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The chef/proprietors of Trout Point Lodge in remote Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, attended the Acabailles V.I.P. Weekend November 15-16, 2014, as guests of the winery association of one of Bordeaux’s most prestigious regions. The annual event marks the end of harvesting and vinifying each year’s wines. Invitees routinely include chefs & restaurateurs with two or three Michelin stars, as well as a select number of others in the top echelon of the culinary world. Charles Leary and Vaughan Perret stayed as a select few among guests of Chateau Haut-Brion, an acclaimed wine estate whose illustrious history goes back many centuries. This is the fourth year Leary & Perret have travelled to France for the event, but the first time staying at Haut-Brion.

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Charles Leary & Vaughan Perret with Mrs. & Mr. Lochlann Quinn, the 2014 Acabailles Soirée

Invitees tasted the complete 2010 and 2012 red and white vintages from the Pessac-Léogan region’s Cru Classés, visited the facilities of Chateau LaTour-Martillac, and had a specially-prepared lunch at Chateau Haut-Bailley. Highlights for the Canadian innkeppers included a private dinner at Chateau Haut-Brion, owned by Clarence Dillon Wine Estates and run by the Prince of Luxembourg, where they tasted highly-vaunted vintages of both red and white wines, including the 1989 Haut Brion, which scored a perfect 100/100 from Wine Spectator magazine. They also sampled 2011 vintage white wines including from neighbour La Mission Haut-Brion, which Leary described as spectacular. The following evening they attended the Acabailles soirée at the table of Mr. & Mrs. Lochlann Quinn, owners of Chateau Fieuzal. Mr. Quinn is Chairman of the National Gallery of Ireland and former Chairman of Allied Irish Banks PLC.

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Chateau Couhins-Lurton

The soirée was hosted at Chateau Couhins-Lurtton, and the multi-course dinner prepared by Michelin two star chef and French television personality Philippe Etchebest.

“It’s a great honour to be invited, but also a highly educational experience,” said Perret. “We get the chance to compare notes with some extremely talented and motivated restaurateurs, and to taste fantstic wines.” Trout Point Lodge has several Péssac-Leognan wines on its list, whcih has won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence each year since 2009. Leary and Perret also met with the director of the local hotel & restaurant school in Talence, a Bordeaux suburb, hoping to attract talented students for internships in Nova Scotia. IMGP7520

Logo Starlightvectorizado colores.cdrThe Starlight Foundation, headquartered at the Canaries Astrophysics Institute in Spain, awarded  Starlight Reserve and Tourist Destination status to the Acadian Skies & Mi’kmaq Lands. Nova Scotia is the first destination in North America to receive a Starlight certification and is one of only four places in the world to receive both Reserve and Destination designations.  The region has the Tobeatic Wilderness Area at its core and covers the lands of Argyle, Clare, and Yarmouth municipalities.

Starlight Tourist Destinations must not only demonstrate the quality of their skies and the means to guarantee their protection, but they must also have adequate infrastructure and tourism-related activities: accommodation, equipment for astronomical observation provided to clients, and the training of personnel responsible for astronomical interpretation and their integration into nature at night.

Michel Samson, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, believes Nova Scotia is ready to attract more visitors with this new designation and looks forward to working with businesses and community partners to develop new tourism experiences that grow our economy, motivate travel and share this part of our Province’s natural beauty.

Operators like the Trout Point Lodge, adjacent to the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area, are already taking advantage of their natural setting by developing astro-tourism offerings. In fact, it was designated as the world’s first certified Starlight Hotel in September.

The Starlight Initiative is supported by UNESCO, the “International Astronomical Union and the World Tourism Organization.

–courtesy Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Trout Point Lodge of Nova Scotia will be the world’s first certified Starlight Hotel, a distinction given by the Starlight Foundation headquartered at the Canaries Astrophysics Institute in Spain. The Starlight Initiative is backed by UNESCO, the International Astronomical Union, and other international organizations.

“We believe it is fair to give special consideration,” wrote Foundation Managing Director Luis Martinez, to “establishments whose owners have been pioneers in promoting a Starlight Destination in their area.”

