By Travel Editor, Rand Hoch
Having spent time hiking, exploring the beaches, chatting with oystermen and riding bikes along the Points East Coastal Drive from the Inn at Bay Fortune to the Inn at Spry Point, Michael and I thought it might be worthwhile to spend a day in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Islands’s provincial capital.
We were wrong.
There really isn’t much to Charlottetown to justify spending a day there, but we had planned a night there, which was a smart decision.
We booked a Hideaway Suite at the Great George, a series of impeccably restored townhouses in the city’s national historic district. Our suite had a spacious bedroom with a fireplace and a staircase leading up to a loft with a double Jacuzzi.
We followed John Bil’s suggestion and booked ourselves a table for dinner at Lot 30,
Arriving a bit in advance of our reservations, we sat up at the bar where bartender Laurence Hertz made us some of his vodka ginger mojitos. This proved to be a great way to start of the evening.
Our server, Michael Good, suggested that we put ourselves in the hands of Chef Gordon Bailey and go with a five course tasting menu.
Chef Bailey, who has worked at some of Canada’s leading restaurants – including the Inn at Bay Fortune – is known as the “biker chef”, since he has augmented his income over the years by customizing motorcycles.
We followed our server’s suggestion, but insisted on starting off with a dozen of Rodney’s Oysters which were being featured that night.
Not knowing what else would be served, Michael and I ordered a bottle of Mumm’s Cordon Rouge brut champagne which we had enjoyed a few days earlier with dinner in Baddeck. Champagne does go with everything!
Following the impeccable oysters was our first course of the tasting menu – a presentation of sea scallops gratin with red pepper butter and fennel roasted almonds. Michael and I now realized that we should have brought the camera to dinner - in addition to our appetites. The second course was PEI halibut with Italian sausage pepperini and horse radish tomato.
Having concluded the seafood portion of our tasting, we next enjoyed Chef Bailey’s maple braised pork belly with potato puree, wilted spinach and natural reduction. This was followed by grilled prime rib eye steak, with potato pave, sautéed red peppers and peppercorn vinaigrette.
Although we were totally satiated by our offerings thus far, we could not turn down the dessert sampler which included crème brulée, chocolate pot de crème, double chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and vanilla cheesecake.
Clearly, John Bil had steered us to the right place in Charlottetown, making our brief stopover here quite memorable.
We got up early the following morning for our long drive out of Prince Edward Island across the Confederation Bridge into New Brunswick, then on to Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, where we spent two restful days at the Bailey House B & B.
We had booked the Joseph Totten room on the second floor of the main house. Michael and I were glad we chose a room with a water view, as we spent a lazy afternoon watching boats sail by as we enjoyed some well deserved R & R. Throughout the day we could smell cakes baking in the kitchen below. Our host Suzan Hebditch spoiled us each morning with the best breakfasts we had on our road trip. She used ingredients from her own garden, as well as those from her neighbors. She also made some of the best preserves we have ever tasted.
We are both going to have to diet a bit when we get back to the states. But there is still one last stop - Halifax.
The Great George
58 Great George Street
Charlottetown, PEI, C1A 4K3, Canada
151 Kent Street
Charlottetown, PEI C1A 1N5, Canada
The Bailey House B & B
150 St. George Street
Annapolis Royal, NS B0S1A0