The tour of Newfoundland continued this week, and is just wrapping up. What a glorious 11 days we had in Newfoundland – beautiful scenery, terrific weather, great food, lively music, and a wonderful group of people.
Last week, I was sharing a little of the west coast travels we’d started with – to Corner Brook, Lark Harbour, and York Harbour.
I really had fun sharing some Newfoundland expressions with the group – such as “Yes, b’y” – which can mean anything, as our friends at “This Hour at 22 Minutes” have shown us, parodying the Billie Eilish song “Bad Guy.”
We continued the tour, and in total ending up covering 2300 km, travelling from Corner Brook up the Northern Peninsula to Gros Morne National Park, before continuing north to Port aux Choix and learning about the Maritime Archaic people who were in Newfoundland 4500 years ago.
On to St. Barbe, we crossed over to Labrador. We had an early morning departure from Newfoundland for Labrador – ferry to Blanc Sablon, Quebec, with a quick drive to our hotel at L’anse au Clair, Labrador before heading to the UNESCO world heritage site at Red Bay, Labrador. There was a little mist and fog in the morning that burned off as day progressed. It was so neat to see difference in landscape in Labrador (which is a Portuguese word meaning “wealthy landowner”) with its metamorphic rock compared to the landscape on the island of Newfoundland. It was wonderful to return, as I’d only been to Labrador once before with my mom and dad years ago to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site at the whaling museum at Red Bay. Our tour bus drove to Red Bay, Labrador, Whaler’s Restaurant, and the Interpretation Centre at the UNESCO site.
We then had a terrific visit to L’anse aux Morts/ L’anse Amour and the lighthouse – I climbed to the top. And we also visited a 7500 year old burial mound of a warrior youth from the maritime archaic group. (“In 1492, Colombia sailed the ocean blue” – and found what both Leif Erikson and John Cabot had “discovered”, well….save the people who had already inhabited Newfoundland and Labrador long before any of them had come!)
Leaving Labrador, we took the ferry back to the island of Newfoundland, and headed to the UNESCO world heritage site, L’anse aux Meadows. Our second UNESCO World Heritage site at L’anse aux Meadows, and the Viking settlement was terrific. Leif Erickson visited Newfoundland 500 years before Columbus sailed; and it was incredible to visit the mounds and see the re-enactment of their way of life, and the re-imagined buildings.
And, of course, heard some tunes by Great Big Sea (a Newfoundland folk and rock group) – who also taught us the meaning of “Waddya At.”
Back on the island of Newfoundland, we visited our third UNESCO World Heritage site with a return to Gros Morne National Park. We saw the Tablelands, as well as doing a boat tour of Bonne Bay. We did a great boat tour with local company, Bon Tours, and were entertained by the group Anchors Aweigh.
We visited Appleton Peace Park and the Gander Aviation Museum – and saw steel from the World Trade Centre as a memorial to 9/11 (and in recognition of Newfoundland’s assistance to stranded “plane people” from the states and elsewhere around the world).
Gander was extra special. Two nights after 9/11 memorials, and 21 years after 7000+ people landed in Gander, I attended a “Come From Away” production – in the hockey arena where they stored the food during the “plane people’s” visit to Gander and surrounding areas. It truly was an honour to sit in a theatre full of Newfoundlanders – including the Premier, and the Mayors of Gander, Appleton, Gambo, Lewisporte and neighbouring towns – and be part of a capacity crowd who knew and loved the music, who got the jokes, and who were proud to be from this stock. It was AMAZING to see “Come From Away” in Gander.
We then toured Twillingate, and visited with a fisherman who showed us how to split cod. And then on to Auk island winery for lunch and tastings, as well as a visit to Gander International airport. We learned about all the important people who flew through Newfoundland, when it was the “crossroads of the world” with jets refueling at Gander before crossing the ocean.
And learned about Amelia Earhardt’s connection to Newfoundland https://www.facebook.com/edgeoftheavaloninn/videos/1056349431203845
We also visited Terra Nova Provincial Park, and continued to Clarenville.
We experienced other terrific communities too. We had a wonderful visit to Bonavista on our tour of Newfoundland. I really enjoyed visiting the Ryan Premises especially, and seeing all the museum details about the Newfoundland fishery.
We visited Trinity, Newfoundland – which was an absolutely beautiful stop along our Newfoundland tour. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. It was gorgeous!
And then we drove on to St. John’s.
I’ll have more on St. John’s next week, as I’m just travelling back now. But let me share a couple of things – like – dining at Portage restaurant. Ok wow – Ross Larkin, the chef de cuisine from Raymond’s (who won Canada’s Top Chef while he was there), and Celeste Mah, his wife (who has been named top pastry chef in Canada ) are on to something really special at Portage in St. John’s. I had perhaps the best meal I’ve ever had (at least in memory). It was spectacular. Read more about who Ross and Celeste are here! https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/portage-restaurant-ross-larkin-celeste-mah-1.6475066
And – to tempt you a little about other things St. John’s, here’s a note about about tarns, which you see on the drive up to Signal Hill, formed by glaciers years ago. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarn_(lake)
Newfoundland, part deux, was incredible.
I’m so proud of my home province, and that I got to show it off to my clients.
Let me know if you’d like to come with me next May – I’m planning a return trip: this time, with a day added for the iceberg festival.