It was a nice leisurely day today, as I was within a few minutes of my next destination for the night. Pre-ride inspection showed that the tire repair is sound – tire pressure was maintained all day yesterday through the Cabot Trail and overnight. Loading up Fury, I headed for Big Pond. I didn’t bother with breakfast at the hotel as I intended to have lunch at Rita’s Tea House. This is the home of Rita McNeil that she turned into a tea house. When she would perform, she would invite people to come for tea in Cape Breton. So many people took her up on that, she created the tea house. It is absolutely beautiful and also has her story, photographs of her family and friends and a lovely gift shop.
By this point, I was there for the food first though. I felt rather grubby in this lovely setting, with my t-shirt and riding gear, but sat myself down at a table. Charlotte, the server, did not seem to mind my appearance and wasted no time making me feel at home. For that is how it feels there – very homey. I don’t know what kind of energy is running through this tea house, but I had a great deal of difficulty controlling my emotions. The best I can describe it is when you are hurting and someone is kind to you and it makes you just want to fall apart at the seams because you know it is a safe place. More than once, while having my lunch and wandering around later, I had to wipe my eyes. It seemed to me that Rita’s big-hearted spirit permeated the whole place and she was still there.
If you visit, read the menu for all the available options and then just order what Charlotte tells you to! I had the lobster roll with a side of the seafood chowder and both were the best I have had since entering the maritimes. I had Rita’s Blend tea with it and that was also brilliant. Everything is homemade and I was sorely tempted by dessert but felt too full. I wandered around the house, reading the story scrolls and looking at the pictures. Eventually made my way to the gift shop, and there was dessert! I could buy a bag of Rita’s oat cakes and have them for dessert when I was ready. So, I did. And had a great talk with Emery in the gift store as well. Such nice folks.
A welcome bonus for the day was a message from the RCMP detachment in Enfield that my purse was turned in to them! So I will retrieve it on my way back through Nova Scotia to PEI and thumb my nose at Murphy. Just a little bit though - wouldn't want him to take me too seriously....
It was beginning to spit rain when I left Rita’s Tea House, and I headed back towards North Sydney. I wanted to go to the Highland Village, but the forecast was for heavier rain and that was another hour in the opposite direction. I hope to get there on my way back through because it looks amazing. Changing my plan, I thought I might at least get to the Cape Breton Highlanders Museum, which is much closer to my motel. We weren’t long on the road before it really began to pour, so by the time I rode the hour back, I decided to go straight to the Highland Motel and see if I could check in an hour early. They had a room ready for me, so I checked in, unloaded Fury and hung my wet things to be ready for tomorrow. The motel is a basic, neat, clean motel for a very reasonable rate and I am happily installed for the night. Breakfast is also included for the morning.
I got into the bag of oat cakes and promptly ate about 10. I can justify that though – they are just little things, so really, you have to eat 3 to consider it one full cookie…..
Oat cake consumption was promptly followed by a nap. The rain has not let up one iota, so it will be a pizza delivery night from Alexandra's Pizza. I did not order a gigantic cookie this time, since I still have at least half a bag of oat cakes. Then some planning for the next leg of my journey and early to bed. Until tomorrow, my friends!