Our Newfoundland Itinerary

Our Newfoundland Itinerary

I thought it might be nice to post our Newfoundland itinerary with some of the details about what we did, stuff we ate (& drank!), where we ate, and other tips/suggestions for a trip to The Rock – both for our family and friends and for anyone who stumbles across this post looking for some ideas for their own holidays .

Day One – Thursday

First Fish & Chips at Kelly's Pub, St John's

Did: Arrived in late afternoon after a full day of flying, got checked in then promptly went to George St. to eat and drink!
Ate: Fish & Chips at Kelly’s Pub on George St which our cab driver recommended.
Stayed:
Blue on the Water, St. John’s
Highlights:  Flying low over the Newfoundland countryside as we arrived then cabbing downtown and seeing the famous brightly-painted homes of St. John’s for the first time.  Hearing a singer play “Sonny’s Dream” at the pub during supper and having the entire bar sing along.
Tips:  Jet lag will trump any plans you have to go party on George St, even if they’re having a big Canada Day concert that will begin on June 30 and carry on into July 1!

Day Two – Friday

Yellowbelly Brewpub Decked Out For Wedding

Did: Explored downtown in the morning then went to friend’s wedding at Logy Bay in the afternoon with reception at Yellowbelly Brewpub in the evening and carrying on *late* into the night.  Proud to say we outlasted the Newfoundlanders (but we were also still thinking it was 3.5 hours earlier than it really was!)
Ate: Soup & sandwiches at Simplicity for lunch then cod dinner for wedding supper at Yellowbelly Brewpub (as well as appetizers both before the meal then later in the evening)
Stayed: Blue on the Water, St. John’s
Highlights: 
The wedding was nice but the reception was amazing – beautiful setting, two wandering musicians playing traditional Newfoundland songs, open bar and a hilarious full-on screeching-in ceremony for the groom and a few of his co-workers (I haven’t linked to a clip of the one we witnessed so as to protect the innocent).
Tips:  People from Newfoundland may have a reputation for being able to drink but it was one of the groom’s party from Saskatchewan who smuggled a bottle of Scotch into the wedding – in case they ran out???  (And no, it wasn’t me!)

Day Three – Saturday

Shea Just After Putting Her Toe in the Ocean at Topsail Beach


Did:  Had a *very* quiet morning then explored downtown some more before going to pick up our rental car and going for a drive to Topsail Beach.
Ate:
J-Korean which was so awesome, Shea wanted to go back later in the week a second time!
Stayed: Blue on the Water, St. John’s
Highlights: 
Topsail beach and realizing that in Newfoundland, “beach” doesn’t mean the same as it does in Saskatchewan.
Tips:  If you go to pick-up a rental car, it’s probably a good idea not to still have booze oozing out of your pores.

Day Four – Sunday

Ferryland Picnic

Whale Watching with O'Briens in Bay Bulls

Did:  Drove to Ferryland and spent a beautiful afternoon reading and whale watching from the cliffs then back to Bays Bulls for a bit closer experience with the ocean’s gentle giants.  
Ate:
Ferryland Picnic for lunch, Cod dinner at our B&B in Bay Bulls
Stayed: Bread & Cheese Inn, Bay Bulls
Highlights: 
Having a picnic on a beautiful sunny day while watching the waves and whales from the lighthouse grounds then going whale watching with O’Briens in the late afternoon and seeing half a dozen whales up close!
Tips: Make a reservation for your picnic as they only prepare a limited amount of food, fresh on the hour.  Everyone says O’Briens is the best whale watching tour but we later heard some of the competitors are equally good but not as expensive.

Day Five – Monday

Purity Brand Sweet & Hard Bread

Did:  Hit the road early for the longest driving day of our trip all the way up to Bonavista with a slight detour through nearby picturesque Trinity.  
Ate:
Cod tongues at Skipper’s.  They were like calamari deep-fried in jello if that makes sense!
Stayed: Robbins by the Sea, Bonavista  
Highlights: 
Whale watching from the rocky cliffs near the Cape Bonavista lighthouse (so much so that I went back alone at sundown to watch some more after Shea was already in bed!)  Seeing a replica of the ship John Cabot landed on North American soil.
Tips:  If you stay in an “efficiency unit” halfway through your trip (eg. a small suite with a full set of appliances) and decide to do your laundry, you’ll feel even worse about how much you’ve overpacked!

Day Six – Tuesday

Sometimes You’re Glad When A Town Doesn’t Have A Large Roadside Attraction!

Did:  A meandering drive back down the coast towards St. John’s deciding to stop early since this was the only rain day of our trip.
Ate:
Mary Brown’s Chicken for late lunch (didn’t know this chain started in NFLD – thanks Wikipedia!) then cod au gratin and crab spring rolls at Bacalao restaurant in our hotel (a sister location to one of the highest rated restaurants in St. John’s)
Stayed: Clarenville Inn, Clarenville
Highlights:  
Visiting the museum dedicated  of the first transatlantic telegraph in Heart’s Content was definitely a trip highlight for me! The scope of that endeavour and the fact that in just over 100 years, we’ve gone from 9 words per minute morse code messages to a device in my pocket that has more power than put a man on the moon!
Tips:  Even though it’s a historic site in telecommunications history, cellular coverage in Heart’s Content sucks!

