The Marathon Inn is located on the very top of Marathon Lane overlooking the North Head Harbour in Grand Manan. Marathon Lane is a hidden drive between the North Head Post Office and the seasonal Island Arts gift shop. The inn proper is made up of three large buildings joined together with covered walkways. The view of the harbour from this vantage point is spectacular. There is a large barn located behind the inn.
The Marathon Inn in Grand Manan is designated a Local Historic Place for being one of the oldest purpose-built continually-operated hotels in Eastern Canada. It has been owned only by nine people since its opening and is still fully operational. James Pettes, who built the most easterly part, was connected with ‘The Flushing’, the first Grand Manan ferry to run on a schedule. In 1898, the former Marble Ridge Inn was moved to its present site beside the main building from its original location in the Moses Lane area.
The story goes that Capt. Pettes won it in a poker game. This is now known as the Annex. On the sill under this building are written the names of three men who died in 1898, reputedly when the building was being moved. Many local stories are connected with it. The last building making up the Marathon Inn is the Captain’s Quarters – originally Captain Pettes home – which was relocated here from Pettes Cove.
Architecturally, the buildings that comprise the Marathon Inn are among the more eclectic on the island. The main building, located on the eastern end of the complex, has a mansard roof and is in the Second Empire Style. The three-storey mid-section or Annex building has a shallow Dutch Colonial Revival gambrel roof with a belvedere and is of ‘balloon’ construction with 4×5 inch studs running from the foundation to the roof. The most westerly section, the two-storey Captain’s Quarters, is of board and batten construction and also has characteristics of the Dutch Colonial Revival style which was fairly common in throughout New Brunswick.