Attention Scotch Experts & Single Malt Lovers: Head to Fredericton, New Brunswick

November 21st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


In a province where one in six New Brunswickers claim direct Scottish ancestry, it is no wonder Canada’s oldest whisky festival is celebrated here. It’s not too late to head up to Fredericton today and sample some wonderful single malts. The Alcool NB Liquor and the Whisky Tasting Society will present the 14th annual NB Spirits Festival kicking off today, November 21 and running through the 23rd featuring 150 of the world’s finest single malts, blended scotches, ports, sherries, rums, gins and liqueurs.

Taking place at the Delta Fredericton, the program includes seminars, special tastings and nosing sessions hosted by some of the world’s leading authorities on premium spirits.

Returning to the festival for the third time, whisky expert Martine Nouet of Bowmore on Islay will host a three-course food and whisky pairing lunch.  That event is sold out, as is the Balvenie tasting – with four incredible malt whiskies – but there’s still room at The Macallan Workshop on Friday, November 23.

In addition to tasting top whiskies and spirits, participants can sample some delicious New Brunswick products at the Festival Showcase on November 23 at 8 PM, including Atlantic Smoked Salmon, New Brunswick Oysters, Winegarden Liqueurs and Cocagne Chocolates.

And almost any night of the year, Frank Scott will pour you one of the 200 plus single malts and premium blends he serves at The Lunar Rogue Pub which continues to be named to Whiskey Magazine’s “Great Whiskey Bars of the World.”



photo: The Lunar Rogue Pub


Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

October 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


 Fall is for Foraging!

It’s Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada and I wish I could be enjoying the festive meal at the Hotel Paulin where I spent a few lovely days last September.

This classic Victorian hotel is one of those wonderful rare gems – a one-of-a-kind historic hotel that features fabulous food.

Built in 1891, it was the first hotel in the charming fishing port of Caraquet on the Bay of Chaleur in the heart of the Acadian Peninsula. And it has been operated by the Paulin family for three generations.

Chef Karen Mersereau is a wizard in the kitchen and serves up innovative cuisine inspired by the local produce and the fresh fish and lobsters off the nearby fishing boats.

Karen also offers customized cooking classes (with a twist!) Guests can catch or harvest their own wild foods with a professional guide and Chef Mersereau will demonstrate how to prepare them as she creates her famed tasting menu.   Since fall is a wonderful time for mushroom foraging, I’ll bet there will be delicious dish of chanterelles and other glorious fruits of the fungi world on the menu.

To contact the Hotel Paulin, email or call 1-506-727-9981.


St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival to Present “Midnight’s Children”

October 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

St. John’s by Gabriel Vaz

One of World’s Longest-running Women’s Film Fests to Present 45 Films


The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is celebrating its 23 year anniversary by focusing on long-form feature length films.

And it’s got one of the year’s most talked-about films to kick off the party. Opening the Festival is Deepa Mehta’s much-anticipated film, “Midnight’s Children,” adapted from Salman Rushdie’s book of the same title.  Rushdie wrote the screenplay which, like the book, follows the lives of two young boys born at midnight on the night India gained independence from Britain.


 Photos with Shriya Saran, Satya Bhabha

Mehta’s last film, “Water,” was nominated for an Oscar and the director will attend the opening night screening.  She will also be the featured guest at the SJIWFF Industry Film Forum’s Meet the Filmmaker luncheon on Wednesday, October 17.



Of nearly 500 submissions to the Festival this year, the 23rd St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival will screen 45 films. Of those, 12 are local, 6 are features, and 14 are long-form documentaries.

The line-up includes Justin Simms’ “Hard Light,” an exploration of Newfoundland and its people through the lens of Michael Crummey’s collection of poems and short stories of the same title; “Indie Game: The Movie,” an award-winning documentary about the world of indie gaming and how the characters developing the games shape the characters within the games; Shandi Mitchell’s incredible drama, “The Disappeared,” about six men stranded in the North Atlantic who must work together to paddle themselves to safety; and new films by Jordan Canning, Stephen Dunn, and Sherry White

The St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival is proudly sponsored by the CBC, Telefilm Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, Memorial University, the Newfoundland and Labrador Film development Corporation, the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-Operative, and the city of St. John’s and other corporate sponsors.

For information and tickets, call 1-709-754-3141 or go to buffs can take a flight on Continental (there are daily nonstops from Newark) and be in St. John’s in two hours.



Popular Island Café in Atlantic Canada Presents Music Legends & Emerging Artists

October 4th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


PEI Renowned for Traditional Music, Hospitality



The Trailside Inn and Café  has been an institution on Prince Edward Island for years.  Known as a reliable spot for good music and for having a friendly atmosphere, the cafe was in need of rescue when Pat and Mehgann Deighan bought it last December.  Their aim: to make it Canada’s coolest music venue east of Montreal and Toronto.


