We’ve just gotten back from two weeks in Nova Scotia, celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with our families. Since we’re still recovering (my kingdom for a salad!) I’ll keep this brief.
We flew to Halifax after enduring a kooky passenger in the Porter lounge who mercifully got on an Ottawa-bound flight before we left. We landed, grabbed a car, and got to Lindsay’s dad’s place in time for her brothers to show up with pizza and garlic fingers.
Lindsay and I had shopping to do, so we zipped into the Hydrostone, bought some stuff, had sushi at Hamachi Kita, and bumped into the aforementioned kooky passenger from the Porter Lounge. Small world. We dashed around the corner to grab coffee from Java Blend and beer from Unfiltered and Good Robot. Good Robot was a fun vibe, and their beer — especially the Yas Queen chocolate porter — was outstanding. Unfiltered, on the other hand, was a gauntlet of douchbaggery: the employee wore Aviators (inside on a cloudy day) and shouted to us over the AC/DC blasting on 10 that we probably wouldn’t like any of the beers because they were too hoppy. Turns out we didn’t like the ones (the flat black jesus stout and double orange ale DIPA) because they were shitty beer, and ended up dumping most of it down the sink. I get that being assholes is sort of their brand, but your beer needs to back it up. Anyway, that night we had dinner at Lindsay’s mom’s place.
Somebody (cough cough Lindsay cough) still had shopping to do, so we drove around Bedford to get it done. Luckily our errands took us a past Off Track, a new craft brewery which opened that day (!) so we stopped in. We sampled a few and decided to buy grunters of their Good Grief Charlie Brown ale and Damn Skippy Peanut Butter stout, which ended up taking half an hour because of problems with their lines. By the time we left the line was out the door…not bad for a place that had only been open 90 minutes! Anyway, we took all that to Lindsay’s dad’s place, where we watched Die Hard (yas!) and Office Christmas Party.
I left Bedford to drive to my family’s farm, and arrived by mid-afternoon. I found my mom baking cookies, which is about as Christmas as it gets. I sniffed the tree, drove to Parrsboro to pick up my niece and the Mexican exchange student who lives with them, and got my butt back to the farm to just relax. That’s what I was there for. That night brother #2 shared a bunch of local beer he’d picked up for me, including a killer dry-hopped sour from Tatamagouche Brewing.
Apart from wrap gifts, play crib with my dad, and help peel/core/slice apples for my mom’s apple pie, I can’t think of a single thing I did that day. Which means I nailed my target.
Christmas! A lazy morning opening a few gifts with my parents, then a big lunch next door at brother #2’s house, then being lazy for most of the day. That night the Mexican exchange student and I beat the family at Trivial Pursuit.
Boxing Day is always my dad’s family’s reunion, but the reunion is more of a 2-hour pot luck lunch. We drove there through a snow squall, met up with Lindsay who got to meet the family all at once, then drove back to the farm with brother #1 in tow. We all settled into farm relaxation mode. That night Lindsay and I beat my brothers and their wives at Trivial Pursuit.
A quick jaunt into Amherst where I bought some Blundstones at Mansour’s, then back to the farm for more downtime. Trivial Pursuit on this night went less well, as my sisters-in-law and I lost to Lindsay and my two brothers.
Again, not much happening (success!) but I did watch Hidden Figures (imdb | rotten tomatoes) with Lindsay and a room full of Dickinson women, which was pretty nice. My mom had made maple glazed ribs, and we destroyed them. That night, over at brother #2’s house, we switched it up and played Cards Against Humanity. I think brother #2 won, which surprised everyone, because we know brother #1 is the most depraved.
Brother #1 left that morning and, after a little lunch, so did we. We were back in Bedford in time to watch the Canada/USA World Juniors game (shootout loss boo) and eat like starving animals for hours. We ended up watching Inglourious Basterds and I crashed out just before the tavern scene.
Lindsay and I took a day for ourselves in Halifax, checking in to the Prince George Hotel, grabbing some exceptional beers at Stillwell, then heading to dinner at The Press Gang. We shared oysters, and loved them so much we got another half dozen. Lindsay had lobster gnocchi; I had a terrific duck. The wine list was mediocre, but the food made up for it. Not the best Halifax meal we’d ever had, and not where we’d intended to go (our reservation at Lot Six was cancelled at the last minute, and Highwayman looked too full), but I’m glad we finally tried The Press Gang.
After grabbing breakfast at the hotel we ran out for a quick coffee at Weird Harbour, then drove to Dartmouth to meet up with brother #1 at Battery Park, North Brewing’s gastropub. We had lunch there (pig mac burger for Lindsay, fried chicken sandwich for me) and sampled some of their beer before buying more from the bottle shop. We drove back to Bedford, went to a group dinner with a bunch of Lindsay’s uncles and aunts, then came back to her mom’s place to ring in the new year over Benjamin Bridge sparkling and party games. Happy 2018 everyone!
Moooooooostly nothing, except over-eating. Croissant eggs benny in the morning. Grazing all day. Lasagna for dinner. Oh, and we watched an episode of the new season of Black Mirror.
Got up, said our goodbyes, packed, drove to the airport, had a little wine at the new Vino Volo, few home to Toronto, got some Korean fried chicken and kimchi cheesy fries for a late lunch, and are now relaxing.
Cover photo by Alexey Kljatov, used under Creative Commons license