Highlights from the Road to 150 Newfoundland Episode
From May 15th to May 27th, 2017, my team and I travelled across Newfoundland as part of our Road to 150 travel series. We experienced icebergs, kitchen parties, history, and gorgeous landscapes. We also experienced a mix of sun, extreme wind, rain, fog, and cloudy weather. This is all part of visiting Canada’s most Easterly province during the month of May. However, this is when icebergs begin to make their way down the Atlantic and one of the few places in the world where you can see them in all their glory.
Newfoundland is an incredible place to explore and is quite unique compared to the rest of Canada. We were all blown away with the hospitality of the locals and by their eagerness to help us experience their great province in their own various ways. From the moment we touched down in St. John’s, people helped organize parties, tours, and activities all across the province, and some even took us out for dinner.
Newfoundland really is a special place and should definitely be on your traveling bucket list. Whether you’re looking for icebergs, wildlife, incredible scenery, or just a joyful atmosphere, Newfoundland is the place to be.
Once this incredible 150-day journey comes to an end, we’ll be writing articles about all the things to do in Newfoundland and about the experiences we had along the way so that you too can plan out your own East Coast adventure. In the meantime, we’ve written out a list of the things we tried, the places we slept, and the places we ate at during our time in Newfoundland.
We’d also like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all the incredible local businesses in Newfoundland that helped sponsor us in their own unique way as well as Best Western, our major sponsor, for truly helping to make Canada’s Road to 150 happen.
What We Did in St. John’s
One of the oldest settlements in all of North America, St. John’s is Newfoundland’s capital city. Here you’ll find Canada’s oldest street, lots of live music venues, an array of delicious restaurants, important historical sites, and a very busy harbour. It’s a beautiful city and will most likely be the city you’ll fly into when visiting from abroad. There are so many things to do in and around St. John’s and although we certainly didn’t do it all, here is what we did do during our four days in the windiest, cloudiness, and foggiest city in Canada.
The Luxus Boutique Hotel and Lounge
We spent a whopping six nights at the Luxus Hotel on Water Street. We were thrilled that they offered to host us for such a long time and blown away by the quality of the hotel. We had views of the harbour, two bedrooms, a MASSIVE flat screen TV, a rain shower, a bidet toilet, and so much space to work with. The staff at the Luxus were so incredibly friendly and they even brought us out to the Yellowbelly Brewery for dinner one night, which is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, one of their friends invited us to their heritage house and made us tacos for dinner! It’s moments like these that we’ll never forget. In fact, you’ll see them in the video! We had such a great time at the Luxus and can’t wait to go back.
Learn more at www.theluxus.ca.
Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours
Located right in St. John’s harbour, this is a great tour for those wanting to experience the thrill of leaving the famous harbour, visiting Cape Spear, and viewing icebergs and/or whales, depending on the season. They also operate iceberg tours in Twillingate, which is the iceberg capital of the world. After seeing the harbour from shore and from the top of Signal Hill, it was really cool to experience St. John’s harbour from a boat. They also got us really close to the icebergs!
Learn more at www.icebergquest.com.
O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours
If you’re after cute little puffins, this is the tour for you. Leaving from Bay Bulls (about a 30-minute drive from St. John’s) you’ll get to see icebergs and/or whales (depending on the season) and millions of puffins thanks to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, which is home to the largest Atlantic puffin colony in North America. For those without a car, O’Brien’s offers a pick-up service in St. John’s as well. Great tour!
Learn more at www.obriensboattours.com.
So-Full Food Tour
If you want to experience some of St. John’s culinary delights as well as a little bit of history, this is the tour for you. We visited the Newfoundland Chocolate Company, the Rocket House Cafe, Yellowbelly Brewery, O’Reilly’s Pub, and Tavola, which is owned by one of the members from the Great Big Sea.
Learn more at www.sofullfoodtours.ca.
Boyle Waking Tour
If you want a colourful and informative historical tour, you likely won’t find a better one than Boyle’s Historical Walking Tours. His enthusiasm really adds a lot to the tour and he’ll walk you to and through some of the most important historical sites in the oldest city in North America.
Learn more at www.boyletours.com.
Cod Sounds Culinary Excursion
Due to weather, we couldn’t experience the full splendor of the foraging tour that Lori has created but we did go to her house to learn about the cooking process of wild foods such as moose, lobster, cod cheeks, mackerel, and homemade bread and jam. She even made us rhubarb tea, which was incredibly delicious. Everything was tasty and it was so interesting to learn about the art of foraging. This is one experience we would all love to do when we’re back in St. John’s. We’ve been talking about it ever since!
Learn more at www.codsounds.ca.
Getting Screeched-in at Christian’s Bar
Ask anyone in St, John’s where you should get Screeched-in and they’ll tell you Christian’s. This quaint little pub is home to the best screech-in performance in the city! I don’t want to give away too much but if you want more of a performance to add to the experience, this is the place to do it. There are two shows done by two different people. The event takes place nightly at 5 PM and 11 PM. This is an iconic tradition and one of the top things to do in Newfoundland.
Located on George Street.
O’Reilly’s Irish Newfoundland Pub
We must have visited this place at least five times during our short time in St. John’s. It’s a great place for live music (especially Thursdays and Friday’s from our experience) and also home to a very tasty Newfoundland Chowder. We also had rabbit pie, which was AWESOME! More than anything though, it’s a great place to dance to Newfoundland music in the middle of George Street. Ask my dad!
This is probably the first vegan restaurant I have ever eaten at but I am so happy we found this place. The owner is from Macau, China and absolutely loves Newfoundland. He might just be the friendliest person I’ve ever met and just a pure joy to be around. He believes in good vibes, which is why he chooses vegan. No harm to any living thing. Even if you love meat like me, his food is excellent and he is a great guy to meet. Try the lotus paste buns. Mmmm.
