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Your thoughts about this itinerary for Newfoundland

Your thoughts about this itinerary for Newfoundland

Mar 7th, 2010, 02:59 PM
  #1  
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Your thoughts about this itinerary for Newfoundland

I am taking my dream trip to Newfoundland this summer and would love your input on our planned itinerary. We are in our late fifties and really enjoy the outdoors and wildlife - that said we are not serious hikers, backpackers etc. rather more recreational. We would also like to get a feel for the local culture especially the music and the food.
Our plan is to take the ferry into Port Basques.. spend
- 3 nights there and travelling to Gros Morne Park.
- 6 nights camping in Gros Morne and enjoying the immediate vicinity.
- 3 nights travelling to St. John's, visiting the the communities along the north shore
- 3 nights in St. John and immediate vicinity during the folk festival Aug 6-8
- 4 nights south Avalon peninsula including Cape St. Mary's
- ferry to Nova Scotia.
We are planning on staying in B&Bs, hope to visit small out of the way communities, do some sea kayaking, and see birds, whales. We will be travelling mid- July to mid-Aug so we won't get to see icebergs and the northern lights.

What do you think of our itinerary.. any suggestions on places to stay and eat? Anywhere we should make a point of stopping? Really looking forward to hearing from you... Maureen
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 08:02 AM
  #2  
 
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Port Aux Basques is really not that big and other than a waiting point to catch the ferry, not sure what there is to do. There are several B&B's and an old hotel (with a great restaurant - very reasonable). It isn't a long drive between Port Aux Basques and Deer Lake and not a lot in-between. It would be an easy leisurely drive between the two points. I would probably look at 1 day and ending up in Gros Morne vicinity. We stayed in Rocky Harbour - I think the place was called "Inn on the Hill". Take a few days there and although I have not made the trip personally, everyone says Lance Aux Meadows is worth the trip. It is a long drive across the province from Deer Lake to St. John's. I would put Twillingate on my list of places to visit. St. John's and vicinity is worth the time. I assume you are taking the Argentia ferry back to Sydney?

You will thoroughly enjoy Newfoundland - its people make it very special!
Tanya is offline  
Mar 8th, 2010, 06:13 PM
  #3  
 
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Maureen, I like your itinerary. We did basically the same trip in just 2 weeks, so I think with the time you have , it will be great.

Let me dig out some information, and get back to you tomorrow. You will have a great time. I love it there.

Have you ordered the Tourist book from the Tourist office? Very very worthwhile.
kodi is offline  
Mar 9th, 2010, 04:37 AM
  #4  
 
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In the mean time, do a search for Nfldbeothuk and LJ. They are both excellent resources and will give you excellent advice. One lives there now, and one used to..

But I will get back to you when I read my notes. How exciting for you! I know how excited I was the first time. Seeing Puffins was one of my dreams.
kodi is offline  
Mar 9th, 2010, 09:36 AM
  #5  
 
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Can't see exactly how to remedy this, but it would be better if you could get to the Witless Bay area earlier for the puffins and seabirds. They move off the nesting islands pretty quickly in August. Gannets will be no problem at Cape St. Marys as they stay into the autumn but some of the other seabirds will have moved out.
The Folk Festival is excellent. One of my favourites in Canada. Relatively small but high quality music in a pleasant venue in Bannerman Park.
I've birded Gros Morne a bit and the Avalon Peninsula a lot, so can help with birding suggestions and wildlife viewing.
Too bad you couldn't pull your trip ahead a bit and make the Folk Festival one of your final activities.
cheers-Jerry
gannetmusic is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 11:02 AM
  #6  
 
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Blanche, I'm so sorry, I have looked all over and can't find my folder on Newfoundland... but I will give you some tips from memory.

In St. John's we stayed at the Roses B&B and loved it. We've stayed there more than once, and always been happy. It's within walking distance to downtown.

We did stay in Rockey Harbour in Gros Morne and it was a perfect locaton.
Do be sure to do the Western Brook Pond boat tour. Fabulous.

As we headed east, we did go up to Twillingate .. and also up to Trinity and Savage area, and it was beautiful.

