Newfoundland in a week

May 27th, 2009, 11:24 AM
  #1  
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Newfoundland in a week

We're planning a week-long trip to Newfoundland (first time) in late-July. We see two main options: either we do the West and North (Gros Morne-L'Anse aux Meadows-Labrador Coastal Drive/Battle Harbour) or the South and East (St. John's/Avalon, Bonavista, Trinity). Which would you recommend to first-timers? Up to now we've mostly researched the west-north option. I'm looking for recommendations for the south-east option, particularly suggestions for a couple of places (maybe three?) to stay as "base camps" for day trips. We're looking for nice mix of nature (hiking, birdwatching, whales) and history/culture. St John's seems like an obvious choice, but how much daily driving would we need to do to for day trips around Avalon?
buckthorn is offline  
May 27th, 2009, 08:28 PM
  #2  
 
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I biked the west coast and spent a whole week in Gros Morne last summer and I want to go again during iceberg season. One highlight was the Green Gardens trail, which I recommend you hike in late afternoon/evening as the sun sets over the coast. The one-way trail to the coast isn't too hard. Gros Morne Mountain was also fantastic. The Tablelands are sureal.

There are several boat tours. I took the most popular on Western Brook Pond. I wish I had gone on the tour at the northern end of the park as it's more of a wildlife tour. I took the taxi boat across Bonne bay which turned out to be a mini-version of the tour. It didn't just go across but went into small bays. We saw a whale 50 feet from the boat and got a few live songs. They said they don't usually do that much on the taxi-boat though.

The rest of the west coast was nice too. Don't know how it compares to the rest of the Rock. Couldn't make it to l'Anse-aux-Meadows either. Gros Morne is definitely a must-see IMO.

A few pics:
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/35...6_K62Q4-XL.jpg
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/36...2_7cCfQ-XL.jpg
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/37...2_867qn-XL.jpg
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/36...0_h34PY-XL.jpg
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/36...3_K2ZGN-XL.jpg
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/36...4_MPdKF-XL.jpg
http://www.borealphoto.com/photos/36...5_WyqHM-XL.jpg
Erick_L is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 08:50 AM
  #3  
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D***, those are beautiful photos! What incredible scenery. After seeing these, it's really hard to say "well, you know, I'd rather go to a different part of Newfoundland". If only the distances were shorter...or if we had more time. We may have to flip a coin.
buckthorn is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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You really do have to flip a coin.

If you go to the west, I'd concentrate on Gros Morne and the Northern Peninsula. With a week, you really don't have time to do them justice and also cross to the Labrador Shore.

In the east, try 4/5 nights in St. John's visiting the city and various sights in the Avalon and 2/3 nights between Trinity and Bonavista.
laverendrye is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 11:52 AM
  #5  
LJ
 
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There is no one answer to this question. I grew up on the East Coast (St. John's: Jan Morris' favourite NA city) and love it, love it, love it...find it's nooks and crannies, great walks, history and culture, small towns and festivals and its growing reputation for decent food incredibly exciting.

But, more recently, I lived in Corner Brook and the West Coast is dramatic, movingly beautiful. There are parts of it that look just like the ads on TV and in the mags, only better. The scenery around Gros Morne just takes your breath away and the animals!

No, I agree with laverendrye...you don't have time for Lab.

If you decide on the east coast, don't miss Cape St. Mary's or Cape Spear as side-trips from St. John's.
LJ is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 12:01 PM
  #6  
 
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As stated, it really is a difficult decision to make.

As recommended above by laverendrye, your available time doesn't permit a meaningful trip to Labrador.

On the east, your interest in both nature and Newfoundland history & culture would be well satisfied. I'm sure you have researched the attractions in St. John's, as well as Cape Spear, Ferryland, Cupids, Brigus, etc. One of the boat trips from Bay Bulls for birds and whales would be great. A visit to Cape St. Mary's is a must. From the beach at St. Vincent's you can often see whales feeding close to shore. Where to stay? I recommend Comerford's Oceanview Suites in Holyrood, about 25 minutes from St. John's. www.irishloop.com. We stayed there an entire month and made day trips througout the Avalon.

The towns of Trinity, Port Union, and Bonavista have plenty to see and do and would more than fill two days. For that area, I would recommend Captain Blackmore's Heritage Manor in Port Union. www.captainblackmores.com.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip.
George is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 12:13 PM
  #7  
LJ
 
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Eric: I missed your photos the first time around...they are amazing and evoke such nostalgia in me...I urge others to have a look at this photography. I assume from the Boreal lable, you are professional?
LJ is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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Thanks LJ. I'm just a hobbyist but sometimes dream of financing my bike trips with photos taken on bike trips. I do take my hobby a bit seriously. For this trip, I carryied a DSLR, three lenses and a tripod on a bicycle. The whole "gulf of St-Lawrence" tour is here: http://www.borealphoto.com/gallery/5701404_cnBDn and the Newfoundland west coast pictures are from #85 to #152.

