The Nova Scotian Diet

Enough about me – we’ve had some other awards around this house lately. Sarah had her highland dance medal tests last week and earned a “Highly Commended” in both the pre-bronze and bronze categories; the highest level awarded. All four children came home with medals or trophies at the curling banquet; we were especially proud when Evan won a main award for participation, co-operations and sportsmanship. Last month, Sarah, Alex & Olivia had successful performances in the Truro Music Festival, participating in piano, voice & trumpet categories, earning a number of red and blue ribbons. Alex was asked to sing his folk song, “The Nova Scotian Diet” in the final concert and after his performance presented his music teacher, Chella Henderson, with flowers as she was acknowledged for her many years of teaching in the Truro area. (She was my music teacher growing up too!)

Enjoy the performance, videotaped by Sarah. 🙂

Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

Bistro 22 Well Worth the Drive!

It is with great interest that I read Bill Spur’s “Bourgeois Gourmet” restaurant review in the provincial Chronicle Herald newspaper each week. For the most part, I usually agree with his reviews. I was thrilled this week to discover his review was of Bistro 22, a restaurant located about a 15 minute walk from the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, and one we refer guests to as “our favourite restaurant in Truro. I can honestly say that neither we, nor any of our guests have ever expressed disappointment in the food, atmosphere nor service. It is very important, as the “local” recommending a restaurant, that we can be certain that our guests will have a great experience – otherwise we lose our credibility.

We were happy to see that Bill also enjoyed Bistro 22 and even said he would make the trip from Halifax to Truro (1 hour drive) just to eat there!

His full article can be found here.

“It was while sitting in the stands at a gym in Truro last Friday that I heard the words “best mashed potatoes ever.” Shortly thereafter, I walked into Bistro 22.

Dennis Pierce, who grew up in Belmont, Colchester County, but trained and worked as a chef in Manitoba, came home two years ago to open his bistro. On the night I was there, Pierce was working alone in the kitchen and a young woman named Courtney was the only server. Both are extraordinarily good at what they do.

Bistro 22 has seating for 32, with dark wooden upholstered chairs at glass-topped tables, and hanging light fixtures. Large framed photos of nature scenes decorate the walls.

As Courtney told us about that day’s specials, she said the caesar salad had just recently been added to the supper menu because it was so popular at lunch, and that the chef makes the dressing himself, which was all I needed to hear.

She also said the chef bakes bread and makes desserts when the restaurant is closed between lunch and supper, and that one of that day’s desserts was red velvet cake, which was all I needed to hear.

Kath and I were joined by our Truro friend Dede for dinner, which seemed like enough of an excuse to have a bottle of wine and, happily, the wine list here is mostly from Nova Scotia, so I chose Blomidon’s L’Acadie Blanc. There are also three Propeller and two Garrison beers available, as well as Stutz cider.

The mixed green salad, with avocado, goat cheese and walnuts, dressed with a cider vinaigrette, seemed like it had been designed with Kath in mind and she described it as “flavourful and outstanding.” Haddock chowder was at the thicker end of the creaminess spectrum, and very tasty. The caesar, though, disappointed. Courtney was right about the dressing, which was great, as were the homemade croutons and bacon bits, but the lettuce was so far from vibrant green you couldn’t use it to treat scurvy. Something in Pierce’s supply chain let him down here.

We’ve resolved to order fish more often in restaurants, and Kath benefitted from that resolution, greatly enjoying a piece of perfectly poached salmon atop wonderfully creamy spinach risotto, a dish that paired perfectly with our wine.

Dede was just as pleased with her spinach salad, which included roasted red pepper, red onion, Dragon’s Breath blue cheese from That Dutchman, bacon, pine nuts and sliced pear. A substantial and delicious salad.

But for once, I think I chose the best meal: roast pork served with beer-and-onion sauce, mashed potatoes that are worth the raves, and carrots and parsnips. Courtney told us that people in Truro often go to the city to eat out; I’d drive to Truro to eat this dish again.

And if I did, I’d have the red velvet cake again. Often seen on the Food Network, red velvet cake is flavoured with cocoa and gets its hue from food colouring. At Bistro 22, it comes with homemade ice cream.

Dinner for three, including wine, tax and a 25 per cent tip to reflect the outstanding service, was $149 and made me glad I overheard that mashed potatoes conversation.”

