Our hosts described Lunenberg, Nova Scotia as being like San Francisco. They mentioned that the town is built into hillside, just like the City by the Bay. But there is more to the similarity than steeply inclined streets. Lunenberg has a bit of a countercultural vibe to it, like I imagine Haight Ashbury had during the Summer of Love in the ’60s, with quirky diners and stores selling what appear to be Wiccan supplies.
The psychedelic paint jobs on many of the old wooden houses in the town add to the effect. Every block features a riotous collection of paint jobs that use every hue in the rainbow. The different colors make the street views real treat.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is a fishing town. When you walk down to the dock, you see a somber memorial to all of the sailors who have lost their lives at sea over the centuries. You also see one of the crafts on which Lunenburg’s fishing tradition was built — the humble dory.
A dory is a long boat with a flat bottom, narrow bow and stern, and high sides that is made with ribbing and wide wooden planks. It’s a sturdy little vessel with ample room for the fisherman, his gear and his bait, and (we hope) the day’s catch. The dory has carried many a fisherman out onto the water in search of the elusive schools of fish, and it carries them still.
Lunenberg, Nova Scotia is a beautiful little town built into a hillside. With carefully preserved Victorian houses, a cool harbor area, and lots of little touches here and there, it’s a very picturesque spot. (I mean that literally; after our visit there today Webner House readers should expect to endure some photos over the next day or two.)
This little town also is home to a great place to eat called Magnolia’s Grill. The folks we are renting from said it’s their favorite restaurant, and I can see why. It’s unprepossessing inside and outside, but exceptional. I had the fish cakes and clam chowder, and it knocked my socks off.
Living in the Midwest, it’s very hard to get fresh fish. So hard, in fact, that one of the airlines that used to fly into Columbus, America West, advertised its flights to Boston with the tag line “Because fish in the Midwest tastes like fish in the Midwest.” Fresh fish just tastes better by several orders of magnitude.
So it was with the food at Magnolia’s Grill. The fish cakes, made with halibut and grilled, were fresh and flaky and fabulous. The cakes were served with a rhubarb relish chutney that was sweet and tart and went perfectly with the fish.
The clam chowder, on the other hand, was superb. It wasn’t overly creamy as some faux chowders are. It had a touch of milk, but mostly that fabulous clam broth, some potatoes, and dozens of clams that had just left their shells. Fortunately, we were served bread with the meal, so I could sop up very drop of clammy deliciousness.
Kish and Russell had the key lime pie to round out the lunch, and Kish said it was the best key lime pie she’d ever had. I passed on dessert, because I wanted to savor my food. If I lived here, I’d eat this meal at least once a week.