Historic Hillsdale House Inn was built in 1859 by Susan Forbes Foster of Clifton House, on land that had been the exercising ground for the garrison. She operated Hillsdale as a first-rate inn. The property included a large barn with glassed-in henhouse, a piggery, an icehouse and a large orchard. In 1872, Miss Foster married widower Edwin Ryerson in the double parlour of the house. Evidently, she was a thorough businesswoman; before the wedding, Ryerson was required to sign an elaborate pre-nuptial agreement in which Foster retained complete control over her property.
The photograph (see photo right) depicts the tiered "wedding cake" garden that was the dominant feature of the front yard. At Susan Ryerson's death in 1895, the Hillsdale House passed into the hands of the Perkins family, who had operated the Queen Hotel.
Among the many illustrious guests who have stayed at Hillsdale over the years were Prince George of Wales in 1884, later King George V (see signature in register to right), governors-general Lord Lansdowne in 1880 and Lord Tweedsmuir in 1937, and the Right Honourable W.L. MacKenzie King, prime minister of Canada.
A Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Property (circa. 1859), the Inn is a 12 acre estate, with manicured lawns, stately trees and numerous gardens.
The architecture of Hillsdale House Inn Bed & Breakfast is an excellent example of the Italianate style, incorporating bold massing, heavy and sparsely placed decorative features, and round headed windows. The front fašade is dominated by a central two storey projecting bay, capped with a large gable dormer. Large double windows are located on either side of the bay. Second floor windows have label moulds and the ground floor windows have heavy hoods, supported with massive brackets. The wide pilasters at the building corners, deep frieze boards and entrance porch detailing all contribute to the solid, Italianate image. A large ell extends from the back of the house, added circa 1897 to accommodate more guests. The house is set on a spacious, well manicured lot, set back from the road.