My maritime blood takes me to the east coast at least once every two years. For some reason it resonates stronger as I growingly feel the urge to escape urgency and performance pressure. The maritime way has its own beat - one with rolling hills, vast landscapes of farm land, cliffs and beaches harbouring the world highest tides and most of all, friendly souls that enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
I managed to mobilise my family to meet up at my uncle Terry's dream retreat, designed by my sister Melinda. It reminds me of Corbusier's Villa Savoye because of its modernity and attention to details, majestic views - making the inside seamless with the outside. Our days were filled mini adventures that left me thinking - does this have to end?
Mini adventure #1:
On our way from Halifax airport my uncle Doug tells us about this cider that has been making waves in the province. He hooks me in further with the mention of a particular kind - could this be real? My two favourite flavours in a cider? We make a pit stop at the Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville. We taste Sour Cherry and Crips & Dry and leave with a bottle of the most delicious kind in my books - did you guess? Rhubarb & Ginger!
Mini adventure #2
Saturday morning we head back to Wolfville and this time we visit the farmers market. Most of you probably know my obsession with markets by now and I must say that this one continues to thrill with each visit. I see/meet new and returning merchants including a Syrian family offering traditional eats and a mushroom expert who tantalizes me with a new breed that I decide to sacrifice on the BBQ for dinner.
Mini adventure #3
Wolfville is surrounded by local producers and we decide to hit award winning Benjamin Bridge Vineyards. We are welcomed in a modern barn-like structure and display of vintage tools. For $12 each we enjoy barrel tastings: healthy samples of rose, sparkling white and tidal bay. Tidal bay is a type of wine unique to the region and we learn that these go through a rigorous judging process in order to be able to leverage the title. We meet a lovely chatty couple that give us two more adventure tips. I leave inspired with the taste of a great rosé and a strong design aesthetic - Eastern Canada has come a long way in the past 20 years.
Mini adventure #4
We learn that Nova Scotia is quickly gaining a name for itself when it comes to craft beer and visit a place where barley and malt is prepared! I pass the flight tasting but remain curious at my sister Tracy's delight and questions regarding how each taste is achieved. Again, pleasantly surprised by the attention to detail, authentic look & feel and strong design aesthetic of the Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company.
Mini adventure #5
Our new friends had recommended that we visit the Lightfoot and Wolfville Vineyard and once again, we are charmed by a most impressive architectural structure and fresh interior. The tasting room was packed with what looked like trendy urbanites on a country escape! The organic riesling gets my attention here as well as the wine labels and packaging - I learn that they work with a Austin based designer and secretly wish they had kept it entirely local. In any case, another example of good design to garner success! You can easily spend a few hours here, gazing at the fields, sampling wine, relaxing by the fire pit or enjoying wood fire pizza.
Mini adventure #5
Local produce is bountiful in this part of the country. Farmers have honour system self serve stands with decently priced fruits and vegetables. Another option is to pick your own! While my sisters over indulge on blueberries, I pick a basket of cherry tomatoes and my parents go for the raspberries. The act of scavenging bushes to find ripe produce is meditative and relaxing!
Mini adventure #6
Blomidon beach is unlike I have ever encountered. First, there is no sand, instead you enjoy a healthy mud bath for your feet. Second, the tide rises and falls twice a day and you need to be aware of this unless you plan on swimming back to your starting point. The water is cold and salty with a few pockets of warm currents. The surrounding cliffs create a zone of protection from the howling winds. We're fortunate to be so close to this magical spot that drowns our worries and energizes our senses.
Mini adventure #7
We head out for a little road trip to visit the charming villages or Lunenburg and Mahone Bay. We rent bikes from sweet ride cycling and explore the forest and sea side from a different angle while breathing in the fresh salty air. We arrive just in time to wave goodbye to the Bluenose 2 and catch a few enchanting songs at the gazebo as part of a series of Sunday concerts. Seafood feast for the non-veg and cap the evening by gazing at some of the oldest houses in Canada including a pink one with 5 stories, the top floor was likely dedicated a wife so that she could keep and eye out for her husband coming home from the sea!