Newfoundland and Labrador

Here you’ll find travel reports about Newfoundland and Labrador. Discover travel destinations in Canada of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

28 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    Food Report

    June 19 in Canada

    So one of the things that people always say when they travel is that they look for the "local secrets". I'm no different. So far however, in Newfoundland, things have kinda backfired. Tim Horton's is their version of Dunkin Donuts. Every truck stop has a "Tim's". (I've used them for their free wifi). And throughout my travels, I kept hearing people talk about "oatcakes". So I tried one knowing that from a chain, it wasn't going to be very authentic. It was actually okay. The history also surprised me. Apparently these oatcakes were a Scottish staple that is kind of like a less sweet oatmeal cookie but cooked on a griddle. And usually eaten with ale. Hmmm. That seems like an odd combo.
    I also had the experience a few nights back of finding a food place where there were a zillion cars in front. Actually, mostly trucks. I walked in and it was totally like the scene in Animal House where everything just stopped for a second. There were literally twenty five or thirty men all gathered around tables. Eating, talking, enjoying each other. Since I had no food in my truck, I forged ahead and sat myself down in the corner of the room. A waitress came over and said, "Don't mind if they stare. They are just wondering who you are". Now THAT'S a small town! She told me that they had just started serving Rappie Pie for the summer. I asked what it was and she said it was a traditional Acadian fish cake. Served with chow-chow. Say, what?! It was incredible. And I don't mean that in a delicious way. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to eat pretty simply. Not much in the way of processed food or carbs or things that are fried. So when two big fat cakes arrived I dug in only to find that it was mashed potato with cod mixed in. Slathered in green pickle and onion relish(that's the chow-chow). I was all about having a couple of bites to enjoy the experience. Just a couple of bites!
    Because I'm such a quick learner(haha), a couple of nights later I saw a huge line outside a little truck. I admit, I got kind of excited. Turns out, it was hamburgers and onion rings. Hamburgers with "all the fixins" in Newfoundland means mustard, ketchup, sauted onions, lettuce and tomato. On this 39degree night, it was really good. But here I was eating this food, again! I only felt a bit guilty.
    Strike three came when I followed a big crowd into a diner. Everything, literally everything, was fried. So my new vow is to assume that crowds are like seagulls at the beach. They always go for the french fries. (Unless there are peanut butter crackers, right Vaughan?)
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  • Day15

    Time Travel(1)

    June 19 in Canada

    Many. many people can trace their roots back to Newfoundland. It doesn't make it any less powerful to do so. At the urging of two of my sisters, I specifically started this trip near Conception Bay. It turns out that the museum I visited had a whole floor of Newfoundland and Labradorean archives. I started with the knowledge that our Grandmother, Ella Stevenson Hall, Mother of Anson Louis Hall, was born in Harbor Grace, an outport of Conception Bay.
    The archivist was really helpful and pointed me to the baptismal records. Not knowing Ella's religion relegated me to pouring through a few books but I eventually found her record! It is the last one on the page pictured below.
    Ella Stevenson(no middle name, though used for Marcy's middle name!)) was born to Mark and Hannah Stevenson. (This was who Shannah was named after). Her birthday was October 5th 1886. She was baptised, in St Paul's Anglican Church, on November 7th, 1886. They lived in a neighborhood called "The Hill". Mark, ironically, was a listed as a fisherman. Though we have some family folklore that has him as a mail boat captain. I looked five years in either direction of Ella's birth for siblings but found none.
    According to dna testing that Shannah has done, there is also an Inuit influence in our gene's from Dad's side. This museum was filled nods to the impact of the native tribes that inhabited this place of extreme, though austere, natural abundance.
    A little silly story is that almost everyone I've run into is enthusiastic and warm. Traits I love about the Halls! When a woman selling me tea referred to me as "sweetie", "love" and honey-dear" in the span of two sentences, I said. "I've been wondering. How do you elevate these endearments for someone that you actually love?" We had a good giggle.
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  • Day15

    Just because....

