Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on June 5, 2024 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 2 comments

 

 

Len’s Lovely Liscomb Lodge Lunch

 

“There are places I’ll remember,

All my life, though some have changed.”

In My Life – The Beatles

And, some places never change.

I love to travel. Seeing new places and experiencing different cultures is the best education possible. I’ve seen a few wonders of the world including the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon. Since Covid, travel has reached new heights when it comes to unpredictability. Sometimes it’s easier just to stay home and travel in your own backyard.

I have travelled across Canada at least eight times. It is a vast country and extremely diverse. There are three places that have left a lasting impression on me. I have a visceral reaction when I return to these places from time to time.

In the summer of 1972, I travelled to Victoria, B.C. for the very first time. My brother, Don, fetched me from the ferry terminal at Schwartz Bay in his 1958 MGA. On a magnificent May morning with the sun shining and nary a cloud in the sky, we headed for the city with the roof down. Cresting a hill near Royal Oak, I stared in awe. In the distance, I witnessed the snow-capped Olympic Mountains across the Juan de Fuca Strait in Washington State. Each time I return to Victoria, I look forward to this drive with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning.

In the late 1960s, I played in a band. The Escorts performed at dances in Antigonish and Cape Breton. We had a regular Saturday night gig in the summer at St.Peter’s Hall in Ingonish Beach. Traversing Cape Smokey and coming down the back side, it was like arriving in Shangri-La. It was magical. There’s something about the Cape Breton Highlands National Park that is very difficult to describe. “More than a feeling” in the words of Boston.

It’s a short jaunt from Sherbrooke to Liscomb Mills. Most of the drive is through non-descript forest. Crossing a bridge with gentle water falls on your right, you arrive at one of the most scenic and idyllic places in Canada. According to legend, Liscomb Lodge was a hotel built in 1960 to cater to fishermen chasing salmon spawning in the Liscomb River.

Liscomb Lodge has a unique feel to it. Perched near the banks of the Liscomb River, it is a blend of rustic and modern. It has some of the original buildings including quaint cabins but it also has traditional lodging. It has tennis courts, shuffleboard, a sauna and a swimming pool but for my money, it is the restaurant that is the centerpiece of the operation. The dining room hovers on the banks of the river. It oozes tranquility with several bird feeders nestled near the windows where patrons can see an infinite variety of birds. Over the years, I have come to Liscomb for conferences, family gatherings and quiet getaways. I am completely enamored with the setting.

Recently, I travelled to Liscomb for lunch. I hadn’t been there for some time. I was aware that the lodge had hired two distinguished chefs. John Haines and his wife Tracy Wallace have 55 years of combined cooking experience. John and I go back a long way. I met him over forty years ago at his grandparents’ home on West Street in Antigonish. Even as a young man, he had a knack for cooking, preparing meals for Brian and Jean.

We started our lunch with an order of onion rings. I must admit that I don’t normally indulge in this often-greasy appetizer. We were not disappointed. The coating was light and crispy. Easily the best onion rings that I have consumed. I had a bowl of seafood chowder which was generous in portion size and delicious. The broth was exquisite. There’s always room for dessert. I’m convinced that there’s a separate chamber in the stomach reserved exclusively for this purpose! The blueberry creme brulee was simply heavenly.

If you’re not too full after leaving the restaurant, you can always stop and have a game of chess at the giant outdoor chess set.

Special places. Special memories.

It’s your move.

Have a great weekend.

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