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Trip Report St. John's & Avalon Peninsula

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In an attempt to repay all those providing valuable advice to us in planning our many trips I am posting a trip report. Hope this is not too long and boring.

We arrived in St. John's early Saturday afternoon the end of July to pouring rain. We walked through the town with our umbrellas up and sometimes blowing inside out on a blustery day. I guess there summer has generally been cold and rainy. We ducked into a pub to get out of the rain and it seemed quite a find. The Ship is its name. We enjoyed a drink and even split a bow of delicious Cod Chowder. After this we headed again through the town in the pouring rain towards George Street. The George Street Festival was on and we had heard much about it. We walked around in the rain and popped into another pub. After a fair wait we finally gave out and headed back into the rain to return to our B&B. We stayed at McCoubrey Manor on Ordnance Street and it was really beautiful. The rooms are lovely and our hosts were gracious and friendly people. You will see in another post on St. Pierre that I mention that we are not B&B people. Our first try and we really prefer hotels. Our room at McCoubrey was so beautiful that we were constantly worried about knocking something over or breaking the crystal glasses when we were brushing our teeth. It was however a lovely spot in a perfect location.

The next day we visited Cape Spear and enjoyed that very much. We headed down through beautiful Petty Harbour and on to Bay Bulls for a Puffin/Whale tour with Gatheralls on their Catamaran. It was a nice trip though windy and a little rocky. A few people were seasick but we were fine. Luckily a humpback whale hung around the boat for most of the journey and we saw lots of puffins with only a little rain near the end of our ride.

After the boat we traveled about an hour down the coast to finish the Irish Loop Tour. We stopped for lunch near Ferryland. Afterwards we continued along the Irish Loop tour which took us more Inland on the Avalon Peninsula.

Now I must tell you that though Frommers in their travel book lists this as a beautiful scenic ride and it was definitely not. We spent three hours seeing nothing. We were away from the coast and the land was truly barren. Back at our B&B our hosts advised that it really is not a very pretty ride that they felt bad not tellilng us this before we headed out. We encouraged them to let people know in future before they spent an entire afternoon driving through that section. When you get a certain distance down there are only two choices keep going or head back.

I would strongly advise that when touring that part of the Avalon you go no further than Ferryland and then head back the same way you came.

The next day Monday the weather was sunny again in the morning and we spent fime on Signal Hill which is a beautiful site with so many lovely trails. After that we went to Quidi Vidi Lake which is where the Newfoundland Regatta is held and even had a a Quidi Vidi beer, which is apparently the only beer actually produced on the Island.

In the afternoon we visited The Rooms which combines the Provincial Museum, Art Gallery and Archives under one roof. It was really worth a look and you can see most of it in about 2 hours. (That is how long the free parking lasts so I presume that is the norm and how long we spent as well)

That night we visited the George Street Festival. I am sure Tueday would have been a better day for us as the featured music was Celtic but we unfortunately were heading out so settled for the AC/DC and Guns & Roses tribute which is really not our style. We were under the impression that the George St. Festival had the entire street blocked off with different musical acts offered by individual pubs and maybe this was the way it was in the past. But now it is only a big outdoor concert where you can walk around with a drink in hand. The bands playing were very good but of course that type of music only holds our attention for a short while. When we walked back up t he street there was absolutely nothing going on at the other establishments. A bit of a disappointment to us but at least we can say we saw it.

The next day we traveled to the Northwest part of the Avalon for abit before heading down the Burin Peninsula to Grand Bank.

If you are interested you can pick up this post under St. Pierre.

We really did have a lovely trip to Newfoundland and with only a week were a little confined with where we could travel.

In retrospect we would probably have spent more time in St. John's which is an absolutely beautiful little town and less time traveling over to St. Pierre although that experience was pretty neat as well.

On our last night back in St. John's we ended up at Rumplestilskin's in the Quality Hotel. We had a nice meal and a beautiful harbour view as a freighter came in and we watched them unload with a crane. Perfect ending to our trip.

A couple of words of advice. Take warm clothes as I assume the summer weather can be a little unpredictable. Also if you need a rental car book well ahead. We contstantly ran into people who had to travel hundreds of miles out of their way to find a rental vehicle in Newfoundland in this busy end of July/early August time frame. Our last night in St. John's we heard that there was not a room available any where in the city, which we believe judging by the problem we had finding one two months earlier. The last story we heard was of a tourist taking a bus to Gander as that was the only place on the Island where they could rent a car. The tourist season in Newfoundland is very short. Plan ahead.

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