On the Road to Canada’s East Coast–Newfoundland

The Place and People of the Rock - Moose, mountains and mankind. My wife Susan and I recently experienced all that and much more as we explored the wonders of Newfoundland .
An Iceberg off Twillingate
An Iceberg off Twillingate
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July 18, 2012 - PRLog -- We began our journey with a six-hour mini-cruise via Marine Atlantic. Our ferry ride began at North Sydney, and arrived at Port aux Basques on Newfoundland ’s southwest tip. We sailed on a modern multi-level people/car ferry called the MV Blue Puttees. MV stands for Motor Vessel. Puttees were strips of cloth that soldiers wrapped around their ankles and lower legs for support. Blue Putties were worn by members of the Newfoundland Regiment in World War One. Lacking khaki cloth, they hand-made puttees out of blue broadcloth; hence the nickname, the Blue Puttees. This mini-cruise ship has bright, modern seating areas and restaurants, and even cabins for overnight travel. The small beds were comfortable, and the bathroom clean and well-equipped.

As mainlander Canadians – what the Newfoundlanders refer to as being “from away”– we had this image of Newfoundland as a mostly flat, rocky plain with few trees and much fog. Now, as our one-end-of-the-island-to-the-other-and-back tour proved, this is only partially correct. Much of The Rock is mountainous with deep, narrow fiords cut by retreating glaciers. The glacier-worn mountains that dominate Newfoundland are ancient. In fact, some of the oldest rocks on Earth.

The best place to see Newfoundland’s mountains and beaches in all their splendor is Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne is French for ‘large mountain standing alone’ which stands 2,644 feet tall. The 697-square-mile park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to the violent collisions of two passing tectonic plates, the Earth’s geological history has been ripped, thrust up, and left in the open for all to see. It's like traveling in time at Gros Morne. Just go down to the beach where the ground has been tilted vertically, and the layers of rock stand stacked like books on a library shelf. There are layers from various epochs; some from when the area was a seabed, some from volcanic flows. Some layers are thin like sheets of compressed tissue paper, others are set in thick stone waves.

There are so many moose on Newfoundland, that moose/car collisions are a real problem. There are numerous moose warning signs on the roads, because when a car and moose collide, nobody wins.  We had three encounters with moose; thankfully none while driving. Once, while we were walking quietly along a wooden boardwalk taking photos, a young male moose suddenly crossed directly in front of us! Calmly marking his territory and munching on plants, his message was clear: “You seem harmless and I don’t mind you here as long as you realize whose turf you’re on.”

Moose and mountains are not all that you can experience in Newfoundland: Whales are seen blowing spouts of water off the coast, and icebergs can be toured in the province’s Iceberg Alley. These bergs come from Greenland and travel southwards to melt along Newfoundland’s East Coast.  We went out on the MV Daybreak, a 55' long ship that featured a wide-open top deck plus enclosed lower area, for those inclined to seasickness. The ship captain found and then circled a beautiful melting iceberg. According to the tour guide, it could have taken up to three years to get here. Don't get too close, because icebergs are fragile and can shed sections in seconds. The resulting waves can swamp you if your boat is right alongside.

These are just some of the natural wonders we saw in Newfoundland. But man has left his mark as well. Here and there, you’ll find fishing villages tucked into the coast. In larger centers like the capital, St. John’s, there are rows of clapboard houses neatly decked out in all colors of the rainbow.  Seafood, not surprisingly, dominates this historic fishing region’s tables. Even in the most humble of restaurants, you’ll find excellent chowders and fisherman’s platters with cod, shrimp, scallops, and all kinds of bounty from the sea. The restaurant at the Twillingate Adventure Tours office also offered unique cupcakes with fruit and cheesecake inside.

If you are ever in Placentia near St.John’s, you must go to Philip’s Café. Operated by the husband/pastry chef and wife who also run the Rosedale Manor B&B.  Food at Philips Café is simple yet beautifully prepared. His signature molasses and raisin bread is locally famous! The café uses a real wood stove, and looks out on the long, lovely Placentia Harbor .

We drove a lot the first day and stayed in the delightful Freshwater Inn in Gambo, on the northeast side of the Rock. This is a deceptively simple-looking trio of rooms in a stand-alone building overlooking Freshwater Cove. All three rooms are beautifully decorated with high ceilings, lots of space, fine furniture, and amenities. Multi-course breakfasts served by hosts Peggy and Boom are fresh and tasty.

Our next stop was at the aforementioned Rosedale Manor B&B Inn in Placentia; about a 1.5 hour drive from St. John’s. This lovingly restored Second Empire home has six gorgeous period rooms, plus great views of the harbor, an outdoor garden for relaxing, and a koi pond. Another great place to stay on the Rock – and you get to have breakfast at Philip’s Café just down the street!

Downtown St. John’s became our third stop, at the Avalon Guesthouse. This high-end youth hostel offers private rooms with bath, in an authentic 19th century setting. It has laundry facilities, cable TV in every room, computer access, free Wi-Fi, street parking, a self-catering kitchen, lockers, late night check-in, luggage storage and is smoke free.

On the road again, we found ourselves in Dildo, Newfoundland. Named after explorer Captain James Cook, this is where you will find the George House Heritage Bed and Breakfast. It is no exaggeration to call the George House one of the most luxurious B&Bs in all of Eastern Canada. This 1885 Second Empire hilltop mansion with sea views has five period-furnished guest rooms with silk wall coverings, plus ensuite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. Gourmet breakfasts, lunches and dinners are served at the Sea Level Dining Room down the hill at the Inn By The Bay.

Back on the road, we headed westwards to Port Aux Basques and stayed at the Anchor Down Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Harbour. This is a clean, well-kept B&B in the heart of Newfoundland ’s scenic Gros Morne National Park. The Anchor Down has five comfortable bedrooms with bathrooms; one also has a two-person Jacuzzi tub. A good breakfast is served promptly at 8 am.

We then overnighted at the Humberview Bed & Breakfast in Deer Lake, before taking the ferry back to the mainland. This wonderfully modern, elegant, spacious and lovingly-kept B&B is worth visiting. There are seven exceptionally furnished rooms with ensuite baths. The palatial 820 square-foot Grand Suite is really an apartment, with a four-poster Queen Ann bed, separate sitting area, and Jacuzzi tub in a large, pillared bathroom. Enjoy the amenities, excellent food, and hospitable hosts who really care about their guests.

The place and the people of the Rock are each unique in their own way, and our image of Newfoundland has expanded after having seen its many wonders.

Visit http://www.iloveinns.com/ and browse through the more than 23,000 Bed and Breakfasts and country inns.  Many of the properties listed are also in the best-selling bed and breakfast guidebook Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns with a Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate. ILoveInns also offers Bed and Breakfast Gift Certificates, a perfect solution to help celebrate any occasion.

About American Historic Inns and iLoveInns.com
American Historic Inns, Inc. (www.iloveinns.com), founded in 1981, is the leading publisher of bed and breakfast guidebooks, with more than 2.5 million bed and breakfast guidebooks sold, and runs iLoveInns.com, a top bed and breakfast and country inns online directory. iLoveInns offers a free iPhone application http://www.inntouch.com/ with 6,000 inns covered.
Source:James Careless
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Tags:Canada, Bed And Breakfast, New Foundland, Travel, Inns
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Location:Dana Point - California - United States
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