I just got home from a fantastic weekend in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia with some great friends, and I thought I’d better write about ASAP. First off, funny story about how this came about. I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed an advert for the Magic Winery Bus Tour, on a double decker bus. Well, I was intrigued. My girlfriends and I hadn’t been on a girls trip in almost a year, and I thought that might be fun! Drive up to Moncton, go on a winery tour, maybe convince everyone to go axe throwing, go to the Moncton market, shop, eat some good food, and head home refreshed. I mentioned it to them and before I knew it, we had tickets and Katrina was planning our trip! Yay! Now all I had to do was convince them to try axe throwing…because it seems intimidating at first but it’s so fun and I knew they’d love it. Well, when I brought it up, everyone just seemed to act like I was nuts. We wouldn’t have time for that! I couldn’t understand it. Finally Katrina said, “I really don’t think they have axe throwing in Wolfville.” I said, “Why would we go to Wolfville? They have axe throwing right in Moncton!” Anyway, long story short, I thought we were going to the Moncton, Magnetic Hill, Magic Mountain area, on the MAGIC winery tour…Well we weren’t. We were headed to Wolfville, Nova Scotia on a completely unrelated Magic tour. I hadn’t looked where the tour took place, I only saw Magic and thought, ‘Must be Moncton. Cool, I love Moncton!” Oops! Good thing someone else was paying attention! I just wanna say, they do have axe throwing in Kentville, which is not far from Wolfville!
Moving right along.
It was a long trip to get there for us, but totally worth it. We borrowed my mother in laws van, thankfully, because 5 of us in an SUV would have been another experience entirely. We had to get up and get on the first ferry from Grand Manan. We drove to Saint John, did some grocery shopping, and then headed to the Digby ferry terminal.
The ferry ride over to Nova Scotia was lovely, even though it was covered in staff from the Conservative political party of Canada. We met Andrew Sheer and got a photo with him. Not that I’m big on politics or anything, he was super tall.
Once we got to the Digby side, we had almost a 2 hour drive a head of us, to head to the middle of nowhere (Seriously, I still don’t know where we were). We stayed at a nice little cottage on a lake. It was perfect for us with a little kitchen and all the comforts of home. The lake was beautiful too, we arrived right before the sun went down. We were all too tired to make dinner or do anything much, so we had a couple drinks and played a game of Sh*t Happens (which is hilarious by the way). We went to bed fairly early, so we would have lots of energy for the next day.
We headed out around 9 or so the next morning, after realizing I hadn’t packed anything for actual breakfast. We drove into Wolfville and headed to the starting point for the tour. When we got there, we had the striking feeling that we were underdressed. There was a party of people wearing British hats like you’d see at a wedding, and also a group of girls wearing stilettos and really nice dresses. I feel like after 6 hours of drinking wine and walking around wineries, not to mention getting on and off a big double decker bus, you might regret wearing less sensible footwear, but hey, what do I know?
We got all checked in and found seats on the bus, and were soon headed off to our first winery. Lightfoot & Wolfville was the first stop. It was an absolutely beautiful winery, and quite new. We went on the initial tour and had our first tasting. They introduced us to Tidal Bay wines, which we didn’t get much of an explanation for until later. They also talked a lot about Ice Wine, which is really interesting on how they make it. They have to harvest the grapes at at least -8 degrees Celcius. The batch that they had in their store was actually harvested at 3 am on December 10 a couple years ago (my birthday!). I thought I’d buy a bottle to have on my birthday but saw that it was 40$ for a small bottle, and wasn’t sure if I even would like it, so I decided against it. We walked around the vineyards a bit and actually ordered another tasting to try out some other wines. I bought a bottle of the wine we were given as a sampler in the beginning.
After an hour, we were headed back onto the bus and out to our next stop, Grand Pre. This was the oldest of the wineries we visited. It was very pretty. The buildings were all beautiful and the wine was good. We had a taste of their apple liqueur, which was tasty as well. At this point, I was very hungry from not eating breakfast, so Jenna and I went off to the restuant to see if we could share a couple appitizers or something. They were quite reluctant to seat us, as they were preparing for several reservations. When we mentioned that we were just hoping for a cheeseboard or something small, they seated us. We ordered the cheeseboard to share (its not big enough to share), and a glass of the Tidal Bay, which was nice as well.
We didn’t get to see much of the actual vineyard though, because it took a while to get and eat our cheese board. It’s got some lovely views. I wish we had the chance to explore a bit. It is close to a UNESCO world heritage site as well, and you can apparently go and see it, if you have time.
When the bell rang to tell us that the bus had arrived, we headed down and got a seat. Off to our next vineyard, Luckett’s. We intended to eat lunch here from the get go, so it was nice to know we were close to getting some real food at this point (around 2 PM). We enjoyed the tasting, and then went right inside to get a seat at the restaurant.
As I said before, I had no real idea of where were going most of the time, so it was a fantastic surprise to find out that Pete Luckett was the owner of this winery, who I had absolutely loved as a child. I’m sure that you’ll only ever know who he is if you grew up or lived in the Maritimes through the 90’s. He was on a segment ‘Pete’s Frootique” on the local news (which my parents watched daily, but this was the only part I’d ever pay attention to), introducing new fruits and vegetables. I distinctly remember learning what a starfruit was on that segment, as well as a dragonfruit! He’d always end off his segment by saying ‘Toodlee-Doo!” which reminded me of my grampy. Well, I have to say, I might have been a bit excited to meet him. He was spiriting people around the restaurant as fast as he could take them, picking up dishes and talking with his customers. He was happy to stop for a photo! I only wish I’d asked him to say “Toodlee-Doo!”
The food was absolutely delicious. I had the beef pie and fries. I don’t even like pie and I devoured it. I WAS really hungry and had had quite a lot of wine by this point. However, the fries were made in truffle oil, and were divine. Their Tidal Bay was my absolute favourite of the whole day, and I wish I had time to get in the line and buy a couple bottles before we left!
This vineyard also has an red phone booth, which is their logo. You can get inside and call anywhere in North America. We made a quick phone call and took some photos and then were off to the bus again.
Our last stop was apparently where I stopped taking photos for the day, so I’ll have to steal some from Jenna. L’Acadie was a smaller winery which specialized in sparkling wines, which apparently, are not my thing. The property was lovely though and we enjoyed the sun by sitting in the grass after our tasting and taking in the view.
By this time, it was 4 PM or so, and we were all pretty tired. We decided to skip the last winery, Gaspereau. They are apparently famous for their maple wine (kinda wish we’d gone!). We rode the bus to the end of the line and picked up our wines, and got ready to head back to the cottage.
The drive back was quiet and when we got back Katrina and Melissa made the supper that we had planned out about a week before. Tuscan pasta with a salad and garlic bread! Yum! By the time we were all cleaned up, we were pretty much toast. Very tired from the long busy day. We headed to bed quite early because we needed to get up early to drive back to the Digby ferry.
We left the cottage around 8, after packing and a few little snags, and made it to the ferry on time. We all napped on the sail home, and had some time to head to Walmart and get coffee before heading down to our ferry.
All in all, a fantastic trip was had by all! I’d highly recommend the Magic Winery Bus Tour in Wolfville!
Oh, and Tidal Bay wine is the white wine interpretation of Nova Scotia. Apparently the region doesn’t grow red grapes as well, because of the acidity of the ground. I thought the best one came from Lucketts. I didn’t care for any of the reds at any of the wineries, and I’m usually a red wine drinker.