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Many of the first settlers around North Hatley were United Empire Loyalists, mostly farmers, who left New England in the years following the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. Several fine farmhouses of this period still exist in the village. Manoir Hovey was named after one of the most noteworthy of these settlers, Captain Ebenezer Hovey, who was granted a large tract of land by the Crown in 1785, directly across the lake from the inn.
In large measure, however, the village owns most of its great houses and particular architecture to the first summer people - aristocrats, captains of industry and large landowners, mostly Americans from south of the Mason-Dixon Line. For some time after the American Civil War (1861-1865) many wealthy southerners renounced New England (Yankeeland) as a summer holiday destination and continued further north into Canada, some by private railway car. Rumour has it that many drew their blinds in passing through New England.
These new arrivals brought their lifestyles with them - butlers and servants, horses and carriages, and of course, the gentlemanly sports of golf, sailing and tennis. Around 1895 they started to build on the west side of the lake; their summer homes were large, many with over 15 rooms. The most splendid of all, on North Hatley’s prime site, was The Birches, built as a summer home in 1900 by Henry Atkinson, owner of Georgia Power in Atlanta. The home he had built for himself, broad of verandah and white of pillar, was inspired by George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, Virginia and now lends its very considerable charm to Manoir Hovey. As a private estate, this grand house boasted its own stables and coach house, servants quarters and grand family rooms and even a private 9-hole golf course which was designed by Bobby Jones Sr., a friend of the Atkinsons. To this day, we still find very old golf balls in the woods, and remnants of the various holes poke through the underbrush.
The Atkinson family stopped coming to North Hatley in the 1940’s and The Birches then changed hands a few times, before being converted into a prestigious inn in 1950 by Robert F. Brown, a Montrealer who had just graduated from Cornell Hotel School. Your hosts, Kathryn and Stephen Stafford, purchased the Manor from Robert Brown in 1979 and have been on site ever since. Continuous improvements have been made over the years, but always with the attempt to remember the origins and ambiance of this very special place. Today the 36 bedrooms at Manoir Hovey are installed not only in the main house, but also ingeniously fitted into the former servants’ quarters, ice house, pump house, electric house and caretaker’s residence. Many contain antiques that were purchased by Henry Atkinson himself. Many of the books in the library date from the Atkinson’s residency. The Tap Room, once the coach house sheltering Atkinson’s collection of coaches, boasts a vast 10,000 brick fireplace which is one of 26 of varying sizes scattered throughout the inn. Sitting atop an antique shelf in the reception area is the Inn’s celebrated haunted clock, which has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. This Gothic style 80-day chimer is not in working order, but has been known to chime inexplicably when someone mentions Plumley Le Baron, an early North Hatleyite known for having worn a raccoon coat in the summertime.
In 1900, there were more than a dozen inns and hotels in North Hatley. One was the Glenn Villa with 365 rooms, which stood for only 7 years before burning to the ground in 1909. Over the years the Canadian establishment came to discover North Hatley and many of these “great houses” changed hands. To this day, however, an American summer colony continues to return.
Many locals still refer to the west side of the village as the “American Side”. In more recent years, many of these homes have been winterized and reflect the year-round appeal of this resort village. Because of its southern exposure on Lake Massawippi and the steep hills rising from it on the north and west sides, this idyllic village enjoys an exceptional micro-climate and contains flowers and birds normally found in communities hundreds of miles to the south.
Today North Hatley is one of Québec’s most picturesque villages and is a haven for artists and artisans, writers, theatre lovers and sporting people of all sorts. Its antique shops, art galleries, golf course, inns and summer theatre are widely supported by visitors and residents alike. Manoir Hovey remains North Hatley’s only waterfront inn and is a wonderful oasis in itself and very convenient to exploring the area.
"Manoir Hovey combines old-world charm and service with contemporary luxury. This destination appeals to visitors who yearn for simpler times when a vacation called for a charming country house on a lake with lots of fresh air and fabulous world-renowned food. The minute you drive up to our property, you will feel completely relaxed. The beautiful southern styled mansion combined with the unique picturesque lake view is therapeutic. Whether you’re here for a quick weekend getaway, special event or even a longer staycation, we are here to serve you and provide you with the utmost luxury."
Jason Stafford, Managing Director
“Before we made a final decision to negotiate the purchase of Manoir Hovey back in 1979, Kathy & I decided to check in for a week as guests. We had always admired the magnificent setting and historical charm of the property but staying as guests really drove it home. We were captivated by the special atmosphere, the serenity and the beauty all around. We felt truly transported. We resolved then and there that, if we were successful in purchasing the Manor, we would work hard to continuously improve but absolutely retain what made the property so special, thus continuing the legacy from the first innkeeper, Robert F. Brown Jr. This jewel of a property called out for preservation. Over the years, we have created a much more luxurious property and added all the modern comforts but the charisma of the place has not changed. The limited expansions that we have undertaken blend in seamlessly with the original structures. The improvements continue unabated.
Critics have written that Manoir Hovey is a “national treasure” and that there is “something magical, otherworldly about the place”. Staying at the Manor is like “staying at the private estate of a rich uncle.” I think our guests agree. We hope we will have an opportunity to welcome you to our labour of love in the near future.”
Manoir Hovey is a proud member of the prestigious hotel association Relais & Châteaux, an exclusive collection of more than 540 of the finest charming hotels and gourmet restaurants, managed by a family of independent owners, innkeepers and chefs setting the world standard for excellence in hospitality since 1954.
For a truly extraordinary experience, follow the «Route du Bonheur» (Road to Happiness), an itinerary that allows you to explore several of the Relais & Châteaux hotels located in Canada and the Northeastern U.S.
Auberge St Antoine - Ville de Québec – Québec
Restaurant Initiale – Ville de Québec – Québec
Manoir Hovey – North Hatley - Québec
Restaurant Toqué – Montréal – Québec
Européa – Montréal - Québec
Kingsbrae Arms – St Andrews – Nouveau Brunswick
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa – Cambridge – Ontario
Post Hotel and Spa – Lake Louise – Alberta
Kensington Riverside Inn - Calgary - Alberta
Sonora Resort Canada – Richmond - Colombie Britannique
Wedgewood Hotel and Spa – Vancouver - Colombie Britannique
Wickaninnish Inn – Tofino - Colombie Britannique
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort - Tofino - Colombie Britannique
Hastings House Country House Hotel, Salt Spring Island, Colombie Britannique
The White Barn Inn – Kennebunk Beach, ME
Lake Placid Lodge – Lake Placid – NY
The Point – Saranac Lake, NY
The Pitcher Inn – Warren, VT
Twin Farms – Barnard – Vermont
Windham Hill Inn – West Townshend, VT
Blantyre – Lenox, MA
Winvian – Morris, CT
The Mayflower Inn and Spa – Washington, CT
Glendorn – Glendorn – PA
The Inn at Hastings Park - Lexington - MA
Castle Hill Inn - Newport - RI
Ocean House - Westerly - RI
Weekapaug - Westerly - RI
575 Rue Hovey,
North Hatley, Quebec J0B 2C0
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