Trip Report: Newfoundland

June 29:  Arrived in Deer Lake Airport from a delayed flight from Toronto – Very anxious about being able to get our rental car.  Luckily, we caught the Avis agent just as he was leaving – Phew!  Plan B would have been to find lodging near the airport at 2:30AM.  Drove to Norris Point – Directions were a bit of a challenge as things are not as well marked as we are used to but arrived at Neddies Harbor Inn at around 4AM.  Found our room keys and pillows in record time.

June 30:  Slept thru breakfast.  Justin Thyme for lunch – mussels for Jon – great place with nice atmosphere.  Baker Falls hike in the Gros Morne National Park.  Dinner at the restaurant at Neddie’s Harbor Inn.  Rooms were nice but I would recommend for future guests to request rooms on the 2nd floor which is actually the main floor.  We were on the 1st floor and could hear everything above us – luckily we were so tired that it was not a big problem but a bit annoying.

July 1:  Breakfast at the Inn.  Western Brook Pond Tour – lovely boat ride through gorgeous fjords and rock formations, waterfalls.  Lunch at Jackie’s in Rocky Harbor.  Then took a coastline hike along the ocean north of Rocky Harbor.  Very picturesque with lots of driftwood.  Dinner at Java Jack’s – exceptional food in a charming old home.

July 2: Breakfast at the Inn.  Drove to Tablelands for a brief viewing then to the Deer Lake Airport for our 2pm flight to St. John’s.  Very small plane and quick 1 hr flight.  Bit bumpy but gorgeous view of the icebergs from the air as we approached St. John’s.  Picked up rental car and drove to Hare’s Ear Cottage in the Battery for first of our Caperace excursions.  Darling cottage with a main floor with 2 bedrooms and one bath and kitchen with windows all around.  Street level was a studio with queen sized bed, small bathroom and small kitchen.  Cure décor throughout – nautical themed.  Dashed to Belbin’s market for some provisions for the house. Dinner at Raymonds – very fancy.  Beautiful room and very upscale décor – formal.

July 3:  Hiked full length of Signal Hill from Hare’s Ear Cottage around Signal Hill to Cabot tower.  Fabulous view of iceberg next to the lighthouse – picture postcard perfect!  A very good hike with lots of stairs.  Good exercise!  Walked down from Cabot Hill and listened to a small military band performing at the cannon monument outside the interpretive center.  Jess and I walked to the Alexis Templeton Studio (gorgeous pottery and actually made the dishware at Raymond’s – I had commented the night before how much I loved the dishware at Raymond’s and once at Alexis Templeton’s Studio recognized it and she confirmed that she was commissioned to provide the tableware for the restaurant)  Drove to The Rooms for lunch then went across to the church for a look at the statue of the Veiled Virgin but were not able to get in at that time.  Walked Water Street and Duckworth in and out of shops.  Home for a quick change and on to Yellow Belly Pub for dinner.  Walked George Street after dinner.

July 4:  Drove to Bay Bulls for whale watching with Molly Bawn’s.  Nice short tour (~1hr)  saw whales right away.  One was very curious and was very close to our boat – It was awesome!   After whale watching drove to Ferryland for Lighthouse picnic – A highlight of the trip – beautiful day, great food, stunning scenery.  Whales swimming by throughout the afternoon – ideal experience!  Drove back to the Cottage – stopped by Pearcy’s Twine and Stage – neighbor of the Hare’s Ear Cottage – what a character!  This tiny cottage was like a museum with different nautical and fishing memorabilia on every part of the walls and ceiling – Could have spent much more time exploring and hearing great stories but we had to move on.  Kitchen Party at Quidi Vidi Brewery.  Dinner at Mallard Cottage – gobs of charm and good food.

July 5:  St. John’s Farmers Market in the am – great farmers market – picked up homemade ganola, jams, bread and some crafts.  Drove to Cape St. Mary’s Ecological reserve – approx. 2.5 hr drive from St. Johns.  Lunch at Gannets Nest – just outside the park.  There was not a unanimous agreement to do this drive but it was pretty cool.  The weather was rough though with lots of fog and very high winds.  Cute sheep along the hike to the bird rock .  Cool sight with all the birds.  Drove to Elliston after that for our next stay with Caperace at The Anchor – lovely 2 story home decorated in a shabby chic style.  Views for days as the house sits on a bluff with spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding coastline.  Dinner at Nanny (?) Root Cellar.

