Your experience begins as you drive along
the South Side Harbour Rd. This undulating
lane runs along the eastern side of
Antigonish Harbour, starting as the South
River empties into a picturesque estuary.
From there, the road twists past hedgerow
lined fields, traditional farms and wooded
copses as it makes its way along the Harbour.
Eight kilometers in you’ll see the sign for
Aveline Ave. – our private lane that we
whimsically call, “Monk’s Gut”. The cottage
is to your right as you come down the
driveway. From the parking area, you enter
the front gardens through a bijou
grapevine-laden arbor – a gateway to your
vacation, one might say. Here, surrounded by
verdant hedgerows, you feel as though you
have entered a living, open ceiling-ed room.
If you enjoy gardens you’ll adore the Ivy
Cottage. Between the bonfire pit, picnic
table and Adirondack chairs, many visitors
rarely venture indoors. Depending on the
season you can even pick wild bumble berries
to enjoy with cream or find some organic
vegetables delivered from the kitchen garden
to your doorstep in time for supper.
Upon entering the cottage proper, you will
feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Much of the structure is made from reclaimed
building materials and even though there is
every modern comfort, this cozy space
instantly makes one relax and breathe out.
The burnished wood, hand made cabinets and
comfy antique and rustic furnishings make
this a true treat and retreat. And, sshh!
there are arguably the best harbour views in
all of “Monk’s Gut”.
Now, getting down to business, the main
level is small but perfectly formed. It
comprises a master bedroom, bath, kitchen
and combined dining and living rooms. There
you will also find the entertainment system,
satellite TV, a veritable library of great
books and magazines and, in the unlikely
event of a cool evening, a robust little
Jotul wood stove. In the kitchen is
everything needed to set up housekeeping.
Beyond the standard items – fridge, stove,
microwave - you have a toaster oven, French
press, expresso pot, wine glasses, spices
and a delightful collection of lanterns and
candles. And while on the topic of spices,
just outside the mudroom door, you will find
fresh chives, oregano and basil to add a
little zip to your culinary offerings.
A small dining area has views of the
neighboring countryside as well as
Antigonish Harbour and the lane outside the
house. Or step outside onto the front deck
and watch the world go by as you sip your
early morning coffee. There is abundant bird
life and, from the front windows, it’s not
uncommon to see porcupines, raccoons, deer,
the resident red tailed hawk or an enormous
pair of bald eagles.
The main bedroom is tucked quietly at the
back. It has a ceiling fan, closet and chest
of drawers. The bathroom is also on this
level and has the usual tub/shower set up
plus a sky light and of course, ample hot
On the lower level, there’s a studio
space complete with single bed, a laundry
room and a second full bedroom. This space,
with its salvaged wood floors (salvaged from
the local dance hall no less – go ahead, try
a Highland Jig!) and ample light can prove a
peaceful retreat when you want a break from
the great out-of-doors… or simply yearning
for a cool, quiet space.
Perhaps the best space in the house is
the screened porch. Perfect for early
breakfasts at first morning light, a bit of
shade or pleasant shelter from an afternoon
shower. Better still, it is the perfect
setting for a delightful candle lit evening
meal. A cozier spot you are unlikely to
find. Ivy Cottage is romantic and secluded
and sitting on the porch at night you can
listen to the croaks of the tree frogs or
the yips of coyotes.