Monday, 26 August 2013

Don’t miss Shaun Majumder’s “The Gathering” in Burlington

by Keith and Heather Nicol
    We just returned from comedian Shaun Majumder’s “The Gathering” in Burlington on the Baie Verte, Peninsula and we can’t say enough good things about the event. This was the second year of “The Gathering” which is designed to feature fire, food and music and to raise money to help build BSM Manor.  BSM takes its initials from the 3 towns in the region- Burlington, Smith’s Harbour and Middle Arm and is a non profit social enterprise.  It is Shaun Majumder’s dream to make this area a world class tourism destination and “The Gathering” is certainly making people aware of and appreciate this part of the Baie Verte Peninsula. We arrived in Burlington around noon on Saturday, August 24 and it was a buzz with people and activity. After getting our information package we decided to set up our tent in the camping area and get ready for our first event- a Chef’s Hike to Winterhouse Cove led by Shaun Majumder.  The idea of a Chef’s Hike is to explore the scenic country side of the area and then have a feast at the destination. In this case the hike was about 2 kilometers long but was rugged enough to feel that you have earned your food. In Winterhouse Cove,  Chef Mark McCrowe from St. John’s had prepared a buffet of mussels, crayfish, prawns, corn, potatoes and sausage. We have never eaten so well on a hike!! It was a magical experience to be sitting in the wilderness, looking out to the ocean eating great food and listening to live music. 
Starting off on Saturday's Chef Hike from the campground
       The Gathering Grounds in Burlington was where most of the activity for the rest of the day took place. Dinner was prepared by another well known St. John’s chef, Roary MacPherson from the Sheridan Hotel and the menu consisted of moose curry, peaches and cream cod, turkey blanquette and much more. While we ate dinner many musicians like Nolan Newbury, Mena Lodge, Adam Baxter, Carmen Townsend, and local star Rex Goudie performed. When Shaun Majumder introduced Rex (a finalist in the 2005 Canadian Idol contest) he said “There must be something in the water here since Burlington, with a population of 350 has produced 2 well known celebrities.” The amazing night of music continued with the Devin Cuddy band which was later joined by his brother Sam and his father, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame. They had the crowd of over 1000 people up dancing and singing. “The Gathering” is unique in Newfoundland with its mix of well prepared food and great music. As Jim Cuddy told us the next morning at breakfast.  “I really admire what Shaun is trying to do with this event and I hope he succeeds with his plans for the BSM Manor”. That is one of the special aspects of “The Gathering” – it has a community feel where the “stars” mingle with the crowd all weekend.  
The Gathering Grounds located in a very scenic setting overlooking the harbour
Jim Cuddy and son Sam were just some of the main performers on the main stage
  On Sunday, August 25 we had breakfast at the community hall in Burlington and then went on to explore the communities of Middle Arm and Smith’s Harbour. For lunch we returned to the Gathering Grounds for another amazing spread which included a seafood grill, baked chicken and pork and various salads with greens from the local greenhouse. The Gathering Grounds looks out on scenic Burlington Harbour and was a perfect place to relax and enjoy everyone’s company. We then headed to Smith’s Harbour for the Gospel Concert before we had to head back to Corner Brook which meant unfortunately missing a another fine meal and the closing concert. This unique event has an exceptional community feel and should be on your bucket list for next summer. 
We had a gourmet lunch at the Gathering Grounds on Sunday 

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