Over the past two summers the Bonavista Peninsula has seen a surge in tourism. The town of Trinity has been popular for quite awhile with its photogenic streets and excellent theatre, but in recent years there’s been a surge in new businesses opening up and down the peninsula that’s breathing new life into the rural area.
Home Town Tourist
In this series, I’ll put myself in a visitor’s shoes and explore what’s fun to do in my own hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
What’s the best way to get the feeling of travel without having to hop on a plane or train? Book yourself a staycation in your hometown. I recently spent a relaxing, but stormy, weekend in downtown St. John’s checking out the brand new Alt Hotel.
Christmas is a wonderful time right across Canada, but Christmas in Newfoundland is something extra special. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador we’ve got a few things that make it a pretty unique celebration. Isolation often breeds a quirkiness you don’t see in connected communities, and let’s face it, for a long time Newfoundland was pretty isolated, from the mainland and even from each other. So please indulge our quirkiness.
We’ve all got that friend (or maybe we’re that friend) who’ve bought tickets to the NLC’s Beerfest not to thoughtfully taste new beers but just to drink as much as possible before the lights come on to “get their money’s worth.” Usually this results in a hot mess with no new appreciation for the brew. Craft Beer Attraction aims to change that beer tasting cliche.
I admit, I mainly went to check out the beaches that I’d heard about on the Kittiwake Coast. I’ve already been to the beaches in Eastport, Sandbanks Provincial Park in Burgeo, and Salmon Cove Sands on the Baccalieu Trail. How would the Kittiwake Coast stack up? It’s definitely something you need to experience for yourself.
For the past couple of months masses of people have descended on a small farming community just outside of St. John’s, hoping to change their lives at the local parish hall. They’re not religious fanatics on a pilgrimage. They’re chasing the ace.
I was in Central Newfoundland recently and decided to indulge in a weekend brunch at Noah’s on the Point in Glovertown. I was really happy to discover that their buffet included toutons. Mmm… if you think eggs bene is the epitome of brunch, you’ve never tried a touton. What is a touton? Toutons: Pronounced tout(rhymes with pout)-ens – are a traditional Newfoundland breakfast food made of bread dough pan fried in butter or, more rarely these days, pork fat. You might call it a Newfoundland pancake. I like mine best drizzled with fancy molasses but some people prefer maple syrup. When cooked up right they have a crispy outside with a chewy inside. More often than not they’re served as part of a full cooked breakfast which might also include fried eggs, baked beans, home fries, fried bologna, sausage, bacon or other breakfast meat. The history of the touton is…
Based on the name of this site, you’d assume that camping wasn’t my thing. And… well… you’re not entirely wrong. But I decided to put that to the test with a friend recently backcountry camping in Terra Nova National Park. What could possibly go wrong? We’d commune with nature, spend a night in the fresh air, and wake up to birds chirping next to a pond. What could go wrong?
Warm, sunny Saturdays aren’t a guarantee here in summer. But the forecast was saying that the weekend would be perfect, so I wanted to make sure I got out of the house and did something special. So I decided on a road trip to Brigus and Cupids for some blueberry crisp, theatre, and hiking!
If you’ve ever been to Newfoundland you’ve probably had someone tell you to try chips, gravy, and dressing. And I bet you were confused. Chips? Like…Lays? Dressing? Like…ranch? Nope and nope.
There are a ton of reasons you’ll want to spend your next St. Patrick’s Day in St. John’s, Newfoundland. We’re the closest city in North America to Ireland. A good portion of us have Irish roots that we can actually trace back. We love our trad music and a good pint. The government even takes it as a holiday. St. Patrick’s Day is serious business here.
I was walking down the street on a beautiful December afternoon in St. John’s, Newfoundland and who passes me, but someone in red long johns and Sorel boots with a big hobby horse head obscuring his own, accompanied by someone else with a lace doily covering their face. Weird, right? Most bizarre masked stick-up? Nope, I was on my way to the Mummers Parade.
Last fall I developed a habit. I would pack up my laptop, hop in my car, and drive 20 minutes from downtown to The Watershed in pretty Petty Harbour. It’s a coffee shop/cafe right on the harbour and I seem to have found my writing muse there. It’s open again for another season and I’m happy to have my Sunday ritual back.
Just this past week the first good size iceberg was spotted near St. John’s. 10,000 year old glacial giants are on their way from way up North and this is their vanguard. A sure sign of spring in Newfoundland…iceberg season has started.
I try to get home to New Brunswick once or twice a year to visit my dad, best friend and family friends. I’ve been away for ten years now and one thing I always look forward to checking out on a trip home is the Saint John City Market. I plot out in advance what I’m going to eat. I set aside a little money for a piece of art or jewellery. It’s one of my favourite things in Saint John.
When I read about the Beaches Accordion Festival taking place on Newfoundland’s Eastport peninsula I saw that Saturday afternoon’s festivities would be taking place on various stages in the town of Salvage. I had visions of a few small structures being erected in a field, portapotties, maybe a small beer tent. In reality, eight fishing stages were somewhat cleared out and each hosted local accordion players and accompanists playing acoustically. No extra lights. No PA. Much more like a shed party than a concert.
Salvage is a town of approximately 175 on Newfoundland’s Eastport Peninsula. It’s one of the smaller but more interesting peninsulas on the island. These days it’s a popular summer destination because of its pretty towns, seascapes and sandy beaches. It’s been said that the 9km hike from Salvage to Eastport is one of the prettiest in the world and I’m hard pressed to disagree.
Poltergeists… spirits… apparitions… shades… whatever you want to call them, St. John’s is full of ghosts. Probably not too surprising for a city that’s over 500 years old with a healthy dose of dark stories in her past. If you’ve ever wanted to hear about a few of these hauntings while standing on the spots where they occurred, the St. John’s Haunted Hike is happy to oblige. Dubbed an “Ambulatory Theatrical Exploration of the Macabre”, the hike brings to life ghoulish tales of hangings, murders and other deeds most foul.
It’s been years since I’ve been to the Regatta. Instead I usually spend my holiday Wednesday at home. Wednesday you say? Who has a holiday on a Wednesday? Well, we do…but sometimes it’s Thursday. The odd time it’s on Friday. This year I decided to go down to the pond to remind myself what all the fuss is about.