Also up to Bonaventure, and enjoyed hiking across all the huge rocky area..

Then to the Avalon Peninsula.

If you have time, go north to Pouch cove adn all around that area.

South of St. John's, we did a boat tour out of Whitless Bay, but as Gannet says, you might be too late for the puffins.. a real shame.
Just south of there is a really good restaurant.. darn it all I wish I could find my notes. It will be in the guide book.. Seems to me it had a captains name in the title.

At Ferryland we stayed at Hagan's Hospitality... a really wonderful Newfoundland experience, and true hospitality . Rita is full of stories, and a real gem.

South of there, one of our favourite hikes on the East Coast Trail is at LaManche. Wonderful hike.

Have a great time.
kodi is offline  
Mar 12th, 2010, 11:03 PM
  #7  
 
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Dont miss Bonavista and Elliston.

If you are looking at B&Bs check out Points East Guesthouse www.pointseast.ca in Pouch Cove on the Avalon Penisnusla
Elke who runs the place will be able to point you in the direction of some great hikes and her food is AMAZING!
irecommend is offline  
Mar 13th, 2010, 12:17 PM
  #8  
 
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With nearly 3 weeks, you should be able to cover all the places on your itinerary. However, I would allocate the time differently.

From the ferry at Port aux Basques, I would drive directly to Gros Morne Park, although you might consider one night en route, say at Cape St. George on the Port-au-Port peninsula.

I would definitely make the trip up the Northern Peninsula to visit the Viking site at l'Anse aux Meadows. St. Anthony is also an interesting stop, with the Grenfell Centre. It's a good place to take a whale watching trip and possibly see icebergs (but I think you'll be a bit late for that). We took a trip this past summer with Northland Discovery boat tours and they were excellent. Count on a day's drive each way from Gros Morne.

So to this point, I would spend one day from Port aux Basques to Gros Morne, 4 days in Gros Morne, and four days exploring the Northern Peninsula.

3 nights is not a lot of time to visit along the way from Gros Morne to St. John's, but you could spend 1 night in Twillingate and 2 in the Trinity Bay area. I'd be inclined to take an extra day and add it to Trinity and surroundings, and perhaps spend a day less in the Avalon.

That would leave 3 nights in St. John's and 3 nights in the southern Avalon before taking the ferry from Argentia back to N. Sydney.

I'll make some suggestions on accommodation and dining in another post.

We've had two 3-week visits to Newfoundland and Labrador in the past ten years, and still haven't seen everything we'd like to see. Another trip is certainly in our plans.
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 16th, 2010, 05:42 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi Maureen, I have been to Nfld too many times to count now and have traveled to many out of the way places. Here are my thoughts on your suggested itinerary. Not sure if spending all that time in Port Aux Basque makes sense. The road out to Rose Blanche is really nice, the light house is beautiful, so I'd say a day in PAB if you want to tour that area - otherwise consider driving up to Stephenville area and out the Port au Port pennisula.... Cape St. George is great and the Boot is a great introduction to the wild beauty of Nfld. There is a good chance of seeing whales there too. A full day and night there is probably enough time. So much to do in Gros Morne that I think you have it about right. Musically there is a fun show in Rocky Harbor with Anchors Aweigh. There is also a dinner cruise out of NOrris Point that has local music, plus the Heritage Theater in Woody Point is another good place for music. Not sure what is happening up in Cowhead anymore - that might be all theater.but they used to have Who is darkening the door on Monday nights & that was music. A suggestion for you to consider since you mentioned out of the way places is to forego the usual Twillingate stop and go up to Fogo Island or Change Island - you can reach both by the same ferry which is in between Twillingate & Gander. You will meet many great people and it is just so incredibly beautiful & peaceful. It has been a while since I have been to Fogo but I fell in love with Tilting when I was there. We were at the Change ISlands last summer and stayed at Seven Oakes. The Change Islands are unlike anything I have seen. I heard it described as a place that time forgot which is not quite right but close. There is great cliff walking in both islands and Fogo has Brimstone Head too. They are only about a 1/2 hour apart by ferry. You can steal a few days from the beginning of your trip and maybe even a day off of Gros Morne to make that stop. It would be well worth it. I would suggest 3 nights at one of these places - no less than two. You could then use those other 3 days (travelling to St. John's) out in Trinity & Bonavista. In Bonavista if you want a b&b, I recommend Harbourview overlooking the harbour down by the Matthew. There are nesting puffins that you might be able to see from the shore by the lighthouse. I saw them once in early July. Last year I went through that area later in July and they had just left their nests however we were able to see them flying around still. Cape St. Mary's is an absolute must - plan on a day there and take the time again for some cliff walking. In the Avalon - Ferryland is quite interesting - it has the archealogical dig, the walk out to the light house and has a good dinner theater. Down by Trepassey - near Mistaken Point are some fossil beds. It is a really nice walk out to them. Cape Schott & Cape Pine are good areas to see some caribou and St. Vincent's is good for whales. You are going to have a wonderful time and it will be a trip to remember. Don't be surprised if you go back though..... may of us get caught Newfoundland's spell.
katrinasl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 04:43 AM
  #10  
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I have been ill and unable to get back to the site until today. First let me thank each of you for taking the time to provide me with so much advice. Let me read it and get back to you.