The new stargazing platform provides unobstructed views of the sky

The new stargazing platform provides unobstructed views of the sky

Located in a particularly dark night-time zone of southwest Nova Scotia, Canada, Trout Point has developed astro-tourism offerings, including having a permanent astronomer on staff, over the past four years. This year the Lodge added a 16’x16′ star gazing platform and new telescopes, including a solar telescope for daytime use. The Lodge lies adjacent to the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area at the confluence of the Tusket and Napier Rivers.

To be certified as a Starlight Hotel, Trout Point had to submit an extensive application and data on sky quality.

Lodge proprietors Vaughan Perret and Charles Leary have spearheaded the effort by a local non-profit society to have the region surrounding Trout Point declared a Starlight Reserve and Tourism Destination. This included visiting the Canary Islands to view best practices and meet with Foundation officials. Last year, the Lodge’s astronomer took the numerous scientific measurements of sky quality necessary to achieve regional certification. The application was done by La Société Touristique Bon Temps d’Argyle, of which Perret is the Chairman.

The Lodge has hosted numerous guests anxious to get a glimpse of unpolluted night time skies filled with stars, an increasingly rare possibility in most urban areas.

Martinez said: “The Foundation aims to bring Rural Hotels and Houses into the movement for ‘Astronomical Tourism’ as an efficient way of spreading the joys of contemplating the starry skies among the customers and to encourage them to learn more about the marvels and mysteries of the Universe. This is why we attach so much importance to building a network of establishments which are qualified and accredited as ‘Starlight Rural Hotels and Houses’, beginning with the most representative.”

Perret and Leary have worked tirelessly to gain support for the project from the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, the Southwest Nova Tourism Task Team, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Acadia First Nation, and the Municipalities of Argyle, Clare, and Yarmouth.

This region of Nova Scotia has a pronounced lack of light pollution, lending it some of the darkest and clearest skies for astronomical observation in North America.

About Trout Point Lodge & The Starlight Foundation
Founded in 2000, Trout Point Lodge lies immediately adjacent to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Rated 5 stars by Canada Select, the Lodge is also a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. The web site is http://www.troutpoint.com.

The Starlight Foundation is the body in charge of the operational management of the Starlight Initiative, providing human resources and means for its development and promotion. The Starlight Initiative was launched in 2007 from a proposal of the IAC supported by UNESCO – MaB Programme, UNWTO, IAU, and other international conventions such as UNEP-CMS, SCBD, and Ramsar Convention, and is designed as an international action in defense of the values associated with the night sky and the general right to observe the stars.

The final aim of this Initiative is to promote the importance of clear skies for the humankind, emphasizing and introducing the value of this endangered heritage for science, education, culture, technological development, nature conservation, and tourism. The web site is http://www.fundacionstarlight.com.

Trout Point Lodge is proud to announce that it is the first accommodation in Nova Scotia to receive a GreenLeader Platinum award from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel information web site.

Earlier this year, TripAdvisor announced that it was extending its GreenLeaders™ program into Canada and Europe for the first time, following rapid growth in the U.S. Developed in consultation with the United Nations Environment Programme, the U.S. Green Building Council, ENERGY STAR®, and the International Center for Responsible Tourism Canada, the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program aims to help travelers around the world plan greener trips by highlighting hotels and B&Bs engaging in environmentally friendly practices.

The Platinum level is the highest possible in the GreenLeaders system.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/63179-tripadvisor-greenleaders-launches-in-canada-europe-eco-friendly-hotels

“With so many travelers placing an importance on the eco-friendly practices of the places they visit, hotel and B&B owners stand to gain a real competitive edge by promoting their environmentally friendly practices,” said Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor. “Our TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program will enable businesses managing their environmental footprint to highlight their commitment to millions of travelers around the world, at no expense to their business.”

“Travelers want to be ‘green’ and contribute to the conservation and preservation of the environment,” said Denise Naguib, vice president, sustainability and supplier diversity for Marriott International. “Nearly half of our global hotel portfolio currently has GreenLeaders status through the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program and more will have this status when the program expands to consumers in Canada and Europe later this year. This tool will help them easily plan and book their next eco-friendly trip.”

