autumn 2008

Swing into Autumn 2008

(Please note that this is a fair weather event)

  • Bring your picnic basket, chairs, blanket and non-alcoholic refreshments

  • Check out the Hillsdale House Inn Butterfly Garden built to aid the Monarch Butterflies during migration

  • Admission will be a "Donation", with proceeds going to the "Species at Risk in Nova Scotia" Program

  • Costumed animators representing "At Risk" animals will be on hand

  • 60/40 Draw

  • Sangria & Beer Cash Bar




Saturday, July 18, 2009

Have you ever seen a Luna Moth?

Luna Moth 1During the past few weeks we have discovered on two seperate occassions Luna Moth's hanging out at the Inn. The first sighting was a couple weeks ago very early in the morning when one was found attached to our Nova Scotia flag at the front entrance. This past week we found a second one attached to the screen of the patio doors leading to the side veranda.Luna Moth 2

To say the least these are very impressive creatures. Their wings span about 6 inches and they are equally long from nose to the tip of their tail. Unfortunately we have learned from information found on the internet that they do not have a very long life span; only about a week.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Right Whales Are Coming!

Right Whale Calf and MotherA recent news report indicated that there will be 39 right whale calves swimming at their mothers sides as they make there way north to the Bay of Fundy for another summer season. This is very encouraging news considering that the right whale is still on the endangered species list. If you have not yet enjoyed the experience of getting up close and seeing these amazing mammals in their natural environment you must plan to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity.
The whale watching excursions operated along the Digby Neck & Islands are some of the best you will find anywhere in the world. We are currrently offering a package in partnership with Ocean Explorations "Zodiac" Whale Adventures. Not only do you get to see some of the most amazing creatures on the planet, but you will also experience the excilerating adventure of doing it in a Zodiac. The best time to take advantage of this opportunity is between early July and early October. For more details on our package offer Click Here and check out the Whale & Seabird Adventure "Inn" Style package.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Our Butterfly Garden

On Saturday, June 6, 2009 we had 15 people attend our Butterfly Garden Workshop, and the best part of all is that in less than a couple hours our new garden was completed planted. We started out with presentations by Brennan Caverhill PresentationBrennan Caverhill, a biologist with the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, followed by Gilberte Doelle, an organic farmer with Wild Rose Farm in Gilbert's Cove, NS.

Gilbert DoelleThe presenters shared a wealth of information with the group, including the importance and plight of butterflies, in particular the Monarch Butterfly, as well as how planting gardens like ours assists them in making their migrations. We also learned what types of plants butterflies will be drawn to, and how to properly locate your garden and position the plant materials within it.

Once the educating was completed it was time to put everyone to work and get their Laying Out the Plantshands into the soil. Gilberte talked about different options for laying out the plants in the bed and then challenged members of the group to position the plants based on what they had heard. With the plants laid out to Gilberte's satisfaction, everyone started to actually put the plant's in the ground. Gilberte's preferred method is to just dig in with her bare hands. Several people followed her lead, but a few opted to take a small shovel in hand.Planting the plants

With the plants all in the ground Gilberte took a little time to talk about maintaining the garden, including things like composting and mulching, and most importantly the organic alternatives to fertilizing. Possibly the most important factor when putting in a butterfly garden is that a large area surrounding it must be pesticide freOur Butterfly Gardene.

The finished product may not look like much at the moment, however Gilberte told us that given that we started with a great foundation bed with good soil and compost material we will be amazed at how quickly it will flourish. We look forward to watching the progress and will provide regular updates and photos throughout the summer.

We want to thank both our presenters and those who participated in the workshop. Hopefully they got as much joy out of being a part of setting up our garden as we have knowing that we are contributing to the future preservation of the Monarch Butterflies.Butterfly

Friday, May 22, 2009

Butterfly Garden Workshop

ButterflyHere at the Hillsdale House Inn we are creating a Butterfly Garden to assist in the cause to provide a protective environment for the “at risk” Monarch Butterfly. In doing so we have coordinated a workshop to take place on Saturday, June 6th from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to give others the opportunity to learn why the establishment of these gardens is so important, as well as, what is required to set up a Butterfly Garden in your own yard.

In setting up the workshop we are partnering with the Mersey  Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) who oversee the Nova Scotia Species At Risk Program; Brennan Caverhill, MTRI Outreach Biologist; and Gilberte Doelle, owner of Wild Rose Organic farm in Gilbert’s Cove, Nova Scotia. Gilberte is a certified organic gardener who among many other things is growing plant materials that attract the Monarch butterfly.

