Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nova Scotia: Wrap Up

The famous Bluenose schooner sailing in Lunenburg Bay. This historic reproduction sails much of the year from either Halifax or Lunenburg. We were lucky to get tickets early on. Seeing a real tall ship in action was a treat.

This ends my series on my vacation of Nova Scotia. I would recommend that anyone interested in nature, relaxation, and seafood visit this Canadian province.

Unless you have several weeks, choose either Cape Breton, the Fundy Coast, or the South Shore as your base and try to spend as much time there. It takes longer to get around than you think and there is more to explore than the guide books make evident.

For my next trip, I would like to return in the fall when the leaves have turned.

I mentioned seafood above....I went on a fall color vacation to Massachusetts a couple of years ago and was hoping for seafood. We hardly found any. Not so in Nova Scotia. If you love the fruit de la mer, you will love Nova Scotia. Mussels were everywhere. I could have eaten them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! We ate lobster twice and I even ate pickled herring one night since it is a local favorite.

Our base as you know was Lunenburg. There are many restaurants in this town to choose from, which is another reason to make it a base. Most of the places close to the wharf are touristy but are relatively cheap. We ate at the Grand Banker, the Dockside Cafe, and Magnolia's. Only the latter would I recommend. One street up is the Trattoria Bella Donna and the Fluer de Sel. Both are outstanding but pricey. My lamb at the Bella Donna was $30 and my butter poached lobster at the Fleur de Sel was $42. The Fleur de Sel won Nova Scotia's best restaurant award in 2008. Some locals sitting next to us kept raving about it. Had it not been for Hurricane Bill, we would have missed out on that treat.

Only one restaurant, the Bella Donna, carried any of the renowned ice wines of the area. It was sold in the liquor store, but I wanted to taste it before buying a bottle. Sweet wine goes a long way. I was also anticipating more of a selection of other Canadian ice wines, but no joy there. I am just going to have to order through an on line retailer and have some shipped to me.

Finally, I need to shout out a big thank you to Ethan and Nancy Evans who allowed us to stay gratis in their home, who allowed us to rummage through their drawers for shorts and t-shirts, and whose beautiful home was the highlight of the trip. A true catharsis.

I also want to thank the neighbors whom we got to know quite well and who regaled us with all sorts of stories about life in Nova Scotia, including their health care system. They enriched our trip immeasurably.

Sometimes I think we lazy Americans forget that Canada even exists. It is there, it is significantly less expensive than Europe, and is culturally and geographically diverse. All I can say is go...enjoy!

The author getting ready to set sail on the Bluenose.

No comments: