It’s finally a cold day when I arrive at The Hollow Log in Caledonia on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. I am greeted by Joanne, Chris, Chris, and Cindy in their restaurant covered in photos of logging history in the area.
I am given a great, hot cup of coffee when I learn that the Weare’s have been in Caledonia forever.
“Great Grandfather’s on both side are from the area” Joanne says. “Even great, great grandfather’s. My father was a school bus driver in the area but also ran a power saw and trucked for my Uncle Willis at Willis Forest. On the other side, their Grandfather logged with horses.”
I turn to Chris and ask him when he decided when he wanted to be in forestry.
“I was born into it” Chris responds. “I was in the woods with Dad since I was five years old. I spent every weekend working in the woods with him.”
“Tell him about your bike.” Joanne adds.
“I went to work in Shelburne when I was younger on my dirt bike and the landowner ended up calling dad thinking I was just some young punk trying to steal or break the machine.”
I ask if he ever wanted to do anything else.
“Not really.” He responds. “I liked mechanics as well but because we always have to do it on the machines I just challenged the test and got my Red Seal.”
I ask Joanne how long she has been in forestry for.
“Ever since I met Roger.”
I turn to Cindy with the same question.
“I was also born into it but I have been doing the paperwork since 2005.”
Shifting the conversation a little bit I ask why the Hollow Log.
“Roger’s mother had owned and operated a restaurant in Caledonia.” Joanne says. “It’s important that the community has somewhere to get a meal and to hangout. Especially in a logging community, he wanted the truck drivers to have some place where they could get a cup of coffee and a homecooked meal. That was always really important to Roger. So he called me one day and said he bought the building, which at that time was the old pharmacy, and I said “no you didn’t.” But then I felt bad and I told him to go for it and here we are.”
“We officially opened in 2012.” Cindy adds. “We have some locals that come everyday and we get a lot of customers when Keji is open.”
With the tough year everyone has had I have to ask how Covid had affected their business.
“I mean it was tough.” Joanne said. “We had just started getting musicians to come in and we were getting good turn outs and Covid definitely effected that.”
“The drive through was helpful though” Chris adds. “Dad always wanted the Hollow Log to have a drive through and Covid made that happen.”
As someone who lives in the community, selfishly I ask if the window will stay open.
“Oh she’s up and running. It won’t be going anywhere soon.” Cindy says laughing.
Although working in a restaurant doesn’t seem to align with forestry, this one sure does. While baking cheesecake seems more fun than stripping pulp, I ask Cindy and Joanne what their favorite part about working at the Hollow Log is.
“It’s knowing that we are here for the community if they want a place to eat and gather.” Cindy says with what I assume is pride. “We even have a trail that connects to our parking lot. It’s on private land but Chris and his crew built it. People will come and grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich and walk it everyday or people who are four wheeling will come in and stop for lunch. Those things are really important in a rural community.”
I know that I am lucky to have this establishment in my community as well as all other locals, tourists, and forestry workers.
For more information on R&C Weare Logging or the Hollow Log Cafe please follow these links:
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