Hal­i­fax

DRIFT Travel magazine - - Road Trippin' -

Our last stop was the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, Hal­i­fax. De­cid­edly the land of bou­tique inns, our down­town ac­com­mo­da­tions were tucked three floors up in the at­tic of the el­e­gant Waver­ley. We en­tered the chi­nois­erie-style pre­mier room by turn­ing on a lamp dec­o­rated with drag­ons and were wel­comed by a statue of a life-sized gilded em­peror. That night, we slept on a cen­turies-old Chi­nese wed­ding bed. Our cu­rios­ity led us to roam the dec­o­rated halls which turned into an en­counter with vis­it­ing ghost hunters, armed with EMF read­ers and hop­ing for a lit­tle ac­tiv­ity from some of the inn’s past vis­i­tors (P.T. Bar­num and Os­car Wilde, to name a few).

I tend to rank my love of cities by the qual­ity of their vin­tage stores, and Hal­i­fax takes the cake with Elsie’s Used Cloth­ing (1530 Queen St). Their racks are filled with a bounty of high-end pieces at won­der­ful price points and I emerged hours later, teary-eyed and dressed in my new hand­made finds - a wool beret, over­sized leop­ard print silk blazer, and 1970’s wo­ven mo­hair jacket. I re­turned mul­ti­ple times to have con­ver­sa­tions with owner Mau­reen Elsie, its Haligo­nian cu­ra­tor. Let me as­sure you - this shop alone jus­ti­fies a cross-coun­try flight.

Af­ter ri­fling through decades of cloth­ing, a well-de­served star anise and pa­paya gin and tonic at High­way­man was in or­der. Named af­ter the novel by Al­fred Noyes, this lit­er­ary-themed restau­rant and bar is filled on a Wed­nes­day night with pa­trons and warm am­biance. As for the food, a re­fined and im­pres­sive multi-course tast­ing journey from ocean to land was served to us on in­laid ta­bles. Although

the menu changes sea­son­ally, I highly rec­om­mend the char­cu­terie board, which in­cor­po­rates a tasty ar­ray of so­bras­sada, chorizo, and salchi­chon-style pork sausages cured in-house. I can safely say that High­way­man has the tal­ent and pres­ence to set the bar for the next gen­er­a­tion of din­ing es­tab­lish­ments in this city.

On our last morn­ing, we popped into PAVIA Cafe on the top floor of the cen­tral li­brary for one last view of the city and a quick espresso be­fore our flight. We sat above the fog, over­look­ing the har­bor. Hal­i­fax is in a growth phase, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. There seemed to be tran­si­tion and re­fine­ment through­out, but one thing will for­ever be con­sis­tent: that good ol’ Mar­itime hos­pi­tal­ity.

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