Day Seven – Wednesday

Fishing Shacks Near Heart's Content

Did:  Wandered through the idyllic town of Brigus, visiting their local museum and spending time on the beach as well as just sitting in the English-style backyard of our B&B reading.
Ate:
“Four fish” platter for lunch at Carbonear, Pizza Delight for supper at Bay Roberts (sometimes the seafood at every meal gets to you and you just need a slice of pizza!)
Stayed: The Brittoner, Brigus
Highlights:
Talking about Newfoundland history and politics with the retired nurse who runs the Brittoner.
Tips:  If your B&B prides itself on being 167 years old, there’s a strong possibility you might not be able to stand up in the room you’re given due to the low ceilings!

Day Eight – Thursday

Jason & Shea Get "Screeched In" As Official Newfoundlanders

Did:  Visited the eastern-most point in Canada at Cape Spear then hiked up Signal Hill for a wonderful view of the city.  
Ate:
Yet more seafood – this time the lemon pepper cod at O’Reilly’s Newfoundland Irish Pub on George St.
Stayed: Beachy Cove Inn, Portugal Cove
Highlights:  
Getting “screeched in” at The Jighouse.  I mistakenly thought this was a pub but but it turned out to be a liquor store which has a basement that was originally a dug-out tunnel for rum runners during Newfoundland’s prohibition era and has now been made into a bit of a museum (and gift shop!) to that era.
Tips:  “Indeed I is me ol’ cock, and long may your big jib draw” – start practising it now!

Day  Nine – Friday

Relaxing on a Rocky Beach on Bell Island

Did:  Spent most of the day on Bell Island 
Ate: 
Traditional Newfoundland breakfast with toutons & molasses, fried bologna, baked beansJigg’s Dinner at the Avalon Mall before taking in a movie
Stayed: Traveller’s Inn, St. John’s
Highlights: 
Finding a quiet beach on Bell Island and just laying on a decrepit old pier for half an hour reading and listening to the waves.  (This may actually be my highlight of my trip – I just love those perfect moments with no one around except a few youngsters splashing near the shore, no outlay of big bucks to “enjoy” an activity and being surrounded by nature.)
Tips:  Make sure you have a book in case the ferry breaks down when you’re in line to go back across the water and you have to wait for two hours for it to be repaired.

Day Ten – Saturday

The Only Moose We Saw During Our Trip!

Did: In the morning, walked around Quidi Vidi Lake which happened to be having a regatta that was fun to watch as we strolled.  Went to Middle Cove Bay but didn’t see any capelin rolling though one young boy had a small fish in his hands that he’d caught with his grandma. 
Ate:
On a tip from the guy who screeched us in, we had lunch at the Battery Hotel overlooking St. John’s harbour and downtown before going to the airport.
Stayed: In our own bed!
Highlights:  
Seeing Pace waiting at the bottom of the escalator when we got to Regina holding a sign with his name on it (I think it was probably meant to have our names on it but he sometimes gets those things mixed up!)
Tips: You probably don’t need to show up at the airport three hours early, even if you’re anxious to get home to see your son! 😉  

Other Thoughts
– every single place we stayed at (outside of our St. John’s) had ocean or bay views and to my mind, it’s worth the extra you will pay to stay in a place with this feature, especially if you’re from a place where ocean views aren’t exactly common!

– because we were moving every day except at the start, our rental car became our traveling home.  We left our suitcases in it the entire trip and only carried a duffle bag into most places.  The rental was a brand new Ford Fusion (14 km on it when we got it!) with a sun roof, USB-plug & charger for your iPod, XM satellite radio, voice-activated music system, back-up sensors and probably other features I’m forgetting.  It was a pretty sweet ride for a guy who drives a 1999 Grand Prix which he’s been nicknamed “The Bionic Car” because everything is broken and/or has been replaced on it!

– Newfoundland often felt like a different country – not just because we had to fly six hours to get there or because, as recently as the middle of the last century it *was* a different country.  But also because it has such a unique culture and language (as well as the physical separation from the rest of Canada.)  I did an earlier post about how it is similar to Saskatchewan but in some ways, it reminded me of Quebec.

– it was a great place to visit and I’d highly recommend it to anyone considering a trip!

Comments 2

  1. Janis Dixon wrote:

    Hi Jason,
    I am Chris Dixon’s mom (and Sandra Miller’s friend/mil). She gave me a link to your posting as my husband and I are going to Newfoundland for 10 days from August 16-26. Just skimming over your trip has helped with a couple of questions I have in my mind. We are staying at a Housekeeping Cottage outside of St. John’s in Petty Harbour for 5 days and then I have 3 nights that I thought we could just get on the road to Bonavista. I have a couple of questions for you so if you wouldn’t mind emailing me, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

    Posted 19 Jul 2011 at 8:38 am
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    I’ve sent you an e-mail. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Posted 23 Jul 2011 at 7:21 am

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