Dining room at The Trailside

The Trailside’s success was built on the idea that the best way to experience music is within arms reach.  It’s just you, the musicians and the warmth of good food and drink.  And for those seeking the best in music on PEI -  whether it be legends like Gordie Sampson or Dave Gunning, industry leaders like Matt Mays and Catherine MacLellan or emerging artists such as Dylan Guthro or Meaghan Blanchard – this is the place.

Tonight, the performance by the Alan Doyle Trio is sold out for the second night in a row, but you can catch John Connolly tomorrow night.  One of my favorite artists, Newfoundland singer/song writer Amelia Curran will be appearing October 23 and 24 which is reason enough to head up to PEI.  Also performing in October are: Liam Titcomb, Ian Toms Trio, Owen Steele, Theresa Malenfant & the Instigators with Katey Day and Slow Cooker, to name a few.

Amelia Curran

Dating from 1937, the Trailside was PEI’s first cooperative store. Later, it was run as a general store and potato warehouse till the 1970s.  Just 30 minutes outside of Charlottetown in Mount Stewart, The Trailside sits right on the Confederation Trail which runs tip to tip across the island and offers great hiking and biking along its 170 miles.  Kitchen opens at 6:30 PM and the music starts at 8 PM.  For dates of performances, contact



Attention Runners: Come on up to the PEI Marathon; the Weather’s Fine, the Route is Gentle and the Scenery Can’t be Beat

October 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Attention runners: there’s still time to register for Prince Edward Island’s Marathon on October 14.

With fairly flat terrain, some gentle rolling hills and beautiful seascapes, PEI, in Atlantic Canada, is an ideal place for running. The marathon starts in Brackley Beach, continues through stunning scenery and ends in charming Charlottetown with its pretty Victorian mansions, flower-filled gardens and tree-shaded squares.  Plus the weather will be cool and the fall leaves will be in full color.


Tourism Prince Edward Island


The 9th annual BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Marathon is set to start at 10 AM on Sunday the 14th. The MRSB Marathon is a Boston qualifier and over 29% of the Marathon participants qualify for Boston.  Event categories include: Marathon, Half Marathon Run & Walk, 10K Run & Walk, 5K Run & Walk, Corporate/Team Relay and Kids Spud Run.

The Marathon Weekend includes other activities such as the expo, pasta dinner and speakers and the awards ceremony.

Call 1-902-316-2299 or 1-506-455-7946 or register at


Harvest Festival on Fogo Island; Newfoundland and Labrador Celebrates the Partridgeberry

October 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

 Fogo Island by dugspr

Off the north-east coast of Newfoundland, a 45 minute ferry journey away, sit Fogo Island and the Change Islands, some of the oldest settlements in Canada. There are just under 3,000 people living on these islands.

The barrens of Fogo Island are covered in partridgeberries, a small red berry with green leaves that resembles the cranberry and is used in jams, jellies and pies.


Partridgeberries by Ernst Vikne

This weekend, which also happens to be Canada’s Thanksgiving, Fogo Island celebrates the Partridgeberry Harvest Festival along with this outport community’s culture and heritage. On Saturday an all-day kitchen party of music and storytelling will entertain visitors and there will be a performance by the Outport Square Dancers on Sunday. Fogo Island produce and handicrafts will be on display at the Farmers and Crafts Marketplace.  Local chefs and cooks will compete in bake-offs and other harvest competitions – naturally showcasing this delicious berry.  Children will enjoy games and special activities in a tent reserved just for them.  Demonstrations of traditional woodworking, quilting and rug hooking skills will be given by islanders.



Fogo Island sheep by Dugspr

The festival is an initiative of the Shorefast Foundation, which is using entrepreneurial methods to foster the future of the communities here and support their roots and heritage, an integral part of the character of the people and this island.

Call 1-709-658-7256 if you want to discover more!


Experience Cape Breton’s Living Culture & Celtic Music Heritage

October 3rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Cape Breton Island by Joe Shlabotnik

More than 55 Performances by World’s Top Celtic Artists; 300 Events, Workshops, Exhibitions and Lectures in 70 Communities across Nova Scotia’s “Royal Isle.”

In two days, melodic voices and the sounds of pipes and fiddles will begin filling the air on Cape Breton Island.  So there’s still time to hope a flight to Nova Scotia and take in a few performances by some of the world’s greatest Celtic musicians.

Kicking off October 5, the 16th edition of the Celtic Colours International Festival explores the theme of islands and their unique cultures and will welcome artists from islands all over the Celtic world.  The nine-day, island-wide celebration runs through October 13 and features up to seven concerts a day.


