People and Places

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I wanted to write a few words about some of the people we met in Nova Scotia and the hospitality we received. I found that everywhere we went, people genuinely wanted to offer advice about the local area, or just stop and have a friendly chat for a few minutes. There is a lot of local pride when tourists come to town and the residents really want to share their part of the world.

Michael, David and their dog Harry run Pelham House in Lunenberg, a wonderful B&B that was an old whaling captain’s house. They couldn’t have been more helpful in directing us to local sites and offering their wisdom on where to eat and drink in Lunenberg. The property is beautiful inside, offering 19th century charm – the snifter of Port they left out every night was a nice welcoming touch. Once summer is over, the owners pack up shop and head off to run their other guest house on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. We marvelled at the duality of their life, splitting their time between 2 very different places.

There was a lady and her son that we chatted to over breakfast one morning who had travelled from Louisiana in order to try and locate long lost family members. It turned out that she was Cajun and spoke French fluently – her ancestors had gone south when the British expelled the Acadians in the 1700’s. They didn’t really seem to have a plan about how to trace their family tree, just had a strong desire to see where their family came from. Like us, they thought that the Nova Scotia countryside was breathtakingly beautiful.

In Pictou, a small harbour town that celebrates being the birthplace of New Scotland, we stayed at the Evening Sail B&B, run by Michelle and her mum Gail.  Never before have I received such a warm welcome when arriving at accommodation. The duo really strive to run a nice guesthouse, and they entertained us to no end at breakfast, even sending us on our way with a take away bag of Gail’s baking.

IMG_0435Another surprise in Pictou was a restaurant called Not Your Mama’s Kitchen, run by a couple who are passionate about sourcing local ingredients and cooking with the seasons. They opened late last year and are gearing up for their first summer season. The menu changes constantly, depending on what is available. The meal we had was delicious, some of the best fishcakes I have ever tasted – even the beer was brewed a few blocks away. We stayed after closing and had a wonderful conversation with both of the owners, who once again were so friendly and accommodating. I wish them all the best of luck, and a busy summer season.

And finally in Cape Breton, we stayed in guesthouse called the The Worn Doorstep in the village of Baddeck, run by Willie and Gina. Willie emigrated to Canada in the late 1960’s from Scotland and both he and his wife were so friendly and interested in what brought us to their part of the world. It was so relaxing staying at their place, and again they couldn’t have been more welcoming and helpful in telling us about the area.

When you live in a big city, it is easy to become indifferent to others; a primal instinct kicks in to survive in the jungle. Fighting your way through a city of 10 million people to get to work on time becomes normal; individualism takes over. Being in Nova Scotia has reminded me that taking 5 minutes to have a chat or listen to someone’s story can be enriching; it allows some of the assertive individualism to subside and brings a renewed interest and mindfulness to one’s surroundings. I will think about the people I met in Nova Scotia often, and wonder what they are up to.

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