About Us

White Sails property aerial view

Family owned and operated the White Sails Inn and Cabins are located in Eastport, Newfoundland. A popular vacation destination, nestled next to beautiful Eastport Beach, we have been welcoming guests for decades. The area offers breathtaking scenery, stunning ocean views, fresh sea air and a historical legacy stretching back hundreds of years. Steps away from the beach and shoreline hiking trails, minutes from the historic village of Salvage and Terra Nova National Park, the White Sails Inn and Cabins is perfectly located.

Walk our land, swim our ocean, breathe our air and feel our legacy. Restore your soul.

Resettlement and the Little Floated Salt Box

Prior to joining Canada in 1949, the history and commerce of Newfoundland and Labrador was built on the fishery with many small communities established on out-lying islands and isolated from the mainland. Prior to the start of the Smallwood government’s sponsored “resettlement program” in 1954, many of these communities had been abandoned as government officials had long been planning to “concentrate” populations in mainland centres to achieve economic, medical, and social benefits. Some Newfoundlanders had already decided to move and centralize for personal reasons, primarily to improve their quality of life. In Bonavista Bay, for example, there were a large number of residents from out-lying islands that decided to move to the Eastport Peninsula area during the early 1950s.

Resettlement floated house
Towing resettlement house
White Sails Floated Salt Box

Our yellow Salt Box is an example of resettlement. It was floated from nearby Flat Island to Eastport Beach around 1950 and then moved and positioned in its current location. The Little Floated Salt Box (as we call it) is an original Newfoundland Salt Box home that is well over 100 years old and endured a sea crossing of some 12 miles to be established and find its final resting place on Eric’s Road in Eastport. Renovated and restored, but aiming to maintain much of its original character, the Little Floated Salt Box now welcomes guests to a rustic and whimsical retreat.

Salt Box view
Salt Box bedroom

Gerald S. Doyle and the Inn History

Born in King’s Cove, Bonavista Bay, and later moving to St. John’s, Gerald S. Doyle became an apprentice at a local Drug Store. He developed a career selling patented medicines and cod liver oil around the coasts of Newfoundland and in 1929 established the Gerald S. Doyle Limited. Around this time, Doyle became engaged in the preservation of Newfoundland's culture and heritage, publishing the Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland in 1927. He also established a newsletter entitled The Family Fireside, which published local news, folklore stories, and traditional music. The Gerald S. Doyle News Bulletin was aired on a local radio station in 1932, providing important information to outport fishermen. Gerald S. Doyle made a significant contribution to many Newfoundlanders in isolated areas, improving their health and keeping them informed of local news and stories of interest to them. He is also credited with popularizing Newfoundland folk music. He passed away in St. John's in 1956. The Gerald S. Doyle Memorial Museum has since been established, located in King's Cove. In his honour, his efforts in preserving Newfoundland culture are commemorated to this day.

It was during his days of visiting the coastal areas of Newfoundland in his boat, "Miss Newfoundland", and selling patented medicines and cod liver oil, that he happened upon the Eastport Peninsula area. Story has it that once he entered Eastport Bay he decided he would build a summer home next to Eastport Beach. That summer home is “The Inn” and was built in 1947 (the very first summer home in Eastport). What is now Cabin 1 was originally built as a wood-shed. Gerald visited each summer for 2 months, bringing his family by train from St. John’s to Alexander Bay station in Glovertown. He then arranged for a local taxi for onward transportation to Eastport over what can be described as “very primitive roads” (there could not have been many taxis back then!). The Inn was a summer home that he enjoyed until his death in 1956.

Following this, the property was sold to a local family (Harold and Claire Squire) and was operated as a Bed and Breakfast for a number of years. Harold and Claire named the property “The White Sails Inn” and later added “Cabins”. At that time in history, Eastport Bay was frequented with white sailed schooners. The Squire’s had a barn in the back garden that was converted to two sperate cabins (this is what is now Cabin 7). They also built a duplex which is now Cabins 2 and 3. In 1973, the property was purchased by Margaret and Les Dawe. It was then that The Inn changed from a Bed and Breakfast to a vacation home rental. The Dawes also added Cabin 6 to the property. In 1987, Doyle and Joyce Roberts (from St. John’s) purchased the property and added Cabins 4 and 5 and converted Cabin 7 to one cabin. Doyle and Joyce were the parents of the current owner, Nancy, who purchased the White Sails Inn business with her husband, Shane, in 2008 (following Doyle and Joyce’s passing). Nancy and Shane have completed many upgrades since but have for the most part have left The Inn in its original state. With a beautiful, mature garden and outstanding ocean views, The Inn is the cornerstone property of the White Sails Inn business. Guests have been returning for decades to stay at The Inn, a property rich with history, heritage and pride of ownership.

The Inn circa 1950 Gerald S. Doyle Miss Newfoundland boat

A Short History of Eastport

Early agriculture in Eastport

Early agriculture in Eastport

The Town of Eastport was first established as a farming community to serve the needs of the surrounding fishing communities. Salvage families started moving to Eastport in the 1860s, the movement mostly due to a decline in the local fishery. Farming was seen as a valuable source of food for the local area and as an important source of livelihood.

A prominent resident of Salvage, James Burden, acquired some 100 acres of fertile land on the Eastport bank area overlooking the beaches and developed an economically viable farm (fertilizing with caplin and seaweed from the nearby beaches). Burden hired an experienced English farmer (John Seymour) to develop the land. Arriving in 1868 and for the next 5 years, Seymour supervised the development of the farm. It was during those years that some Salvage residents began working this land, being trained by Seymour and later moving to Eastport permanently.

For more than a century following John Seymour’s era, large amounts of vegetables were shipped yearly from the shores of Eastport to many communities dotting Newfoundland. In 1939, a road was built connecting Eastport to the nearby railway station in Alexander Bay. Trucks could now be used to ship the produce.

To this day, there are local families that continue the tradition of farming - not necessarily for livelihood purposes - but to use this fertile land as their fore-bearers did. At Thanksgiving, the area hosts an Agricultural Festival to celebrate our farming heritage, drawing visitors for a weekend filled with activities for all to enjoy.

What is now the White Sails Inn property was also used as farmland. In 1947, though, the land was purchased by Gerald S. Doyle, a prominent Newfoundland businessman, and he built his summer home (the home which still stands and is known as “The Inn”, and believed to be the first summer home in Eastport).

Eastport beach and landscape