If you are interested in more information about the workshop Click Here

Friday, May 1, 2009

Jammin' at the Hillsdale House Inn

[caption id="attachment_221" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Jam Ladies - Val, Loretta & Marilyn"]Jam Ladies - Val, Loretta & Marilyn[/caption]

Wednesday was jam making day at the Hillsdale House Inn. Yes we do really make our own jam. Val called in the veteran, Marilyn, who retired from the Inn last season after too many years, to guide her through the process. She also recruited her Mom, Loretta, who is visiting from Calgary to lend a hand. If a whole lot of laughter mixed into the recipe makes the end product taste better our guests are in for a real treat this season.

The selection this year includes blueberry, strawberry rhubard and peach pineapple. The peaches actually came from our very own peach tree last year.Jam bottles

Can you imagine how good they are going to taste on our homemade brown bread toast? Thinking about it should make you want to reserve right now. If you would like to check availability just click here. We certainly hope that this will inspire you to come visit really soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tourism Best Practice Mission - Day 4

Yesterday morning we checked out of the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, VA and began making our way up the valley. Yes even though we were heading south we have been told that we are going up the valley. We travelled many miles on the bus through much of the countryside of the valley and through the mountain areas in the Shanandoah National Park. There were a number of stops throughout the day to meet with various individuals and learn more about how they are using the Shenandoah Valley, and in particular the park to market their area as a tourism destination. We had lunch at one of the hotels in the park high atop the mountains along what they call the Skyline Drive. The view from the hotel overlooking the valley below was spectacular.

Eventually we ended up in Staunton, VA where we checked in to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, which like the George Washington Hotel has been retored through a public/private partnership. It is a beautiful hotel that was originally built in 1924 and is located in the heart of the City. Last night we had dinner at a busy local restaurant called the Mill Street Grill, located in an old flour mill building. They are famous for their ribs. They also had a jazz band performing that certainly livened things up.

Tonight we are visiting the Blackfriar Theatre located beside the hotel to see what has been created there. We are told it is an excellent recreation of a Shakespearean Theatre, and is another example of a project that resulted through a public/private project. Following that we are off to experience another local restaurant called of all things "The Dining Room".

Tomorrow we are up bright and early to board the bus and begin making our way further south to Charlottesville to the home of President Thomas Jefferson, and then on to our final stop in Richmond.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tourism Best Practice Mission - Day 1

I have the privilage this week of participating in a Tourism Best Practice Mission to the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia. The mission is focused on "Iconic Touring Product" and how a region in Virginia has capitalized on it to develop and grow it's tourism industry.

Today I flew from Halifax to Washington Dulles airport where after a number of delays I eventually linked up with a many of my fellow participants to be shuttled to the George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia where we first met as a group for dinner. The itinerary for the week ahead is quite full, but looks like it will be quite interesting and applicable for our region of Nova Scotia.

I will make a few more posts during the coming week to share some of what we have experienced.

Open For The Season!!

Val and I are very excited to be open again. We are anxious to receive visitors, whether returning or first timers. There appears to be some optimizism in people again that the economy is beginning to rebound somewhat. This is evidenced by an increase in reservation activity, especially out of the USA.

Once again this year there will be lots to see and do in the Annapolis Royal region and we will endeavour to keep you up to date as things are approaching. We have just started sending out a regular e-newsletter. If you would like to be added to the distribution list please send along an email.

Visit the Hillsdale House Inn website or the Special Offers & Packages section of our blog from time to time to see what's new.

We hope to see you this season in Annapolis Royal.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One week left

Well things have been busy around the Inn for the past week as we prepare it for opening just one week from today. Val and I, and the rest of our team, have been hard at work spitting and polishing. img_7049Okay, I didn't really catch anyone spitting, but you get the idea. The scrapers and paint brushes have been out as well doing all those little touchups that are required. img_7064Val and I also decided to finally take on the challenge of stripping and painting the floor in the painted room, as we will be setting up our office in there this season and moving the desk out of the kitchen.

Things are starting to green up outside and the buds are getting bigger on the Magnolia bushes. Hopefully they will be in full bloom for the Magnolia Festival taking place in Annapolis Royal in May. Once the indoor cleaning in completed early next week it will be time to move outdoors to tackle the yard and tune up the lawn mower.

