Nova Scotia’s south shore is a part of the province that truly comes to life during the summer months, a region studded with shockingly beautiful white sand beaches and small oceanside communities. During high season fish ’n’ chip shacks, ice cream stands and farmers’ markets are all revived, to serve locals and tourists alike, for the short — but glorious — summer. Directly off Highway 103, heading toward the southern tip of the province, is a little town called Liverpool, built on where the Mersey River meets the sea. Lane’s Privateer Inn is a bright spot in this community; formerly the home of Privateer sea captain Joseph Barss, this historic building has been owned and operated as an inn by the Lane family since 1962.
I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Lane during my stay at the inn. I was set up in a queen suite, a lovely, renovated room with views of the Mersey River. Many of the rooms have been updated, and Lane’s has been undergoing renovations since 2014. My suite housed a bedroom with an amazing ensuite bathroom; it had a stone tiled walk-in shower. The sitting room offered a pull-out sofa bed, flat screen TV, small fridge and the usual hotel amenities. Off of this room there was an additional bathroom with a shower-tub combo.
During my stay I dined twice onsite: once in the restaurant and pub, and another in the Bristol Room, where breakfast is served. Dinner on the patio of the restaurant was relaxing and leisurely, we sat underneath a pergola overgrown with ivy and gazed at the river, while eating local seafood paired with Nova Scotia wine (Planter’s Ridge Riesling). Breakfast was surprisingly ample, the options that were included with the room were way better than your typical continental; I went for the haddock fishcake, eggs and beans. You can also pay to order from the full breakfast menu, which has items like eggs Benedict and French toast.
This year Lane’s is operating the lighthouse at nearby Fort Point; which means staffing the gift shop and offering lunch options. Boxed lunches from Lane’s can be ordered at the Inn or at the lighthouse. The menu consists of three salad options, five sandwiches (with thoughtful and creative ingredients), two desserts and blueberry lemonade. We chose our boxed lunches during check out, and then headed over the bridge into downtown Liverpool, hung a left and drove out to Fort Point, not even five minutes away. Once at Fort Point you are truly on the ocean, there’s a small park and picnic area, benches, and of course the historic lighthouse which is open to the public and serves as a kind of micro-museum. Fort Point Lighthouse Park is famous for being the site where deMonts and Champlain landed in 1604, as well as a Privateers’ fort that defended Liverpool and trading routes in the 18th Century. Inside the structure, climb the steep ladder-like stairs to the second floor and you can watch a video commentary of the last lighthouse keepers’ son; climb one more flight and you can see the light, and take a turn on the hand-cranked fog horn.
Our lunch arrived in about 30 minutes, in a beautiful hand-made wooden box. I had the tuna niçoise sandwich, a spinach salad with blueberry dressing and a brownie. The delicious blueberry lemonade is made with locally produced Van Dyke’s blueberry juice. The boxes are done nicely, with real cutlery, napkins, plates and the lemonade served in a mason jar. Camped out at a picnic table, with the ocean stretching into the horizon behind us, we enjoyed our lunch under a flawless blue sky on a breezy summer afternoon. A perfect day on the south shore.
Visit Lane’s Privateer Inn online here.