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Trip Report St. John's & Avalon Peninsula

Trip Report St. John's & Avalon Peninsula

Aug 6th, 2006, 04:19 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Trip Report St. John's & Avalon Peninsula

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.
Sprig is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 06:38 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Sprig: Nice report. You have to be prepared for any sort of weather in Newfoundland!

Just a note on beer. Quidi Vidi makes great beer, but it's note the only beer produced on the island. Both of Canada's major breweries (Labatt's and Molson) brew there as well. They have taken over some of the traditional Newfoundland beers such as Blue Star (Labatt's), Black Horse and India (Molson). There are also a couple of other micro-breweries.

(When drinking Black Horse, you should also know that in many parts of Newfoundland the "h" is dropped and the "o" is closer to an "a".)
laverendrye is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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The drive south of Ferryland leads you to Cape Race, Cape Pine and St. Vincent's amongst other wonderfully scenic places, which you missed. But in any case I'm pleased to see that you enjoyed your visit to Newfoundland.
gannetmusic is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your trip around the southern Avalon. To me it is one of the prettiest places on the island. We travelled there and saw lots of caribou. We walked on a beautiful sandy beach and waded in the water with our grandson. The people are some of the friendliest you will ever find and the landscape is straight out of Ireland as are the people and their brogue. Also this route would take you to the salmon falls on Cataracks.
I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder and eveyone finds what they think they will find. You could go to Placentia which was once settled by the french by continuing along this route and then travel to the northwest Avalon. This area has some of the prettiest towns I have ever seen, especially Brigus, a real English village. A couple of miles away is the town of Cupids which was the first established white settlement in North America and where the first registered white child was born. It is home to one of the largest archaeological digs in Newfoundland. Perhaps if you come again you will research more of the province before making plans. That way you will find that you will not be disappointed by what you find.
yrrebeulb is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 06:00 PM
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The weather wasn't the best the day of our drive around the Irish Loop and it was somewhat inland. I suppose if we had lots of time we could have driven in to Cape Race and Cape Pine but two or three false starts off the highway caused us to turn around.

We did a fair bit of research before we left and knew that Brigus and knew unlike "yrrebeulb" that Brigus and Cupid are not part of the Irish Loop trail, the lower part of which we found a little drab.

We were in Brigus and Cupid as the next day the lady at our B&B, who has lived in Newfoundland her entire life, suggested we head that way which she said was much prettier than the Irish Loop which she also found a little drab. We had lunch in Brigus and found it really very pretty.
Again I agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but as I said to the kind lady at the B&B I wish you had told us what you thought of the drive before we headed in that direction.

I find it odd that if you are in anyway critical of any part of a trip on this website someone takes offence. Just trying to help others making the trip in the future by giving my point of view. Sorry if I offended.
Sprig is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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LOL...the southern Avalon does lose some its appeal when the fog rolls in , for sure. And the barrens landscape just doesn't appeal to everyone.....but its good that most of your Nfld trip was enjoyable for you.

cheers

Jerry
gannetmusic is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 01:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Sprig, I just wanted to say that I very much appreciate your honest trip report about your favorite - and also not-so-favorite - drives around the Avalon Peninsula. It's a more balanced view that we travelers get if reports give more than an all-positive report about a destination. After all, most places have the good and bad, and each visitor has his or her own slant on the good and bad. I stop reading opinions about places that are painted with nary one thing as a negative. We can all draw our own conclusions as to whether that particular factor will affect us or not on our visit to a destination. Please DO continue to include in your reports honest evaluations on your travels. It's what keeps these boards from being just one more obvious glossy magazine or travel book ad.
laurenmichael is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 06:19 PM
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Thanks guys for your positive feedback. We had a lovely time in Newfoundland and I am sure we will go back....after all we didn't see a glacier or Gros Morne. A lady I worked with said that her sister traveled to Gros Morne and thought that the scenery was spectacular. I loved Newfoundland and loved the people but just thought we could have made a little better use of our time....on the bright side we came back ....very...laid...back and that is certainly not a bad thing. Thanks so much for all of your help in planning our holiday....next stop Vietnam....and maybe Whitehorse.
Sprig is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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To sprig: Sorry you misunderstood my message. I did not say that Brigus and Cupids were part of the Southern Avalon. I stated that by continuing along the Southern Avalon you would continue on to the Nortwest and Avalon which is where Brigus and Cupids is located. I have spend a lot of tine in both these communities and they are two on the prettiest on the island. Land and property values in Brigus alone would scare your socks off. It is almost impossible to buy either in the town of Brigus and not much more available in Cupids. I have not spoken to anyone that has had a bad thing to say about Newfoundland after a visit.
yrrebeulb is offline  

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