Spring really does come much earlier in our part of the province than in others, so you should consider planning a little getaway in the coming weeks. In fact, we have just added a few new packages to our Special Offers & Packages page that we hope will entice you to check us out.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Calling all Golfers

[caption id="attachment_187" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="View from the 18th Tee of the Annapolis Royal Golf & Country Club"]View from the 18th Tee of the Annapolis Royal Golf & Country Club[/caption]

The flags are in again early this year and the Annapolis Royal Golf & Country Club opened for the 2009 season on Saturday, April 4th. Opening day was filled with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-teens. A few of the local juniors were even seen playing in shorts and short sleeve shirts.
To help all those anxious golfers who have been itching to get back out since the Fall the Hillsdale House Inn has partnered with the Annapolis Royal Golf Course to provide a couple value priced Spring golf packages. Check out our Special Offers & Packages page for details.

Established in 1925, the course can be considered an historic institution in its own right. In 1992, the course was expanded to a full 18-holes based on the same principles that made the previous course such a pleasure and challenge to play.

Today, the course displays a rare combination of inviting (but not wide open) forest-fringed fairways, natural water hazards, and tricky approach shots without the pretension of an overly tailored course.

We invite you to take advantage of these special offers to discover one of the less known golf courses in Nova Scotia. You will also have the opportunity to explore the first permanent European settlement in North America and the original capital of Nova Scotia, Annapolis Royal.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Opening Soon!!

Spring FlowersWell it is hard to believe that the winter closure is almost over, but the Spring flowers are a sure sign that it is time once again to prepare the Inn for our visitors. In fact three weeks from today we will be opening again for the season and there is much preparation to do beforehand. Our team has been called back to start the big "Spring Clean" starting next week. You can only imagine what is involved in cleaning a 10,000 square foot building with 13 guestrooms, 2  large parlours, a dining room that seats 20 -30 people and a large kitchen.

And that's just the inside!

Then there are the 3 acres of lawn and gardens that you always wish will have miraculously been cleaned up when the snow melts to reveal them again. Of course you never get used to the fact that even though you thought you cleaned up all the leaves in the Fall there are almost as many to clean up again in the Spring. However, we have a very special way of dealing with the leaves which I will share with reader in a future post.img_7019-small

Over the next few weeks we will endeavour to share a little of what it takes to get ready to open again.

We are very excited about the thought of welcoming guests to the Inn for the 2009 season. We already know from our early bookings that we will be meeting people from all over North America and across the Atlantic Ocean.

If you are thinking of visiting our part of the world this summer we encourage you to check out the Hillsdale House Inn website and the Special Offers and Packages page of this Blog for ideas.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Introducing Pear Tree Cottage

Pear Tree Cottage Sign

We are very excited to announce that in addition to all we have to offer for short term accommodation at thePear Tree Cottage Hillsdale House Inn we are introducing this coming season a new weekly vacation rental house called Pear Tree Cottage. This 3 bedroom fully furnished and equipped house is located in Upper Clements, NS on Highway 1 just minutes from Annapolis Royal (4.5 KM), only .5 KM from Upper Clements  Entertainment Parks and 3 KM from the Annapolis Royal Golf Course. The house will be available for rent from May to October and we are currently taking bookings. We invite you to check out the following link to learn more about everything offered at Pear Tree Cottage Vacation Rental House.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lorne Elliott Coming to King's Theatre

Lorne Elliott is coming to King's Theatre in Annapolis Royal on Friday, May 1st, and the Hillsdale House Inn is Lorne Elliottoffering a great package including tickets to his performance. Click here for details.

Canadian born, LORNE ELLIOTT has performed from Newfoundland to New York City, from Los Angeles to Australia and points in between. Lorne started performing in 1974 as a folk musician in East Coast Canada. At the same time he kept writing fiction as well as songs, monologues and one-liners. The outcome of such a training is a very special show of comedy and music, totally original, entertaining, up-lifting and foolish enough to make everybody laugh. Along with his unique and wacky performance style, it is the timelessness of his material, joined with keen observations of today's trends that make LORNE ELLIOTT's work so special.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Calling all Fredheads

Fred Eaglesmith is coming to Annapolis Royal to perform at King's Theatre on June 20, 2009, and the Hillsdale House Inn is offering a great package. Click here for details.

