THE RIVERPORT INN B&B – The Rebirth of Elegance

Leanne and Ben Brooks share their journey returning to rural Nova Scotia to transform the Historic Myrtle Hotel into a modern haven known as the Riverport Inn B&B.  An adults-only accommodation that includes a dining room, salon, sitting room, and the guest-only private Myrtle Bar, all echoing the Inn’s original speakeasy vibe and history, providing an easy, comfortable, and memorable stay for discerning guests.

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The Dawn of a New Era 

Nestled in the idyllic setting of Riverport, Nova Scotia, the Riverport Inn stands as a testament to the seamless blend of history and modern luxury. With a story that began in 1906 as the Myrtle Hotel, this enchanting establishment has undergone a remarkable transformation under the stewardship of Ben and Leanne Brooks. This transformation began in earnest in 2020 with Ben and Leanne combining their design and construction skills to revitalize the former Myrtle Hotel, infusing it with modern amenities while preserving its rich heritage. The Riverport Inn opened its doors in 2021 as a beacon of refined hospitality and luxury, setting a new standard for accommodations in the region. 

Personalized Service and Attention to Detail 

At the heart of The Riverport Inn’s experience is its commitment to personalized service. Ben and Leanne’s approach to hospitality is marked by a deep understanding of guest needs, ensuring that every stay is not just a comfortable one, but truly a memorable one. This personalized touch extends to every aspect of the Inn, from the tranquil ambiance to the thoughtful amenities provided in each suite. Ben and Leanne pride themselves on their passion for hospitality, believing that personal care and service are the hallmarks of an unforgettable experience.

The Architectural and Design Aesthetics

The Riverport Inn, with its iconic facade and greenery, is a striking presence in the heart of Riverport. Overlooking Ritcey Cove and the LaHave River, The Inn offers guests and visitors a splendid view of the area’s marine and bird wildlife, which includes a community of Bald Eagles, Osprey, Kingfishers, otters, seals, and the occasional harbor porpoise. This serene backdrop is an invitation to relax and become immersed in the natural beauty of the Inn’s surroundings. Guests enjoy local hikes, or a picnic lunch at Oxner’s beach, which is only a 10-minute bike ride from the Inn – (bikes provided).  When guests are seeking a slower pace, the Inn offers a delightful porch, idyllic for hours of lounging.  Or head out to the Inn’s dock and enjoy one of the almost nightly stunning sunsets.

Stepping into the Riverport Inn, guests are immediately enveloped in an atmosphere that echoes the grandeur of a bygone era yet resonates with contemporary luxury. 

The Inn’s first floor includes The Myrtle Bar, a private bar for hotel guests, which pays a charming tribute to the Inn’s past. Here, the walls are adorned with photos of famous (and infamous) Myrtles from different eras, creating a living nostalgia in its speakeasy atmosphere. The bar is perfect for enjoying an aperitif, engaging in a good conversation, or simply reveling in the Inn’s rich history.

 Just off the Myrtle Bar is the Hotel’s parlor, with sumptuous wing-back chairs, art books, sculpture, and further views of the bay. The parlor is a showcase of luxury and comfort, with rich, luxurious furnishings and subtle lighting designed to create an atmosphere that is both sophisticated and welcoming. Read a book, put your feet up, or enjoy the stereo while Artie Shaw and Billie Holiday bring you back to another time.

Also on the first floor is the Inn’s dining room. Both elegant and versatile, this room can accommodate up to 20 guests and has already become a beloved spot for private events, ranging from wedding dinners, family reunions, birthdays, and private group dinners. The room’s ambiance, characterized by its sophisticated decor and warm lighting, creates an inviting and memorable setting for any special occasion.

Just off the dining room is the Inn’s sitting room. This warm and bright space is a perfect blend of comfort and elegance. Here, guests can relax in the vintage furniture, surrounded by tastefully selected art and antiques. Whether curling up with a book, engaging in quiet conversation, or simply taking in the beauty of the bay, the sitting room offers a peaceful escape for travelers and guests alike. 

On the second floor of the Inn, Ben and Leanne worked with the original floorplan to create four luxurious suites, each with beautifully tiled baths, and two which also feature huge soaker tubs. Each of these adult suites is a testament to Ben and Leanne’s design sense, showcasing a fusion of historic elements and contemporary comforts. Each unique suite offers a haven of luxury, from upscale touches and personalized details like vintage teacups and freshly baked biscotti. The attention to detail in design and decor is meticulous, with antiques and art pieces that create an ambiance of timeless elegance.

Gastronomic Delights 

Under the careful guidance of Ben and Leanne, the Riverport Inn’s kitchen offerings have become a highlight of the guest experience. From the elegant breakfast, served to your room, to the delightful take-out menu, featuring favorites like Adult Mac n Cheese (a sophisticated twist on a classic), Ben’s Tortiere Hand Pies, and Leanne’s beloved Caesar Salad, guests have a myriad of choices of elevated comfort food. As of January 2024, guests of the Inn can dine from the Inn’s special table d’hote menu, which presently features items such as French wild boar stew, crispy kale and summer squash lasagna, and chicken Fricassee. By late 2024, Ben and Leanne plan to open the Inn’s dining room to the public, providing another eating option in a region still developing its culinary choices.

Entertainment and Community Involvement 

Beyond its charm, hospitality, and beauty, the Riverport Inn has also quickly established itself as a cultural and entertainment destination in Riverport and the South Shore at large. Ben and Leanne have both been lifelong supporters and performers of the arts. As producers, they have brought in a myriad of live acts, from world-class jazz, blues, classical, and pop musicians to national headline comedians and champion storytellers, all of which are adding vibrancy to the community at large and to the Inn specifically. This dedication to entertainment and cultural enrichment has made the Inn a popular venue for a variety of events, further cementing its status as a cornerstone of the Riverport’s re-awakening community.

Exploring the Natural Splendor and Local Attractions 

The Inn’s location is a gateway to the South Shore’s natural and cultural attractions. Guests can explore local hikes, dozens of beaches, caves, sea kayaking, and more. With a short ferry ride, people can also choose to visit the famed LaHave Bakery or pop into Ploughman’s Lunch for a scoop of homemade ice cream. A day trip in almost any direction can feel like an amazing escape.

Being a mere 12 minutes away from the UNESCO World Heritage town of Lunenburg, guests of the Inn often like to visit the many eateries, seasonal festivals, local artisan shops, or the Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, a vibrant community hub, that offers people an authentic taste of local culture and cuisine. Only 2 minutes away from the Inn, is the local and beloved Rose Bay Bistro, which offers patrons a delightful cafe menu, grocery store, and liquor store. From here, travelers often check out the beautiful Hirtle Beach and the stunning Gaff Point hike. 20 minutes from the Inn takes you to the charming community of Mahone Bay, or the larger town of Bridgewater for a traveler’s shopping needs. 

A Vision for the Future

The Riverport Inn is poised to become one of the most sought-after destinations in Nova Scotia. With its unique blend of history, luxury, and personal touch, it’s anticipated to be booked months in advance. Guests frequently describe their stay as an “extraordinary experience,” highlighting the Inn as a hidden gem on the South Shore. The Riverport Inn is more than just a place to stay; it is a journey through time, a celebration of heritage, and a showcase of modern luxury. What sets The Riverport Inn apart is its unwavering commitment to personalized service and excellence. Owners Ben and Leanne have created an oasis that radiates warmth and hospitality, ensuring that every stay at The Riverport Inn is an extraordinary experience.

by Ryan Myson