I never knew much about Acadia, Nova Scotia, no more than that Longfellow's mawkishly sentimental poem Evangeline was set there because it says so right in the poem. And, to be honest, I never really read much of the poem. While we were driving the Cabot Trail, I downloaded it (oh, I LOVE my Kindle) and figured I'd have it read by the time we got to Grand Pre where the Canadian National Park commemorates the forced evacuation of the Acadians. (Lousiana - Acadians - cajins: oh, I learned so much on this trip! But I'm not spoon-feeding you; go look it up yourself.) Who isn't familiar with Evangeline’s opening lines:
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, Bearded with moss, and in
garments green, indistinct in the twilight. . . .
Sounds familiar now, doesn't it?
Then Evangeline lighted the brazen lamp on the table, Filled, till it overflowed, the pewter tandark with
home-brewed Nut-brown ale, that was famed for its strength in the village of Grand-Pre. . . .
There are orchards and corn fields, flax grows and fish are plucked, chest high, from the fishing weir.
It all gains flavor (heh, heh) when you're reading it while breakfasting on Strawberry Croissant French toast at the English Garden B&B in Indian Brook.
When he sees her, Evangeline's true love Gabriel, "knew not which beat the louder, his heart or the knocker of iron." My heart beat pretty loudly at a little restaurant outside Halifax where I ate seafood chowder in a broth so clear that you can't imagine how it holds all the flavor.
In Acadia (originally a translation of Arcadia, meaning paradise),
Billowy bays of grass ever rolling in shadow and sunshine, Bright with luxuriant clusters of roses and
purple amorphas. Over them wandered the buffalo herds, and the elk and the roebuck; Over them
wandered the wolves, and herds of riderless horses. . . .
It must have been a magnificent countryside indeed that can still produce the dinner I had at the Blomidon Inn In Wolfeville:
Lobster chowder with the meat of two lobster claws floating in cream.
Halibut caught five minutes before being poached in lobster broth with more lumps of lobster dotting its
A waffle with a large (FINALLY, someone realizes the inportance of a serving of ice cream sizeable
enough to have some with every bite of its accompanyment), drizzled with raspberry sauce and smeared
with chocolate ganache.
I can shed a tear when I read,
Still stands the forest primeval; but far away from its shadow, Side by side, in their nameless graves, the
lovers are sleeping.
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of the forest; List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of
Mournful and happy. *sigh* I'll no longer be eating
sweet beet risoto (Restaurant Le Caveau at the Grand Pre wintery)
seafood fritters, crisp on the outside and meltingly delicious on the inside (same place)
lobster salad that must have contained an entire lobster on a fresh roll (Grand Banker in Lunenburg).
No more scallops sauted to a caramelized crunch (Anapolis Royal, little German restaurant, not the one by the amazing Historic Gardens, but the one waaay down the street). Won't be able to sneak a sweet (oh, so sweet) apple off the tree at the National Park in Grand Pre.
Who loves Acadia now, eh?