"Fred Eaglesmith is what Bruce Springsteen aspires to be, the voice of the small-town common man," says Nova Scotia's Berwick Register. His uncommonly good songs illuminate the uniqueness of what are usually thought of as common people and have evoked critical comparisons to such musical icons as Tom Waits, John Prine, Del Shannon, Link Wray, T Bone Burnett, Steve Earle and even Led Zeppelin, to name a few. He has even been rated as a talent on par with the granddaddy of all populist songwriters. "Eaglesmith delivers passion like few singers since Woody Guthrie," says New York Press. "We know that's a comparison not to be taken lightly."

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Story of Charcoal the cat - Chapter 2

Chapter 2

As I sat down to begin the 2nd chapter of “The Story Charcoal the Cat”, I realized that I had forgotten a very monumental occasion in his life. Well I am not sure that he would agree that it was monumental, but it was an event that I’m sure he will never forget and one that greatly altered his life and ours.

Annapolis Royal and area is full of wonderful caring people and those willing to donate numerous hours of volunteerism. A small group of volunteers established a trap, neuter, and release (TNR) program for feral cats, in the County of Annapolis in 2006. They have done an amazing amount of work and have made a significant difference in the number of feral cats in the county. The cats are taken to the vet, checked for disease, given shots, then spayed or neutered, and within 24 hours to 48 hours of rest, the cat is returned to the location that he/she was trapped.

In early September both Paul and I felt that it would probably be best if Charcoal was no longer a tom cat and we were also anxious to have his health checked to make sure he was doing fine. It was a difficult decision knowing he was old, but not sure how old, we had a fleeting moment of indecisiveness thinking it might be unfair to the old boy to change his ways after so long. The moment passed and I called my friend Steve who is one of the organizers of Team TNR and explained our situation, along with stressing how worried I about trapping him. I was sure he would be scared to death and of course once returned and released would leave the Hillsdale House property forever. Steve very graciously offered to come very early one morning to set the trap before our guests were up wandering the property. My only job was to stop feeding him for at least 24 hours so that he would be hungry enough to take the bait. This was a very hard task for me, Charcoal and I were making such progress together and I felt terrible.

The morning arrived, the trap was set, and now all we had to do was wait. Steve indicated that it could take many hours; I have to confess I was so stressed and so worried about how scared he would be when he was caught that I almost called it off. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long and within 2 hours he was safe in his cage, with a blanket over top of him and off to the vet clinic for his life altering experience. The procedure went well, thanks again to Team TNR and to Dorothy who took him home in his cage to her shed for the night so he would be safe.
Dorothy arrived at 6:30 am the next morning and we opened the cage and released Charcoal back to the Hillsdale House property. Naturally he bolted, in his creaky arthritic way and all we could do was hope he would come back. Within 12 hours he returned to his food bowls and amazingly enough didn’t seem to be any more timid than he was before he left.

Whew, it was over, he was no longer a tom cat, his shots were up to date and he even came back to his family - what more could we ask for?

Stay tuned for the next chapter, the winter of 2007!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The story of Charcoal the cat - Chapter 1

Chapter 1Charcoal on the side deck of the Hillsdale House Inn

In the spring of 2007, the second spring that Paul and I owned the Hillsdale House Inn,  we spotted the skinny, arthritic, old and almost scary looking grey cat. He had been a feral cat in the area for quite sometime; in fact my first sighting of him was in the fall 2001 when I first moved to Annapolis Royal. When the sun shined, even from a distance, he had a brown tinge to his fur, and naturally the name Charcoal was given to this very interesting feral cat.

Both Paul and I love animals deeply and started our mission to try and feed this wild kitty. For the first several months we would put food out on the side veranda, he was so wild that even knowing there was food on the way; he would run if we opened the door and he happened to be within 150 feet of us. We gave him lots of space and even Simonette our indoor/outdoor Siamese cat seemed to respect that the food was for someone in much greater need. By the end of the summer of 2007 we could talk to him through the window and by the late fall we could be outside within 10 feet.

As winter was about to approach we were scared for his survival outdoors for another winter. The search began and we were lucky enough to find an insulated cedar cat house on the internet, handmade in, of all places, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We then came across a website that specializes in feral cat products and found a heater for his new digs. Everything arrived and we installed his house on our covered veranda, poured a glass of wine, sat in our lawn chairs and wondered how we would ever get in him to go in his house.
Well cats are sneaky and without us noticing, he had found his new house, assumed it was for him and was curled within 10 minutes.

Stay tuned for chapter 2…………..