Stay The Night: Trout Point Lodge
With its Acadian history and rather Scottish setting, this luxury lodge could only be found in Nova Scotia, says Sarah Barrell
Sunday 30 October 2011
Trout Point Lodge sits pretty on the edge of a wilderness preserve that goes by a characteristically unpronounceable First Nations name: "Kejimkujik" – or "keji" as it's locally known.
This plush and pioneering Canadian retreat was set up by a partnership of American food entrepreneurs, Daniel Abel, Charles Leary, and Vaughn Perret, a grand log and stone cabin that's somewhere between a traditional North American hunting lodge and a rural boutique hotel. It could not be more seductively set, deep in old growth Atlantic forest on the confluence of two, boulder-strewn rivers that are coloured deep amber with peat. This is a superb spot for exploring the Big Canadian outdoors in comfort; a mossy, misty rather Scottish landscape that is characteristic of Nova Scotia. For the first time this year, Trout Point will be open over winter, when its myriad open fires, lakeside hot tub, barrel sauna and magical boreal forest will surely come into its own.
But be warned: sign a rather innocuous form that is issued at check-in and you lose rights to publish reviews of the hotel on Trip Advisor or similar. This left this otherwise pleased punter feeling pretty perplexed.
In keeping with its rustic shell, hewn from Canadian spruce and Nova Scotia granite, Trout Point's interior comes with Flintstones' dimension furnishings. This "haute rustic" design comprises log-and-twig chairs, tables and beds created in a local village, large Oriental rugs and mismatched art – everything from brightly painted boreal scenes to artsy portraits of the owner and his dog. Its seven generously proportioned rooms are set over two levels around porches, patios; public rooms are lit with cavernous fires. Two more suites are set in a large chalet downriver.
The food and drink
Trout Point's gastronomy looms large on the North American culinary scene. The owners – organic farmers, cookbook writers and restaurateurs – have won numerous accolades, representing three of only a handful of Americans who are members of the French Cheesemakers Guild. The trio have roots in New Orleans and came to Nova Scotia seeking their Acadian heritage – Louisiana's Cajun culture descends from Atlantic Canada's 17th century French colonists. Food is a mix of Creole, French and modern North American, with seasonal ingredients drawn from the lodge's organic garden and surrounding forest. Expect breakfasts of home-smoked salmon, thick homemade yoghurt and plump Canadian berries (from C$30/£19). Dinners focus on superb Nova Scotia seafood: crab, lobster, scallops (two courses from C$60/£37). The North American and Nova Scotia wine menu won Wine Spectator magazine's 2010 Award of Excellence.
Trout Point's Cooking and Wine School holds regular classes, focusing on everything from seafood to cheese-making. In winter, the surrounding Tobeatic Wilderness Preserve and Kejimkujik National Park becomes a wonderland for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Keji recently became a dark sky preserve, so expect crystal clear star spotting, with astronomy walks organised around the sparkling river. You could even spot the aurora borealis – especially next year when record northern lights' activity is predicted.
The main lodge's ground floor rooms are wheelchair accessible. The river has decked walkways.
From C$185 (£115) per night, room-only. Bridge & Wickers (020-7483 6555; bridgeandwickers.co.uk) offers one week in Nova Scotia from £1,786 per person, including seven nights accommodation (three nights at Trout Point), car hire and flights.
More info: novascotiatourism.com
189 Trout Point Road, 203 East Kemptville, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia B0W 1Y0 (001 902 761 2142; troutpoint.com).
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