Destination: Fox Harb’r, Atlantic Canada’s Premier Luxury Oceanside Resort

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Landscaped entrance to Fox Harb'r with fox sculptures. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Landscaped entrance to Fox Harb’r with fox sculptures. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Once upon a time in a far away land, there lived a prince who ruled over a secluded oceanfront resort in Nova Scotia called Fox Harb’r. {Cue violins.}

I’m starting my story with a fairytale intro because Fox Harb’r IS like fairyland—an exclusive luxury getaway distinguished by gorgeous surroundings, gracious hospitality, mouthwatering maritime cuisine and all the comforts of home. And golf. Did I mention a Graham Cooke-designed championship course plus a 9-hole executive course meandering along the sheltered coast of the Northumberland Strait? The setting along the rugged shoreline is exquisite, and anyone who can’t fully unwind here needs some serious psychotherapy.

Graham Cooke-designed championship course along the water's edge. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Graham Cooke-designed championship course along the water’s edge. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Getting to Fox Harb’r

When entrepreneur Ron Joyce bought the 1150 acres of seaside property in 2001, golf was the first amenity he added. The second? A runway for private planes. Joyce, co-founder of Tim Hortons (a popular donut chain in Canada), owns a charter airplane business and thought it would be efficient to fly in and out of Fox Harb’r. His guests think so too. I, however, do not have a plane nor did I charter one, so I fly in to Halifax where a resort shuttle picks me up for the pleasant 1 ½ hour drive to Fox Harb’r. (Four people can share a shuttle for $250 one way.)

Private plane coming in for a landing. Photo courtesy of Craig White
Private plane coming in for a landing. Photo courtesy of Craig White

Lodging at Fox Harb’r

My home-away-from-home is a two-room suite in a four-suite guesthouse. The front looks onto the runway (how many people can say they watch private planes land outside their front door?). The back door leads to a patio and backyard and then right onto the golf course—a gorgeous expanse of green that blends into the blue of the water. Peaceful? Like nothing else!

Guesthouse with four luxury suites. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Guesthouse with four luxury suites. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Backyard of the guesthouses overlooking the golf course. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Backyard of the guesthouses overlooking the golf course. Photo by Claudia Carbone

For larger groups or families, they also offer three-bedroom townhomes, each one uniquely furnished. A total of 110 guest rooms in all.

My little abode has a living room with TV, desk, free Wifi and fireplace. The bedroom has another TV and luxurious Italian Frette sheets on the king bed. The closet holds two fluffy robes, an umbrella, iron/iron board and a safe. In the hall is a sort of kitchenette with a sink, stocked fridge, microwave and coffee/tea maker with, of course, Tim Hortons Coffee and Two Leaves Tea. The bathroom is awesome with two sinks on either side of a large oval Jacuzzi tub opposite a spacious walk-in shower. I am surprised to feel heat under my feet on the granite floor—a nice touch. I learn quickly, though, that the floor is very slippery under wet feet, so I take care to use the bath mats. The towels are like new—some of the softest I’ve ever had in a hotel. They must come from the same supplier as the bathrobes. Shower amenities are Molton Brown.

Living room in the suite. Photo by Craig White
Living room in the suite. Photo by Craig White
Bedroom in the suite. Photo courtesy of Craig White
Bedroom in the suite. Photo courtesy of Craig White

Dining at Fox Harb’r

Seafood in Nova Scotia is the best, and Chef Shane Robilliard’s sustainably sourced Atlantic lobster, salmon and scallops are usually on the menu in some form. Most of the produce served is grown in the resort’s greenhouses, so it’s fresh and organic. Whether dining in the casually elegant Cape Cliff Dining Room or The Willard sports bar and terrace, the cuisine is simply terrific and incorporates Nova Scotia’s local products. Two sommeliers manage more than 500 wines in the cellar. In a few years, wine from the resort’s fledgling vineyard will be served, augmenting a partnership with neighboring Jost Winery, the largest in Nova Scotia.

A table in Cape Cliff Dining Room, unpretentious elegance. Photo by Claudia Carbone
A table in Cape Cliff Dining Room, unpretentious elegance. Photo by Claudia Carbone

If you are lucky to be there for one of Chef’s Lobster Boils, you are in for a treat.

