|Our Scenery Our Food|
By Mike Lushington
I was birding the other morning with two friends. It was a bright, early September morning. We were just about wrapping up our scanning of a flock of gulls near the bridge at Eel River Bar, when a car pulled up and stopped just behind my old truck.
"We thought that you must be birding when we saw the 'scope and the binoculars. Got anything interesting?"
They were a couple of tourists - and fellow birders - from Michigan. We talked for a few minutes, pointing out some of the birds that we thought might be interesting to them and then on travelling topics in general. We discovered that they had been travelling the north eastern part of the continent, had just come from around the Gaspe and were, in a leisurely fashion, heading for PEI and Nova Scotia. One thing led to another and we invited them to follow us on our rounds of places that we wanted to check out for the rest of the morning.
As the conversation flowed during our stops, they made two comments which resonated with me. One of them, repeated several times, had to do with the incredible scenery. How many times have I - and most local people - heard variations on that particular theme? It really doesn't seem to matter where people are from - they are awe-stricken with the panorama of hills, water, sky, and colour that dominates the eye, almost from any vantage point one can care to mention.
The other comment brought home another fact that I have become increasingly aware of in recent weeks. I had asked them about their most recent itinerary and they had mentioned that they had spent the previous night in Campbellton - and had had dinner "at a little gem of a restaurant" there. I said "You must have been at Something Else." They confirmed that, yes, that was where they had eaten and that they had had a wonderful dinner.
I mentioned above that the comment resonated with me because Carla and I had just had another, similar, experience at the same establishment. In fact, ours has become a tradition with us; we go to Something Else to celebrate our anniversary each year, one of the several visits that we try to make there. Listening to our new friends praise their experience there brought another thought to the fore. Earlier in the summer, we had had the opportunity to visit The Salmon Lodge in Tide Head when our children and their families were home for the August long weekend. They were impressed, as was I, with our first visit there and our daughter mentioned, not for the first time, that we were so lucky to have such good restaurants in the area. Maia lives in Fredericton and she swears that there is nothing there to compare with such restaurants, or, for that matter, with another favourite dining place of ours - La Source - in Charlo. The latter doesn't pretend to offer the same style of dining as do the two other restaurants but it, too, has its devoted clientele.
Dining out, or simply dropping into one of the several delightful little coffee shops in the area, is always an experience that is enhanced by atmosphere and by the quality of the food. Those two factors, in turn, are what bring people back - and that prompt purely spontaneous comments such as our friends from Michigan made. In just this way, we begin to promote our area, not just as a place of incredible scenery, but as one where people can expect to have complete experiences. From our own travels, I remember several places where I will stop again, should I happen to be in that particular area. I can imagine this couple of travellers telling their friends back in Michigan about the gorgeous scenery, and about the delightful little places to eat, that they discovered in their wanderings about northern New Brunswick. Such comments are worth gold,