There's over 125 years of history at the Tatamagouche Train Station Inn.
There's a fantastic scene in one of my favourite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory, where Sheldon and Amy enjoy a weekend away with the highlight (or lowlight, depending on your point of view) being a meal and ride on a historic train-turned-dining car. While their particular experience had lots of funny ups and downs, it's easy to see the appeal of enjoying a gourmet meal in a memorable setting. Fortunately, when we ate at the Train Station Inn in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, there were no sitcom worthy fiascoes - just lots of delicious food!
Unlike the train from The Big Bang Theory, the dining car at the Tatamagouche Train Station Inn is no longer traveling the rails. The last train to pass through here actually didn't pass through at all - it got stuck in the snow in 1986, 99 years after the station was built. By that time, regular passenger service had been suspended for over 25 years. Within a year, however, restoration work would begin. Before long, the Train Station Inn was on everyone's list of where to stay in Canada.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to stay at the Inn but we were able to enjoy a delicious meal in their beautifully restored dining cart. While I have no photos to prove my point, I have to say that the homemade biscuits that accompanied our meal were perhaps the best I've ever had. In fact, we sheepishly had to ask for a second basket. They really were divine! (And I'm told that the chief biscuit maker has won prizes for her work at the summer fair).
With great determination we stopped stuffing ourselves with biscuits in order to enjoy our main courses. I had an amazing dish of perfectly blackened salmon with a brown sugar, herb, and spice crust and mango salsa, while Ryan had the roasted pork medallions. Our food was absolutely delicious and our experience was the perfect mix of Nova Scotia hospitality and cuisine with a truly unique historical experience.
If you're unable to visit for dinner, the dining car also serves lunch. The adjacent Jitney Cafe, inside the station house itself, serves breakfast and has coffee and cafe treats throughout the day. Both establishments feature organic, fair trade, locally roasted coffee and the dining car offers Nova Scotian wines from the nearby Jost Vineyard. The Jitney Cafe also has Wi-Fi, which as I learned the hard way, isn't always the easiest thing to find in this part of Nova Scotia! But be warned - the dining facilities are closed in winter. You'll have to wait until May to eat here.
The many train cars of the Train Station Inn make the property a fun and interesting place to walk around. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Inn's own vegetable garden, where you can see the fresh produce before it lands on your dinner plate.
Visiting here is a fantastic experience. It's equal parts beautiful and delicious and I would highly recommend it for a special meal to help make your Nova Scotia vacation memorable.