After landing in Deer Lake, we headed to the West Coast. Our home for a couple of nights was Neddies B&B, a great location in Norris Point with a 180 degree view of Bonne Bay. The inn is very clean and also houses the best restaurant in the area, the Black Spruce.
On Saturday morning, after checking the weather, we opted to hike Gros Morne mountain (also known as the James Callahan trail). This 16 km hike is not for the faint of heart. Footing can be challenging and be sure to watch the weather, which can change rapidly. If you make the trek to the top there is a great view on the backside of the mountain, overlooking a beautiful glacial valley known as Ten Mile Pond. This is a perfect spot for a quick picnic lunch – it’s cold on the top so we didn’t stop for too long. On the way down we were joined on the trail by a moose and its baby; this was a highlight. There is a definite sense of accomplishment you get when congratulated by others on successfully hiking the trail. We hope to return to this UNESCO World Heritage site for the fishing and to tour the fjord (we didn’t book in advance and missed this opportunity).
Driving around the West Coast is quite beautiful and many choose to take in the view on bicycles.
After a couple of days we left the ruggedly beautiful West Coast and headed to Twillingate for an iceberg hunting adventure. Be sure to check icebergfinder.com before you head out on the hunt as the location information is very accurate. We were successful and found several icebergs of varying shapes and sizes.
Twillingate has a somewhat stark beauty to the area. It is a fishing community that was hard hit by the cod-fishing ban and now relies heavily on tourism. We stayed in a very comfortable, albeit somewhat unusual, B&B in a great location, called Iceberg Alley.
Doyle Sansome & Sons Lobster Pool is by far the best food in the area and a short drive from our B&B. The restaurant is not fancy, is located on the water, and has a fish cam which was entertaining while dining.
Just one night in Twillingate and we headed to the East Coast of the island. Be warned – the weather is ever changing and can be challenging, even in July! After a few hours of a harrowing drive, we arrived St. John’s, an active harbor town and the farthest Eastern point in North America.
In the downtown area we stayed in the Delta, a business convention hotel, one block off George Street. There are many restaurants and bars along George Street, and the night life can be interesting – or so we were told.
When in Newfoundland, be sure to try Iceberg Beer, an award-winning beer made from 25,000 year old iceberg water! It’s a good, light beer produced by Quidi Vidi Brewery in St. John’s. The brewery offers tours/tastings if time permits.
While Mark was working, I visited the Rooms Museum, a lovely museum set on a hill, which would surely provide a great view on a sunny day. The Rooms proclaims itself to be a cultural facility. The experience is educational and provides information about the heritage of the Newfies. Be sure to see Canadian painter, Christopher Pratt’s exhibit, “The Places I Go” for a lovely, individual perspective of Newfoundland. There is also a nice cafe for lunch.
Again, if time permits, head out for a hike along the East Coast Trail. Starting in St. John’s, you can head North or South over 265 kms of trail.
Alternatively, you can take an iceberg/whale watching boat tour from the harbor. Iceberg Quest boat tours offers a very nice, not too pricey two hour tour in search of icebergs and humpback whales, both of which I was fortunate enough to experience, as well as a school of dolphins. The harbor is located in downtown. The boat is comfortable and took us through The Narrows, past Jelly Bean row (a section of St. John’s where the houses are vibrant colours) and Signal Hill National Historic Site, over to Cape Spear, and into the North Atlantic Ocean.
In St. John’s two restaurants we would recommend are:
Raymonds Restaurant – voted Canada’s best restaurant, this is a high end restaurant in an old bank. Pricey, with great food and expensive wines. Reservations are required. 4 1/2 *
Yellowbelly Brewery – great food in a pub-like atmosphere. This place is always busy so its best to make reservations. 4*
… Mark & Dana …