White Point Beach Resort has been welcoming guests to create memories by the sea for close to 90 years. This iconic property is located on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, and is a popular year-round destination for locals, visitors from across North America, and international travellers.
I recently chatted with Donna Hatt, Marketing and Product Development Manager for White Point Beach Resort, to learn more about the history and impact of this long-time local business, and what to expect in 2017.
White Point Beach Resort’s story starts almost a century ago when Philip Hooper Moore, an engineer from Newton Massachusetts, set up a hunting and fishing lodge on the Mersey River.
“He had a real passion for big game hunting and fishing. Bear, moose, tuna, the big game stuff. He was inviting his friends, colleagues, others, all to come up to Nova Scotia to his lodge on the Mersey River,” Donna says.
But when the Mersey Paper Mill was being built, they decided to purchase and flood properties along the Mersey to harness the energy from the river as fuel. Philip’s lodge was one of the properties they purchased.
Philip had a great business going, and he didn’t want to give it up, so he went in search of a new location. In his search, he discovered White Point’s present-day location and started to build.
That was in 1928. Initially, the lodge attracted men. They would visit for long periods of time to go hunting and fishing.
It wasn’t long until wives and family members started asking to join, which, in turn, started to change and add to the White Point experience.
“They would practice archery and have tea for high noon, and dinner parties, and games and have dances upstairs in the boathouse. It just kept expanding and growing,” Donna says.
By the 1930s the stock market had crashed, and Philip went bankrupt. But White Point lived on, thanks to the Elliot family, who continued to expand and grow the property. In 1988, Nova Scotia Businessman, Robert Risley became infatuated with White Point, fuelling nearly 30 years of evolution.
And it certainly has grown! In 2016, White Point Beach Resort welcomed more than 45,000 guests to stay and play on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. Guests come from across Canada, the United States, Germany, China, the UK, and many more international points of departure each year.
There’s a lot to do at White Point. The main lodge is a hub of activity year round, where you can swim and soak in the indoor pool and hot tub, sweat it out in the gym or sauna, and gather friends together in the games room for some pool or fooseball.
There’s a seaside dining hall where you can enjoy the famous White Point buffet or select something from their Taste of Nova Scotia menu.
In the evenings, guests gather around the fire in the lodge, often to enjoy the sounds of local musicians. They had 160 nights of live entertainment last year, something they plan to match or exceed in 2017.
And as Donna says, it’s always beach weather at White Point. Year-round, guests walk the on-site nature trails and the mile-long beach and gather round the seaside fire pit to roast marshmallows and make s’mores.
From Victoria Day Weekend until Thanksgiving, the boathouse offers free use of paddle boats, kayaks, canoes and bicycles to use on and around the fresh water lake. There’s surfing gear, surf lessons and stand-up paddleboard rentals too. There’s a tennis court and a garden where they grow vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, and they’ve recently started keeping bee hives.
What Makes Them Unique
White Point Beach Resort sits on a living shoreline. Each year, more than four feet of sand gets swept out to sea, then returned, a nature face lift which takes twelve months to complete. This phenomenon has made White Point a preferred nesting location for the endangered piping plover.
“We can never underestimate the actual power and influence of the spectacular surroundings we’re in,” Donna says.
In addition to the ocean and the beach, White Point has a large freshwater lake, nature trails, and a host of friendly wildlife. They’re well known for the many White Point bunnies that greet guests around the property, and they are also a monitoring location for the monarch butterfly.
All that nature has a big impact on guests.
“Many people tell us that as soon as they turn down the driveway and pass through the fairways, they feel like there’s a big net that catches all the little troubles from life, and they begin to relax,” Donna says.
And while the natural surroundings at White Point play a big role, it’s not the only thing that keeps guests coming back year after year. There is a real sense of family at White Point.
“We see kids grow up through the years. The dining staff will remember when they were two and now they are getting married. When we ask people what brings you back, they say it feels like family to them,” Donna says.
In fact, 50% of guests are repeat visitors.
“They tell us what works for them, they tell us when we shouldn’t have moved a painting. They treat it very much like their own home,” Donna says.
Why Buy Local
White Point Beach Resort is independently owned, and they employ more than 160 people, so community support plays a big role in everything they do.
“We’re local, so everything we do, our footprint, has a significant impact, and gives us permission to invite our guests to learn about that as well,” Donna says.
