Allison's Book Bag

Posts Tagged ‘Newfoundland

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Andy and I spent the month of July in Newfoundland with my family. This week, I’m posting the last of my photos dedicated to that trip. They are of the smaller events.

Andy and I started out visiting St. John’s, the most easterly city in North America. While there, Andy and I took time to explore its iconic side. The older side of St. Johns is known for its “colourful jellybean row houses wedged together in every space”. Although Andy and I were at times frustrated by trying to maneuver the city’s narrow and steep streets, which seem to randomly criss-cross one other, we were also delighted by the city’s distinct architecture.

After exploring the East Coast of Newfoundland, Andy and I headed inland to my family’s home. On the first weekend, all of us went out for a meal at The Mount Peyton Hotel. My new favorite traditional Newfoundland dishes are now toutons (shown in the first photo below) and bread pudding, replacing fish and chips.

For a week, Andy and I mostly allowed ourselves to be lazy. We read books, took naps, played games, and enjoyed my step-mom’s homecooked meals. Oh, and I wrote some articles about Newfoundland pet rescue groups.

After that, Andy and I got busy visiting folks. As always, Andy and I took time to eat at restaurants unique to the area. We ate a few times at Mary Brown’s. The very first Mary Brown’s opened in St. John’s in 1969, and now the chain has over 100 locations throughout Canada. We ate at A&W, where Robert has worked for the past year. Last, we checked out Papa’s Sweet Shop. It’s a family business which serves up ice-cream, hot dogs and nachos, and old-fashioned sweets.

In our final weekend, there was another highlight. Members of my home church, Windsor Pentecostal Tabernacle, were encouraged to attend a memorial at the cemetery. The event was an informal one, where people showed up at various times during a set time period. My dad and I bought a bouquet of roses to place at my mother’s grave.

All too soon, the end of July arrived and we faced saying goodbye to my family for another year. On our return trip, my supportive husband always comes up with a series of questions to help keep my mind off being homesick. We talked about what we’d miss about Newfoundland, what we were looking forward to in Nebraska, and plans for future visits. This year, we bought ourselves treats at Eddy’s Yogurt Factory in South Brook. We each selected a flavor of yogurt and then piled on the toppings. Our vacations are always full of big and small moments, just as life itself should be.


Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Hikes, hikes, and more hikes! Whenever Andy and I visit my home province of Newfoundland, we always seek out scenic spots and trails. So far, I’ve shared photos with you from our exploration of three birding sites and of the Salmonid Interpretation Center. As I near the end of our highlights, I want to talk about three hiking areas.

“Canada begins here-or ends here, depending on which way you are going,” so reads the sign at Cape Spear, North America’s most easterly point. Besides this distinguishing feature, the area is home to the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province and the remnants of Fort Cape Spear.

According to Newfoundland Tourism, “the light house is an iconic symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador’s mariner history”. Generations of the Cantwell family resided at Cape Spear for over I 50 years and worked diligently to maintain the light so vital to mariners:. As for the site’s World War II coastal defense battery, one can walk the pathways taken by Canadian and American soldiers as they guarded St. John’s from attack from lurking German U·boats.

Signs abounded about the dangers of leaving the path and of walking too close to the edge, but otherwise hikers were generally expected to show wisdom in their choices. I appreciated that, except for one fenced area, there were no guard rails or other types of protection from danger. We were free to savor the wild beauty of the landscape.

Because Andy and I spent a week on the Avalon Peninsula, we limited the number of our hikes in Central to just two of them. My brother, Robert, joined us for a day-long trip to Long Island. According to the area’s website, the main occupation in this region continues to be the fishery. Tourism has also become a slowly growing industry. The recorded number of residents in 2011 was 220.

Ferries are a large part of Newfoundland. They’re how you get to the island itself and sometimes how you get to places in Newfoundland such as Long Island. The ride is a short one, about five minutes, and most people stayed in their cars. While at Long Island, we admired its lighthouse, hiked the Beothuck Trail, ate at the Tea Room, and drove around to take idyllic photos.

One will see the lighthouse when the ferry docks. The lighthouse is Newfoundland’s oldest and originally had a dwelling for the light keeper and their family. They farmed the land and kept root cellars. The children were often home schooled. According to the area’s website, there are still descendants of the lighthouse keepers living on Long Island today. The original lighthouse was dismantled in 2009, but then restored and declared a Municipal Heritage Structure.

Newfoundland’s natives, the Beothuk, used the Island as a summer base from about 1200 A.D. until around 1800. Several Beothuk sites have been identified by the surveyor and mapmaker, J.P. Howley. Today one can walk a trail, where many believe the Beothuks once crossed, and take in the island’s natural beauty. A gazebo marks a stopping point in the trail. On our hike, Roben found a geocache, and we saw pitcher plants.

