Beach, beach, beach, yes, yes, but a girl's gotta eat, so on Wednesday we went down to the wharf in Richibucto, which I mentioned was home base, and got a couple of fresh lobster.
The photo at the top of the post is taken pre-carnage, in our hotel room. The small plates were for the potato salad (in the tub), not, as some commenters have speculated, designed to hold the lobster overspill. That was just Husband's creative plating.
They were big lobster - about 2.3 lbs each (old habits die hard, and you still buy your lobsters in pounds). That claw on the right is just about as big as it looks. And it was goooooood.
We were staying at the Silver Birch Motel in Richibucto, which is not where we were supposed to be staying. We'd booked a week at a lodge just outside the gates of Koughibougouac National Park. We arrived there on Sunday evening to discover that some things - a lot of the things - that were advertised on the website didn't, in fact, exist. (The restaurant? Only open for breakfast. The pleasant beer garden with the hanging plants? "Oh... that hasn't been open for a few years now..." The on-site internet? Non-existent.) As displeased with the fact that we'd been misled as by the lack of amenities, we asked for - and got - our money back. Now at loose ends, we scratched our heads, headed back south, and decided to stop at the first decent hotel, motel, chalet or lodge we spotted.
It turned out to be the Silver Birch. The sign said "Restaurant...Birch Lounge...Vacancies". The front desk clerk was pleasant. "Do you have wireless internet?" I asked. "Yes," she said. "Sign on the dotted line," I said to Husband.
The room - a ridiculously cheap $75 a night - was faded but clean, and big, and boasted a kitchenette and sofa as well as the bed. Definitely a step-up from most family-owned tourist motels in the area. The restaurant featured excellent home cooking (including a breakfast to die for), and since we happened to have hit town in time for the local Scallop Festival, served up enormous platters of huge, plump scallops with fries or mashed potatoes, veggies and coleslaw for less than $10 every evening.
The lounge - well, the lounge was an experience in and of itself. Bare-bones would be a compliment - Husband dubbed it The Spartan Lounge - veneer tables and stacking chairs, a handful of regulars playing video gambling machines, and a smaller handful of regulars sitting at the bar chatting loudly in French with the garrulous bartenders. We were made to feel more than welcome.
The jarring exception to the painfully generic motel bar decor was a series of space-themed murals that had been painted, inexplicably, on every door in the place. Just the doors. And our favourite mural was the jaw-dropping Space-Alien Stripper (as we dubbed her) painted on a door behind the bar that led into the kitchen. She's wearing some kind of totally-ineffectual space helmet that isn't sealed. Those tassels are real, folks, and swung back and forth every time someone passed through the portal.
All in all, the Silver Birch proved a perfectly adequate home base from which to go north, or south, as we chose on any given day, and explore the area. Every staff member was inordinately kind to us, and I hope they prosper for years to come.
Weird space murals and all.