Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Resplendent Beauty at the Fairholm Historic Inn
If you can imagine, for a moment the splendid days of yore; where the lush things we now consider frivolities were essential in the lives of prominent families. Richness and magnificence were the measurement of a man's status in life and the more esteemed one was, the grander they became. In this sense, the Fairholm Inn is an accurate portrait of its' first owner's life and times as a man of distinction among Islanders. A one Mr. Thomas Heath Haviland, the influential and wealthy man who commissioned the Fairholm after amassing a fortune for himself through positions of great importance and acting as a land agent for Britain in one of Prince Edward Island's most historically shifting times.
Living there as a widower with his family, you can only imagine how lavishly this man treated the guests who walked through his door. Well, actually, you can only imagine it if you haven't actually been in the Fairholm Inn. But, if you're lucky as I am to be here and indulged by the opulence which owners Brooke and Gina have restored to this National Historic site then you know exactly what I mean. Feeling welcomed into the Fairholm is like being one of Mr. Haviland's personal guests.
A posh home with some of the most stunning antiques I have laid my eyes upon, the collection that has gathered under this roof is one of great significance. Any lover of the days gone by would immediate recognize that this is a wonderful place to study the several, impeccably preserved pieces which are on display openly as they would have been in the 1800s. Every room is a discovery and every corner filled with wonder, to take the time and contemplate each room provided from the common enjoyment of guests is an attraction of its own.
As for me, this morning I'm sitting in the Fairholm's grand Dining Room at the table tucked into the bay window, impressive with it's rich purple velvet curtains. The soft Island morning breeze comes gently through the lace curtains and sunlight gently kisses the dining table. With atmospheric music lilting in the background, this is the scene out of a period drama. This with the cheerful conversation floating throughout the Dining Room and friendly service of Meghan at the breakfast table is all what makes staying at the Fairholm something special.
Want to know something else perfectly wonderful? Their breakfast! Starting off with a coffee, espresso beverage or artisan PEI blended tea from the coffee bar is perfect and afterwards you can wander over to their freshly squeezed orange juice and petite baked goods. A lovely way to begin breakfast, today they were offering homemade oat cakes and miniature blueberry muffins with PEI Strawberry Preserves.
The Oak Cakes were hearty and rustic, with just a hint of sweetness; exactly how they should be prepared. A classically old-fashioned treat, I don't see them nearly as often as often as my taste buds would like. Harkening back to the Scottish roots of many Islanders, these are the kind of Oak Cakes your grandmother's grandmother used to make. Want to try them my style? Spread a tiny bit of the preserves on top for a fruity twist! Another sweet treat, the mini muffins were packed with flavor ten times their size! Huge, juicy blueberries were hidden inside of a light and fluffy base. Dusted with sugar on top, these went perfectly with some of Lady Baker's Island Strawberry Green Tea.
The next course was fresh fruit with granola and yogurt served in an elegant class and topped with a colorful and aromatic mint leaf. Pineapple, strawberries and melon made for a vibrant combination against the creamy vanilla yogurt. The whole assortment creating a tasteful harmony on the palate when taste together with the crunch granola. Pairing different textures, flavors and an overall freshness of theme, I enjoyed every last bite.
My omelette came, colorful and bright with tender eggs folding around an assortment of fresh vegetables, savory ham and creamy cheese. Not just beautiful to the eye, it was a delight to eat, the combination of broccoli, mushrooms, sweet peppers, onion and tomato made it so vibrant and fresh to the taste buds, it practically woke me up with all of it's cheerful flavors. Truly a rustic omelette, it was generous in all of it's fillings and had a hearty side of multi grain toast to match.
The Three Cheese and Pear Panini was as heavenly a sandwich as a person could eat! I just couldn't get enough and sadly my photographer wouldn't turn away so I could steal her half too! Displaying a complex series of flavors ranging from sweet to savory with notes of caramelization and hint of pleasant smokiness, there's no way that this sandwich shouldn't be on every breakfast, lunch and dinner menu in the world! Snacks too! Slices of pear and thick sliced cheese were all snuggled warm together in between two grilled slices of multi grain raisin bread. It's almost too perfect for humans!
So after this divine breakfast, I'm back in my room relaxing and taking in the atmosphere once more of this charming Inn. With my short interlude at the Fairholm complete, I already miss it before even walking out the door. One night is too short when you're surrounded by such utter resplendence. There is still so much beauty to absorb and I know now that I must return to the Fairholm and savor its' complexity and beauty another time. Like a fine wine or an exotic coffee displaying both immediate pleasure and a rare, more contemplative depth, the Fairholm is to be luxuriated in slowly. Which is the perfect excuse to return again and again.