The aptly named Rose Cottage on Grand Manan was once surrounded by beautiful pink roses and considered the most popular spot on the island. This charming, antique white, three-story building featured a wrap-around veranda and stood opposite the North Head Baptist Church.
Originally the home of Calvin and May Scovil, the main house later became a hotel after Calvin remarried to Alice. The idea to convert their home into a hotel emerged in the late 1920s when a visitor inquired about lodgings on the island, as recalled by a former employee.
Over time, the main house was expanded with the addition of an annex and eight or nine guest cottages, eventually opening to the public.
The main building housed the dining room, shared bathrooms, and several guest rooms. Each cottage was equipped with a bed, closet, chamber pot, and washbasin. A one-week stay at the Rose Cottage, including room and meals, cost $15.00 per guest.
Transportation was quite different in the early 1900s compared to today. The Iron Duke (Grand Manan II) traveled to St. Andrews on Monday, Saint John on Tuesday, and St. Stephen on Thursday. With Gilmore’s Taxi being the only service on the island at the time, visitors depended on it for transportation. Conveniently, the taxi was located just across the road from the Rose Cottage.
M.V. Grand Manan II aka “The Iron Duke” Service 1930-1940As Gilmore’s Taxi was the only service on the island at that time, and the Gilmores were one of the first families to own a car, visitors relied on their service. Fortunately, the taxi was located just across the road from the Rose Cottage.
At that time, people typically traveled by foot and seldom ventured beyond their village. The roads were rough and not suitable for driving, but the taxi would pick up passengers at the boat and transport them to picturesque locations such as Dark Harbour or Southern Head. The Rose Cottage’s kitchen staff prepared lunches for guests and the taxi driver for day trips down the island.
Guests enjoyed a peaceful stay at the charming Rose Cottage on an island with stunning views and a nearby sand beach. The excellent cuisine was made from the freshest ingredients, with Jesse (Hatt) Parker as the cook and Mr. Scovil providing milk, butter, cream, vegetables, and fish from his farm and sardine weir. Guests enjoyed various activities such as hiking, beach visits, crokinole or croquet, painting, and listening to radio news reports.
The cook was kept busy feeding all the guests by herself, while the waitresses and chambermaids also had their hands full with work. Many staff members slept in the main house due to the lack of transportation. The waitresses had to serve guests in two dining rooms, managing around 20-25 large tables. They sometimes had to lend a hand in the kitchen as well.
The male staff members had different responsibilities from their female counterparts, including carrying guests’ luggage, mowing the lawn, and trimming the bushes. They also assisted in milking the cows and separating cream from the milk.
The Rose Cottage welcomed a diverse array of guests, including salespeople, artists, birdwatchers, doctors, and biologists. Visitors from Montreal, Boston, New York, Maine, Pennsylvania, Italy, and England stayed at the Cottage. The Inn’s register, featuring guests’ signatures, can be viewed at the Grand Manan Museum. Some guests may have even signed in under false identities if they were famous or important. The guests were described as snobbish, pleasant, famous, and good tippers.
By the 1950s, the once-famous Rose Cottage began to decline. After Mr. Scovil’s death, his wife could not manage the inn alone. In 1959, Mr. Losier received the property to demolish the inn, leaving only the guest cottages in the backyard. A few of these cottages still exist scattered around the island.
The Rose Cottage holds a special place in the memories of the hardworking staff and many loyal guests who appreciated the simplicity, beauty, and tranquility it offered. It existed in a time when people valued a dollar and preferred watching the sunset over browsing the internet. The Rose Cottage’s charm and serenity will always be remembered.
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