Nova Scotia has a familiarity that reminds us of the US east coast. Perhaps a little Vermont, mixed with some Rhode Island, but bigger. There are lots and lots of farms, and in the distance along the coast glimpses of the ocean. The distances are much longer as we found when we were chasing down some wineries in the Annapolis Valley. The accent here is faint, nobody was speaking French except at the government-run Acadian National Historic site at Grand Pre, where everything was in two languages.
Here we learned the sad story behind the deportation of thousands of Acadians by the British in 1755. They had established a thriving colony here, calling the entire NS peninsula Acadia, but when the colonial settlers were attacked in our home town of Deerfield MA, a revenge party set out to wreak havoc on the people who lived here. The historic center shows a vivid picture of life during those troubled times and about the difficulties and clash of civilizations between native Mik Maw, Acadians who came from France, and Britain’s colonizers down in America. It’s a story that most Americans don’t know.
It was a fascinating contrast to go from the classic lobster village of Halls Harbour, where patrons line up, pick out their lobsters and then have them walked over from the pound to their table, to the sophisticated wine tasting bar at Luckett’s Vineyard.
The entire wine industry here is only a few years old, there have been winemakers growing the L’Acadie grapes for decades but the influx of newer players and the establishment of 16 wineries has caught on in a big way. Today you can take the Magic Wine Tour bus and stop at many tasting bars and hop back on the bus to keep going.
The waitstaff in all of the restaurants we’ve been to know a lot about their native wines and we have been very impressed–enough to keep asking for the Nova Scotia wines only at every stop.
At Le Caveau restaurant in the Domaine de Grand Pre Winery, the dining room was bustling and the menu was full of excellent choices. The local lamb and the Artic Char both studded with Nova Scotia grown vegetables were both top notch. Each course came with its requisite Nova Scotia pairing, right down to the coffee flavored dessert that went perfectly with ice wine and ice cider, both specialities of this delicious region, Annapolis.