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Guest Post: Sunrise Trail

18 Jul

Editor’s note: I’m often compared to my father, but clearly I got my interests in writing and exploring from my mother.  @GillianWesleyNS and I were very pleasantly surprised when my mother sent us this post.  Thanks Mum, looking forward to more guest posts from you!

@DrewMooreNS

It’s a beautiful Friday morning, the sun is shining and the birds are singing.  Best of all I am off work for a three day weekend.  A good day to enjoy some of our beautiful countryside.  Called my Mum and she was game to go.  The male half of the Local Traveler’s grandmother is 86 and always a good traveler herself as he can attest to, having traveled with her to France a number of years ago.  Maybe that is another story to be told.

Our destination is Tatamagouche.  A nice little trip up the Sunrise Trail in northeastern Nova Scotia along Highway 6.   I packed my little “aim and shoot” thinking I would be the FIRST  guest blogger – thanks Mike Finley, I should have written my blog earlier in the week but you had a great post. Continue reading

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Bus Route #80 – Sackville

20 Jun

Welcome to the fourth installment of day trips and vacation spots in HRM accessible by bus (and bike!). Today we’ll take you on the #80, or what could be easily called ‘The Seafood Route”. The 80 starts at the Scotia Square terminal and takes you past some awesome spots in the downtown core, but for the purpose of this post we’re going to start the trip at the Superstore on Joseph Howe Drive. There are many excellent routes for downtown adventures (try the #1 for downtown and the #42 for Robie Street), and the #80’s best bits are further along.

Note for cyclists:  Cycling distances begin at the Superstore on Joseph Howe Drive.  Take care merging onto the Bedford Highway as there are many lanes and traffic tends to be heavy here.  Also, from Hatchery Park to Fultz House, follow the walking route rather than going on Hwy 101 (it’s prohibited for cyclists).  The #80 does not have a bike rack so if you’re cycling out, you’ll be cycling back.

Jim’s Family Seafood Restaurant  (2.9km)
There is a LOT of great food on the #80 route, starting with Jim’s. It offers home style cooking (if your hometown was made up of a group of fishermen, Greek, and Italian residents) for a good price and an even better view. They have awesome deals on seafood, with most entrees ringing in between $10 and $15. The patio overlooking the Bedford Basin isn’t open yet, but we’ve been assured that it won’t be much longer.  If you like fried fish, get the seafood platter.

Tomaso’s Pizza (2.9km)
Also in this area is Tomaso’s Pizza (@tomasospizza). Opened in 1969, Tomosa’s claims to be the oldest pizzaria in Halifax. The owner is originally from Italy, and while we didn’t have the chance to stop in for a slice, the pizza looks pretty good. We were especially interested in the Pesto Sopresa and the Spinaci and Galo Arrostito.

Nature’s Cove General Store (3.9km)
When I first discovered that I couldn’t eat wheat, I had a really hard time finding some decent bread. That is, until a kindly stranger heard my laments and suggested Nature’s Cove. Nature’s Cove is an awesome little shop chock full of local, organic, natural and all around good for you products. Over the weekend, we also learned that they are currently installing the means to offer fresh-scooped ice cream, and some cooking gear to be able to make more in-house creations.

Prince’s Lodge (The Rotunda) (5.7km)
I was really looking forward to covering this route specifically for the Rotunda. For years, I have driven by this funny little round building and wondered what on earth it could be. Thanks to @1_car_guy, @anthonymartinNS and @Steamwrksdesign, our questions were finally answered.

As it turns out, this whole area once played host to Prince Edward and his French mistress Julie St. Laurent. What was once a huge estate fell into disrepair in the late 1800’s, and was broken up and sold into lots. The circular building that can be seen from the road (the Rotunda) is an old music room. If you go into the park you will also see the ‘Heart Shaped Lake’, which Edward built for his mistress.

