A piece of lobster bathed in Hollandaise sauce flaked apart in my mouth and I thought, “in over a decade of living in Nova Scotia, how have I not been here before?”.
It wasn’t just the Lobster Benedict that inspired this train of thought: my husband Dylan, daughter Ada and I were enjoying an incredible mini-vacation at Pictou Lodge, culminating in the Sunday brunch that manager Wes Surrett describes as a bit of a tradition around here.
We are sitting in the glassed-in rotunda of the Lodge’s restaurant with growing stacks of dinner plates in front of us. We’ve had bacon and Belgian waffles, made-to-order omelettes, smoked salmon, tea biscuits, caramel-drizzled cheesecake, banana cream pie. And Lobster Benedict. [I've never gotten kicked out of an all-you-can eat buffet, but my husband has. We can get pretty serious about these things].
The brunch would’ve been enough to justify the hour and a half drive from Halifax. But what if I told you that we had enjoyed a three-course dinner with wine pairings and watched the moon rise from our oceanfront cabin the night before? Oh yeah, and while we waited for brunch to start we cozied up in Adirondack chairs with tea and Mrs. MacGregor’s shortbread while the sun warmed our legs and our baby daughter played on our cabin’s porch?
Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Don’t worry, you too can enjoy an idyllic getaway like this. Here’s how:
1. Drive through the rolling Nova Scotia countryside to the sleepy little town of Pictou. Wind your way along the shores of the Northumberland Strait until you pull into the entrance of Pictou Lodge.
2. As you motor down the long driveway and catch sight of the beautiful oceanfront grounds, wish that you’d had your wedding here. Ask your husband for a do-over.
3. Locate the cabin where you’ll be staying the night (with patio, fire pit, king-sized bed, fully-appointed kitchen and jacuzzi tub). Swoon. Note the proximity of the ocean. Double swoon.
4. (change the baby’s diapers. Sorry folks, this is reality here)
5. Meet Pictou Lodge manager, Wes, in the dining room with panoramic ocean views as the sun begins to trek lower in the sky. Make quick work of two tender, buttery biscuits delivered to your table by your attentive server. Watch proudly while your baby daughter enchants the entire room of diners with her smiles.
6. Peruse the menu with your husband. For him, seafood chowder to start: he is passionately dedicated to participating in the Adventures in Taste Chowder Trail. For you, the mushroom risotto balls. Order a glass of Jost Vineyard‘s Eagle Tree Muscat. Giggle a little as your husband orders a glass of Jost’s 4 Skin wine. Steal sips of it as you crack the breaded crust of your risotto balls with your spoon, savouring the pairing of red wine, earthy rice and chunky-sweet marinara sauce.
7. Slowly cut into your succulently moist chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and Terra Beata cranberries. Take a bite of divine garlic mashed potatoes. Give your daughter a green bean to gnaw on/throw on the floor. Indulge in more thievery as you load up a fork with marinated steak and its accompanying jus from your hubby’s plate.
8. Make room for dessert. Use your spoon to break open the layer of crisp sugar on your creme brûlée; let the sweet cream melt in your mouth. Nicely ask your husband to pick up the sizeable chunk of chicken your daughter has thrown on the floor. While he’s under the table, take just a little bit of his chocolate pâté with cream and raspberry coulis. Just enough to taste, not enough for him to notice.
9. Utterly sated, extract your daughter from her high chair, shake the wayward food off her dress, and head back to your cabin. Share a bottle of Nova Scotia wine with your husband and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean waves crashing (just until you drift into a peaceful slumber: then awaken to your daughter’s mewling and snuggle her back to sleep. Repeat every two hours until the sun rises).
There you have it, folks: a recipe for the perfect weekend getaway at one of Nova Scotia’s finest resorts. Enjoy!