To qualify as a GreenLeader, businesses must also achieve a minimum score on an extensive application survey. GreenLeader properties are eligible for one of the four badge levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Badge levels are determined by a property’s overall level of participation in environmentally friendly activities.

TripAdvisor GreenLeaders first launched in the U.S. in April 2013, and has since awarded over 3,700 U.S. hotels and B&Bs the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders status. Hotels currently participating in the U.S. program range from small, independent establishments to multinational brands including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Select Registry and Coast Hotels, and these brands are now represented since the program has launched to consumers in Canada and Europe.

Since the program first launched, TripAdvisor has been collecting travelers’ eco-friendly comments, and the company is now making these available on the U.S. site to help travelers choose the perfect green hotel or B&B for their trip. The comments will be available on the “tips” section on the property pages of hotels and B&Bs that have TripAdvisor GreenLeaders status.

Trout Point Lodge has also won 5 Green Keys, and was the recipient of the inaugural Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award in 2007. The Lodge is rated 5 stars by Canada Select. 

Kayaking the Tusket and Napier Rivers, relaxing in the outdoor cedar sauna, and tasting acclaimed cuisine have satisfied guests of Trout Point Lodge since in opened in 2000. This year, however, a bevy of new experiences and activities await those who travel to stay at this haute rustic log building on the edge of Atlantic Canada’s largest pristine wilderness area, the Tobeatic at some 103,780 hectares.

In addition to guided fishing, kayaking, and hiking, Trout Point will have two staff astronomers for star gazing tours. The Tobeatic’s near total lack of light pollution means some of the best night skies for astronomical observation in the world. The Milky Way and meteor showers become simply captivating in such environs. Special astronomical binoculars, laser pointers, and a powerful Meade 10″ telescope will help bring into focus wonders from out of this world. A star-gazing tower that will bring you above the treeline for unobstructed views of the full night sky is also in the works.

There will be new geo-excursions to explain and interpret the unique geological and glacial features of the surrounding landscape, which was sculpted by the last Ice Age. Another topic will be the unique history of the area explaining why gold, tin, rare metal, and quartz mines dot the nearby landscape. A solar telescope will provide for daytime observation of the sun and sun spots.

Registered Massage Therapist Brendon Smith will provide in-room massage and advice on wellness when not offering guided walks on edible wild plants and mushrooms. This compliments the already rejuvenating aspects of staying at Trout Point, including spring-fed mineral water from the main lodge taps, soaking in the tannin-rich antioxidant waters of the Tusket River (that’s where the river’s distinct whisky colour comes from), enjoying a wood-fired hot tub, and the natural benefits of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” Biologists have exclaimed at the Lodge’s air quality, testified to by the rate lichens that drape the trees & landscape. Lichens are some of the most sensitive beings to air pollution. The point is that just being at Trout Point, deep in the pristine Acadian Forest (part of the northern boreal forest) has real benefits, besides just getting away from the “madding crowds” of daily life. Acclaimed research from Japan has zeroed in on the numerous benefits of forest bathing. These include enhanced fitness, accelerated healing, increased mental focus, and improved biological responses to reducing stress, and fighting disease. Nearly every guided excursion or self-motivated activity at Trout Point will involve forest bathing and more.

2014 will also see the Lodge’s alpacas put in charge of carrying lunch, snacks, and water for guests on hikes in the wilderness area. Trout Point acquired three breeding age animals in 2013, and welcomed two babies last fall. The alpaca manure is combined with kitchen waste and composted to fertilize the extensive on-site gardens, while that blanket or throw in your guest room may just come from Trout Point’s own fleece. The gardens expand every year, producing an astounding variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that see their way onto the daily menus. Those participating in a cooking experience may find themselves picking ingredients for the class as well.

The tradition of nightly live music before and after dinner will continue, with at least three lodge staff members contributing their talents at different times. Local Acadian French musician Gerard LeBlanc will play each Thursday during the summer as part of the regional Musique de la baie series. Thematic cooking classes five days a week will round out the offerings.

