Holla holla duck! – Newfoundland trip (St. John’s)

After leaving Nova Scotia, we were off to Newfoundland! The flight was pretty uneventful and Amy and Sophie met us at the airport. Sophie was only five-months-old at the time and it was our first time meeting her. Amy was nice enough to be our tour guide for the day in St. John’s. Since it was a beautiful day, our first stop from the airport was Cape Spear to visit the most easterly point in Canada.

On the long and windy drive up we saw that the fog was still burning off at Cape Spear. Hopefully it would be gone by the time we got to the top (otherwise you can’t see anything).

Cape Spear

You can see the fog burning off of Cape Spear here.

Dan and I went and walked around together. Because there were so many steps to climb to get to the top, Amy and Sophie hung out in the car (plus it sounds like everybody who visits gets to go to Cape Spear so it’s nothing new for them).

cape spear

Me walking along the path at Cape Spear.

Cape Spear

Dan enjoys the view from Cape Spear.

We followed the signs to the most easterly point and I got to stand where Canada starts (or ends, depending on how you look at it).

most easterly point

Me at the most easterly point in Canada. What a beautiful day.

Next, we climbed up the steep steps to see the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland. The fog was still burning off but had dissipated enough so that we had a good view.

cape spear

With the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland.

cape spear

View from near the lighthouse.

After this, we went to the Pizza Delight in Mount Pearl and I had the BBQ Chicken pizza. It was delicious. They also have a toast your own garlic bread section that was fun.

Pizza Delight

Mmm bbq chicken pizza with bbq sauce instead of tomato sauce. om nom nom

From here we drove back to St. John’s (and by we I clearly mean Amy). Driving in St. John’s is tricky since there are so many one-way streets, hills and vague traffic signs (it’s hard to tell who should stop and who has the right of way when). Amy joked that you just go and pray for the best.

Dan and I checked into our hotel room at Murray Premises Hotel. We were going to spend the night in St. John’s and explore the city and then stay with Aaron and Amy in Conception Bay South for the rest of our trip. Murray Premises has a lot of character and a very rustic feel. It’s also right downtown.

Murray Premises Hotel

Our room at Murray Premises Hotel was like a palace!

We explored St. John’s a little and made sure to check out the abandoned Russian cruise ship that was docked in Port of St. John’s. It had been there since 2010 when it apparently went bankrupt and finally left St. John’s in 2013 (after our trip).

Russian Cruise Ship in St. John's

The infamous abandoned Russian cruise ship in St. John’s.

Yellow Belly Brewery

The Yellow Belly Brewery in St. John’s.

St. John's

A little hill in St. John’s.

Jelly Bean Row mailbox

We saw a few Jelly Bean Row style mailboxes. So charming!

For dinner, Amy had recommended a few restaurants including the Press and Bean. She said it was her parents’ favourite restaurant so that was good enough for us! I had the most amazing poached halibut for dinner. It was cooked perfectly and so tender.

Press and Bean

We both had the house strawberry spinach salad (fresh strawberries, baby spinach, red bell peppers, mushrooms, red and green onions and candied almonds tossed in their strawberry vinaigrette dressing). Dan had the surf and turf and I had the poached halibut with sweet potato fries. For dessert we shared the baklava (warm phyllo pastry combined with walnuts and spices. Served warm with a sweet syrup and vanilla icecream). om nom nom

We wandered around that night a bit but were pretty tired, so we went back to the hotel and watched The Mentalist (one of Dan’s favourite shows). I know, we’re getting old and I’ve totally embraced it.

The next day we got a taste of real Newfoundland weather. Foggy. Amy and Aaron told us that in Newfoundland they have a range of weather known as RDF (Rain, Drizzle, Fog). I’m proud to say we experienced it all.

fobby harbour

Foggy harbour in the morning in St. John’s. Good thing we took advantage of the clear weather the day before to go to Cape Spear!

We went to the Freak Lunchbox to pick up some candy (again one of Dan’s favourite things). Amy had recommended this place and Dan was in heaven.

Freak Lunchbox

This was definitely Dan’s kind of store. He bought a pound of candy here.

After checking out of the hotel, Amy came and picked us up and we were off again. Our first stop was Quidi Vidi, a place that was once a historic fishing village.

Sophie and Amy

Sophie and I hung out together in the back seat. She was happy to see her mom again when we stopped in Quidi Vidi.

An iceberg got into the harbour a few months before our visit and they had to shut the roads down because so many people were coming to see it (there aren’t many roads in this village area and the roads are also very tight!).

Quidi Vidi

Can you imagine an iceberg here?

We picked up some beer from Quidi Vidi Brewing Company and one of the locals posed for a picture.

Quidi Vidi

This man said “Take a picture of me!” So I did.

We spent the rest of the day back in Conception Bay South (or CBS as it’s also called) playing board games. Aaron is our board game expert and has introduced us to many quality games. If Aaron recommends it, it’s definitely worth playing. One of our favourites on this trip was the game Manhattan. In Manhattan you try to build the tallest building and build the most buildings to win. You can build on top of other people and steal from them, so it can become really ruthless and vengeful. Dan couldn’t ever win and kept coming in last. I think it was because he was too aggressive in the beginning and everybody always became his enemy. The best Dan could do in this game was second-last.