Till then THANKS
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:21 PM
  #11  
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We will definitely adjust our itinerary and head up to Anse aux Meadows for a couple of days.

Tanya .. thanks for the suggestion not to linger in POrt aux Bas
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:38 PM
  #12  
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oops .. technical glitch

Tanya ..we will use the extra time to go to Anse aux Meadows. The suggestion to stop in Twillinggate gives me a place to start looking .. as I really didn't know where to stop on the coast.

Kodi.. I will definitely look up NfldBeothuk and LJ - I am sure their insights will also be invaluable. If you had to choose between Twillingate, Trinity and Savage what would you do as we will not have time to stopover in more than 1 I believe.

laverendrye, katrinasl.. thanks for all the tips. You have recommended exactly the types of places we were looking for...

gannetmusic... we are amateur birders and would appreciate any advice on birding and wildlfe viewing.... Can you tell me if Gros Morne and other reserves offer guided tours with park naturalists to help identify and alearn about the birds.

Seems to be a general consensus that we will be too late for puffins, other seabirds, icebergs....we do have some flexibility in our dates though I was hoping to do the festival in St. Johns. What are the latest dates to view the birds and icebergs... rather than visit 20th July to mid-August, how much earlier would we have to go.

and do we need to book our accommodations ahead of time or can we be spontaneous about portions of the trip .. say Anse aux Meadows, Twillingate or Trinity or Fogo Islands and St. Vincent areas.

Again thanks .. your enthusiam just confirms we wil have a great time!
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 05:46 PM
  #13  
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forgot to ask.. any advice on the type of campsite we should try and get in Gros Morne....We are camping in a tent and typically like wooded sites that offer shade and privacy. Gros Morne seems to offer both wooded and open grassy sites - I don't want to sacrifice a great view for privacy but also don't want to be too much in the open if there tends to be lots of weather....
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2010, 06:09 PM
  #14  
 
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Blanche:
Hope you have a great visit in NL
I totally agree with laverendrye & katrina that fewer days around Port aux Basques, and more on the north-east coast, would be a better use of your time. The Port au Port peninsula is interesting to anyone who wants to check out NL's only French region, but the coastline from Twillingate to Bonavista is absolutely must-see; it's what all the tourism commercials show. Twillingate is wonderful for icebergs, but you'll probably be too late for any. Bonavista - Trinity are close enough to let you see both, if you use 2 nights there. Trinity's summer theatre is great, and the daytime "walking history tour" called the Trinity Pageant is an enjoyable introduction to NL history and culture.

Salvage is a picturesque spot, and much nearer to the Trans Canada Highway across the province. There are some nice beaches in the area (Eastport & Sandy Cove) and Terra Nova National Park is also nearby.

