By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor
I’ll admit it. I made a mistake in planning this road trip.
Having just stayed overnight in Baddeck, we were now heading out of town.
I should have planned for one more day so we could have explored the Bras d'Or Lakes Scenic Drive. Oh well. That just gives us a reason to return to Cape Breton again.
We traveled southwest on the Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell Way (Highway 105), along the lake’s north shore. Reaching Whycocomagh, we traded our view of the lake for a view of the wooded mountains, as we continued our drive along the Big Ridge towards the Casno Causeway. Passing through farmland and villages, bald eagles soared overhead. Back on the mainland, we picked up Trans-Canada highway, retracing our route towards Antigonish. No time for scenic detours today.
We had to catch the North umber land Ferry from Nova Scotia for the 75 minute ride to Prince Edward Island.
Since we took the ferry over to PEI and will be leaving the island by the Confederation Bridge, there was no charge for the ferry.
(You only pay – dearly – to leave the island).
Since there are no reservations for one-way trips, we spent almost two hours playing rummy in the ferry terminal, awaiting embarkation. The ferry ride provided a nice respite from the driving (and waiting) and soon we were disembarking in Wood Islands, PEI. Back in the car, we headed northeast for a one hour drive to the Inn at Bay Fortune.
After greeting us upon our arrival, Innkeeper Dave Wilmer introduced us to Chef Warren Barr. He had been tipped off about our stay at the inn by his mother, a fan of the GoShuckAnOyster blog.
Since our dinner reservations were for 8:00 p.m., Warren suggested we reserve some oysters for the evening. No sense in letting the early diners enjoy all of the oysters sent over earlier in the day from nearby Colville Bay.
Dinner at the Inn is served on the veranda, and all of the tables have views of the bay. As we watched the late afternoon turn into dusk and then night, we feasted on Warren's specialties. To start off, we split a dozen Colville Bay oysters.
Since I prefer them naked, they were accompanied only by wedges of lemon. To accompany the oysters, I selected a bottle of Chablis (2007 Domaine Laroche from Saint Martin) from the Innkeeper's Reserve portion of sommelier Jean-Sébastien Morin's award-winning wine list.
Beautifully presented on slate. Each of the oysters rested atop a mound of sea salt. Sweet, and creamy with a perfect little saltiness at the end. The oysters shared with us a taste of the waters of nearby Colville Bay.
Our plans for the morning were to visit with Johnny Flynn, owner of Colville Bay Oyster Company to learn how he managed to grow such perfect oysters.
To show us what else could be done with these amazing oysters, chef Warren also sent over his oyster special for the evening: the Colville Bay oysters served out of the shell in horseradish espuma with diced crunchy vegetables from the Inn's garden, cider gelée, white wine poached pear and lemon granite.
These were so good, Michael and I ended up dipping the last few of our naked oysters into the creamy espuma. Since we had not yet finished the chablis, we also ordered a carpaccio of Nova Scotia swordfish and tuna which was garnished with a sweet and sour corn relish, oishi sauce, and sesame and crisp sour apple.
Having dined exclusively on seafood thus far on the roadtrip, we opted for something that would go well with a 2005 La Fiole du Pape Châteauneuf-du-Pape that caught our attention on the wine list.
Michael opted for the Atlantic AAA beef strip loin, served atop semolina and a cake of aged cheddar. I chose the Avondale Meadows Farm lamb tasting. As with everything we saw emerge from Inn's kitchen, both were beautifully presented. And both surpassed all expectations as well!
After ending our meal with our desserts, we climbed the stairs up to our tower suite and passed out contentedly.