Last year. when we visited the Thomas Howe Demonstration forest in Gander, we didn’t take the trail that led to the water. This year, Andy and I headed back there for that purpose. My dad and Robert joined us for this morning trip.

The Edgar Baird Trail runs along the shore of Gander Lake before it makes the steep climb to end near the main parking area. We didn’t complete the whole trail, but stopped at the first beach detour. There, we listened to the waves and watched a shore bird.

As with the Long Island Trail, mosquitoes attacked us, and humidity soaked us. After having been stuck inside a few days due to rain, we were happy enough to get out and to have sun. Of course, we rewarded our efforts with snacks!

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. When browsing the Salmonid Interpretation Center, where we annually purchase souvenirs for friends, we realized that Andy hadn’t actually seen the center or its salmon ladder. So, we squeezed in a visit.

The salmon ladder allows salmon bypass the dam to they can swim up the Exploits River to spawn. The salmon are drawn to the salmon ladder naturally because they are wired to swim against the current.

While most of the salmon ladder at the Salmonid Interpretation Center is covered by metal grating, right next to the center there’s an uncovered holding area. Here, visitors can watch the salmon leap into the holding area. Andy and I spent a lot of time here trying to get photos of “flying” salmon.

Visitors can also go to the lower level of the interpretation area to get an underwater view of the holding area through large windows. It was easier to get photos of the salmon here.

Originally the Exploits had few Atlantic Salmon because of the large waterfalls in Bishop’s Falls and at the Grand Falls. Thanks in part to the salmon ladder, a returning run of 1,500 in the late 1970s has grown to 35,000 adult fish today. We’ve never before been so fascinated by fish!

Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. For our most recent vacation, my husband and I visited various birding sites in Newfoundland. I shared photos from Cape St. Mary’s and from Witless Bat, both seabird ecological reserves. This week’s post will feature Elliston.

Just off the Bonavista Penlsula, Elliston is dubbed Root Capital of the World. The small fishing community is also known as a tourism destination for many other many wonders including a sealers memorial and puffins. The last is the main reason we visited.

The late hour in which Andy and I arrived at Elliston inspired our first adventure. The only restaurant in town was closed. We faced the choice of a snack shop in a park or driving to the next town. We choose the snack shop, only to find the lady closing up when we arrived. She reopened just so we could have hot food. That’s Newfoundland hospitality!

The next day, we partook in additional adventures. First up were the puffins. At first, there didn’t seem to be any. By waiting long enough, however, we discovered that the puffins had disappeared into the water to eat. Eventually, we got to to see ones.

Next, we hit tourist shops and other sites. By now, having seeing the cute and bright puffins in abundance, we were enamored with them. We brought several puffin-related souvenirs.

Root cellars are known for keeping food supplies at a low temperature and steady humidity. They keep food from freezing during the winter and keep food cool during the summer months to prevent spoilage. While interesting in their own right, root cellars couldn’t compete with the comical puffins. We returned a second time to see them, focusing mostly on taking shots of the puffins taking off, flying, or landing.


Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. For our most recent vacation, my husband and I visited various birding sites in Newfoundland. So far, I’ve shared photos from Cape St. Mary’s, one of seven seabird ecological reserves protected by provincial legislation. This week’s post will feature Witless Bay. Comprised of four small islands, this reserve is home to millions of seabirds that come to shore in the summer to nest and raise their young.

Whales supposedly swim in the area too, especially humpback and minkes. We didn’t see many whales, but we did see a large variety of birds. Newfoundland Tourism advises that the reserve is best seen from a tour boat. This is how Andy, my sister, and I spent one of our mornings together on the Avalon Peninsula.

Not far into our tour, we saw puffin on the water. Then just as when we visited Cape St. Mary’s, when we reached the four islands, we saw cliffs blanketed with birds as far as the eye could see. They provided us with a great viewing pleasure.

Of course, once again, picking what to focus on proved a challenge. Moreover, because of being on a boat, managing to take clear photos was also a task. I tried to capture shots of each type of bird, especially of ones in flight.

For anyone who has the opportunity, we highly recommend the O’Briens boat tour, which leaves from Bay Bulls. From the moment the boat launched, we enjoyed the experience. Our guide had a light personality and made everyone feel at ease. He’s also a member of the Irish Descendants and sometimes led passengers in stirring songs. And when the boat tour ended, we ate traditional Newfoundland cuisine at The Sailor’s Gallery Restaurant, where reservations can be made and souvenirs bought.

Allisons' Book Bag Logo

Thank You!

Allison’s Book Bag will no longer be updated. Thank you for eight years!

You can continue to follow me at:



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 127 other subscribers