Welcome to Newfoundland
As business owner and operators, we know it can be difficult disconnecting and taking genuine vacations, but doing so is vital to keeping yourself and your business refreshed and energized. Have you ever made travel goals? I made a deal with myself by a certain age I would have visited all the Canadian provinces and at least one territory. Well that age came and went, but there was still one province I needed to visit. Welcome to Newfoundland. Where I digitally disconnected, saw an iceberg and minky whales up close, visited Quidi Vidi, learned about aviation firsts at Harbour Grace, ate fried bologna and fashioned a turtle neck, jumper dress, wool sweater, scarf and gloves on Canada Day!
I flew into St. John’s from Toronto the Friday of the Canada Day long weekend. As I checked into the Alt Hotel, I looked at the forecast for Sunday and decided to book a tour with Iceberg Quest in hopes of seeing an iceberg, whales and an Atlantic puffin. My corner room on the fifth floor at the Alt was lovely and had a beautiful view of the harbour. I unpacked and headed to the Merchant’s Tavern for a taste of their famous vinegar pie. This simple pie is served with Tetley tea ice cream and partridge berry puree. The story goes; apples were too scarce and expensive in Newfoundland, so apple cider vinegar was used to flavour the pie. The pie had an interesting texture, somewhere between a custard and cheese cake. Overall, I liked it and would recommend trying it if you’re a Come From Away and are in the neighbourhood.
Quidi Vidi, Dinner at Raymonds and Iceberg Quest
The next two days were divided among Quidi Vidi with a RD friend who has lived in NL all her life, dinner at Raymonds and the Iceberg Quest tour.
Amanda and I had brunch at Mallard Cottage (reservations were made six weeks in advance) and did a tour of Quidi Vidi one of the oldest fishing villages in North America. The food at Mallard Cottage was delicious. I had fish cakes and indulged in the famous dessert table. I learned from Amanda, Quidi Vidi lake is the host to North America’s oldest continuing running regatta, since 1818, Royal St. John’s takes place every August. Amanda also recommended The Rooms, the modern gallery and museum in St. John’s. It was well worth the walk up the hill to learn all about NL history.
Dinner at Raymonds
Raymonds restaurant was highly recommended by many. I made reservations five weeks ahead. What I didn’t realize was it was located directly beside my hotel on the harbour! I decided on the seven course tasting menu minus the wine pairing as I was planning for the boat tour the next day and didn’t want to be dehydrated! The dinner started with a scallop and oyster plate, then crab scallion pasta (loved it), halibut, cod, rabbit, partridge (first time taste and found it too gamy) and ended with rhubarb salted caramel. The service and food were excellent.
Iceberg Quest Ocean Tour
This boat tour was within walking distance of my hotel. I invited my cousin Margi and her husband Whitfield to join me as they were planning to pick me up that afternoon. We had perfect weather, calm wind, and clear blue sky. We departed the St. John’s narrow home of the brightly painted Battery and Cabot Tower on Signal Hill. As we travelled to Cape Spear we witnessed an iceberg from the Greenland ice shelf – so majestic with minky whales circling the boat! We didn’t see an Atlantic puffin, but rather a seabird from the auk family that flew like a bat. It was a fun two hours and I would highly recommend the tour when the weather cooperates!
Bay Roberts (Port De Grave, Blow Me Down, Green Point Lighthouse, Hibb’s Cove, Brigus)
Next chapter of my vacation, visiting and touring with my cousin Margi (originally from Nova Scotia) and her husband Whitfield (a Newfoundlander) in Port De Grave – about one hour drive north west of St. John’s. It was interesting being in NL on Canada Day. NL only joined Canada in 1949, therefore, the first half of July 1st on the island is dedicated to honouring NL’s role in WWI, then in the afternoon the Canada Day celebrations (that I’m familiar) with were happening. One of my NL to-dos was to eat fried bologna. Not only did I eat fried bologna and mac & cheese on Canada Day, but I had a touton at Madrock Cafe, winner of the best toutons on the island. Happy Canada Day NL style!
Road trip to the Town of Harbour Grace! It was named for the French Havre de Grâce. The base of pirate Peter Easton 1610-13, its settlement was begun about 1618. Until 1923, it had the second-largest population in Newfoundland. As you know I’ve been a private pilot and aviation enthusiast for over 15 years. From 1919 to 1932, several pioneering attempts at transatlantic and round-the-world flights were made from Harbour Grace not Gander NL (that’s where 38 commercial flights were diverted post the 9/11 terror attacks on the USA). In 1932, Amelia Earhart, leaving Harbour Grace, was the first woman to solo, nonstop over the Atlantic, however due to a number of mechanical problems, Captain Amelia missed her planned destination of Paris, landing safely in a farmer’s field in Northern Ireland.
Margi & Whitfield were wonderful hosts and helped me cross off everything on my NL to-do list including stopping for cod au gratin on the way to the St. Jonn’s airport for my return flight!
Well that’s a Newfoundland wrap from this travel love bug! All ten Canadian provinces and the Yukon in my travel bank! I’d love to share my extensive travel, food, nutrition, and entrepreneurial adventures at your next conference, event or symposium.
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