    June 19 in Canada

    Rainy, windy, cold in St John's. I took a good nap after the time in the archives. I woke up and decided that I would start heading toward Harbour Grace. I kept driving and found myself pulling into this hardscrabble little town at dusk. With a history of production and aviation, it seems that things have slowed down quite a bit. A few teenagers darted out into the street on bikes. A couple of ATV'ers were rolling around. One gas pump. One corner store. There were a few ships in dry dock. And then I spotted a church and decided to check it out. It was St Paul's Anglican Church. The one that Ella Stevenson had been carried into by Mark and Hannah Stevenson to be baptized. Apparently, the oldest stone church in all of Newfoundland. Built in 1835. I touched the door with the weird knowledge that my Great Grandparents had touched the same door in November 1886. One hundred and thirty two years ago. Cool, powerful energy. It was getting dark and cold but I wanted to maybe find the neighborhood that was "Hill". There was really only one section of town that made geological sense and even though all the houses appeared to be new, I think this might have been our Grandparents' neighborhood.From the elevation you can see the steeple of St Paul's between The Hill and the harbour. .Read more

  • Day13

    How Far Can it Be?

    June 17 in Canada

    So, Sydney. Nova Scotia, not Australia. Let it be known that at least one person in this little ferry town has a sense of humor!(See picture #1 for my new favorite name for a hair salon)
    Photo #2 Shows the view from the park that I slept in the night before I sailed. These two ferries leave from Sydney with one, the smaller one, making the shorter, eight hour trek to Port aux Basque, Newfoundland. The larger one, the one I took, makes the longer, sixteen hour ride to Argentia, Newfoundland.
    As I watched the comings and goings from my "campsite", I realized that watching the eighteen wheelers disembark put the size of this vessel into perspective. Basically, the hull is very much like the huge cargo ships that roll in stacked with shipping containers.
    On Sunday, I got up, had breakfast and scored a shower at a campground a little ways away.(Yes, I'm doing my very best not to spend money on campsites if I can help it!) From there, I got to the ferry and secured my spot in line. Now, as my ferry-savvy friends know, is where the flavor, the culture and the sociology of the next port starts to reveal itself. (See Photo #4). In the rows of vehicles waiting to get on the ship, I was surrounded by the following:
    1. The ATV'ers. A whole crowd of "quad riders" sat to my right. This piqued my curiosity in that I was wondering how far they planned to travel once off the ferry. I've been told that if Newfoundland were a state, it would rank just under California and Texas in size. To think of driving an ATV for any real distance didn't fit with my understanding of where I was going.
    2. The "caravan". To my left was a crew of French speaking couples in my age group. Each couple had a big vehicle(F250's, Mercedes SUV's, Escalades) to haul their silver bullets, aka. Airstream RV's. They pulled out their lawn chairs, circled up, and proceeded to chit chat the wait away. These guys were obviously travel pros with a comfort level as a tribe that was clear even to this stranger. In front of me was a fancy Winnebago that looked like one of those Mercedes Sprint Campers. A Buffalo, New York couple who were retired and travelling. They showed me the vehicle and we chatted a bit about how they had chosen the vehicle and where they were going. They asked me what I liked most about travelling alone and I said that I suppose being able to set my schedule without worrying I was impacting someone else. The man gestured to his wife and, with a twinkle of a tease in his voice, joked that she got to do that, too.
    The car in front of them was a white truck. A white haired, white moustached man with the tan of an outdoors man and light blue, sparkly eyes. He had a Bruins jacket on(surprisingly ubiquitous up here) and was a chatter. He and his wife had their back tailgate popped and their Celtic music was loud enough to create a little party atmosphere around their vehicle. People walked by, stopped and chatted, pet their little dog and laughed. After awhile he gestured to me as I stood outside my truck enjoying the show. I walked over. "So what's the story with your licence plate?" "Oh. I'm a track and field coach". "So it's not on PURPOSE?"
    Sometimes I can be so dense.....Since arriving in Sydney, I have seen all sorts of signs for the Newfoundland ferry. Every one of them says this, "NFLD Ferry". I wondered why the abbreviation resonated so strongly with me?!(duh!) So this man thought I was a local. He thought my plate stood for Truck-Newfoundland.
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  • Day14