It seems that Hemlock Ravine was a bit of a lovers playground for the pair.  What all of this taught me is that being a king’s mistress is the way to go.

Hemlock Ravine (5.9km)
@aldelory suggested we check this one out, and we’re glad we did. You could easily spend the whole day here. The park is huge with a network of well-groomed trails (@halifaxtrails).  This is a great spot for couples to go for a walk (or for kids to pretend they’re Robin Hood).  We’ve added a few pictures but you really have to see this one for yourself.


Fisherman’s Market (5.8km)
From this point on, you really start to hit the seafood portion of this adventure. Fisherman’s Market (@fishermanshfx) is a great stop if you plan to bring some lobster home for dinner. When we were there, they also had some samples of their spicy smoked salmon. ☺

Clearwater (7km)
Down the road from the Fisherman’s Market is another fish market at Clearwater (@clearwatersea). As soon as you enter you are stopped short by their starfish display of live lobster. The proximity of the two markets makes it easy to compare options and prices so we suggest visiting both. One thing that we liked about Clearwater is that they have stocked the store with tons of seafood trimmings (butter, cornbread, spices, cream) making it a one-stop-shop for a lobster dinner.

Harvest Wines & Spirits (7km)
Another very nice feature about Clearwater is that it has a wine and spirits boutique for a next door neighbour. Harvest Wines & Spirits  (@harvestwines) has an impressive collection of Nova Scotian wines. We especially liked all of the artful displays of Benjamin Bridge.

They have a cozy room for hosting wine-tasting events, complete with dishware for food pairings. For bigger events, you can rent the whole store and have two bars going at once. This would make a very unique event space.

Battered Fish (7km)
Across the street from the Fisherman’s Market is a pop-up Battered Fish (@tbf09). We have had battered fish from the Waterfront and Scotia Square locations a few times now, and are big fans. The portions are big and well priced and the fries are a perfect mix between McDonalds and Homecut style fries. In addition to some great food options, they have an impressive array of vinegar options.

Esquire Restaurant (7km)
Since we are well versed in Battered Fish cuisine, we opted for a quick bite to eat at the Esquire Restaurant (@esquirebedford). This place is an old standard in HRM. It is everything you could want in a diner (except for local beers, which is unfortunate).

We tried the lobster chowder upon the recommendation of the two Coast ‘Best Of’ Chowder signs in the doorway (2008 and 2009). While it’s been a few years since they’ve made the best of list, we can see why the chowder has caused some commotion in the past. It is thick, creamy and loaded with lobster.

DeWolf Park (9.1km)
If you’ve ever been to Bedford Days, you’re familiar with DeWolf Park. The Bedford Basin park is named after Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf, arguably Canada’s greatest naval officer. The park features a fair-sized green area, children’s playground, a boardwalk and signs that share historical facts that date back almost as far as the known beginning of the planet. One thing to take note of at DeWolf was the view of the infilling currently taking place in the Bedford Basin. The project is dumping pyritic slate into this unique ecosystem and has been making some pretty alarming changes. To read more about it check out here. You can also follow the citizens’ group on twitter @savebedfordreef

Thai Ivory Cuisine (8.9km)
Just past the street down to DeWolf Park is what may be the best Thai restaurant in HRM, Thai Ivory Cuisine. We have gone out of our way (i.e. to Bedford) to get their red and green curries. The best time to go is over the lunch hour to take advantage of their awesome lunch deals. Well worth the trip here.

Scott Manor House (10.8km)

I never thought that I was all that into old buildings, but Scott Manor House may have changed my sentiment. Built in 1767, it is the only full two and a half storey, gambrel-roofed colonial structure in Nova Scotia, and possibly in Canada. It also has two original mortarless, loose field stone chimney bases. This attraction is free to visit, but only open in July and August (we lucked into a visit during a special event). There is a tea room on-site that offers tea and assorted sweets between 2 pm and 4 pm.

