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Photographing two homes for our July 2014 issue in Chester, N.S. last summer was a perfect combination of business and pleasure. Our Nova Scotia shoots are probably my favourite! 

Every time I visit Chester I take a short detour to The Finer Diner in Hackett's Cove. It's a quaint roadside building on enroute to Peggy's Cove.

I love their crab cakes with onion rings and paired with a glass of white wine, I am totally in heaven.

The first space we shot was designer Philip Mitchell's guesthouse at his new house (he completed the guest house before tackling the main building this year). Their property looks out to Chester's Front Harbour. I tweeted this picture of photographer, Janet Kimber, taking our first shot of the day before the sun came up.

I loved the rope railings on the neighbouring pier so I made Philip and his partner Mark Narsansky move their Muskoka chairs for their portrait.

That's their new house called 'the White Cottage' in the background and the guesthouse is tucked up to the left (their first house was featured in our October 2011 issue).

Everyone who visits Chester has to book a dinner at Nicki's Inn restaurant at the intersection of King and Pleasant Streets. It's Chester's finest restaurant — the food is fantastic, the decor is lovely and the owner Nicki is charming. She also has a few rooms that she rents out upstairs if you are looking for a place to stay for a few days.

Here I am at Nicki's celebrating the completion of the shoot with Philip (far right) and Mark (they are so handsome) and another east coast designer, Deb Nelson, (who has the most gorgeous hair) whose home we shot the following morning. We all look so happy!

Another place to stay is the historic Mecklenburg Inn which has this totally charming exterior. I have never been inside though!

Deb's shoot also started bright and early the next day. Here are a few of my fave moments at her place that didn't make it into the story in our July issue. Of course there was the white picket fence surrounding her backyard that affords this pretty view over her neighbour's yard to the Front Harbour.

The third floor of her house is like a lookout tower with paned glass windows on all sides. I could have stayed up there all day. While we were shooting up there a regatta was taking place and one sailboat actually sunk — it was high drama.

Deb had the cutest vintage hardboard doorstop of a fox terrier that I adored.

And her whitewashed painted floors were perfect for summertime living.

 

Going to Chester is like stepping back through time: the white picket fences, old cars, and clapboard or shingled houses and sidewalk less roads make it the one of the most charming towns I've seen in Canada.

Another restaurant that Deb and I usually check out is the Rope Loft for a wharfside dining experience. It's lovely to sit on the back deck and watch the boats come into the harbour. But apparently it's up for sale now.

We also had breakfast one morning at the Chester Golf Club — what a breathtaking view!

If you have time, take the ½ hour ferry ride to Tancook Island, for a very different experience. It is far more rugged and wild. Only a small number of people live there and it is like stepping away from civilization: which we all need now and then!

If you follow the dirt road to the right from the ferry you will eventually come to the Wishing Stones — an eclectic store where you can get a tea and check out the antiques. I fell in love with the landscape painting on the right and totally regret not buying it — a reminder that if you see a find that calls your name when you're in an out-of-the-way spot, buy it!!

They also had a display of ringed rocks where they ask you to take one, walk to the back bay and throw it in to make a wish. The wishing stones are marked by a "magical" white quartz ring that must be continuous with no breaks in order for the magic to work. The instructions read: stand by the water's edge, close your eyes and make a silent wish, and throw the stone as far as you can into the sea.

This summer I will be heading back to Chester once again to photograph architect Nicholas Spencer-Lewin's house, so keep an eye out for it on our pages in 2015!

For more Maritime style, browse a gallery of East Coast homes.

Photo sources:
(Except #8, via Mecklenburgh Inn) Suzanne Dimma

Author: 

Suzanne Dimma

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