No walk is ever spoiled on the Digby Pines Golf Course. Stanley Thompson’s original design through the woods has withstood the test of time with an unadulterated layout that is almost a Muirfield mirror image. Even in the morning fog, flowers by the tee box signal a colorful round on the hillside above the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy. The first sign of fresh water appears on number two as balls must fly over the pond. Waterway segments are linked by wooden bridges, like on number 8 with a walkover from the back to forward tees through the forest. Maintenance crews carefully prune the floral fantasy around a rain pagoda by the number 5 tee box and throughout the course for the 150 members and public guests. Len and Keith led us through a very fun round sharing course knowledge and cutting up with one another. Crows cawed out in hopes of assistant pro Fletcher’s feeds. He is better known as the crow whisperer.
The basin is spotted between 14 and 15 leading to more fine finishing holes and the clubhouse, where Sandra is very attentive, recommending the popular beef sandwich which the chef quickly prepares. It is one of the best.
Scott Nickerson is the club’s third generation pro. Since ’51 his dad and granddad before him served in the role and are commemorated by a sign on a tree in the fairway. To boost the family theme that permeates Digby, a junior locker room is noted, and 30 kids participate in the youth program. Len’s sporty kids are well rounded, playing hockey in the winter, lacrosse in the spring and golf in the summer. Digby is an ideal location for outdoorsy folks.
Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa is a seasonal retreat that fulfills their mission for each and every guest – “Your Memories are our Magic!” Welcoming from the moment of entry, the staff aim to please. The majestic hillside structure emits a sense of history with antiquities inside and sprawling lawn outside. Floral arrangements adorn the mantels. The grounds that look out over the bay are landscaped with mixed foliage and hues. It is a painter’s palette at every turn. It was therefore natural that Director of Operations, Annah Boucher (daughter of a local artist) brought Chef Dale Nichols together with Artist Lynda Shalagan to create the book, “from Palette to Palate.” Lynda’s pictures hang in Churchill’s restaurant invoking the question, “Does life imitate art?” Chef’s Eight Course Tasting Menu is over the top. Lisette, the lead server is educational and humorous as she delivers wine pairings with each plate.
Driving in from Halifax, you might enjoy stopping at a couple of wineries in Wolfville but if you take the longer coastal route or arrive by ferry from New Brunswick or Maine, and miss the winery tours, fear not. Take heed from Lisette on the nuances of Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 and Luckett Phone Box White. In the middle of Luckett’s vineyard is a working phone booth encouraging international calls. Sipping with appetizers, is the right call. Paired with Chef’s Signature entrée, Seared Digby Scallops was our favorite Nova Scotian wine – Jost Tidal Bay. We happened to be seated below the scallops’ painting when the entrée was delivered. It was art mimicking life. We held the plate to the painting and the diner at the next table said, “I want what she’s having.” They were so good, we ordered them the next evening and given the recipe in the book, will attempt them at home.
The world-famous Digby scallops and lobsters are, as they say, to die for. Apparently and sadly though, many have died for them. Every seaport village seems to have a remembrance wall for those lost at sea; not that they were all scalloping. Digby’s wall was pointed out by former teacher Greg Turner, aka Captain Digby, on his historic walking tour of the town. He noted unique architecture, tales of ancestry and the widow’s walks on rooftops where wives of seamen paced in hopes of spotting their spouse’s returning ship. Captain Digby’s walk encompasses the lighthouse, churches, a stroll by the colorful fishing fleet along the marina and a seafood sampling. Digby Pines’ Experience Coordinator Ann Reid arranges this and other sea related tours for guests.
There is much to do on and off the Digby Pines premises. A nature trail reaches lookout point for hikers. Another trail leads down to the beach. A few miles away is the young Bear River Winery and out on the sea, a smorgasbord of tours.
The AVEDA concept spa is conveniently located next to the pool at Digby Pines for relaxation before or after professional treatments. Lounge chairs on the lawn above are perfect for lallygagging while gazing out over the Bay of Fundy. Steam showers inside the spa soothe in preparation for varied treatment options. Creative alternatives include the unique Chakra Massage which incorporates the movement of energy, positivity and aromatic oils with massage techniques and hot moist towels.
Special spa and golf packages are available on the website. Go for the views, the golf, solitude or adventures but know it is the people throughout who make the difference because Annah and associates scout full time in the off season to find the best.