This art-infused 1780 Sea Captain's Estate, featured in décor magazines, sits overlooking the Bay of Fundy -- the highest tides in the world. Take time to unwind by the heated salt-water pool, decompress and sweat it out in the sauna cabin, or relax with a glass of wine in the 8-person hot tub. Enjoy your morning coffee on the 110 ft wrap-around Victorian veranda, or on a stroll through the 4-acre orchard. Tour and shop the fully outfitted fashion studio to see the design and production process. It's your destination for retreats, team building, friend and family events, intimate weddings, or just a quiet relaxing getaway.
The name Willow Vale is derived from the presence of an enormous heritage “weeping willow” tree that resides on the property adjacent to the main house and guest house. There are numerous heritage trees on the property, some hundreds of years old, but the historic weeping willow typically receives the most attention from friends and visitors.
The land comprising Willow Vale has a long and rich history; before the construction of the main estate buildings in the late 1700s and early 1800s, the Mi’kmaq people of the region made use of the abundant wildlife and water resources found in the Avon River delta for millennia. In the 1680s, the French Acadians arrived and began building immense dyke systems in order to create prosperous farmland in the region until 1755 when they faced expulsion. The next arrivals were the New England Planters fleeing the aftermath of the American Revolution - this is the point in the late 1700s when a sea captain developed Willow Vale from Acadian crop land into a British estate with a stately home.
The history of the main house itself starts here; throughout the years the home went from a private estate, to being used as a birthing house, a working fruit farm, a blacksmith shop, to once again being a private home. Today after a lengthy restoration and expansion project aimed at retaining the heritage value of the architecture; the property comprises 4 acres of heritage trees and apple orchards, views of the highest tides in the world coming in from the Bay of Fundy, the main house, a carriage house, a saltwater pool and hot tub, and a newer guest house built in the same style as the original house.
The carriage house at Willow Vale, known as the Lisa Drader-Murphy Design Studio has now served as the design and manufacturing location for Canadian designer Lisa Drader-Murphy’s fashion label for two decades; this structure was historically used for horses, carriages, apple storage, and as a repair shop. Today we are proud to honour the tradition of this estate and once again open it to the public, not as a farm or birthing house - but as a relaxing getaway where you can enjoy nature, tour the wineries and sights of the Annapolis Valley, ponder Canadian history, and witness the ethical production of made in Canada clothing collections at the Lisa Drader-Murphy Design Studio. We have made a commitment to memorializing this long history and now enjoy sharing it with our local and international visitors.