Bistro 22 can be found on the web at bistro22.ca on Facebook and on Twitter as @Bistro22chef

Bill Spur can be found on Twitter as @billspurr

Best of Colchester 2011

The following article (and photo), written by Monique Chaisson,  was featured in the Truro Daily News on Friday, June 17th, 2011:

Anne and D'Arcy McDonah are co-owners of the Belgravia Bed and Breakfast in Truro. They took home the best bed and breakfast award during the Best of Colchester awards ceremony last night. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News

TRURO – A number of Colchester County businesses were honoured last night for being the best in their speciality.

The second annual Best of Colchester awards were handed out in Truro. Taking home the bed and breakfast award was Belgravia Bed and Breakfast. It was the second consecutive win for the business.

“I’m happy and excited,” said co-owner Anne McDonah. “I think it’s because people enjoy our hospitality. We are committed to giving people an authentic Maritime experience with food, directing them to sites … we do it all.”

The business, in its ninth year, is expecting a healthy tourism season if early-season visitors are an indication.

“Tourism looks fantastic. We have a full house and only had one day without anyone and that’s because I was away,” said McDonah, estimating business is up about 20 per cent from last year.

Best entertainment venue and festival honours went to the Marigold Cultural Centre for the second time.

“It means a lot,” said the Marigold’s executive director Donald Ferguson.

“It’s nice to get your peers and customers (feedback) and it keeps you motivated.”

Ferguson said the Best of Colchester awards are a benefit to all local businesses.

“The community starts to take notice and visitors will want to check it out.”

Taking home the computer sales/repair award was first-time winner G&G Computers.

Anna Feltmate, employee, and Cory MacDonald, manager, accepted the award.

“It’s amazing,” said Feltmate of the business that was also nominated last year and will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Truro in the fall.

“It gives a little boost to the shop and it gives a voice to people” by voting for their favourite businesses, she said.

The winners were voted on by the community. There were 2,000 more votes this year compared to last year. Online voting took place for two weeks in May. The three nominees with the most votes in each of the 25 categories became the finalists and all awards were handed out last night at the Best Western Glengarry. The awards were hosted by the Truro and District Chamber of Commerce.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

INFO BOX:

Here are the winners of this year’s Best of Colchester awards.

Best bar/lounge/pub: The Engine Room

Best bed and breakfast: Belgravia Bed and Breakfast

Best Clothing store: Margolians

Best coffee shop/café: The Wooden Hog

Best computer sales/repair/service: G & G Computers

Best contractor/building/renovations/repairs: Cameron’s Paint Centre

Best dining/restaurant: Murphy’s Fish and Chips

Best entertainment venue/festival: Marigold Cultural Centre

Best fast food: Subway on Elm Street

Best financial institution: RBC

Best fitness centre: Joyful Yoga

Best golf course: Truro Golf Club

Best grocery store: Sobey’s on Prince Street

Best hair salon/barber/day spa: Jennifer’s & Company

Best hardware store: AJ Walker and Sons

Best home décor/furniture store: Berry’s Furniture Plus

Best hotel/motel/inn: Best Western Plus Glengarry

Best insurance provider: Caldwell Roach

Best jewellery store: Inglis Jewellers

Best media: Big Dog 100.9

Best non-profit organization: Big Brothers/Big Sisters Colchester

Best pet care/groomers/vet/supplier: Central Nova Animal Hospital

Best print/copy centre: Sid Sells Signs

Best real estate agency: Remax Fairlane Realty

Best pharmacy: MacQuarries Pharmacy, Esplanade

We were thrilled to get to spend the evening with our friends, Ann & Larry MacCormack from Tulips & Thistle Bed & Breakfast and Maarten Schurmans from Baker’s Chest.  We are fortunate to have B&B’s of such high quality in the Truro area.

Maarten, Anne, D'Arcy, Ann & Larry

Before the evening was over, I was able to go back up onto the stage to put in a plug for the Bay of Fundy as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.  The Bay of Fundy is Canada’s only entry in this contest and I was trying to stress that as a room full of people doing business in this area, it is our responsibility to make sure we “Vote Fundy!!  (To do this, you can go to:  VotemyFundy.com or text Fundy to 77077)

It’s going to be a busy weekend in Central Nova Scotia!

