Tag Archives: Rankin Family

Mussels, a View, and a Cozy Little Cottage for Two – Vacation Day 3

Woke up this morning feeling pretty smug that Hurricane Arthur had turned out to be pretty toothless in the Port Hawkesbury area of Cape Breton.  There was a bit of wind overnight but not more than a few drops of rain and, once a few hours of morning had passed, the day was bright and beautiful.

Loading our stuff back into the car, Mom and I prepared to make the trek to Mabou for lunch and the farmer’s market. Now what is Mabou, you may ask? Mabou, in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful spots on Cape Breton Island and is in large measure the reason we started coming to Cape Breton in the first place.  Many, many years ago—I’ve reached the point in my life where I’ve stopped giving the actual number of years for anything—we saw a group called the Rankin Family at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC. After listening to them rave about their home village of Mabou for two years, Mom and Dad decided to come north to see what all the fuss was about. One visit and they were hooked and the rest is history.

Anyway, back to this year’s vacation. We were headed north on Highway 19 towards Judique when our attention was caught by the whitecaps on the beautiful expanse of ocean to our left. This is actually pretty unusual, as the waters off the western side of Cape Breton are normally very calm. However, with what was left of Hurricane Arthur having just passed, the water was much rougher than we were used to seeing. There were actually waves breaking on the beach. We pulled off into Christy’s Lookoff and took a few pictures illustrating the unusual event.


We climbed back into the car and continued north passing through Judique and then Port Hood. Finally, we crossed the bridge (An Drochaid) into Mabou and pulled into the parking lot of our favorite on island restaurant, The Mull Cafe and Deli. I Have been waiting approximately 50 weeks to enjoy my favorite meal of steamed mussels with garlic butter and a Caesar salad. I should have known there was a problem when the parking lot was empty at 12:30 pm on a Sunday. To my horror there was a white sign on the door that said ‘Closed due to power outage.’ Apparently Arthur had not been toothless after all.

Manfully trying to swallow my disappointment and blinking back WP_20140706_12_39_42_Protears, we decided to head to the weekly Mabou Farmer’s Market held at the local hockey arena. It’s always a great place to grab some fresh lettuces, vegetables and meats that we can cook back in our cottage as well as crafts from assorted vendors. It appeared that the power WP_20140707_11_19_01_Pro20140707112038outage was affecting the arena as well but just as we walked in the door, power was restored. I guess we had an electrifying effect. And sure enough, I found some lovely baby arugula and a bundle of freshly dug green onions. I also found some delightful little scented tea lights that will hopefully delight friends back home.

Crossing our fingers that The Mull would be open now that power had been restored, we headed back to the restaurant and were rewarded with an OPEN sign. All was right with world once again as we tucked into our mussels and caesar lunch.

The Mull Caesar salad
Mussels with garlic butter
Mussels with garlic butter

After enjoying a lunch that was every bit as good as I wanted it to be, we grabbed a few provisions from the Fresh Mart grocery across the road and made our way back down to Troy via the scenic Colindale Road. First we cross the two one-lane bridges and then drive past the West Mabou hall where Saturday night square dances are held. After that there are no words that can adequately describe the Colindale Rd, so this photo gallery will have to do.

Rejoining Highway 19 in Port Hood, we admired the few hard souls WP_20140706_15_56_12_Proin the water at Port Hood beach and then continued on down to Troy.  We did make one stop to photograph one of the English/Gàidhlig place name signs.

Finally, we arrived at our home for the next two weeks and are cozily ensconced in our own little piece of heaven. Be warned you might not hear from me for a day or two. If not, I’m too busy drinking tea, reading, and admiring the view.