Barry and Prity Driedger have led extraordinary lives together. From travelling all over the world to multiple business ventures together and on their own, the Driedgers have done it all, and then some. While looking for a quiet place to settle down and finally retire, the entrepreneurial pair couldn’t resist the opportunity to start a new business right in their own house with the Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast. Combining their strengths and business backgrounds, Barry and Prity are able to provide exceptional service and memorable experiences to all those who join them in the seaside town of Pictou, Nova Scotia. With room to grow, the Driedgers are only moving forward in their journey to bring an elevated culinary and stay experience to Pictou County and those looking to visit the area.
Barry Driedger worked in the hospitality industry and has owned many of his own businesses. He focused on inventory management and had 300 franchises worldwide. After 25 years and countless business trips, he sold his business in 2011. Driedger said his wife, Prity Driedger, ran a successful housekeeping business. When this serial entrepreneurial couple decided to retire together, they spent a couple of years travelling the world. Driedger reflects on their adventures by saying, “Skydiving, snorkelling, climbing, you name it, we’ve done it.” The couple was expecting to move to Wasaga Beach, Ontario and enjoy retirement. But like most serial entrepreneurs, they wanted to keep busy, so the couple started a little side hustle by delivering Amazon packages. This side hustle didn’t stay small for long and turned into yet another successful business. “We started off with delivering about fifty packages a day and it continued to grow. We ended up being the largest independent distributor in our area” Driedger said. “We were working seven days a week, fifteen hours a day, managing staff and doing all the things we thought we had given up years ago,” Driedger explained that the couple decided to make a dramatic lifestyle change. They wanted to be busy but to a lesser extent.
While searching for somewhere to move and settle down, Driedger explained that being on the water was at the top of his wish list. “If I’m not looking at the water, I’m on the water” he said. With a small cruiser docked at the Pictou Harbour Marina and a beautiful historic house with a waterfront view, Driedger is very happy to have moved to Pictou, Nova Scotia. “We wanted to be on a coastline” he said. They sold the house in Wasaga Beach and chose to relocate to Nova Scotia for a quieter lifestyle. Amid looking at waterfront homes, Driedger said the idea to run a bed and breakfast just struck them. As they combine their hospitality and housekeeping backgrounds Driedger says, “I think we’re the perfect operators for a bed and breakfast.”
Barry and Prity Driedger were delighted to secure the very first Bed & Breakfast they looked at. But almost immediately, Driedger said they ran into challenges. “We needed to do some major upgrades to the house and that included the property” he explains. “It hadn’t operated as a Bed & Breakfast for a number of years.” Not only did they improve the driveway, but they added a wraparound deck with furniture and a new front door. The renovations continued as they upgraded the interior. He says they improved the spectacular view on the main, second, and third floors by installing thirty new windows. However, the couple didn’t stop there. Driedger said the next upgrade was for the business itself. They wanted to get a foodservice license. In order to obtain the license, Barry and Prity had to have a professional kitchen upgrade as well as accessibility upgrades made to the Bed & Breakfast. They added a wheelchair ramp and created a wheelchair-accessible bedroom/washroom on the main floor. “We’re fully accessible” Driedger says. “We pride ourselves on that because most bed and breakfasts in Atlantic Canada don’t have that capability.”
With the updates completed, Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast was ready for guests. When guests arrive, they can expect to be greeted and given a brief history of the property. The house was built in 1855 and has served many purposes throughout its history. There are photographs to display the house in different time periods. Each of the rooms pays homage to the previous names of the town of Pictou as the town has been called many different things over the years. There are 5 guest bedrooms equipped with amenities and a fridge. All but one of the rooms have a private bathroom attached, the one that doesn’t has a dedicated bathroom directly across the hall for guests. Each room is uniquely decorated with an accent wall with wallpaper. The rooms each have a radiator that is functional, and they all have decorative fireplaces. “The architecture, the moldings and the staircase are all amazing,” Driedger says. “People just love the house.”
Barry and Prity serve mostly local, fresh food for breakfast every morning. “Everything is homecooked from scratch,” Driedger says. “Every meal we offer is of the highest quality and the freshest we can provide.” He goes on to say they don’t publish a breakfast menu. There are no specialty items to choose from. Driedger explains that the guests have their choice of what they wish to have for breakfast, and nothing is served out of a package, including the hollandaise sauce. Every guest gets a starter of fresh fruit, granola, and yogurt. Driedger says Prity does the meal prep in the morning and he does most of the cooking. He always has a wide variety of main courses to choose from and guests are welcome to eat breakfast at whatever time they choose before checkout. Although there isn’t an exact menu, there has been a fan favourite at Heritage Quay B&B. It is called Lobster Eggs Benny. Driedger describes the meal as, “your typical hollandaise sauce on lobster on a Belgian waffle.” He says when lobster is in season, about 60% of the guests want to try this for breakfast and it has been extremely successful.
Another unique feature of Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast is that they have a liquor license. Guests of legal drinking age are welcome to hang out at the Bed & Breakfast and enjoy a cocktail on the deck if they so choose. Guests do not have to leave the property to enjoy a drink and relax knowing they are in a licensed establishment. Driedger explains that around 5 o’clock, they get together in the parlour and welcome any guests to join them. “Every guest is different,” Driedger says. “But if they’re interested in hearing a little about us, we’re always interested in hearing a little about them.” They have the parlor set up with reading materials and seating for guests to enjoy at any time with or without an alcoholic beverage.
Looking into the future, Driedger says they would like to host more events at Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast. “We would like to expand into doing more functions, especially in the spring and fall seasons. So, people can look forward to that.” Driedger said. While Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast hasn’t had a full wedding on the premises, they’ve hosted several getting-ready parties for brides and bridesmaids. “We have connected with several people in the community including salons and estheticians to come here. We have great spaces for that” he explains. They have also hosted rehearsal dinner parties with charcuterie boards and snacks and champagne. “We are capable of doing more now that we’ve experienced a season of those events,” Driedger says eagerly.
For now, Barry and Prity Driedger are looking forward to this summer in hopes to see more travellers stopping in. Whether you’re on the way through to Cape Breton, or you have reached your destination of Pictou, for one of the many events happening this summer, like the Pictou Lobster Carnival, the Pictou 150, or the Hector 250 celebrations. Barry and Prity Driedger will be anticipating your arrival at Heritage Quay Bed & Breakfast. To see the beautiful property before your stay, be sure to check out their website and book your reservations in advance.
by Gabrielle Gamblin