The walls are filled with local artwork, the kitchen and bar are stocked with local food and drink, and there is often a local musician playing in the lounge in the evenings.
“We believe in supporting our community. Giving folks an opportunity to shop local, taste local, support local is quite important,” Donna says.
This extends to the gift shop, where the shelves are stocked with the work of more than 65 local artisans.
“People take pieces back to their homes all over the world. Knowing they’re taking home something that’s been hand-touched and admired and inspired by this area is really quite unique and an important piece of what we do,” Donna says.
What’s Coming Up in 2017:
“All of our programs are meant to create an opportunity for people to play and to learn, but most importantly to connect. Spend time with the people they’ve come with,” Donna says.
On January 1st, White Point Beach Resort kicked off the new year, and the start of #Canada150, with the Great Polar Bunny Dip. More than 170 people joined in for the 3 pm dip, donning red and white for the occasion.
But that event was just the start of a whole year of #Canada150 celebrations.
“What we’ve challenged ourselves to do in 2017 is that each month there will be a signature experience that will tie and celebrate us as Canadians,” Donna says.
There is so much coming up at White Point this year, but here are a few highlights to keep an eye out for:
S’more Canada, Eh!
January 21st and ongoing throughout 2017
A follow-up to their popular year of the s’more, White Point Beach will welcome a new S’more each month that celebrates a different Canadian province or territory. The first S’more will be released January 21st. Head over to their event page to have your say on what each provincial S’more should taste like!
Sable Island Ashore:
Saturday January 28 – 29, 2017
Sable Island comes ashore at White Point Beach. White Point has partnered with Parks Canada for an in-depth look at life on Sable Island. Zoe Lucas, the longest living resident of Sable Island, will be the guest speaker, along with the lead archaeologist, birders, and a series of artists who are experts or who have been tremendously influenced by Sable Island. Learn more about the event HERE.
DIY By The Sea:
February 3 – 5, 2017
Start, finish and take home 8 new projects during this weekend-long event led by Front Porch Mercantile. Everything will be provided, including instructions and guidance. Participants will get to work with natural Milk Paint, FAT Paint, Chalk Style Paints and Fusion Mineral Paints (all made in Canada) and learn skills to keep DIY-ing once home!
On The Rocks:
February 17 – 19, 2017
This wildly popular event is back for it’s 10th year. Linger around the lounge on Friday night, sleep late on Saturday and enjoy a day around the pool deck, strolls along the beach, before heading to the S’more Social, then take in the main event on Saturday (7 pm – 9pm). Sample over 75 varieties of wine, beer and spirits from Nova Scotia and around the world paired with hors d’oeuvres prepared be Chef Alan Crosby. This year, proceeds will support Integrity Haven Equine Rescue Centre in Chester, Nova Scotia.
March Break is a Beach!
March 10 – 19, 2017
White Point has dedicated March Break to celebrating Canada’s rich heritage. The week is packed with fun activities including a Lumberjack show with Darren Hudson, Mi’Kmaq Heritage Day with Acadia First Nation, learning to make nautical and traditional knots with All For Knot, and so much more! There will also be S’mores by the bonfire (of course!). See the line-up HERE.
April 7 – 9, 2017
This will be the fourth annual Quilt Atlantic, a fabric artist retreat. Join in as participants stitch their way across Canada, learn from Atlantic Canadian artists, and meet quilters and fabric enthusiasts during this weekend at the beach! Details HERE.
Colouring on the Coast:
May 5 – 7, 2017
This popular event is back for a second year! Meet a few colouring book artists from across Canada, celebrate and discover Canadian colouring books, and indulge in some colouring. There’s few better places for such a relaxing activity than at the beach! Details HERE.
And there’s an exciting new series coming to the beach, too! Starting in June White Point Beach Resort will release a new signature experience for Nova Scotia, a beach dining experience. Start the evening at the bonfire, dine on local fare on the beach, head out under the night sky for a dark sky journey with a guide from the national park, then enjoy a blind wine tasting. This new experience will be offered just a few times in 2017, with just 14 seats available at each!
We’re so happy to have had the chance to partner with White Point Beach Resort for our 2016 Local Wishlist. White Point is one of our favourite places to go when we need a little rest, relaxation, and romance, even more so during these colder months when you can really cozy up in a cabin and by the fire in the lodge!
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