Located at 250 Duckworth Street.
What We Did in Trinity
Trinity is one of the prettiest old towns in Newfoundland. It’s one of those towns you see on a postcard and know you have to visit one day. The town even has an active blacksmith as well as numerous historical buildings, quaint accommodation, and the oldest cemetery in all of Canada. If you want to see small-town Newfoundland, definitely go to Trinity.
Artisan Inn and Twine Loft Restaurant
I truly can’t imagine a better place to stay not only in Trinity but in the entire province. This place is gorgeous and is the perfect way to step back in time. At Artisan Inn, you get your own house! Ours, which was built in the 1800’s, felt like a doll house with its cute little rooms and antique furniture. This is the type of accommodation that actually adds to the experience. They also serve gourmet food in the evening at Twine Loft Restaurant as well as a delicious breakfast in the morning.
Learn more at www.trinityvacations.com.
Bonavista Social Club
This popular and new restaurant is located in the small community of Upper Amherst Cove on the Bonavista Peninsula. Since visiting Bonavista itself should be high on your list, you might as well stop here to fill your tummy. Here you’ll find delicious food made with local ingredients as well as the only commercial wood-fired bread oven in all of Newfoundland. We had fresh pasta, lamb, wood-fired pizza, a moose burger, and their delicious partridgeberry bread pudding.
Learn more at www.bonavistasocialclub.com.
Port Rexton Brewery
This new brewery, located just minutes from Trinity, is all the rage in Newfoundland. So many people recommended it to us that we had to stop by. We’re thankful we did. We had a tour followed by a tasting of their four popular beers. I love how each brew is so different that even the alcohol levels change. It’s really like high-quality home brew. I’m not usually a fan of dark beers but their porter was very delicious.
Learn more at www.portrextonbrewing.com.
What We Did in Twillingate
Known as the iceberg capital of the world, this is the place to come if you want to see icebergs. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with our visit and the ice, wind, and rain didn’t allow us to go out on the big boats. However, we did get to go out on a smaller boat, which allowed us to stand on some of the pack-ice, which was lining the harbour. In addition, our lovely guesthouse hosts threw us a kitchen party, which brought out the real Newfoundland vibe and introduced us to some local musicians. The town itself is quaint and beautiful and I certainly hope to visit it again one day.
All Season’s Bed & Breakfast
I’m so happy we found this lovely bed & breakfast, which is run by Mark and Ruby. Each room has its own ensuite and the gourmet breakfast is delicious! Mark and Ruby are such lovely hosts and the kitchen party they organized for us was so much fun. It’s one of the highlights of our two weeks in Newfoundland! The Bed & Breakfast has great views of the harbour as well and they are very knowledgeable about Twillingate. We only stayed two nights and we can’t wait to return.
Learn more at www.allseasonsbb.com.
Iceberg Quest Ocean Tours
If you want to see icebergs, this is the tour to go with. Due to weather, we couldn’t go with them in Twillingate but we did do an iceberg tour with them from St. John’s and it was excellent. We will definitely be back one day to try them out in the iceberg capital of the world!
Learn more at www.icebergquest.com.
This is a new harbour-view seafood restaurant in Twillingate. Our hosts recommended that we try the Cod au Gratin and it did not disappoint. Who would have thought that cod and cheese could go together so well but it was incredibly delicious! We finished up with chocolate cake and ice cream. If you want seafood, this is the place to go!
Located at 128 Main Street.
What We Did in Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in all of Canada and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to it being a rare example of the process of the continental drift. The park is filled with landlocked fjords, exposed mantle, cliffs, waterfalls, coastline, and tons of wildlife, including moose, bald eagles, whales, and caribou. If I had to pick one place in all of Newfoundland to explore, this would be it.
Sheppard’s Bed & Breakfast
Located in Trout River (a must-see town just outside of the park), this is the place to be! Situated on their own big parcel of land on top of a mountain overlooking Trout River, you’ll find beautiful accommodation with incredible 360-degree views of the area. Doris and Tom even sang us a song when we arrived. When in Newfoundland, bed & breakfasts are the best place to sleep and this is one that should be high on your list!
Learn more at www.sheppardsbandb.com.
Blackawton Boat Tours
Located in Woody Point near Trout River, this is your chance to get out on Bonne Bay and see some whales! Not only did we see various whales breach the water, we also saw bald eagles and seals. Taking a boat tour is one of the top things to do in Newfoundland. Bonne Bay is gorgeous and if you want to see wildlife and get out on the water, this is the tour for you.
Learn more at www.blackawtonboattours.com.
Wow, this place serves up delicious seafood right next to the beach. There’s something special about eating fresh fish with views of the ocean. A bucket of mussels, fresh cod, and a cold pint of Iceberg beer? Sign me up! If you’re not staying in Trout River (note: you should be), It’s worth driving all the way just to eat here. Excellent.
Learn more at www.grosmorne.com/victorianmanor/seaside.htm.
Things To Do in Newfoundland
As you can see, we crammed a lot of incredible experiences into our short two weeks and yet, we only scratched the surface of this amazing province. This list above is just to give you a quick taste of what we experienced during our trip to Newfoundland and to learn about the people and businesses that made up our video above. More detailed articles will follow soon.
Again, without the assistance of our various local business partners above as well as our major sponsor, Best Western, Canada’s Road to 150 would not be possible. It’s incredible how welcoming and open everyone has been to this unique Canadian project.
Thank you all so much!
Learn more at www.MustDoCanada.com/Road-to-150