About Trout Point Lodge

Atlantic Canada’s sole member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Trout Point offers 5-star accommodations, dining, and outdoor experiences for up to about 34 guests. Located at the confluence of the Tusket and Napier Rivers, the Lodge touches the southwestern border of the vast Tobeatic Wilderness Area, about 3 hours from Halifax and 45 minutes from Yarmouth, NS. In 2014, Yarmouth is home to the Nova Star, a daily cruise ferry operating between Maine and Nova Scotia.

Trout Point consists of the handcrafted, log & stone main lodge with eight guest units, Beaver Hall with four guest rooms in a shingle-clad chalet, and 2 lakeside cottages. The main lodge boasts a Great Room, 8 stone fireplaces, library, and various dining venues.

The Trout Point kitchen emphasizes what is fresh & local: organic produce, herbs, wild foods, and sustainable seafood. The Lodge has had its culinary talents praised by a variety of sources, including Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, and ForbesTraveler. Trout Point’s chef/proprietors previously operated one of Louisiana first certified organic farms, Chicory Farm, as well as the acclaimed Chicory Farm Cafe in New Orleans, and count among just a handful of North Americans inducted into the French Guilde des fromagers in 1994. They also cooked at Costa Rica’s Inn at Coyote Mountain and have taught cooking classes in Granada, Spain.

  • Grilled sustainable swordfish skewers on a bed of spaghettini with Spanish saffron and organic maitake mushrooms
  • Provencal lentil soup
  • Oyster and fennel soup
  • Fresh local haddock crusted with dill & sesame with a white wine, dill, & cream reduction
  • Seafood Gumbo with scallops, oysters, & shrimp
  • Saffron-scented Mediterranean chick pea soup with chorizo

    Nova Scotia cuisine

    Grilled Trout Point grape leaves stuffed w/ beef & lemongrass

  • Grilled Trout Point grape leaves stuffed beef & lemongrass
  • Haddock ceviche
  • Caribbean black bean soup
  • Creole chicken & okra gumbo
  • Scallops ravigote with wild mushrooms and garden chives
  • Local Ruisseau oyster with Brie & bacon jam from the Yarmouth Farmer’s Market

Nigel Richardson of The Telegraph has said: “In one place, decor and cuisine came together in a glorious synthesis of international quality and style. That place was Trout Point, a wilderness lodge in the western interior where refugees from Louisiana have created a Cajun-Acadian gastronomy of simple excellence. That night I dined on squash blossoms stuffed with beef and crabmeat, sat around a camp fire and watched the merest flickering of the aurora borealis in the northern sky.”

Trout Point started planting seeds for this season’s garden more than a month ago and the results have been fantastic! The Lodge now has three major garden areas: at the main lodge, at Beaver Hall, and the largest garden off the East Branch Road. The 5 Lodge alpacas plus organic waste from the kitchen provide for world-class fertilizer.

Here’s a partial list of what has been planted so far:

Sea Kale
Asparagus
Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes
Heirloom Black Cherry tomatoes
Heirloom Giant Valentine
Heirloom Italian Bruschetta tomato
Heirloom Violetta di Firenze eggplant
Heirloom Vittoria long eggplant
Cape goose berries
Cardoon
Artichoke Imperial Star
Artichoke Green Globe
Kale Russian White
Atlantis Borkali
Sage
Rosemary
Basil, Lime
Basil, Opal
Basil, Thai
Basil, Sweet Aroma
Basil, Nufar
Basil, Lettuce Leaf
Italian Parsley
Dill
Fennel
Lovage
French Thyme
Leek, Large Musselburg
Leek, American Flag
Leek, Varna
Leek, Swiss Zermatt
Leek, Lyon Prize
Celery
Sweet Pepper gypsy
Sweet Pepper Red Bull Horns
Hot Pepper Thai red
Hot Pepper Jalapeño
Hot Pepper Early Jalapeño
Hot Pepper M Jalapeño
Marjoram

Heirloom Red Oblong Onion

Mmmmmmmmmm.

All this bounty will be appearing in the Lodge’s dining rooms soon enough! No wonder Trout Point has a 3 Star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

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