After going to Banff two summers in a row, I thought I should see a new place, even though I really adore Banff.
The friend I ended up traveling with suggested Newfoundland. I was very overdue for a vacation and wanted a place to get away from the urban jungle I call home, so this was a perfect choice. Flights, at least only 6 weeks out, were very expensive, so I used United miles to get up there and credit card points to get home.
We flew into St. John’s and decided to stay in one region rather than bouncing around. The first two nights were in St. John’s, followed by four nights in Witless Bay and closing out with one night back in St. John’s. I did very little planning or research in advance of the trip, contrary to my usual style. I was tired from a busy work life, so I just wanted to relax on this trip.
Here’s a little report. There don’t seem to be a ton of them out there on this destination, so I thought I would add mine. I have to say, when some folks asked me where I was going for vacation and I said Newfoundland, several people did not know where in the world it is!
Flight from Houston to Toronto and then a plane change to get to St. John’s. I didn’t have a lot of connection time, but thankfully my first flight arrived early, so I had a bit of cushioning. I was switching from United to Air Canada, so I had to pick up my checked bag and get it rechecked. Pearson is a crazy airport. The security screening was chaotic and slow and I was happy when I finally got through and could go to my gate.
Arrived at tiny St. John’s airport right on time at 7:00 pm. Car rental was with Avis. I had selected a compact car online, but the amount of luggage the website said it could hold and the reality were not the same! I’ve never seen such a little trunk (Chevy Sonic). Went back to the counter to ask for a different car and for $4 more a day, I got moved into a Chevy Malibu. Much better!
Drove downtown to check into the Courtyard Marriott right on the harbor. This hotel is clean and conveniently situated for walking around St. John’s. I had enough time to rest for a couple of minutes, then I went to Walmart to pick up water, soda and snacks for the week before returning to the airport to collect my friend who had flown in on later flights. I recommend getting your goodies at Walmart or Costco because it’s cheaper than places in the smaller towns.
Signal Hill day! To my delight, it was a mild, sunny day and we drove up to Signal Hill. The views are wonderful from here, including a lighthouse at Ft. Amherst. We then hiked to Quidi Vidi, which was more of a robust walk than I had been expecting. It was a nice hike and we even got to see a young eagle in his/her nest.
Quidi Vidi is very small and to be honest, I didn’t find it to be much of a destination if you aren’t interested in the brewery. It’s quaint and charming, but there’s not much to do. I think there may have been one place to get something to eat.
I got very sunburned this day. While I had some sunscreen on my face, I had not packed high spf and regretted it. I honestly thought the weather would be overcast and rainy based on the forecast I had seen before leaving for the trip. The sunny weather was a treat, but I ended up looking like a lobster.
After getting back to the car, we decided to go for a drive in search of icebergs. We had received a couple of tips of where some were close by. The first area, Maddox Cove, didn’t have any, but Portugal Cove had two! This was quite a thrill for me. I find them fascinating. I had been following them on a app as well as icebergfinder.com in advance of the trip.
We saw the ferry to Belle Island and were surprised to see how many cars were waiting for the ferry. Based on what we saw, I imagine it takes some time to get there with the volume of cars waiting.
When we got back into St. John’s, we walked around town for a bit. First stop was the Cathedral-Basilica. A wedding was in progress, so we had to wait a little while, but we had a nice chat with a lady who was part of a company that would be taking the wedding party on a bus for photos.
The church is beautiful inside, with lovely stained glass windows. I recommend stopping in this pretty place.
We also visited the big Anglican church. It is very pretty inside as well and the people staffing it were very warm and welcoming.
We never had lunch, so I was starving at dinner time. We went to the Classic Café which was just a block down from the hotel. It was just ok. I can’t say I had any good meals on this trip, but that’s ok as I’m not a foodie anyways.
Witless Bay is up next. Fantastic place.
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Icebergs, Whales, Puffins and Potholes - A Newfoundland Adventure