The Authentic Seacoast Company, established in 2005, was born from a vision to restore the proud trading heritage of our special place on Nova Scotia’s beautiful Eastern Shore in the historic village of Guysborough, and to celebrate the area’s rich natural environment, culture and traditions through unique experiences, services and products with our guests, visitors and fans.
The Authentic Seacoast campus consists of ten sites sprinkled throughout the village. They include:
- DesBarres Manor Inn (90 Church Street), on 6 acres in the heart of town, next to the Guysborough Court House Museum;
- Ferry Lane properties:
- Distillery/brewery (75 Ferry Lane), our showcase distillery/brewery, and maturation warehouse;
- Distillery House across the street from our showcase distillery/brewery;
- Yurts in the Vineyard, adjacent to our distillery/brewery;
- Vineyard, apiary, hopyard and gardens on more than 60 oceanfront acres;
- Mussel Cove property including 44 oceanfront wooded acres, apiary, and wharf from which watercraft (sea kayaks, canoes, sailing, …) originate to explore Guysborough harbour and beyond;
- Route 16 property (#10625 Route 16), across from Mussel Cove, where we roast our certified organic, fairtrade and kosher coffees on Big Red; and our
- Main Street properties:
- Harbour Belle Bakery (67 Main Street), where we bake hand-crafted FORTRESS Rum Cake, roast specialty coffees on Little Red and make other goodies,
- Skipping Stone (72 Main Street) and Rare Bird (80 Main Street), now used for administrative and manufacturing functions.
At Authentic Seacoast, we offer three unique Seacoast Stays at our historic DesBarres Manor Inn (since 1837), our comfortable Distillery House, and our one-of-a-kind glamping experience in our Yurts in the Vineyard, all of which can be booked online here or by phoning us directly.
We’ve crafted these experiences to offer our guests three special ways to design their adventures and explorations in Guysborough and along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. The spectrum ranges from Distillery House, to self-catering Yurts in the Vineyard, to full-service DesBarres Manor Inn.
DesBarres Manor is a ten (10) room three-story, historic inn, featuring large, well-appointed rooms, with ensuite bathrooms. Each is named after a historic figure or place with a special connection to the Inn. Common areas include the parlour, bar, private dining room, large dining room and reception. Our beautiful custom-designed, full-service restaurant provides breakfast and by reservation, multi-course fine dining, which is open to the public. The menu features authentic cuisine that draws upon what we produce locally, whether it be fresh halibut caught that day by Chef’s husband, Chedabucto Bay lobster and scallops, seasonal vegetables and herbs from our gardens, honey produced by our hardworking Guysborough bees, our Acadian Maple syrup, FORTRESS® Rum cake, freshly roasted Full Steam® Coffee, Nova Scotia wines and of course, spirits and craft beers made at our distillery. The Inn is a perfect place for small groups, couples and individual travellers to relax and experience the authentic seacoast.
Glamping in the Vineyard offers guests a self-catering experience in a beautiful natural environment. Located at our ocean-side vineyard, next to our distillery/brewery, our yurts are dispersed around the 60+ acre property offering a sense of privacy, as well as a sense of community. Each insulated, off-grid yurt, on 20’x30’ or 30’x30’ raised platforms, offers well-appointed interiors, and free wi-fi. Each has a BBQ, firepit and picnic table. Four yurts, closer to the distillery/brewery, including wood stoves for year-round use. Guests register and park their vehicles at the distillery/brewery and are taken to their accommodations by golf cart. Washrooms, showers, dishwashing and laundry facilities are offered at guest services buildings on site. Yurts are referred to as chateaus in keeping with our historic location in a vineyard and named after various site features.
Distillery House is a ten (10) room, motel-style accommodations conveniently located across the street from the distillery/brewery. Each has a separate entrance, free wi-fi and parking. Totally renovated in 2019, it offers guests a comfortable stay. Guests check-in at the distillery reception and can relax in its hospitality room, join in a tasting, participate in a workshop or facility tour (by reservation), or plan their day. Foodservice is available by reservation at DesBarres Manor Inn, and of course, at local establishments in the village. Rooms at Distillery House are named after elements related to the making of our legendary products, such as FORTRESS, GRIST, SEA FEVER, MASH, POT STILL, VIRGA, HEARTS, RARE BIRD, OAK and GLYNNEVAN, to connect visitors to this unique place.
All guests of Authentic Seacoast have pedestrian access to the Mussel Cove wharf where waterfront adventures begin. Sea kayaks, canoes and bicycles can be rented at the hospitality desk in the distillery.
For history buffs, there is much to learn about Guysborough’s story spanning its settlement by First Nations, to migrations of early Europeans, Acadians, British, Americans, Afro-Canadians, and many others. Sharing the tale of Prince Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney’s visit in 1398, over a GLYNNEVAN® Whisky in front of the fire can be captivating. From the founding of the Acadian settlement in 1629 and subsequent battles for control of the fishery to the first commercial brewery by Nicholas Denys in 1659 (where Maritime Brewing Began), to the battle for North American supremacy in the 1700s between the British and French, then the Wars of Independence, and subsequent waves of settlement, to the founding of the Province of Nova Scotia in 1867, and to the rise of Guysborough to the early 1900s, there is much to be told.
History of DesBarres Manor Inn
DesBarres Manor and the people associated with it over more than 180 years share an extraordinary history. It was built in a rare Egyptian revival style in 1837 as the home of William Frederick DesBarres. W.F. DesBarres had a distinguished career as a lawyer, legislator and jurist, serving as Nova Scotia’s Solicitor General and on the Supreme Court.
Justice DesBarres was the eldest grandson of Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres, an army officer, military engineer, surveyor and administrator. He had six children with his first wife Mary Cannon and eleven with his second Martha Williams. He founded the town of Sydney and was the Lieutenant Governor of both Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. It is reputed DesBarres celebrated his hundredth birthday by dancing on a tabletop in Halifax. There he died one month short of 103 and was buried beside his wife Martha Williams in Halifax.
J.F.W. DesBarres was convinced of the great potential of the Maritime colonies for settlement, obtaining property in Guysborough, Tatamagouche, Falmouth Township, and Cumberland County in Nova Scotia, as well as tracts between the Memramcook and Petitcodiac rivers in present-day New Brunswick. These acquisitions made him one of the largest landowners in the Maritimes.
According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, “There can be no dispute that his greatest contribution is the Atlantic Neptune, which stands as a landmark in Canadian cartographic achievement.” The survey work took more than twenty years to complete. Neptune was published by him on behalf of the British Admiralty and appeared between 1774 and 1784. It is an atlas of charts of the coastline of British North America from Montreal to the Gulf of Mexico. The charts were considered to be secret and highly valuable in the siting of harbours, naval fortifications and navigational guidance at a time of continent-wide military conflict.
We feature several of DesBarres’ original and very rare maps at the Inn and Distillery, as well as those of other leading cartographers, providing guests with a glimpse into the rich history of the area, and to share our discovery and wonderment about the rich tapestry that forms the Canadian experience.