The Train Station Inn: Get on board for fine dining
The Train Station Inn is one of the more unique bed and breakfast venues in Canada. Basically, what has happened is that the owners (train aficionados) have purchased several old train cars and have restored them fully. They then arranged them near the old train station in Tatamagouche. Some of the cars are bedrooms (see separate info and tip), while others are dining and lounge cars.
We stopped in to have lunch at the Train Station Inn. This is a popular place, and there aren't a lot of tables, sooooooo you may have to wait. We did, but it wasn't too bad. We spent about 25 minutes in the lounge car, and we had several nice chats with other diners and people staying at the inn.
Once we went into the dining car, it's literally like eating on a luxury train - except there is no motion... or should I say "locomotion"?
The menu isn't huge, but it consists of fresh local specialties and creative spins on some old favorites. Among the items on the lunch menu were smoked Westphalian ham and swiss on rye sandwiches, homemade fishcakes, a barbecued chicken flatbread pizza and a roasted red pepper dish for any vegetarians on board. Among the appetizers were steamed mussels, seafood chowder and lobster tail. The ubiquitous "soup d'jour" was a winner on the day we were there, a Thai-themed creamy chicken creation. I had a cup and I wish I'd ordered a bowl. They also had several salads - Bonnie did the caesar and pronounced it crisp and satisfying.
Favorite Dish: I've already talked about the lunch menu above. Let me give you a bit of other menu info here...
The Train Station Inn "Dining Car" features "Just Us" fresh-roasted Guatemalan coffee and all sorts of specialty teas.
Among the evening specialites are top-grade steaks, lobster pot pie (I can guarantee you that this one would have been Bonnie's evening choice), salmon - either poached or almond-crusted, and a "pasta creation of the day".
The dining car also features fine wines from the local Jost Winery - just down the road in Malagash. (Please see my separate "off the beaten trail" tip about the winery, and the separate image travelogue of our visit there) Note... a lot of "local wineries" produce a product that tastes like a local wine. That is NOT the case at the Jost Winery. More info in my separate tip)
Tatamagouche Off The Beaten Path
Get a wineglass and head over to...
About 17 km west of Tatamagouche, along the Sunrise Trail (route 6), you'll come to the turn-off for the small village of Malagash. Malagash is another of those Atlantic Canada hamlets that's not even big enough to be considered "a place" by VirtualTourist.
The main attraction for visitors in Malagash is the Jost Winery. Now, when you hear of a "local winery", that conjures up an image and a pre-impression that isn't always good... unless of course the "local winery" is in Napa Valley or something. I get the apprehension that "local winery" might bring for you, but trust me.... Jost Winery is different. The Jost facility has now been in business for three decades, and they've won many international awards for their wines. The owners and founders of the winery are old-time Germans, and they've brought their talent and uncompromising determination to produce the best to Nova Scotia's North Shore region.
The winery, just off route 6, is open year-round. And according to our guide/host Gary, there are wine activities going on some 10 months out of each year. There are many vineyards on site, and they also have grape growing operations strewn about over the region. They produce fine reds and whites, and also specialize on the delicate and special "ice wine" that is becoming more and more popular as an apertif.
As I mention, there are FREE winery tours happening throughout the day. If I remember correctly, they run three or four, and quite honestly - it seems that they choose to run one when they get five or ten folks interested in taking one. Very informal. The fellow who ran our tour had worked for the Josts for about ten years, he said it was a retirement job. I know people pretty well, and I could tell that he was very much "into" working with the winery, and it had become more than just a job to him. He was a pleasant guy and like a lot of folks in this part of Nova Scotia, he had a bit of Scottish brogue in his language. With the misty and rainy climate we were experiencing during our visit, I could have imagined us being in Scotland.
The winery also hosted spontaneous "tastings" at any time. The prices for sampling numerous Jost products is very very reasonable. And - for those of you who have been to tastings and have found the tiny samples given to be annoying, it's not that way here. You get enough of each wine to really really get a taste for it... not to mention a little buzz. Be sure to straighten up before you drive away. :)
Anyway, if you are in this part of Canada and you're a wine lover, you really should spend a couple of hours over in Malagash. Be sure to pick up a few bottles from the Josts to take on your way. I especially recommend the ice wines, very very tasty. We bought several different ices, and a good selection of reds. (we generally prefer reds to white wines) My favorite of the reds we purchased was the 2006 Reserve Marechal Foch. It has a very pleasing oakiness, along with berry undercurrents. (or should I say currants? Just kidding) They tell me that it would age well and would be even better in a couple of years. I guess we'll never know about THAT, we finished off our bottle of Marechal Foch later that evening back at the B&B in Springhill.
I am also building a separate photo travelogue on my Tatamagouche page where I will share other photos from our visit to Jost.Related to:
- Wine Tasting