It was the kind of day that just called for adventure! The summer seemed to fly by this year, so with a few family outings left on our “to-do” list we decided to seize the day. We were off to Tatamagouche!
We headed straight to the farmers’ market at the Creamery Square. The kids looked forward to Sugar Moon Farm’s table for their pure maple candy. My wife Sara and I on the other hand, were lured to the Coldstream Clear Distillery table. I typically don’t drink adult beverages before noon, but the convincing sales person assured me that it was entirely ok given that they were such small samples. I’m not one to argue with good logic so I proceeded to try the peppermint flavoured liqueur while Sara tried the coffee. Both were exceptionally tasty but we decided to go with a small bottle of the coffee liqueur to enjoy at home later. We were also excited to learn that Coldstream Clear Distillery would soon be opening a location at Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke this October.
From the market we worked our way to the shops at the “Grain Elevator” next door. Despite the friendly sound of live music, I realized that it wasn’t a safe place to be when Sara and my daughter Lienna had discovered a sale table full of jewelry. Without panic, I figured that my best strategy would be to encourage a few quick purchases and then suggest that we move on to lunch. It seemed to work. The gals got their bling, and I was able to leave without too much of a dent in my wallet.
We walked to the waters’ edge where we enjoyed our picnic and the view. We then stopped by the Creamery Square Heritage Centre to ask about the Tatamagouche road train. I had heard a lot about it and didn’t want to miss a chance to catch a ride. We were in luck! It was departing from the Train Station Inn every half hour and we were just a two-minute walk away.
We couldn’t wait to climb aboard! If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be in a parade, I suspect it’s a lot like the road train experience. Everyone on Main Street watched and waved as we passed by. Our guide Peter was sporting a funky shirt and a huge smile as he shared stories and information about the community with pride and enthusiasm. We had a great time and were surprised to learn that there was no fee for the trip– just a request for donations.
Next we were off to the nearby Balmoral Grist Mill Museum. The mill is nestled in the woods along a beautiful brook. We followed the bridge to the building entrance where we met museum staff Tanya and Rhonda for a tour. Right off the bat they put us to work as we got to try the “quern,” a small hand-grinding stone used to make oats into flour.
Throughout the tour I was awestruck by the sophistication of the mill - especially for being built in the late 1800’s! With all of the pulleys, wooden cogs, wheels and giant mill stones…It was pure genius! I am not going to lie, I was totally confused by the complexity of it all, but the kids and Sara seemed to be following every word from our guides’ just fine.
We explored the three levels of the water-powered mill and the bottom floor was by far the coolest (both literally and figuratively). The temperature was much chillier than the upper floors but what I loved most were all of the moving parts. It looked like something right out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory down there!
Following our tour we couldn’t wait to get back outside to explore the grounds and take a few photos. The soothing sound from the brook was so relaxing. We would have loved to stay longer and explore the Sutherland Steam Mill Museum down the road but we were pressed for time. It was clear that we still had plenty to add to our summer to-do list for next year!