    Not the Bella Coola Ferry

    June 18 in Canada

    A number of years ago I was travelling with a friend. We got trapped by wildfires on the British Columbia peninsula of Bella Coola. No one could get in, no one could get out. We eventually ran out of time as I had to get back for school so we took an overnight ferry to the Vancouver Islands. It was bare bones.I remember blowing up the air mattresses for a snooze on the floor alongside a bunch of other people. This ferry ride, though similar in distance, was not that. It was actually a little comical. Ten floors. Two restaurants with white table cloths. Sleeping berths with showers(I was too cheap to splurge on that). A game room. A business office. Three small gift shops/snack shops. And a lounge.(photo#1 is where I slept) And a beautiful sunset, with a dolphin pod serenade, that I watched while bundled up like a bank robber on the deck. I was the last one off the deck and when I got back inside, I realized the reason. Live entertainment! (photo#3 back left corner is the "stage" and dance floor) From the moment we got on until midnight there was music. And dancing. And drinking. The man with the white mustache and his wife closed the place down.
    And then it got quiet as people slept. We were gifted with amazing smooth water as you can see in the photo of me on the deck as we arrive in Newfoundland. Within minutes of driving off the ferry I was in this wide-open space of carribou habitat. My first day was driving across this beautiful, barren land that was occasionally punctuated by little seaports. with everyone driving four wheelers! Big rain and wind forecasted for overnight into Tuesday so I made my way back to St. John's where I'll do some history snooping for the day.
    Over coffee this morning, I met Maureen. "Just remember this", she said, "Understand. Newfoundland. That's how it's pronounced." UnderSTAND. NewfoundLAND.
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  • Day15

    As predicted, the weather was terrible today. Sideways, no actually sideways, rain. It felt like sleet but it was simply the force with which the rain drops were being driven into my face! I laughed right out loud as I turned a corner at a building and was literally blown back two steps. I looked around and noted that people were walking at an angle as the leaned into the wind that made it look like a giant Michael Jackson video. A perfect day to delve into some history. Preferably indoors. (please note that there is a 6 photo limit on posts. I will likely divide this post into sections so I can share more in the way of pictures) As it happens, I bumbled onto The Rooms. Part Museum, Part Library. A spectacular building with a cool name and a cool logo. When I asked about it the curator said that once I learned how the cod was historically processed, it would make more sense. I should have known it had something to do with fishing. And specifically cod. It is impossible to avoid the influence of the sea here. And why would one want to?
    So cod fishing....
    1.The fisherman used hand nets to haul in the fish.
    2. They rowed the dories, laden with fish, to their families' fish houses. With long hooks they lifted the fish up onto the wooden deck. (Room #1)
    3. Here, men and women would filet the fish in stages. The first person would loosen the gills. The second would notch the belly. The third would reach in and pull the guts up to the head and take the head off(save the liver for cod liver oil). The fourth would slice the belly to tail. The fifth would take the spine out. On to Room #2.
    4. In an adjacent house, the fish would be placed in salt to cure for 7-10 days. The salt was part of a trade with parts of the Mediterranean and Brazil. It was in these places that salt water was dried to form salt crystals and traded to the Newfoundlanders for fish.
    5. After salting the third station was a rinsing of the salt and further drying in the wind and sun.
    6. Finally, the fish were stacked and brought to market in their new, dry, hard, last-forever state.
    To eat the fish, it had to be soaked for a long time to re-hydrate it. Often, a similar state of hard bread was also soaked and then the two were mashed together.
    "The Rooms". Now it does make sense!
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  • Day16

    I understand that not everyone would enjoy traveling this way. Long days of driving. The wandering around at dusk trying to figure out where to sleep. But for me, right now, it's working. I am starting to wonder if there will be a time here where I feel like staying someplace for awhile. It happened on my last big trip when I got to Jasper, Alberta. So far, it hasn't happened here. We'll see.
    The landscape here is best described as a mix of boreal forest and arctic tundra. And I continue to get to experience late spring over and over, again. It is finally summer here. At least according to the locals. Summer means 18 or 19C...mid 60's. People are literally in tank tops and shorts. There are still frost warnings for some areas overnight. And speaking of frost...the big news is that yesterday I saw my first iceberg! AND my first puffins!
    After a foggy morning spent writing(lots of posts yesterday!) I drove to Bonavista. I had heard that this was a possible whale viewing spot. I was not prepared for the sight I saw as I drove around a corner in Bonavista. The day had cleared to puffy blue clouds. The ground was all tundra-like with grey rocks, and orange and green lichen, and small flowers I associate with things I've seen above treeline. The water was green-blue and then, as if under a huge Broadway spotlight, was an iceberg. The contrast of the blue-white iceberg against all the other colors was stunning. I felt a lump jump into my throat. And I felt a wave of emotions that ranged from, "aren't I so lucky" to "oh my god, my grandbabies may not have a chance at this experience". I took a bunch of pictures and then just sat and took it all in. After awhile I moved on. I walked around the town which was classic Newfoundland fishing port. Kids were getting out of school. I got tourist-heckled by three bored fourteen year olds who needed something to do. And then I stopped at a little outdoor patio that someone had opened near their house. I sat and sipped some ginger tea and thought about what I had just seen.
    The day wasn't over, yet! I drove back down the road to a small town I had passed on the way in. This was Elliston. Root cellar capital of Newfoundland. And puffin viewing site!
    I've attached two links for fun!

