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Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076
Book Online or call VRBO Booking Assistance: 888-829-7076

The Writer's Retreat -- an Idyllic Escape in Nova Scotia

Bedrooms 3
Space 2,600 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 7 nights


About the property

3 Bedrooms + Convertible bed(s), 2 Baths, (Sleeps 6)

Welcome to the Writer's Retreat! If you love breathtaking scenery, beauty & serenity inside and out, abundant wildlife, kayaking & hiking, fresh lobster & Celtic music, you've come to the right place. Everything you'll need for a perfect getaway is here waiting for you.

Nestled on a private 18-acre peninsula with sweeping views of Breen's Pond, St. George's Bay, and the Cape George lighthouse, this contemporary three-story home is an idyllic and inspiring retreat. Every room and deck has such a lovely view of sky and water, it's like living in a watercolor. And you're only four minutes from the village of Havre Boucher, where you can buy fresh lobster (in season) off the boat, ten minutes from Cape Breton with its famed Cabot Trail, Celtic Music Interpretive Center, whale watching, and Gampo Abbey, and twenty-five minutes from the charming university town of Antigonish with its fine restaurants and dining.

Outdoors, you’ll be welcomed by an extraordinary array of birds and wildlife that share this serene and unspoiled place–-bald eagle, arctic tern, marsh hawk, kingfisher, blue heron, rabbit, and deer, just to name a few.

Indoors you’ll be welcomed by warm birch floors, elegant furnishings, original art, and the stunning Nova Scotia sea-blue concrete countertops, hearth, and Celtic mural. The high-end kitchen has everything you'll need for entertaining–-even a wine cooler. The dining room seats 8 around the antique round pine table and lazy susan. The living room has a comfy fold-out couch (in case of overflow) and a glass-front Jøtul woodburning stove. Interior glass French doors lead to the bedroom on the main floor with its custom-designed birch four-poster queen-sized bed with lovely water views, a sunny window seat, a leather club chair and ottoman, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, and an en-suite bathroom with blue concrete counter tops. Sliding doors lead from the bedroom to the screened porch with its porch swing, glider, and a bistro table and chairs, all overlooking the water.

On the upper level, you'll find the spacious sky-lit master suite. The master bedroom has a carved Caribbean four-poster queen-sized bed and its own private deck. The master bath has a two-person jacuzzi with a gorgeous view. There's office space, too, and a large upper deck--the perfect spot to bird watch or count shooting stars.

On the lower level, the turquoise concrete floor flows to the third bedroom with its antique mahogany sleigh bed and dresser and walk-out water view. There's a fully-equipped laundry room on this lower level, too.

Inside or out, it’s a wonderful place to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty, entertain your family and friends, or just relax. In the morning you can sip your tea or coffee on one of the decks and watch the mist rising on Breen's pond or the lobster boats coming and going on St. George's Bay. In the afternoon, you can walk down the path to the water's edge where a kayak and canoe are waiting, or you can walk the private trails or out to Cape Jack Beach where the swimming is excellent. In the evening you can watch the fire, the sunset, the lingering twilight, the Cape George lighthouse, and the constellations overhead.

As our guests have said many times, it truly is a magical place.

Keywords: Villa

More Details

Member since: 2009
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a day
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
June 28, 2017

About The Owner

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Writer's Retreat, a place I love--and love to share with others--and my darling maltipoo, Belle. I've done some of my best writing here (I'm the author of the memoir STIFLED LAUGHTER: ONE WOMAN'S STORY ABOUT FIGHTING CENSORSHIP, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the inaugural PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award. My text screenwriting textbook CRAFTING SHORT SCREENPLAYS THAT CONNECT is now in its 4th edition, and my novella A CHRISTMAS BELLE, written with my long-time writing partner, Matt Stevens, is a sequel to Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. And I have a new memoir coming out in October 2017, HURTLING TOWARD HAPPINESS: A MOTHER' AND TEENAGE SON'S ROAD TRIP FROM BLUES TO BONDING IN A REALLY SMALL CAR. I'm a longtime member of the WGA and the founding faculty of the Florida State University Film School. I left the Film School to teach screenwriting at USC's Writing for Film & Television Division of their School of Cinematic Arts.