Fish Hatchery Park (10.7km)
Just around the corner from Scott Manor is Fish Hatchery Park. As the name suggests, it was once the site of a large fish hatchery. Considering it’s right next to the main route, it’s a very peaceful little area that would be a great place for a picnic or to read a book. There is a 2 km walking route from here to Fultz House in Sackville. If you are not looking to shop in downtown Bedford, we suggest stopping at Manor House, heading to Fish Hatchery Park, and then taking a hike to Fultz house before bussing home.

Downtown Bedford (11.7km)
If you continue along on the bus, you will come to Downtown Bedford. This little shopping area has a lot to offer.  Most people are familiar with the original Pete’s location (Drew’s parents used to make pilgrimages all the way from New Glasgow to get hard to find British favourites) and the original Chicken Burger. You will also find the Sunnyside Restaurant (a great, deluxe greasy spoon) the Riverside Pub (a popular watering hole), the Freak Lunchbox candy shop and Uncommon Kids.

Fultz House (13.6km)
Fultz House is a small seasonal museum that pays tribute to more than 200 years of Sackville history. The museum wasn’t yet open on this trip (Open July-August), but we took the opportunity to wander the immaculately kept grounds. We had a great time exploring the property, which is filled with old-fashioned gardening tools, an original cooperage and a working replica of A.J. Smeltzer’s Lower Sackville blacksmith shop.

Even though this was our longest post to date, there are tons of cool things we have left out. If you take a #80 day trip, we’d love to hear what you liked the most.

Note: If you’ve been dreaming of an outdoor wedding, a few of these spots (Hemlock Ravine, DeWolf, and Fish Hatchery) can be booked with a Facilities Rental Contract through the city.

Be sure to check out our other #LocalTravelHRM posts on the #15 Purcell’s Cove, the #60 Eastern Passage and the #21 Lakeside!

@GillianWesleyNS & @DrewMooreNS

The Local Wedding NS

12 Jun

Anyone who has been following our adventures for the past year and a half might know that we are not one local traveler but a couple of local travelers. *  In fact, we are a couple and we recently got married.  Although our wedding isn’t necessarily something random readers would travel to, it was still most definitely an adventure and we were pretty keen to stick with a local theme.  Plus, since it led to some really fantastic local travel adventures for our honeymoon in the Annapolis Valley, we felt like sharing the day here.

Long before the day itself (it was a lengthy engagement), we booked our ceremony and reception at the Atlantica Hotel (@atlanticahfx) at the corner of Quinpool and Robie in Halifax.  Some of you might know it as the old Holiday Inn.  The hotel has been completely overhauled, with beautiful suites, two spacious event spaces (we flip-flopped over which to use for our wedding) and one of the best pool areas among Halifax hotels.

We took to Twitter to find local registries.  @IlovelocalHFX, and many others, promptly recommended Cucina Moderna (@cucinamoderna) on Dresdon Row.  We spent a fun afternoon browsing through their chic kitchenware, and later added a second registry at The Trail Shop (@TrailShop) on Quinpool Road.  We had a blast at the Trail Shop, anticipating all of the camping we want to do this year.

For the rehearsal party and all of the other festivities during the weekend, we stocked up on growlers of Garrison (@GarrisonBrewing) and Propeller (@PropellerBeer), as well as some bottles of Benjamin Bridge (@Benjamin_Bridge) Nova 7.  Being of Scottish descent, my mother brought a bottle of Glen Breton (@GlenBreton) for me and my groomsmen.

The rehearsal party was catered by @Scanway, and Gillian’s second hand Vera Wang dress for the evening (and for all events leading up to the wedding) was from local high end consignment shop Crimson and Clover (@crimson_clover).

Our Saturday morning ritual is to take the bus down to the Seaport Market (@HfxSeaportMrkt) to do our grocery shopping for the week and chat with the vendors and other regulars.  Gillian was a little busy getting her hair done, so I went with some of my groomsmen and my uncle for breakfast.  I went with the chicken curry Cornish pasty (delicious).  The others were afraid this might be too heavy for a wedding day so they got breakfast wraps from Wrap So D.

