Shawn Majumder points to the start of the Chef Hike. — Submitted photo
We recently attended “The Gathering” in Burlington on the Baie Verte Peninsula and we went on one of the most unusual hikes we have ever been on.
“The Gathering” is the brain child of comedian Shaun Majumder who wanted to create an event in his home town of Burlington to help raise money for BSM Manor. BMS stands for the three communities (Burlington, Smith’s Harbour and Middle Arm) which are nestled together along the eastern side of the Baie Verte Peninsula. Currently there is no place to stay in the area so BSM Manor would help fill a need which would allow people to stay in the area and to “experience the rich heritage and potential the region has to offer” according to Shaun Majumber.
“The Gathering” is a mix of food, music and fire and Shaun Majumder seems to be everywhere — organizing and leading Chef Hikes, introducing musicians on centre stage and generally making sure everyone is enjoying themselves. He also must have had a direct line to the weather gods since the weather for the weekend was absolutely perfect. Sunshine and light winds made for ideal conditions for all the outdoor events that were planned.
We attended the Chef Hike on Saturday, August 24 and it involved a short hike that explored the scenic countryside near Burlington and ended by the ocean in Winterhouse Cove. The hike was about two kilometres (one way) but was rugged enough to make you feel like you had earned the feast that was awaiting at the other end. Overall there were close to 100 people on the hike and Shaun had quite a job trying to get everyone going in the right direction. At one point several people headed off in the wrong the direction and he had to reel them in and get them back on the right path. He did have help from several volunteers and his wife Shelby Feener, but it was quite something to see Shaun or Shelby standing at important junctions telling people which trail to take.
Once at Winterhouse Cove, there were tables set up and 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. Various musicians played in the background and the atmosphere was warm and relaxed.
When chef Mark McCrowe needed more wood for the fire, Shaun was off gathering wood off of the beach. It was a magical experience to be sitting in the wilderness, looking out to the ocean eating great food and listening to live music.
That evening back at the Gathering Grounds in Burlington there was another amazing dinner and then we were treated to a varied line up of musicians that included another local Burlington celebrity — musician Rex Goudie, who was a finalist in the 2005 Canadian Idol contest, and also Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame.
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.”
This unique event has an exceptional community feel and should be on your bucket list for next summer.