The Chieftains by Cindy Funk

On the schedule are: The Chieftains, now on their 50th anniversary tour; Cape Breton’s own Natalie MacMaster; Fiddlers’ Bid from Shetland, and the Battlefield Band from Scotland.  The Festival’s Artists in Residence:  Irish guitarist, singer and songwriter John Doyle and Cape Breton singer-songwriter Cyril MacPhee will be headliners.

Returning to the Festival this year, by popular demand, are the Asham Stompers, The Once, Vishtèn, Madison Violet and Daniel Lapp. And there will be plenty of local favorites including Rita MacNeil, J.P. Cormier, a Brakin’ Tradition reunion, Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac, Troy MacGillivray, Kimberley Fraser, Howie MacDonald, Brenda Stubbert, Andrea Beaton, the Men of the Deeps, and many more.


Natalie MacMaster by Kirk Stauffer

Performing at Celtic Colours for the first time are Oirialla, a band from Ireland featuring festival favorite Nuala Kennedy, Fionia String Band from Denmark, the Dardanelles from Newfoundland, Makem & Spain featuring Tommy Makem’s sons, and the Chaisson Family from Prince Edward Island.

Cape Breton Island is home to a unique combination of music and culture, inspired by 19th century settlers from Scotland and Ireland, and influenced by the Aboriginal Mi’kmaq people, the island’s physical geography, and the waves of immigrants who populated its communities during industrialization.  Music, language, dance and community played an important role in each of these cultures and continue to do so today.

Celtic Colours also presents exhibitions, lectures, workshops and crafts festivals.  A special feature of the week-long festival is a series of community meals: pancake and sausage breakfasts, salmon dinners, fish cake and beans, Acadian fricot and potluck suppers where visitors can experience Cape Breton’s renowned hospitality.

For tickets call 1-888-355-7744 or go to:



September 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Root cellars in Elliston

It’s party time in the Root Cellar Capital of the world.  At the end of the Bonavista Peninsula in Newfoundland, Elliston kicked off its annual Roots, Rants and Roars Festival last night. The festival has been sold out for months, so visitors will have to miss tonight’s dinner created by top Newfoundland chefs – and the concert with Jim Payne and Fergus O’Bryrne.

But there’s still plenty to see and do. Besides exploring the root cellars  – some 135 of them – and see the last of the puffins, visitors can hike the Skerwink Trial – one of North America’s most beautiful.  Dine on fresh cod at the Twine Loft in nearby Trinity . Catch a performance at the Rising Tide Theatre.



And overnight at the charming Fisher’s Loft, a collection of charming historic salt boxes. You’ll want to stay several nights to enjoy the fantastic meals – with produce fresh from their organic garden.  Owners John and Peggy will even guide you on a hike along the cliff-hugging Skerwink Trail.  And if you still have room, try the moose burger at the Bonavista Social Club!


The best bread is at Bonavista Social!


Evita Museum Exhibition Comes to New York for 3 Weeks

September 6th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink



Opening tomorrow night “Evita: Passion and Action,” is an exhibition of works on loan from the Museo Evita in Buenos Aires. It will be presented at the Consulate General of Argentina in New York from September 7 to September 28.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina, the Consulate General of Argentina in New York and the Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, the exhibition will showcase some 50 works including paintings and photographs of Evita and gowns and suits by noted Argentinean designers and other personal belongings. 


There is no other way to see this collection without traveling to Argentina.

Dedicated to one of Argentina’s most revered figures and one of the 20th century’s cultural and political icons, the exhibition commemorates the 60th anniversary of the death of Eva Peron and the 10th anniversary of the founding of Museo  Evita.

Exhibition hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The exhibition is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, except September 22 and 23 when it will be open from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.   Admission is complimentary.

This marks the first time an exhibit from the museum has come to New York.



It’s grape stomping and wine-tasting time in Nova Scotia

August 31st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink


Annapolis Valley

The 7th annual Fall Wine Festival doesn’t kick off until September 13, but already the Wolfville Magic Winery Bus will be making the rounds starting tomorrow.   For only CN$10, wine lovers can hop on and off a restored British double-decker bus and visit five wineries. Departures from Town Centre in Wolfville are every hour starting at 10:30 AM with the last tour departure at 3:30 PM.


 Grand Pre

The Festival hosted by the Winery Association of Nova Scotia showcases 12 wineries and over 50 wine-inspired events over a month running through October 14. Traditional events like Jost Vineyards’ annual Charity Grape Stomp and Sainte-Famille’s Harvest Wine Fest are joined by new additions – an opportunity to harvest grapes at Petite Rivière and a pig roast at Avondale Sky.


 Picture by Seeshells creations

For Double Decker Grape Escapes bookings, contact Grape Escapes Nova Scotia Wine Tours at:  1-855-850-WINE.

Delta, United and Air Canada offer flights to Halifax from New York, Boston and most east coast gateways.