When you have just toured a most interesting building and learned of its history dating back to 1880s and then are told that the present owner purchased it when he was just 18 years old we knew that here was an interesting story.
The building is the Tatamagouche Intercoloninal Railway Station built in 1887. The present owner is James LeFresne who grew up practically next store and when rail service was discontinued in 1974 and the historic station scheduled for demolition James, then eighteen, bought it.
But it was not until 1987 that James LeFresne set to work to restore the station and create a most unique resort called the Train Station Inn. The station includes two floors, originally the ground floor included men's and ladies waiting rooms (they were separate) and the baggage area. Upstairs was the residence of the Station Master and his family. Today the Tatamagouche Station includes a gift shop and restaurant on the ground floor and upstairs guest suites.
At first the Inn only included these rooms at the Station but in 1994 the first of several railroad cars began to arrive. These were completely made over to bedrooms and suites and include several cabooses as well as box cars. Still not satisfied James obtained a coach which now serves as the dining car which is a full service restaurant open to the public. And to complete his 'train' James acquired the Alexandra, a private car that was built for Governor General Earl Gray who achieved lasting fame for Earl Gray tea. This was in 1905 and the car was named for Alexandra, Kin Edward's Wife and Queen Victoria's daughter in law. It later served as official car for the Prime Ministers of Canada.
Today it is the lounge car at the Inn and we certainly enjoyed it for cocktails and leisurely moments as we became acquainted with James LeFresne and listened to his remarkable story.
The Inn and Tatamagouche, population 600 people, are close to the Northumberland Strait. As proprietor of the unique and innovative Inn James has acquired many honors including being named Entrepreneur of the year in 1990 by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. More recently he is now an elected councillor for North Colchester County.
James LeFresne's love of trains has never diminished and today if you visit the Train Station Inn you will be greeted by James wearing his Conductor's uniform complete with watch bob and classic cap. We can only add that like James we are long time train buffs and our stay in on of the Inn's caboose was a memorable experience. For more information check out the Inn at www.trainstation.ca or 1-902-657-3222.
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