Gros Morne was THE highlight (Cape Breton wasn't bad either ). I was waken up by moose a few times, I camped alone with the sheeps on the Green Gardens trail. It started raining just went I got off the trail, right on time for laundry and lunch (next door) with a view on the Tablelands. Then rode in the rain to Trout River just so I could ride back through the Tablelands the next day. It was fan-tas-tic.

Shallow bay is very nice too. Not as "spectacular" as the rest of the park but much more quiet. Most people sem to stop at Western Brook pond. The beach is beautiful.

If you're into wildlife, there's a salmon ladder on the Torrent river. I think it was 8$. Not cheap but it's nice to see something other than fur and feathers. I also saw white beaked dolphins jumping from the Nfld-Labrador ferry.

Fan-tas-tic I tells ya! I wanna go again!
Erick_L is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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Great photos!
Where is shallow bay?
Clousie is offline  
May 28th, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Shallow Bay is in Gros Morne Park near Cow Head. Its beach reputedly has the warmest water on all the coast of Newfoundland. I swam there and enjoyed the experience!
laverendrye is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2009, 01:50 PM
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Well, we've decided to visit Eastern Newfoundland this year-- Avalon and Bonavista. Gros Morne the west coast will be a future trip. Booking accommodations hasn't been easy, but of course, it's rather late. We've reserved at the Fishers Loft in Port Rexton -- most places we've contacted are already booked. It seems nice enough, but unfortunately they don't include breakfast in the price, and an optional breakfast is something like $15/person(!). Does anyone know that area well enough to suggest where else we might go just for some coffee and a light breakfast?
buckthorn is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2009, 03:11 PM
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Erick, your photos are fantastic!! I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. Really beautiful! Looks like you had an amazing trip. I, too, hope to return to Gros Morne...and would love to do the Cabot Trail, even more now that I've seen your photos.
Thank you.
kodi is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 05:59 AM
  #13  
LJ
 
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The Fisher' Loft, eh? they are very well-known for their food. Its going to be a drive to get anything else...given their reputation for fine cuisine, I'd be inclined to eat there. I suppose there's a Timmy's in Trinity?
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Jun 19th, 2009, 09:20 AM
  #14  
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We cancelled at Fisher's Loft. It didn't seem like the kind of place for us. We're not big on fancy expensive cuisine, and the reviews I've seen for that place are pretty mixed. We've opted instead for the Bird's Inn near Bonavista. The owners seem like real nice folks, and they have an early 'normal' breakfast, not an expensive three-course meal that will put you right back to sleep.
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Jun 19th, 2009, 09:25 AM
  #15  
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Oops, I meant to say Bird's Island Inn.
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Dec 29th, 2010, 03:19 PM
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:54 PM
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I had a dinner at Fisher's Loft. The food was indeed quite good. And kind of fancy, and expensive. Although the atmosphere was very relaxed and not at all stuffy. So if it's the complexity and price of the food that you didn't like, you made the right call. But if you were only scared off by stuffiness, you could change your mind again and eat there.
hawksbill is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:01 PM
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hawksbill,

Did you stay at the Fishers loft? I am considering it but as it is pricey just not sure - if not there where in that area did you stay?
ldb7 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 04:54 PM
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ldb7, I wanted to stay at Fisher's Loft, but I had to book my whole trip on very short notice, and they were sold out. As was every other decent-looking place on the Bonavista Peninsula that I could find.

I stayed at the Clarenville Inn, which is kind of a nondescript motor hotel, right on the Trans-Canada Highway, near the base of the peninsula. It was perfectly clean, serviceable, and in good repair, and quite a bargain, by American roadside hotel standards. Being able to drive right up to an exterior door of my room on the bottom floor was a nice plus. And there are plenty of services in Clarenville. For example, there was a shopping center with a big supermarket right nearby, where I was able to stock up on provisions for my long road trip. But the Clarenville Inn had zero charm, and the staff was kind of cold and distant, which really surprised me, given how friendly and welcoming Newfies are in general. Most importantly, it's a bit of a drive to get from Clarenville to anything scenic. It took me over an hour to drive from dinner at Fisher's Loft back to Clarenville. As it was just after dusk, I drove slowly and was very careful not to hit any moose.
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