This town grabbed my heart as soon as we pulled down one of its narrow lanes. Shelburne was founded in 1783 and attracts all kinds to its charming streets of wood-shingled homes including Demi Moore and the crew of the Hollywood flick, the Scarlet Letter.
The historic town rivals many in North America for its density of pre-1800 wooden buildings. It has about 2000 residents year round and is fast-becoming a vacation hot spot and summer home getaway for thousands.
We stop for lunch in a wonderful little place that could compete with any other much higher-priced restaurant from New York or San Francisco. Charlotte Lane Café is owned by the husband and wife duo, Kathleen, who sings folk music in her spare time, and Swiss-born chef Roland Glauser. They have the major commute of a 10 second walk since they live right next door in a welcoming wooden home painted a rich shade of bright blueberry.
Chef Glauser says, “Here you can breathe. This doesn’t exist in Switzerland. Here it’s much more peaceful and calmer.”
It must be extremely peaceful, since I find the countryside of Switzerland quite idyllic.
We sample some of chef Glauser’s beautiful-looking salads and entrees. His dishes seem to mimic the colors of all the charming homes around town. My favorites include the Bluenose Spinach salad – a savory and sweet medley of spinach, apples, blueberries, pecans, blue cheese in a maple vinaigrette and the seared plump scallops with orange sesame ginger drizzle.
During a post-lunch stroll, trying to walk off some of our filling lunch, we meet Hunkabunka, a friendly neighborhood black and white tuxedo cat rolling around just begging to be pet.
His owner comes out to chat and basically invites us in. I’m liking this small-town Canadian hospitality. Turns out she and her husband own, Windward Flutes, a wooden flute-making and restoration business right next door. Not exactly what I’d expect to find in these sea-dependent towns here on the South Shore. Former Bostonians Yola and Forbes Christie uprooted their successful careers to forge a new life here on the shores of Nova Scotia. In the past several years, Windward Flutes has struck a chord with traditional flautists and internationally recognized orchestras. Even if you are not an avid symphony-goer, you may recall most flutes nowadays are made of metal. They are bringing back the old wooden tradition and several flautists in orchestras all over the world now play with their custom-made instrument. The flutes can range from $1500-$5000. It was definitely a fun and unexpected detour during our afternoon in such a charming town – one that I also dreamed of having a little cottage in. In inquired and it turns out that rent is very cheap compared to normal U.S. standards. Hmmm…a future writing getaway? I seem to be compiling a list of all the places “I want to live someday.” Shelburne? Check.