Manhattan

Manhattan – Dan’s nemesis of a board game. He could never win.

The next day it was raining so we decided to go on a short road trip and drive part of the Baccalieu Trail. Dan and I looked on the map and Dan decided that he wanted to visit the town of Dildo. I’m not going to lie, it was because it was called “dildo” and we wanted to check it out. So the four of us, along with Sophie crammed into the car and headed off. It rained the whole way. We got to see Conception Bay and we also stopped for a quick picture in Carbonear, which is apparently pirate country. According to my free guidebook from Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism, an Irish princess captured by pirate Peter Easton settled near Carbonear with one of Easton’s crew, Gilbert Pike and lived happily ever after. Princesses and pirates. Can it get any more romantic than that?

We also drove through the towns of Heart’s Content, Heart’s Desire and Heart’s Delight. I loved the names of theses towns.

Heart's Delight

Heart’s Delight

Heart's Delight

We stopped so I could take a picture with this cool looking rock in Heart’s Delight.

Finally, we reached our destination, Dildo. The Town of Dildo actually turned out to be very pretty, even during the storm.

Smith's Lookout in Dildo

View from Smith’s Lookout in Dildo.

Town of Dildo

The Town of Dildo was pretty.

According to the guidebook Dildo was the site of an early fish hatchery in the late 19th century and later a whaling port. Today (according to the book) Dildo is best known for “luxury accommodations and fine dining.”

I should mention that our trip to Newfoundland was nice and relaxed. We spent the majority of it hanging out at Amy and Aaron’s house, enjoying good company, playing games and watching The Bachelor.

The next day, we went to the mall to try fries with dressing and gravy (or d&g), another Newfoundland staple. We found fries with d&g at Bob Weaver.

Fries with dressing and gravy

Fries with dressing and gravy (d&g). Delicious. om nom nom

The weather cleared up so we drove up to Signal Hill to check out the view. Because the weather was so nice, everybody else had the same idea so we couldn’t even find parking. Instead, Amy and Aaron stayed in the car with the four-ways on while we hopped out to take a quick look.

Signal Hill

Us on Signal Hill.

St. John's

The view of St. John’s from Signal Hill.

Cabot Tower

In 1901 Marconi received the first wireless transatlantic message at Cabot Tower. Hence why it’s called Signal Hill.

After leaving Signal Hill, Aaron took us to see some jelly bean row houses. Now that the weather was clear, they looked like something out of my free Newfoundland tour book. Beautiful.

Jelly Bean Row

Jelly Bean Row houses.

jelly bean row

Dan and I with some jelly bean row houses.

On our final full day in Newfoundland, Dan and I borrowed the car and went to Bay Bulls to go whale watching in Witless Bay.

Puffin Hat

I wanted to buy this puffin hat but Dan said no.

Witless Bay

Waiting by Witless Bay. We felt lucky to have such nice weather.

Witless Bay

Me and Witless Bay.

We did our tour with Gatherall’s Puffin and Whale Watching. The crew was really good, friendly and played great east coast music on the boat as we sped around. Our guide Jack was entertaining and informative. He also sang folk songs.

boarding pass

My Gatherall’s boarding pass.

We saw a lot of whales, which was really exciting. Some of them were very playful and looked like they would breach (jump), but it didn’t happen. That’s ok though, we were happy with what we saw.

whales

We saw a lot of whales. Some even swam under our boat.

The boat also went past the ecological reserve in Witless Bay where hundreds of birds nest. Humans aren’t allowed on the reserve other than biologists who have a special permit and look after them/observe etc.

reserve

Birds on the reserve.

I especially loved the puffins. We saw tons of them as they flew down and skimmed the water looking for fish. They were so small and fast (they reminded me of humming birds).

puffin

One of the many puffins that we saw. They were so cute!

Sadly, the time flew and soon we had to go back to shore.

view from Witless Bay

The view from Witless Bay.

We spent our last night in Newfoundland playing more addictive board games. We played a game called Survive: Escape from Atlantis. I loved making the sea monsters and sharks make noise.

Survive: Escape from Atlantis

Sharks, sea monsters and whales, oh my! (all from Survive: Escape from Atlantis)

CBS

Sunset in CBS.

And that was our Newfoundland trip. The next day Aaron kindly drove us to the airport where we said our goodbyes (we saw them again in Ontario the week after so it wasn’t a sad goodbye). I should note that Aaron insisted he heard Sophie say “Holla” and “duck” so we spent a lot of the trip saying “Holla holla duck!” Also there are no pictures of Aaron here since he and Dan can’t take a picture together without making funny faces.

local interest books

Some “local interest books” at the airport.

Angry Puffin

My cheesy souvenir t-shirt. I love angry birds and I love puffins so this was a natural combination. It was only available in Junior sizes though so when I bought the shirt the woman at the store said “Kids just love Angry Birds don’t they?” and I just said “yes.”

So that was our trip to the East Coast. Coming up next, Warrior Dash Race Recap!

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One thought on “Holla holla duck! – Newfoundland trip (St. John’s)

  1. Pingback: At the end of the day, you’ve just got to say it’s alright – St John’s 2013 | Plain Can Be Lovely

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