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It all started on a beach in Mexico.

Updated: May 9, 2022

Our move from suburbanites to moteliers began on a beautiful beach in Mexico in December 2019.

the marmalade motel travel nova scotia romantic getaways nova scotia

It actually started about a year prior, but that four days we spent on a beach in Cancun marks the official start of our journey. Neil and I decided to take a short pre-Christmas get away, without the kids. I had just started a new job and was feeling stressed out about the change. Something just wasn't sitting right. In hindsight, it's easy to recognize that while I made the change for the right reasons - it was completely the wrong change! But that friends, is how we grow!

Here's what you need to know about Neil and I. Neil worked with a top-tier (5-star brand) hotel in the heart of Toronto for 23 years. He is a talented and dedicated hospitality professional - taking care of people and hosting them, is his super power. I am a career sales and marketing executive - and I was pretty good at what I did. I worked for both large companies and small entrepreneurs. The later being the most rewarding places to work for me. But after 23 years of building our careers, we were starting to wonder what else life had in store for us. Long days, commuting, rushing about to kids activities and never seeming to have enough time for ourselves couldn't be all there was! And it was on that beach in Mexico that we started to ask ourselves how much longer we could continue on the path we were on.

Hospitality + marketing = being well equipped to open a motel! And that was that. It was the global pandemic that drove the timeline. Once COVID hit and our world shut down, we decided to go for it. Some people thought we were crazy. After all, the hospitality industry was hard hit. We did it anyways. We sold it all, packed up the kids and moved from the suburbs in Toronto to an itsy-bitsy rural town on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. A province we'd only ever been to twice in our lives and had absolutely no ties to. We didn't even know where Port Dufferin was! We had to bookmark a google map so we could figure out how far it was from just about every other place in the province.

A view and a dream.

That's what we affectionally refer to as our big move. We've always been good at DIY and home renovations, but we've had to up our game as we take on the renovations of a 9 room motel. We've got so many ideas and we're excited to see them come to life. The only thing slowing us down is how fast we can get them done.

Every motel room takes advantage of the most amazing ocean views (so does our house!). Our commute has gone from 55km one way to less than 45 steps! And the entire 'commute' is along waterfront. How privileged is that? The possibilities for this little motel to become a get-away destination for Nova Scotians is endless. In the future I can see us hosting intimate wedding ceremonies on the pier, weekend retreats for families, outdoor music days, movie nights and one day, a Christmas market. For now, we're focusing on turning each room into a unique modern-boho experience. We'll share more in future posts about the designs and amenities for the property. Keep checking back for more and don't forget to follow us on Instagram for updates on our renovation progress.

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Apr 05, 2021

I absolutely love your story and journey! We also sold our Toronto home and packed it all up without any ties to Nova Scotia. We headed east in June 2020 and like you, everyone told us we were crazy and we'd be back in a few months. Now some of them are asking for my Realtor's contact info because they're thinking of following suit. Who are the crazy ones now, eh? Hope to stay at your motel this summer!

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Wow! That’s amazing. I hope you come for a stay. Would love to swap stories. Our family also have a few murmurs of moving here too! Nuts.

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