By Michelle M. Winner and Maralyn D. Hill

In our too-fast world, it’s heartwarming to see children with a genuine affection for their mother. This is not the Hallmark card kind of celebrating, but the keen daily awareness that she has made you who you are.

The little college town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, is home to the lovingly preserved Blomidon Inn, built in the 19th century by a local sea captain. Strikingly detailed, the Victorian manor house dominates four acres of beautiful gardens, with a view to the Minas Basin off the Bay of Fundy. “ Blomidon” is a version of Cape “Blow Me Down,” an exclamation attributed to sailors who marveled at this spot where the world’s highest tides meet a fierce wind.

Over 30 years ago, the young Laceby family moved from the family farm in Ottawa to Amherst. They stayed as guests and purchased The Amherst Shore Country Inn, working together to make it succeed. In 1988, parents Jim and Donna also purchased the decrepit Blomidon, three hours away. Most thought they were crazy; they simply took to the repairs, refurbishing, and redecorating with zeal. For ten years, Mom Donna stayed alone at Amherst to run the inn, while the rest of the family worked on Blomidon. She did it all and enrolled in culinary classes to step into her role as cook. Each day, she worked in faith that her sacrifices would move the family forward.

Today at Blomidon, Michael and Sean Laceby reflect their mother’s passion and talent. As sommelier and innkeeper, Michael runs the front of the house, providing outstanding service. His wine choices consistently hit the mark and enhance the creations Sean prepares in the kitchen. It is easy to see why the Blomidon Inn received the Wine Spectator Award for “One of the most outstanding wine lists in the world.” In addition to Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada, they offer wine from Argentina, Australia, California, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain. Their cellar includes vintages no longer available—a true treasure. Chef Sean Laceby’s personal favorite is preparing wild game, which is reflected in the regular menu. In addition, he authored, “Wild Game Cookbook,” which covers hunting in North America. The recipes span a wide assortment, from upland game to waterfowl, and the seasonings, sauces, marinades, and side dishes that enhance what is being served. Sean is the quiet one and quite content to spend his time in the kitchen, creating.

Donna and Jim taught their sons to be chief bottle washers, front-of-house personalities, and behind the scenes titans, by working right along with them.

Perhaps the success of a family does indeed rest on the shoulders of their mother. These days, lovely Donna gets to indulge her talent for finding fantastic hats, jewelry, jackets, and small furnishings, displaying these treasures with an artful eye in her “House of Gifts” on-site. When we asked Chef Sean about growing up working along with his dad, brothers, and especially with his mom all his life, he said with a laugh, “Well, I’m still here, aren’t I?”

This summer you are invited to sit on Blomidon’s grand front porch and sip something soon. It’s a fabulous place to relax and enjoy the family hospitality.

Blomidon Inn, 195 Main Street, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada Phone 902-542-2291|  Website:


Recipe: Asparagus Mushroom Crêpes from Chef Sean Laceby


A multitude of incredible local wines, cold-water lobster, and fresh produce from nearby Annapolis Valley farms in Nova Scotia grace the table at Blomidon’s each night. This dish was designed by Chef Sean to honor his mom, Donna… he hopes that you will make it for your mom.


“Growing up at the Amherst Shore Country Inn, my mother taught me the value of growing gardens full of fresh ingredients and using these in all her recipes. Mom still keeps a beautiful garden at the Blomidon Inn, which provides our kitchen with many of our vegetables and herbs – including fresh asparagus!” – Chef Sean Laceby

Asparagus Mushroom Crepes | Serves 2

2 large crepes (you can purchase pre-made)
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup diced onion
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 large pieces asparagus, chop bottoms and save tips
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 grilled chicken breast, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in heavy based sauté pan. Sautee onion, then mushrooms
until they are lightly browned and most moisture has been removed. Add
white wine, then asparagus, cream, thyme. Reduce by half and add
cooked chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour 1/3 mixture into 1 crepe. Fold edges of crepe towards centre.
Repeat with next crepe. Pour remaining filling over the top of both
crepes and garnish with asparagus tips.

Michelle M. Winner & Maralyn D. Hill  Photo: Norman E. Hill
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Michelle M. Winner & Maralyn D. Hill                             Photo: Norman E. Hill



Freelance travel writer Michelle M. WinnerThe Culinary Traveler, is President of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Michelle focuses on all aspects of luxury for food, spas and travel.

Photo credit: Kurt Winner


Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President

Member: Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)

Member: Society of Professional Journalists

Executive Editor, Luxe Beat Magazine (Launching Fall 2013)

Freelance Lifestyle Journalist

Blogs: Where and What in the World & Success with Writing

Follow me: @maralynhill




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