We washed these down with some Trinity Gold Lemonade, courtesy of our friend, Josh (@joshnordin) and then popped over to Garrison.  Trinity Gold also provided their tasty lemonade for our pre-reception cocktail.  You can now find their lemonade at Saege Bistro (@SaegeBistro).

While we were otherwise occupied, Gillian and the bridesmaids spent the morning getting pretty, with help from fantastic local makeup artist Kristen Scott (@Krisco_).  For jewels, the girls all donned sea urchin necklaces by local company RunFree RunWild, who adapted one of her popular items to custom fit the dress.

The flowers for the bouquets were all selected from a list of Avon Valley‘s ‘Local’ cuts and artfully arranged by Sandra of ‘I Do’ flowers.  The remaining flowers were almost entirely living plants, with all flower design done by Gillian’s Dad, Jay Wesley (@jaywesley4).   Jay has spent years working with the Public Gardens and totally transformed the space.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have so many talented friends.  We knew right away that people would remember our wedding for the music.  Luke Watters (@LukeLWatters) is something of a prodigy and wowed our friends and family with the processionals during the ceremony, featuring a sing-along cover of Justin Rutledge’s Don’t be So Mean Jellybean (Rutledge was the first concert we saw together at the In the Dead of Winter Festival in 2009).  Gillian’s sister, Brittany (@BrittanyWesley) is a very talented vocalist.  She treated us to her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in lieu of grace.  ECMA winner Steven Bowers (@Steven_Bowers) honoured us by performing his 50th wedding anniversary song, It Breaks You So, for our first dance.  It was hard to find a dry eye in the place after that one.  Steve and Luke backed each other for some of their originals and then we let them off the hook to party as Zulca Moon took over.  We discovered these guys at the Seaport Market and fell in love with their infectious grooves.  Seriously, crowds of grinning people form instantly when these guys play at the market and they were in top form for our wedding.  People have been and will be talking about the music for a long time!

Instead of clinking glasses during the dinner to get us to kiss, we asked our guests to make donations to Clean Nova Scotia (@CleanNS).  Also in lieu of favours, we will be making a further donation to Clean NS, specifically to their Adopt a Watershed program.  We live in an area where the Williams Lake watershed is in jeopardy so this program is close to our hearts.

Due to a wheat allergy, we had to avoid regular cake.  Luckily, this meant we could indulge in a variety of cheesecakes from Sweet Hereafter (@Sweet_Hereafter).  Also thanks to @HalifaxSalseros for teaching us to salsa so we could properly groove to Zulca Moon.

Clearly we are pretty big on documenting everything, and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better to document the day in photos than Tanya Shields (@TanyaShields).  She, Jimmy and Ebony did an incredible job of capturing all of the important moments and the vibe of our wedding, right down to the shot of us together with a Metro Transit bus passing behind us.  You can check out her online gallery of the day here.

We’d like to thank @BishopsLanding and @Ristoranteamano for letting us do our shoot in the same neighbourhood where we first lived and where I proposed to Gillian on the waterfront.  Also a big “thank you” to @BishopsCellar for lending us the champagne glasses.

If you’re interested in checking out the play by play of the day, look up #DnGWedFest2012 on Twitter.  Thanks to all of our friends for live-tweeting!

I know we’ve said it already, but one more HUGE thanks to Tanya Shields. She not only did a fantastic job on the day, when we told her about this blog post she went to work picking out some perfect shots to go with this article.  All photos in this post are her lovely images.

*We are always looking for guest bloggers to help us cover our fantastic region.  If you’re interested, please email localtravelerns@gmail.com or send us a message on twitter, @gillianwesleyns or @drewmoorens.