July 6: Puffin colony, Cape Bonavista, Bonavista Lighthouse – Icebergs.  Drove to Keels saw the Devil’s Footprints,  Drove to the Anglican cemetery and met Francis P. Young.  He greeted us as we got out of our car and sold us a CD of his music.  He then offered to show us the Geyser above the cemetery then invited us in to his home and put on a musical show complete with spoon playing, accordion and harmonica.  He was a riot!  Dinner at Bonavista Social Club – beautiful setting and fantastic food – homemade pizza’s – huge wood pizza oven.  Dinner was delish and a welcome change from cod.

July 7:  Drove to Trinity, walked around a bit.  Hiked the Skerwink trail in Port Rexton – A highlight!!!  Gorgeous hike hugging the cliffs above the ocean.  Whales were directly below and very active – an incredible show.  Almost got run over by a moose on the loose – A juvenile moose was running at mach speed directly at me and Jess and we were on the edge of the cliff – luckily he avoided us (barely) and disaster was averted!  Very exciting though.  We had been looking for moose our entire trip and then ended up getting very “up close and personal” with one.  Dinner at Fisher’s Loft Inn – Would highly recommend this place.  The ambiance was great and the food outstanding.  Did not see the rooms but judging from the restaurant and common areas, would recommend it.

July 8:  Up at 4am to get Paul and Jess to Gander Bay to meet Alvin for fishing.  Yawn! Note:  obtaining an out of province fishing license proved to be quite a challenge.  We called and visited approximately 10 places with no luck.   After we dropped them off,  Jon and I drove to Twillingateplanning to kayak.  It was raining pretty hard and didn’t look to be a fun excursion so we drove to the ferry and took the ferry to Fogo Island.  Drove to Fogo Island Inn (approx. 25 mins from the ferry)  Very stark and dramatic building on this edge of the island.  Visiting this property was the impetus for this trip for me.  I am still getting used to the contemporary feel of the place in a land of such history and old cottage.  Lunch in the gorgeous dining room – while the building itself looks massive and overpowers the land that it inhabits, the inside is surprisingly welcoming with the local softgoods throughout.  Rained all day – great, much needed nap in the afternoon and down to dinner.  Nice local music (playing mandolin and guitar)

July 9 – Bike ride through town and hike. Late Afternoon/Sunset boat ride to Icebergs and Little Fogo Island.  Absolutely gorgeous!  The boat went all around a 50 ft iceberg and gave us ample photo ops of this spectacular natural site.  I could have stayed there admiring its beauty for longer but then I have a passion for icebergs!  Went on to Little Fogo Island which no longer has residents but used to be a community.  We disembarked from the boat and hiked to the church built in 1854 – the church was still in beautiful condition.  Such a magnificent setting and view.  Dinner in Fogo dining room.

July 10 – Artist studio tour with local member of – Very cool studios built around the island for visiting artists.  Lunch at Nicole’s – Very good food – They have a reciprocal arrangement with the Inn so that if you are on a full board plan at the Inn you may eat at Nicole’s at no additional charge.  Nice change after eating at the Inn for three days with the same menu.   Drove around Fogo Island and visited some galleries.  Bought a quilt made by Linda Osmond at her husband,  Winston Osmond’s gallery.  He is a local painter and very talented.  Jon, Jess and Paul hiked to one of the four corners of the world.

July 11 – Departure day – The Inn offers a service for $60 to bring your car to the ferry queue the night before then transfer you to the car in the morning.  Well worth it and very good value! Once we got to our rental car, the line for the ferry was very long and some cars did not make the 10:15 ferry which would have proven disastrous for us as we had a flight from Gander to catch.  The Inn packed us a picnic of sandwiches, fruit, pastry and waters for our lunch – such a nice touch!  Travel home all went without incident.

Summary – Truly a fantastic trip on all accounts.  I believe that Newfoundland is an undiscovered beauty and on the one hand, hope it stays that way but on the other hand, want others to experience its charm and beauty.  All aspects were great.  Caperace was an exceptional way to entrench ourselves in the culture and sights of the province.  Fogo Island Inn, the inspiration of the trip for me, truly lived up to and exceeded my lofty expectations.  The vision and success of Zita Cobb’s mission is an inspiration and is felt throughout the Inn – from the design details to the warmth and genuine attitude of all the staff.  In addition, a close second to my desire to see Fogo Isalnd Inn, was Iceberg viewing – happy to report that the Icebergs cooperated nicely due to Mother Nature and the previous long winter.  Hard to plan a trip around nature but Newfoundland has much to celebrate even if Icebergs are not in view or whales do not breech!