Atlantic lobsters fresh out of the pot. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Atlantic lobsters fresh out of the pot. Photo by Claudia Carbone
All flowers and more than half of produce in the restaurants are grown in three large greenhouses on site. Photo by Craig White
All flowers and more than half of produce in the restaurants are grown in three large greenhouses under direction of Michael Stewart on site. Photo by Craig White

Activities at Fox Harb’r

Besides golf and a golf academy where head pro Elliot Isenor teaches the importance of proper equipment fit, there is a dizzying array of outdoor activities to please the most avid sportsman and sportswoman.

Sport Shooting

Fox Harb’r is gaining a reputation as a destination for this sport not found at many resorts. They have built a classic sporting lodge and George Digweed-redesigned course with six trap machines that throw targets in the air and across the ground in various angles and speeds. It’s fun and fairly easy to do with practice and expert instruction (once sports guide Peter Phillips showed me which eye to close!). Clay shooting events and competitions are held annually. In the Fall, you can shoot the real thing—partridge and pheasant on the 350-acre private reserve.

Sporting lodge at Fox Harb'r. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Sporting lodge at Fox Harb’r. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Fishing

Avid anglers will want to make Fox Harb’r home base when they fish nearby lakes, rivers and open water of the Northumberland Strait. Guests who just want to feel the excitement of a catch can go to the resort’s two stocked trout ponds where they surely will be successful with guided catch-and-release fishing. Only the chef gets to take home his catch!

Fishing guide snags a trout. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Fishing guide Kevin snags a trout. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Sea Kayaking

Exploring the tranquil coastline paddling a kayak is a calming experience that goes hand-in-hand with the overall serenity I feel at the resort. If you can do it at sunset, it will be unforgettable!

Amazing sunset off shoreline at Fox Harb'r. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Amazing sunset off shoreline at Fox Harb’r. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Horseback Riding

One way to explore the diverse terrain on the property is on the back of a horse. Our group of four ambles through wooded trails, open meadows and along the rugged shore with two guides and gentle horses for a lovely hour’s ride. Along the way we pass by a fire ring where guests are treated to S’Mores on a night’s outing.

Riding along the rugged shoreline on a bluebird day. Photo by Claudia Carbone
Riding along the rugged shoreline on a bluebird day. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Boating

Fox Harb’r has its own little marina from where you can take a private one-hour or longer cruise on a pontoon boat. Make it an evening cruise for the jaw-dropping sunsets over the water.

The marina and lighthouse at Fox Harb'r. Photo by Claudia Carbone
The marina and lighthouse at Fox Harb’r. Photo by Claudia Carbone

The Spa 

Dol-ás Spa features a full menu of massages, facials, body treatments and salon services (excluding hair) designed for women, men and couples in a beautiful setting. After filling out health forms (which I appreciate), my massage begins with a relaxing warm foot bath and evolves into exactly what I ask of the therapist. My visit to Dol-ás Spa lives up to its name, which means “escape” in Scottish Gaelic.

The Pool

Just below the spa is a gorgeous indoor pool, hot tub and mineral pool that’s open year round for residents and club members. It’s next to a large fitness center offering a range of machines and free weights.

Junior Olympic-size indoor pool with hot tub and mineral pool. Photo by Claudia
Junior Olympic-size indoor pool with hot tub and mineral pool. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Wine Tours

Take a short ride to Jost Vineyards where you can learn all about growing, harvesting and making wine. Their latitude is the same as grape-growing regions of France, Italy and Germany, and they produce wines to rival the Europeans. Tasting is included.

Additional activities include tennis, beach volleyball, biking (grab a bike whenever you want) and hiking on 13 kilometers (8 miles) of trails. With everything spread out around the property, I only need to dial 0 on my room phone and, voila, a nice young lad picks me up to drive me wherever I want to go.

The Clubhouse at Fox Harb'r. Photo by Claudia Carbone
The Clubhouse at Fox Harb’r. Photo by Claudia Carbone

Fox Harb’r is ideal for weddings, honeymoons, special occasions and meetings. There are a number of venues for small and large groups, plus its intimate and relaxed atmosphere in a gorgeous captured setting has to be good for any kind of relationship, right? Check out the list of vacation packages offered for added value.

Fox Harb’r offers full and partial ownership in townhomes as well as individual homes for sale. But that’s another story!

1337 Fox Harb’r Road, Wallace, Nova Scotia, B0K 1Y0; 866-257-1801; www.foxharbr.com

Claudia Carbone is an award-winning travel writer based in Denver. Read about other hotels and resorts she’s visited in Sleepin’ Around.