Nestled on a hill overlooking Whale Cove Harbour, Whale Cove Cottages can be found in the charming community of North Head on Grand Manan Island. A hidden gem along Whistle Road, Whale Cove Cottage Road leads you through a tree-lined path to a clearing with a stunning view of the cove, where the cottages are situated. The property includes a main farmhouse and three cottages.
Designated as a Local Historic Place, Whale Cove Cottages on Grand Manan Island offer visitors a chance to step back in time and experience a serene, rustic setting. Each cottage was originally a farm building, with the main house dating back to 1816 and the other cottages built in 1840.
The former cooper settler’s farmstead was saved from deterioration between 1900 and 1902 by four enterprising women from Boston: Miss Sarah Jacobus, Barbara Adams, Miss Marie Felix, and Miss Alice Coney. They purchased and renovated the property, transforming it into the Whale Cove Cottages.
Originally, the site featured a barn, cooper shop, main house, and guest house, with no modern amenities such as plumbing, electricity, radio, or telephone. The guest house eventually became known as Orchardside Cottage due to the apple orchard in its front yard.
Nowadays, the main house boasts a public dining hall, while the barn has been replaced by a cottage built in 1920. Famed author Willa Cather often sought refuge here during her early summers on Grand Manan Island, before having her own cottage built nearby.
During her first visit to Grand Manan in 1922, Willa worked on “A Lost Lady” while staying at Orchardside with her life companion, Edith Lewis. They continued to visit the island for several years until constructing their own cottage in 1927.
Willa’s only story directly inspired by the island was “Before Breakfast” from “The Old Beauty and Others”, published in 1948. However, it is believed that the island’s captivating atmosphere and landscape indirectly influenced her other works.
In fact, Edith Lewis wrote in Willa Cather Living that it was on Grand Manan that Willa discovered the beauty, solitude, and natural rhythms of tide and wind that fuelled her imagination.
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