    I left Elliston with the idea of finding a place to sleep. Ideally with a shower. I pulled into two little RV parks, but no showers. I kept driving. And then I saw a sign for free overnight camping in a municipal park near a lake. Bingo. I could shower in the lake if I had to. But I got down to this site and found about fifteen big rv's all set up but no signs of humans anywhere. Seemed like a weekend spot for a bunch of people. I parked near the lake and started to gather my gear for a bath but my radar was up. It just felt sketchy. I followed my instincts and knew that I wouldn't be able to relax into sleep here and started to drive away. Just then, one person came out of an RV down the land. Good instincts. I pushed on, knowing that the sun was lowering, and got to Terra Nova National Park. Long story shorter, I drove down a lane toward a campground. I saw two cars. And one bear. A black bear who didn't seemed too fazed by the rumble of my truck. I think I could have gotten some photos but decided not to let him associate a calm experience with humans. I will say that it is weird to see black bear with their tan faces who in real life look just like the stuffed versions we've all held. Important to remember that they are wild and strong and unpredictable. I didn't pitch a tent and I was careful to lock food up in the car, not in the bed of the truck where I sleep. I found a good campsite but it was so early in the season that there were no fire rings and, aargh, no showers. Finding a hot shower will be the goal today. Headed to Fogo Island.
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  • Day18

    What was I just saying?

    3 hours ago in Canada

    Did I seriously just yesterday morning say that I hadn't yet found a spot where I wanted to stop? Well that's just a little ironic. Ironic because just after writing that I drove, in the rain, to Twilingate. And, specifically to Crow Head. I had heard that there was a pretty walk here and it didn't disappoint. Sleepy Cove. Magic! I parked, sat on the tailgate because everywhere else was still wet, and ate a big salad. You can see in photo one that the sky was starting to clear.
    I spent the next five hours wandering the cliffs of Crow Head. Blown away by the scenery. Entertained by the that I mean the Ganets and Seagulls doing a crazy aerial dive-bombing fireworks show as they plunged into the water snagging capelin and herring. A pod of more than 30 harp seals attacking the small fish from below would rise to the surface every three or four minutes.I couldn't stop watching. But, just as I was getting ready to retreat, a mother humpback and her calf came right around the point that (pictured in photo#4) into the cove! the weather is forecasted to do the same wet morning-sunny afternoon shift and I know where I will spend another afternoon. On the cliffs near Sleepy Cove, scanning for whales!
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  • Day48

    Late Night Drinks

    September 19, 2017 in Canada

    At night we did an after dinner drink tasting with one of our favorite bartenders. As we are crossing the Atlantic Ocean it was quite bumpy. This bar is in the front of the ship so it was totally empty except for us. Interestingly our favorite drink was called The Stabilizer🥃.

  • Day50

    St John's, Newfoundland

    September 21, 2017 in Canada

    Today we toured St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, whose harbor was the center of cod fishing and trading. We drove to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, with magnificent views of the city and coastline.
    Along the way we stopped at Petty Harbor, one of the oldest fishing harbors in North America.
    Signal Hill was our next stop and is referred to as “The Lookout”. It was also where Marconi received the first wireless transatlantic signal in 1901.
    Now we have been on the most westerly point in Europe and the most easterly point in North America.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Newfoundland and Labrador, NL, New Foundland - Labrador, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, Terra Nova e Labrador, Newfoundland och Labrador

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