The Old Ten Spot Logo

There are plenty of unusual Air BnBs in Nova Scotia. But The Old Ten Spot on Zwickers Lake in New Albany, Nova Scotia has something special: a private beach, a charming local history – and a  Boler travel trailer, with its own private deck.

Sign for The Old Ten Spot, a unique Nova Scotia Air BnB

The Old Ten Spot, along Highway 10/photo: Helen Earley

The Ten Spot, so named because it is found along Highway 10, was a family campground and mini-golf course throughout the late 1970’s and 1980’s, and its beach provided a place for locals to swim. On weekends, the small dirt road would be lined with the cars of families coming for a beach day picnic, and annually, the local community would hold a charity polar bear swim.

Sandy lake beach at The Old Ten Spot, a unique Nova Scotia Air BnB

The sandy beach at Zwickers Lake/photo: Helen Earley

Now the property and beach is private, the home of Sarah and Keith Kucharski and their family, who rent out three Air BnB properties: a one-bedroom cottage, a two-bedroom cottage,  and the Boler.

When we stayed at The Old Ten Spot in July, we stayed in the one bedroom cottage, but chatted with the Boler guests, an older couple on their first vacation without kids. As they relaxed on their private deck, paddled kayaks, played washer toss, and barbecued, the soft sounds of Jefferson Airplane and The Beatles floated up to our cabin.

A red boler at The Old Ten Spot a unique Nova Scotia Air BnB

Boler Dreams: The red Boler overlooking Zwickers Lake/photo: Matt McMullen

“The Boler attracts a certain crowd,” Sarah tells me. The crowd includes couples who like to chill, and of course Boler enthusiasts. It’s also a hit with photographers and Instagrammers, who book a night at The Old Ten Spot, hoping to get a cool shot.

Rustic cabin with sagging roof at The Old Ten Spot, a unique Nova Scotia Air BnB

The one-bedroom cabin: like staying “at the camp”/photo: Helen Earley

But while the Boler is perfect for couples and Instagrammars, our one-bedroom cottage was a home away from home – perfect for a family. Being at the Old Ten Spot is like staying at a friend’s camp. No bells and whistles here –  just open beams, rustic well-loved furniture (including a bunk bed) and unmatched bedding and crockery. A nice touch was a stack of thick, fluffy towels for the shower,  plus a set of beach towels for the lake.

The rustic kitchen with formica table at the The Old Ten Spot, a unique Nova Scotia Air BnB

The kitchen was well equipped/photo: Helen Earley

The kitchen area had everything you could imagine – a full-sized fridge, microwave and toaster oven, with quirky mid-century accents such as Pyrex bowls and milk glass coffee cups. There was also a fabulous chrome and Formica kitchen table, where on the first morning of our stay we ate fresh eggs, from a small punnet of green white and brown eggs left as a welcome gift by our host. Later we would meet the chickens who laid them!

Fresh eggs and socializing with chickens

An egg-traordinary time at The Old Ten Spot/photo: Helen Earley

But the highlight was Zwickers Lake and the beach at the property – a small strip of soft brown sand that can be seen from the deck of our cabin. From the moment we checked in, my kids were down at the beach, dipping their toes.  It wasn’t long before they were swimming out to the raft and paddling in kayaks. Everything we needed was there waiting for us on the beach – kayaks, kids’ kayaks, paddles, lifejackets. On our last morning, my son and I borrowed the full-sized canoe for a beautiful sunrise paddle.

jumping into the water from a raft at Zwicker's lake in Nova Scotia

The kids were in the water for most of our vacation//photo: Helen Earley

In terms of nearby attractions, Annapolis Royal, and Oaklawn Farm Zoo are less than 45 minutes away (in different directions). On our journey from Halifax we created a mini road trip by travelling through Annapolis Valley along the 101. On our way home, we completed a the loop by driving south down Highway 10, then back to Halifax along the 103, exploring the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

The Boler was fabulous to look at, but it wouldn’t have been right for a busy family with sandy feet running to and from the lake, and little voices begging for snacks every half hour. So now, after a relaxing family vacation at The Old Ten Spot, I can’t help dreaming about a weekend away without the kids.

I’m packing my Jefferson Airplane CDs. The Boler is calling!