There is so much going on in this area this coming weekend; it’s a shame some of these festivals couldn’t be spread out a bit more!  We’ve been booked full for this weekend since April and have turned – no exaggeration – at least 50 rooms away for Friday & Saturday night!   The following is a list of some of the events that will be happening:

Dutch Mason Blues Festival
Date(s): 08/13/2010 – 08/15/2010
Location: Exhibition Grounds, Ryland Avenue, Bible Hill

Millbrook Pow Wow
Date(s): 08/13/2010 – 08/15/2010
Location: Hwy 2 Millbrook

Kempt Shore Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Festival
Date(s): 08/13/2010 – 08/15/2010
Location: 5701 Hwy 215, Kempt Shore

Motorcycle Weekend
Date(s): 08/13/2010 – 08/15/2010
Location: Truro

Not Since Moses Race
Date(s): 08/14/2010 – 08/14/2010
Location: Five Islands

The Alexander Brothers
Date(s): 08/14/2010 – 08/14/ 2010
Location: Marigold Centre 605 Prince Street, Truro

Days of Sail
Date(s): 08/14/2010
Location: Creamery Square, Tatamagouche

Blueberry Winefest
Date(s): 08/14/2010
Location: Jost Vineyards, Malagash.

Carolyn & Garett’s Wedding, August 14th, Truro, NS!


Victoria Park – Exposed & Untouched

I received the link to the following video of Truro’s Victoria Park from Shannon Blaikie-Antonucci, a former schoolmate and friend of mine.

In her own words, she describes,

Nestled in the beautiful town of Truro, Nova Scotia, Victoria Park, a natural woodland park of roughly 400 acres, remains a glimmering jewel of untouched paradise in the center of town. Two magnificent sets of waterfalls flow through a steep, tree-covered, rocky gorge, and several walking trails follow closely along the brook, allowing a unique view of this ancient setting. The park boasts interesting geological formations in the gorge and river bed area, and beautiful stands of hard and softwood trees, particularly hemlock, on the cliffs and uplands. The upland area beyond the gorge contains a walking trail, approximately 1.6 kilometers in length. The ravine area also contains the Holy Well, a replica of a well in the neighbouring Bible Hill area where early Acadian settlers baptized their infants, and a Wishing Well. Victoria Park is a truly magical and mystical place for all to enjoy.”

We are so lucky to have this beautiful park right here in Truro for all to enjoy, and we always encourage our Bed & Breakfast guests to visit while they’re here.

Thank you Shannon, for putting this together – it’s beautiful!!

We were awarded “Best B&B in Colchester County”

D'Arcy & I with our B&B friends, Nelly & Maarten, Janice & Donnie at the 2010 Best of Colchester Awards sponsored by the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce.

The Truro & District Chamber of Commerce held their first annual “Best of Colchester County Awards Gala” on Thursday.  We had been nominated in the “Best B&B” category and were notified a couple of weeks ago that we had made the top three finalists along with our friends from Baker’s Chest B&B and Eagle’s Landing B&Bafter a period of on-line voting took place.

The actual event had 250 people from various businesses in the region in attendance and was very well done!  They announced the winners of the 25 categories in alphabetical order, meaning Best B&B was the third award given out.  We all went to the front and received a certificate, congratulating us for making the top three, and then they announced the winner as Belgravia Bed & Breakfast!  We were so honored to receive this accolade!

In our acceptance speech, we thanked the other B&B’s and mentioned the fact that we all work together so well.  We email one another each morning in the summer, and send guests along if we are full and they have vacancy; we really believe that by working together we provide a better experience for our guests!

We also are thankful to our family, as without their help, we also wouldn’t be able to provide the experience we do.

You can watch our part of the award ceremony by clicking on the link below: (We’re about 15 minutes in)

Watch recorded broadcast from on the topic: Best of Colchester 2010 Business Awards (at Vpype Broadcaster).

Best B&B in the Best of Colchester

We’ve been nominated in the “Best B&B” category of the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce’s “Best of Colchester County” contest.

This people’s choice awards event recognizes the outstanding achievements of local businesses during the 2009/2010 calendar year. The Best of Colchester Awards Gala will highlight community favorites in twenty-five (25) business categories, using an online voting system to determine the winner in each award category.

Voting has been taking place from May 20th and ends tomorrow,  June 3rd. At the end of the voting period, the Chamber will be announcing the top three vote-getters in each category, with the winner in each category being announced at the Best of Colchester Awards Gala on June 17th.

You can vote as many as five (5) times per IP address. However, please note that once you hit submit, that will be counted as one round of voting, whether you voted in one category or all 25. The Chamber is encouraging voters to vote in all categories, but it is not required.  (Especially if you’re from away and have only visited certain businesses – like ours!)

To vote, please click on the following link:  Best of Colchester Awards and Belgravia Bed & Breakfast is listed under the “Best B&B” Category!

Thank you for your support; we are among some tough competition!  We’ll let you know how it goes!