Annapolis Valley Wines

10 Jun

Or:  The Wolfville Walking Winery Tour

After our wedding (post coming soon), we had Thursday and Friday to get in a mini-Honeymoon.  We packed the car with what we would need for a potential camping trip around Guysborough and were as far as Fall River when we found out the Rare Bird Pub isn’t open for the season yet and a B&B we were interested in checking out was fully booked.  So, we did the natural thing, and turned around in the exact opposite direction to do an impromptu winery tour in the Annapolis Valley.

It was raining and getting to mid evening so we took refuge at the Evangeline Inn and Motel just off Exit 10 to Wolfville from Hwy 101.  Full post for Evangeline Inn coming soon.  The next morning we woke to a mixed sun and cloud sky and a map of the local wineries.  Looking for a little extra adventure, we mapped out a route to walk a circuit that would bring us to five wineries in a 20km loop.  We packed our bag with water and some snacks, grabbed the camera, and set off south along Grand Pré Road to Luckett Vineyards.

Within minutes we were rewarded for our decision to hoof it, greeted with sites like this unique churchyard wall and the countless shades of green in the Annapolis countryside.  We even saw a mother bird dog fighting in the air with one of her young.  All things that we wouldn’t have been able to notice as well if we were zooming by in the car.

Luckett Vineyards (3.3km from Evangeline Inn, restaurant on-site)

We had a moment of doubt in our decision to walk when we got to the massive hill that leads to Luckett Vineyards. Our doubt disappeared immediately after stepping onto their beautiful grounds.  Pete has really done a great job here, with an inviting veranda overlooking his vines.  He even set up a London-style phone booth in the middle of the field where you can make free calls to anywhere in North America.

It costs $7 to sample five wines here.  We were torn between their L’Acadie Blanc and their Tidal Bay (see here for the significance of Tiday Bay).  Pete has been criticized for putting his vineyards on a north-facing slope, but we found it did not detract from the quality of the wines in any way.  In fact, we found all five wines set the bar for the rest of the day. We’re excited to return in the winter to try the luge that is set up between the rows during ice wine harvest season. (@petestweetsNS)

L’Acadie Certified Organic Vineyards (4.3km from Luckett Vineyards)

The next leg of our hike was on relatively flat terrain.  It took us past Gaspereau Wool (post coming soon).  The grounds of L’Acadie Vineyards are pretty modest compared to Luckett, and this was matched by the owner, Pauline’s humble attitude.  She allowed us to try two of their sparkling wines for free, both of which were crisp and delightful.  The 2010 Vintage Cuvée slightly edged out the 2009 Vintage Cuvée Rosé.

While we were enjoying them, she told us about how she and her husband came across Canada from B.C. in a camper with the intent of setting up a vineyard in Nova Scotia and lived for a month on the beach while looking for the right land.  You can tell this is a labour of love for them, both in the way she spoke and in how the wine tasted. (@lacadiewine)

Gaspereau Vineyards (2.3km from L’Acadie Vineyards)

Next we set out for Gaspereau, taking us across the river of the same name (we hear there is great tubing here).  Our prize for reaching the halfway point of our journey was a free sampling of six of Gaspereau Vineyards’ impressive wines.

The girl working there asked us our wine preferences and took care to describe how each wine might appeal to us.  Her job was made easy by the quality of their wine.  There wasn’t one we didn’t like.  In the end, we went with their Marechal Fosh. (@gaspereauwines)

Muir Murray Estate Winery (5.8km from Gaspereau Vineyards, restaurant on-site)

The next leg to Muir Murray Winery was our longest so we broke it up with lunch at Paddy’s Brew Pub in Wolfville.  After the killer hill leading into town, we needed the break and the food.  We’ve covered Paddy’s before, but their new local focus on their menu made us update our post, so check it out here.

This was the part of our trip where we were really happy with our decision to walk.  By car, you would reach Muir Murray from downtown Wolfville along the Evangeline Trail.  On foot, we were able to step off the main road and take the Old Dyke Road along the water.  Our muscles and spirits were recharged walking on top of the old Acadian dyke, among tall blowing grass along the Bay of Fundy.  We saw several other pedestrians, both human and canine, and cyclists to boot.

