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Affordable Living and Retirement in Nova Scotia, Canada

Affordable Living and Retirement in Nova Scotia, Canada
Shannon Roxborough: If you're budget-minded, don't mind a bit of cold weather (or are seeking the perfect warm-weather retreat ), love seafood, and have a historic mindset, then Nova Scotia is the place for you.

During the late 19th-century, Nova Scotia beckoned a select group of wealthy families, who traveled by train and steamer to their grand seaside Victorian "cottages" from New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other industrial hotbeds.

Little has changed in 100 years at this summer colony in the North Atlantic: The atmosphere is still somewhat staid, unhurried and family-oriented. The pristine coast is uncrowded and less developed than anywhere in North America; the real estate still costs just a fraction of that in the United States and Europe.

Nova Scotia, located on Canada's Atlantic coast east of Maine, is shaped like a lobster with its claws grasping toward the remote province of Newfoundland and its tail pointing in the direction of New York and Boston. Latin for "New Scotland," Nova Scotia is named for its resemblance to the homeland of some its first European settlers. The Scottish print on this land is large, but so is that of the Irish, French and the British—with each culture having left its mark.

About half the size of New York State with a population just under a million, Nova Scotia boasts 3,600-miles of craggy shoreline sprinkled with scenic fishing villages and quaint small towns. Long a destination for vacationers and retirees from throughout Canada, in recent years, the once sleepy region has been attracting American and European transplants with its seductive beauty, rich history, slow pace, proximity to the United States and, of course, affordable real estate.

Perhaps nowhere in Nova Scotia is the official label "Canada's Ocean Playground" more pronounced than on the South Shore. In the heart of this region along Nova Scotia's picturesque Lighthouse Route lies White Point Estates, a charming oceanside residential community developed amid White Point Beach Resort & Country Club—once a private lodge for well-heeled outdoorsmen. On prime oceanfront fringed by white sand beaches, lush woodlands and a flowing river, White Point, is a microcosm of the best of Nova Scotia. With its laid-back historic ambience and hypnotic water views, the new seaside enclave seems almost too good to be true.

In the midst of a sprawling 159-room resort with lodges and private cottages and a 9-hole CPGA-rated golf course to boot, White Point offers a variety of lots to build on. They range from 3/4 of an acre to roughly 2 acres and are priced starting at $45,000. Building lot choices offer something for everyone; including gently-sloping wooded spreads and stunning oceanfront (and waterview) sites.

Here, in-the-know expatriates and Canadians are buying lots to build vacation and full-time residences in an area where they will rub elbows with cosmopolitan transplants, tourists, seafarers and locals. So far, a handful of lots have been sold, but given their prices and the accompanying amenities, including a a host of services and recreational opportunities, they are sure to go fast. And, White Point will work with you through every step of the home-building process.

Sales of vacation and future retirement properties in places like White Point Estates are booming, real estate specialists say. Cost-conscious and city-weary arrivals from afar increasingly seek respite and new starts in Nova Scotia. No wonder the maritime province is increasingly lighting up the radar screens of those searching for an affordable alternative to traditional vacation, second home and retirement retreats, where rising home prices have left many priced-out of the market.

Since the media—including the likes of Consumer Reports, International Living and CNN—have begun to rate Nova Scotia among the world's best places to vacation, live and retire, property costs have risen as much as 50% annually in some areas of the province. Yet despite the price increases, property here remains a fraction of what one would pay for similar real estate back home. And with enticements like some of the world's most spectacular scenery, a relatively temperate climate (winters are milder than the northern U.S.), and a low profile, stress-free lifestyle far from the rat race, wars and terrorism, it's easy to see why life looks so good under the Maple Leaf.

For details about White Point Estates, visit www.whitepointestates.com or contact Doug Fawthrop at 902-354-2711, ext. 370 (toll-free 800-613-2171), e-mail: doug@whitepoint.com.

Getting There

Nova Scotia is close enough to the U.S. and Europe that you won't get jet lag getting there. The capital Halifax is a 2-hour flight from New York; 6 hours from London. Portland, Maine, from which the 5.5-hour ferry departs to Nova Scotia, is about a 90-minute drive from Boston. For ferry information, visit: www.catferry.com.

Where to Stay

White Point Estates offers a Site Inspection Package (couples for $159 weekdays; $199 weekends), allowing prospective buyers to visit for two nights at White Point Beach Resort while exploring all that the community has to offer. To reserve a tour, call 1-800-613-2171.