The Owner purchased this house in 2006

Why The Owner chose Nova Scotia

I bought this private, unspoiled 18-acre peninsula and built the Writer's Retreat because I fell in love with the serenity, beauty, astonishing views, sunsets, and long Celtic twilights. The starry nights aren't bad, either. I love the peace and quietude and the many critters who share this peaceable kingdom--bald eagles, arctic terns, bobolinks, kingfishers, herons, ducks, deer and other wildlife. I also love the convenience of hiking the private trails and kayaking right off my backyard on Breen's Pond. And I love how close I am to Antigonish and Cape Breton (I love Celtic music!). But most of all, I chose to settle in Nova Scotia because the people in the Province are uncommonly kind, creative, authentic, and just plain wonderful to be around.

What makes this house unique

Staying at the Writer's Retreat is like living in a bright, cheerful art gallery. In the morning it's such a pleasure to walk down the stairs and see the Nova Scotia sea-blue concrete counter tops in the kitchen and living room harmonizing with the Nova Scotia sea-blue water outside. The skies are spectacular, too -- like living in a watercolor! And I love the layered view from all the rooms and decks--the wildness of Eagle Island and the traditional houses and barns on Cape Jack, as well as the beauty of Breen's Pond, Cape George Beach, St. George's Bay, and Cape George and its lighthouse. I love entertaining, and it's such a great party house! Great flow through the house and onto the decks. I love all five decks, but at night my favorite is the upper deck where friends and I can watch the sunset and Celtic twilight and count shooting stars (there are plenty). I also love building fires in the wood burning stoves that make the place especially cozy on cool days and nights. And I feel incredibly lucky to be able to buy fresh lobster off the boat for roughly $5.00 a pound at nearby Havre Boucher during the season (May and June) or go whale watching in St. George's Bay. I'm crazy about Celtic music, so it's a privilege to be so close to Cape Breton with its world-famous musicians like Natalie MacMaster and the new Celtic Music Interpretive Center with its frequent ceilidhs, fantastic music, and great lobster rolls. I love being close to the theatre and restaurants in nearby Antigonish, or toodling to Halifax for a day in that wonderful city.


Havre Boucher House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 2600 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 3:30 PM / Check-out: 9:30 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Beach View
  • Ocean View
  • Waterfront
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Parking
  • Telephone
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wood Stove ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 8 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
  • The master en suite has a two-person jacuzzi and unique and beautiful Nova Scotia sea-blue concrete counter with playful overflow and lovely mosaic work.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Queen size Beds (1) Carved Caribbean four-poster bed in master bedroom., Double Beds (1) Antique mahogany sleigh bed in walk-out bedroom., Sleep Sofa or Futons (1) Comfy futon in the living room and an L.L. Bean sleeper-sofa in the den/family room on the main level.
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Stereo
  • Television
  • Toys
  • Balcony
  • Deck / Patio
  • Lawn / Garden
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • restaurants
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • boating
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • wildlife viewing
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cross country skiing
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • kayaking
  • sailing
  • swimming
Wine cooler, kayaks, canoe, hiking trails


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(6 traveler reviews)

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The Writer's Retreat -- an Idyllic Escape in Nova Scotia
average rating of 4.8333335 based on 6 reviews
Long Island, New York

Wonderful Family Retreat

  • 4 of 5

We stayed there with another couple in October, 2914 during the peak of foliage season. The house is isolated and has a spectacular water view. A kayak and canoe are provided for use in the pond behind the house.

There are many walking trails on the property with lot of room for the kids and dogs to play outside.

For those that want to travel, The Writer's Retreat is centrally located in Nova Scotia with easy access to Cape Breton, the Cabot Trail and the Ceildh Trail. It is also possible to do day trips to Halifax and PEI. Antigonish is just 20 minutes away.

The house is nicely decorated and has 5 deck with great views. The upper level with the master bedroom, bathroom and a sitting area with a desk is especially attractive.

