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Normaway Inn

Normaway Inn is in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. It comprises a 500-acre property that contains a central inn, the MacPherson House, 11 green chalets, and 6 white cabins. Altogether, 29 guest units are available for occupancy. A red barn serves as a location to play music and gather groups of people. Additional facilities, such as laundry, are present at Normaway Inn. Outdoor volleyball, tennis, badminton, and croquet courts are accessible to visitors as well. The rest of the property features forests, rivers and brooks, trails, yards, horse enclosures, and a blueberry field. Some of the most common area attractions include nearby rivers to fly fish, the ocean to swim or sail, Margaree River, Cabot Trail, and Cape Breton Highlands National Park.


Normaway Inn is located on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, right off Egypt Road. Most of the surrounding area comprises hills, fields, and woodland. At its closest, the ocean is less than 16 kilometers from the property.

Normaway Inn encompasses about 500 acres of land, the majority of which is composed of fields, forests, and hills. The site includes 11 green chalets, 6 white cabins, the main inn, and the MacPherson House, comprising a total of 29 guest units across the property. A laundry and electrical building are also placed nearby, and a red barn serves as a place to host activities or listen to live musical performances. 

Six of the green chalets—Type F chalets—include one bedroom and a queen- or king-size bed, a pull-out sofa, and a front porch enclosed by screen or glass. They also have individual woodstoves, fireplaces, and loveseat swings. The other five Type G green chalets are similar to the other six, but they have double jacuzzis and chairs instead of double beds. Each chalet is made of pine and arranged in a cul de sac with exterior firepits. The six white cabins offer additional hospitality options. They are equipped with woodstove fireplaces, ensuite bathrooms, and heating. The cabins range from having a queen bed in one room and either a king bed or a double pull-out sofa in the other to having two queen beds in a single bedroom. Just as the green chalets are placed, the cabins are arranged in a cul de sac near the main inn.

The green-and-white MacPherson House has three separate suites, two of which have a whirlpool tub and a single bedroom with a queen bed. They also include a double sofa bed and direct porch access. The third suite is a two-bedroom space with a queen bed in each room, a pull-out sofa, a woodstove fireplace, and an outside deck. All three MacPherson House suites have original decor from the inn. Additionally, the house includes a central living room and a front deck.

The leading inn—also green and white—offers nine guest rooms. Four are located at the corners of the building and include a queen bed, a pull-out sofa, and a private bathroom. Three of these four rooms are on the first floor, while the other five are second-floor units with a queen bed and private bathroom. Aside from the reservable units, the inn also features a living room, lobby, sun porch, reading room, and dining room for meals.

Trees, brooks, and fields are spread throughout Normaway Inn. Two four-kilometer hiking trails cross through different parts of the acreage; one leads to the blueberry fields and the other to the South Nile Brook. More exterior features are included in the property, such as outdoor courts for tennis, volleyball, badminton, and croquet. David offers a few bikes that visitors can ride around near the Normaway Inn buildings. These bikes are additionally available for rent if patrons want to take them further away from the property. Another notable feature is the landing strip next to the blueberry fields; David recalls that some visitors have arrived at his property via airplane.

Breakfast and dinner are offered at Normaway Inn for an additional fee. Breakfast is from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the inn. David says options are rotated daily, although guests can expect french toast dipped in oatmeal, porridge bread, eggs Hughie D., fresh or frozen home-grown blueberries, rhubarb with yogurt, baked goods, granola, or Scottish oat cakes. On music nights, dinner is served from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. the other evenings. Because Normaway Inn is close to a famous salmon fishing river, David explains that salmon is served every night. Alternative dinner options may include lamb, pasta, and other "casual dishes." David says he tries to evenly rotate the "meat, fish, and poultry change" each night.

Several attractions are near Normaway Inn. David recommends his guests visit Margaree River, which has several trails and waterfalls nearby, Cabot Trail, and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The ocean is another common place to pass the time, and David explains that visitors can swim or sail at nearby locations. Cape Breton is another common attraction. If guests would like to dine outside Normaway Inn, David suggests they visit L'abri café, restaurant et bar, The Annex, and The Freight Shed.


David, the Normaway Inn innkeeper, wants his visitors to feel like "they're in a special place in a special part of the world." He also wishes for them to "enjoy the incredible gift of a beautiful landscape." When asked about what he does to make his guests happy, he summarizes that he wants to give them "a good experience that will make them want to return again." As such, he explains that he uses his knowledge of the area to build itineraries for his visitors while accounting for weather or environmental conditions. He describes his work at Normaway Inn, saying, "You feel like you're working in a landscape painting." David notes that the French-Canadian horses at the enclosures add a "nice ambiance" to the place.

Another unique aspect of Normaway Inn is its incorporation of a free fiddler concert series Wednesday nights from July to August; however, in the fall, these concert series are on Fridays. Live music is played at the barn six nights a week throughout the year. This barn tradition has existed since 1984, and music is sometimes performed in the inn's living room as well.

David says Normaway Inn has been featured in several magazines and news articles, such as National Geographic Traveler and GQ. Additionally, guest reviews seem to highlight positive interactions with the staff. For instance, one visitor said, "The owner went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. He even gave us some [advice] and recommendations about what to see and where to go. Due to us visiting out of the normal visitor season, he even called restaurants to see which ones were [open]."

Visitors are asked to adhere to Normaway Inn's policies. While pets are allowed on the property, they cannot stay in the inn. David states that there is no need for a quiet time because of all the separate buildings, but he asks guests to help preserve the nature of the area just the same.

Normaway Inn's dining room is open from May through October, and its cabins operate from March through October. David states that the high season is from June 21st to October 21st. He receives several families, couples, and individuals that like to fly fish. He adds that most of his visitors are from Vancouver and Newfoundland. Normaway Inn receives several repeat guests yearly.


Normaway Inn began operating as an inn in 1928 and started with George MacPherson, who was born on the property before it became a hospitality business. Several buildings were constructed in the 1920s, and George continued to direct business until David's father purchased it in the 1940s. It was subsequently run by David's uncle, then a cousin, and a few managers until David himself took over, although he had worked at the inn since he was 21. David recounts that the property was a common site for filming, even when he was a boy. He had the opportunity to meet several filmmakers and photographers visiting the area, and he mentions that Normaway Inn became a "traditional mecha" for traditional film.

Since assuming ownership of Normaway Inn, David constructed the green chalets and the MacPherson House and converted the equipment barn into what is now known as the music barn. He also explains that he integrated much of the farm-to-table culture that exists at the property; many of the foods served at meals are grown and sourced on-site in the yards and gardens.

David's favorite part of working at Normaway Inn is his ability to share his experience with others, as he mentions that he feels it is a natural part of life to want to invite others to his part of the world. As previously mentioned, he hopes to provide an experience that will leave people wanting to return in the future.

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691 Egypt Rd
Margaree Valley, Nova Scotia B0E 2C0


Bed and Breakfast


David MacDonald

Owned Since
Previous Owners

George MacPherson

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