Before long, we reached the yellow buildings of Muir Murray, and stepped inside to cool off.  Maybe it was because we’d been walking all day, but by this point we were preferring whites to reds.  However, it was their Atlantic Shore Rosé that stood out, especially when it was mentioned that it would make a great sangria.  Here we were able to each try three wines for free.  So we shared six! (@muirmurraywine)

A newborn kitten from one of the mama cats at Muir Murray.

An Ox enroute to the next winery

Domaine de Grand Pré (2.4 km from Muir Murray Estate Winery, restaurant on-site)

Our final winery of the day was Domaine de Grand Pré, and I really have to say, we saved the best for last.  Grand Pré stood out from these five for a few reasons.  Of the three that had Tidal Bay, this one was the best.  In fact, overall they had the best wine selection of the day.  Also, their grounds are spectacular.  It felt like we were on a Tuscan villa, and we would love to return to dine at their restaurant.  Finally, we enjoyed going downstairs to check out their wine museum.  Here we tried seven wines for $7, with their Tidal Bay and their Muscat coming out on top amongst stiff competition.  We were affably hosted by Catherine and Cacilia Stutz, wife of the winemaker. (@grandprewines)

A beautiful spot for some summer dining outside of the on-site restaurant Le Caveau

From here we only had 300m to return to the Evangeline Inn.  If you choose to retrace our path, we strongly urge to go in the same direction.  This will leave the shortest leg of the trip for the end, and make it easy for you to buy a bottle at Grand Pré to take with you.  We also suggest you consider cycling.

Benjamin Bridge Winery – Annapolis Valley

9 Jun

Nova Scotian wines were one of the first wines I can recall sampling. It was at a wedding when I was quite a few years younger, and my parents allowed me a small sip from their glass for a toast.  From that day forward, I have hated Nova Scotian wines.

That is, until one fine day in 2009 when I happened across a tasting of Nova 7 at Bishops Cellar.  That fateful taste reopened my eyes to the world of Nova Scotian wineries.  Since that day, Nova 7 has become a good friend of mine. I hold it so dear, that when I heard that the newest vintage of Nova 7 had been released a few weeks back, I decided I would drink nothing else for all the formal gatherings leading up to my wedding, and on my wedding day.

So, imagine my delight today when we found out that Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, the wine maker for Benjamin Bridge (@Benjamin_Bridge) was open to giving us a tour of the winery.   For close to two hours, Jean-Benoit artfully display both his knowledge and passion for wine and wine making.

Benjamin Bridge is situated on 60 acres of picturesque property in the Annapolis Valley.  No kidding, it is easy to forget you’re not in France here (Drew used to live in France and has verified this).  They were the first Nova Scotian winery to attempt a traditional method sparkling. Planting and production started sometime close to the start of the new millennium, with the first commercial release in 2008.  This first release was the 2007 vintage, hence the name, Nova 7.  Since that first release, Benjamin Bridge Winery has been making waves in the Nova Scotia market.  Last year, Nova 7 became the first Nova Scotian wine to be sold in Ontario.

At Benjamin Bridge, the sparkling wine is created using the classical method, with second fermentation occurring in the bottle along racks like these.

There is amazing attention to detail put into every bottle, right down to the cork.

Jean-Benoit was pure delight to listen to.  His descriptions of the wines and winery were both informative and humble.  He told us that great wines are made in the vineyard.  The least interference with what the terroir naturally produces, the better.   He spoke passionately about ensuring that wine is made with quality rather than quantity, paying attention to what can be done well in the area as opposed to growing our personal preferences.  We also learned just how much respect is given to the environment at Benjamin Bridge. Not only are they certified organic, all run off to the Gaspereau River is distilled down to drinking quality, bird and other indigenous populations are monitored and there is an overall feeling of symbiosis with the surrounding environment.