The owner is extremely accommodating and friendly and has caregivers nearby if needed in her absence.

Staying at The Writer's Retreat was a great decision. It provided a home away from home for a fabulous vacation!

  • Submitted: Jan 14, 2015
  • Stayed: Oct 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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1 0
Bloomington, IIN

Worth a return trip!

  • 5 of 5

The second time was just as great as last summer! Weather was wetter than last year, but a great experience to see the Writer's Retreat with storm clouds racing over St. George's Bay! Lots of thing to do even under cloudy skies..... catch up on some reading, love cooking in the great kitchen. How decadent! Hope we can get back next year too. So different than Indiana; really feels like a vacation!

  • Submitted: Sep 12, 2013
  • Stayed: Jun 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Bloomington, IIN

Leave the chaos behind!

  • 5 of 5

Looking for a HUGE change of life style for a week or so, this is the place to be. All the electronic bells and whistles are there, but you will never think of using them.....did not turn on a TV or radio or computer during the whole stay! Eagles, harriers, terns, gulls, families of ducks of many kinds; deer porqupines, families of raccoons.....these were much more interesting than email or the nightly news! Open mowed paths in the meadows among young apple trees, spruces and hawthorns make it easy to forget the world left behind. Wildflowers and lovely kept gardens and roses around the house set a colorful, peaceful atmosphere. Inside on the screened porch or out on one of the many decks for the sunset, the darkness falls and bed calls! Up the next morning to start anew!

People in the nearby towns are a joy to speak with; answereing questions and sharing stories. The roads are wonderful for those who enjoy driving....never far from gorgeous views - always with water and horizons.

The property exceeds the photos and descriptions! Upon arriving, all I could do was whisper to my sister....afraid that loud noises would break the spell! So much to see and do if you are looking for an easier, quieter time of life just for a week or two.

You can always COME BACK..........

  • Submitted: Aug 3, 2012
  • Stayed: Jul 2012
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0
Virginia, USA

Composer's Retreat, as well

  • 5 of 5

A week stay was not long enough in this fantasy world. The silence was golden, as I spent hours composing music. The weather was different each day, however no matter what the weather, this spot "works it". AND THE 5 PORCHES !! My favorite was the double swing on the screened porch - thank you very much. A glorious hideaway or central location for sight-seeing, the house was as comfortable to live in as my own home. Everyone should be so lucky to experience the serenity of this Nova Scotia home away from home. Bravo !! Encore?

  • Submitted: Aug 3, 2012
  • Stayed: Jul 2012
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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1 0
Lakefield, Ontario

Great Time!

  • 5 of 5

My husband and myself along with 2 other couples visited the Writers Retreat the week of July 7-14 2012. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather or a greater host! The house was great for lounging around, eating big dinners together and sitting on one of the many porches watching the sun set. We had a wonderful vacation and would recommend this spot to anyone looking for a relaxing setting with beautiful views with a very accomodating host! Thank you!!

  • Submitted: Jul 26, 2012
  • Stayed: Jul 2012
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0

Stayed here in July of 20...

  • 5 of 5

Stayed here in July of 2009. There were six of us -- all adults: my wife and me, son and daughter and their spouses. Everyone had a wonderful time. The owners were gracious, made our stay most comfortable. Our favorite activities were watching sunsets, although hiking around the property and to nearby Cape Jack Beach, and kayaking on the pond were excellent as well.

The place is a total delight. The views are spectacular, the interior charming, the wildlife exciting, and the tranquility incomparable. It's a great spot for taking day trips into Cape Bretton from. And there's golfing in Antigonish, Guysboro, and Dundee -- each an easy drive from the house. We're eager to return.

  • Submitted: Dec 13, 2009
  • Stayed: Dec 2009
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Dear S Tappan -- So glad you had such a marvelous time & come back soon!
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1 0


Car: necessary

Buying fresh lobster off the boat, whale watching, Celtic music and driving or biking the legendary Cabot Trail on Cape Breton.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee $175
Damage Deposit $500

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.

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