As for camping in Gros Morne -- I love Green Point, but it can get REALLY windy (and I spent half my childhood summers in a tent). Shallow Bay, although on the ocean, is somewhat more sheltered. The main campground is up in the hills--less wind, but be warned--more black flies. Check out the web site (http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/visit.aspx) for more info. And going up the Northern Peninsula to L'Anse aux Meadows is good advice. If you're lucky enough for a sunny day, the view of the Atlantic is spectacular for miles.

Speaking of websites, I tell all visitors to order the tourist guide or pick it up at the first tourist info site (there's one in Port aux Basques) and that the government site (www.newfoundlandlabrador.com) is VERY helpful.
I'm not useful on hotels/B&B's since I live here, and seldom stay in them.

I'm glad you've got plenty of time to take it easy. NL is a great outdoor destination, but it's not conducive to "drive-bys". And one last piece of advice--be careful if driving after dark, as nothing will spoil your holiday as fast as encountering a moose on the highway.
nfldbeothuk is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 11:38 AM
  #15  
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We have adjusted our itinerary to include Anse aux Meadows based on all the feedback we have received.
Our plan is to take the ferry into Port Basques.. spend
- 1 night in Deer Lake as we don`t want to set up camp after ferry ride and driving from Port aux Basques
- 5 nights camping in Gros Morne
- 3 nights in Anse aux Meadows and St. Anthony
- 4 nights on way to St John`s – not sure if we will stop in Twillingate, Trinity, Salvage... or Bonavista have received great feedback on all these locations
- 4 nights in St. John - folk festival Aug 6-8 and vicinity including Ferryland and Witless Bay
- 2 nights south Avalon peninsula probably Cape St. Mary's
- then ferry to Nova Scotia from Argentia.

It is a lot of driving so we are trying to spend a few nights in each place to break it up and take the time to visit. I don't know how some of you did in in 2 weeks

Is it reasonable to think we can get from St.Anthony to St John stopping 4 nights along the way and actually see something or will it feel like a rushed drive by?

Do we need to reserve B&B before we arrive or can we be a bit spontaneous?

Gannetmusic... would love to get tips on birding and wildlife viewing....we are actually going to Cape Mary`s for that reason.. would you suggest something different?

We would have liked to see puffins, icebergs and the folk festival but it seems like we need to choose between folk festival and puffins , icebergs. Our dates are actually flexible - what would you choose?
cheers
Blanche
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 01:58 PM
  #16  
 
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As to reserving, there are several places (none particularly charming, I'm afraid) around Deer Lake. But places like L'Anse aux Meadows or Trinity are quite small-- if you don't reserve you may end up at the worst of the four places available! St. John's has a lot of places, so you're sure to find something if you're not fussy.

As to choosing between folk music and puffins, I don't see how anyone else can tell which would be most enjoyable to you!
nfldbeothuk is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 02:17 PM
  #17  
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Ok I will go back through the accommodation suggestions I have received and the tourist bureau book...

No I didn't expect anyone else to be able to choose for me but hearing folks' reasons for their choices could help me. I am most interested in getting to know more about Newfoundlandlers as I have heard so much about their hospitality and uniqueness I am thinking folk festival. I am sure there is no wrong choice.... so won't fuss it
blanche5678 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 05:29 PM
  #18  
 
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I didn't mean to sound peevish--but a nature-lover would take the puffins every time--while a musician would prefer the festival... I'd take puffins, but I have zero musical ability. However, I see the Folk ARts Council has posted the 2010 web site, so maybe a look at some of the performers would help:
http://www.nlfolk.com/fest2010/fest2010.html
nfldbeothuk is offline  
Mar 21st, 2010, 08:02 PM
  #19  
 
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May I ask what actual date you are arriving in St. John's?
gannetmusic is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2010, 04:45 AM
  #20  
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nfldbeothuk... thanks I will check out the program ... this may be my only trip to Nfld so I am really trying to make sure I experience the best and the most. I am at the painful part of planning for me - having to start eliminating things so I start to second guess myself a lot - drive my husband a bit batty at the same time so no offence taken appreciate your time

gannetmusic.. we are arriving in St. John's Aug 6. Actually arriving in Nfld July 24 in Port aux Basques and leaving Aug 12 via Argentia.
cheers
Blanche
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