All of this care is reflected best in their wines. We started with a (now sold out) bottle of 2004 Brut Reserve LD, a sparkling wine that is comparable to the top champagnes of this world.  Don’t take our word for it, we aren’t trained wine critics, but do take the opinions of Beppi Crosariol (The Globe and Mail), Anthony Gismondi (ED, Wine Access Magazine), and Bill Zacharkiw (Montreal Gazette).   I could go on all day about how good this sparking wine is, but I want to shift focus to the newest release from Benjamin Bridge, Tidal Bay.

This year’s Tidal Bay is not set to hit shelves until this coming Monday, but Jean-Benoit gave us a sneak peek.  This is the winery’s second Tidal Bay wine. The first was released last year under the ‘Vero’ title.  This year, the Benjamin Bridge Tidal Bay took home our top marks out of the NS wineries producing a Tidal Bay.  It had the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.  It was just dry enough, just sweet enough, and just perfect for summer sipping.  While the Brut LD and Tidal Bay took our top marks today, we loved every wine we sipped at Benjamin Bridge.  It was so good, that after touring 9 Nova Scotian wineries in 2 days with the intent of writing one large wine tour post, we decided that they merited a post of their own.

Muir Murray Winery

31 Jul

Wolfville and Kentville are lovely spots to plan a day-long get-away over the summer. A 45 minute drive from the city and you are surrounded by farmers markets, U-picks aplenty, and most importantly, winery’s.

Last Sunday, my sister, her good friend and I headed to Wolfville to check out Muir Murray Winery. Muir Murray is a relatively new winery to Nova Scotia. It officially opened on July 3, 2009. The owner is a former surgeon who moved to Nova Scotia after retiring at 51. Today, the winery has received awards for both a number of their wines as well as from the Halifax Chamber, taking silver in the Best New Business of the Year category at the Halifax Business awards.

We were delayed getting out of the city (that too-good-to-resist David’s tea deal held me up), so we missed the official tour. Lydia, the representative on site that day, helped us make our way around the extensive list of wines. The wines were organized from dry to sweet in each category. I started with a sweeter wine, thinking I would end up favoring the dry but my first sample ended up taking the cake. The winning white was Riches of Life, made from “Riesling” grapes. The website describes it as being rich with nuances of citrus, tropical fruit, honeydew melon, and a hint of minerality. I found it to be light and clean tasting, lovely to drink on it’s own but I can see it pairing well with some cheese or seafood. I purchased both the Riches of Life, and a 2010 Ice Wine called Solstice Ice.

Since we missed the tour we did a bit of self directed site seeing. The property was beautiful, and we saw a wedding tent set up from a wedding in the vineyard the previous day. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

If you plan to head up for a visit, wine tours start at 11, 1 and 3 from May to September. You can sample without taking the tour. Your first 5 samples are free, excluding their ice wines which are $5 per one ounce sample.

Tidal Bay Wine

21 Jul

The beauty of our province lies not only in our places but our products as well. With my male counterpart out-of-town on business, what better time than to partake in one of my favorite local products – Wine!

I will admit that I have not always been the biggest fan of Nova Scotia Wines, but the local libations have been growing on me over the past year. Last week, while shopping at the Seaport Market, I had a chance to try Blomidon Wines Tidal Bay. While the white blend is a bit sweeter than I would normally choose, its light, fruity palate and clean taste left me longing for another taste all week. I finally gave in and picked up a bottle at bishop’s cellar this evening.

According to Bishops, ‘to qualify for the Tidal Bay designation, wines must pass strict new grape-growing and winemaking standards on a par with the world’s toughest. The wines were assessed by an independent tasting panel to ensure that they conform to the Tidal Bay style and to certify their quality’

This wine is available upstairs at the market, or chilled and ready to go at Bishops Cellar. It is well worth the $20 price tag.