DAY 18, AUGUST 9
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
I’m not long back from my annual pilgrimage back to the motherland – Newfoundland and Labrador (aka ‘The Rock’). The more this post formulated itself in my head, the more I realize I probably need to address the topic of home in two separate posts. The first, this one, a highlight of some of the sights, sounds and flavours that make me love home so much. The second, a more general post on the topic of home and what that stirs up in me (a feelings post).
So on with the fun stuff, shall we?
Newfoundland, a small island off the coast of Canada that sits in the frigid North Atlantic Ocean. It is unique and peculiar to some but packs a whole lot of punch in relation to its size.
If you’ve seen any of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism ads, you’ll start to piece together that this place is definitely not like any other. From the rugged coastlines, the odd accents, the colourful houses, and the quaint fishing villages it truly is a magical place.
A DECENT CUP OF JOE FOR THIS AMATEUR COFFEE SNOB
I don’t like to call myself a coffee snob, but I feel like doing so actually makes me more of a hipster, especially by Vancouver standards.
When I left St. John’s four years ago my only hope for a decent cup of coffee was if Tim Horton’s had a fresh pot on or the Starbucks drive-thru lineup didn’t go all the way out onto Kenmount road.
Boy have times changed!
FIXED COFFEE SHOP
My first stop was at Fixed Coffee, a quaint little coffee shop on the east end of Duckworth Street that brews Anchored Coffee (mmmm) and has a supply of fresh, wholesome baked goods.
Not only was the coffee amazing, it is conveniently across the street from a famous, local record shop. Off I went to sip my single-origin Americano and peruse vinyl with a smile on my face.
Rocket is an absolute must stop for anything baked or a delicious coffee when in the downtown vicinity. It’s a popular lunch stop for downtown business folk and coffee shop for young families, retirees (mom and her clan go there a lot), and tourists alike.
It is definitely busier than I remember, with people even sitting in the windowsills having a yarn with their friends. Word must be getting around that they make the best lattés in town.
THE WATERSHED, PETTY HARBOUR
I discovered this little gem the last time I was home and played tourist for the day. Petty Harbour is a tiny, sheltered fishing village not far from downtown St. John’s and just a short detour from Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. Not only is it worth the drive to visit this little community but I’m fairly certain my heart grows in size every time I do.
This little watershed (literally) sits on the dock in the protected harbour so you can see locals reeling in their catch for the day while strolling the shore. Mom and I headed out for some mother/daughter time and quality coffee to boot. Needless to say, the view from where we sat in this shed turned cafe is nothing short of spectacular.
OUT FOR A FEW SCOFFS
Food and drink (and music) is at the heart of anything and everything Newfoundland. It’s our culture. It’s how we show love, how we celebrate, how we mourn, how we reminisce, how we forget about the often miserable weather. I had a few places on my hitless and more than enough friend-dates to fill the spots.
Not familiar with a scoff?
Check this out:
Mallard Cottage has been on must-do hit list for the last few years. It has been named #5 on Enroute Magazine’s 2014 Best New Restaurant In Canada and I’ve been following them pretty closely on social media.
Situated in a 200+ year old historic cottage in the heart of one of the cities original fishing villages, they grow their own herbs, smoke their own meats, host lobster boils in the spirng and have a cake table (A CAKE TABLE!), that isn’t an unfamiliar site to any Newfoundlander growing up.
The food is elegant yet simple, traditional yet creative, and down right delicious. Knowing I was home for my parent’s birthday, I jumped at the opportunity to treat them for their famous brunch.
It certainly didn’t disappoint!
THE ADELAIDE OYSTER HOUSE
The Adelaide Oyster House has been another stop I’ve wanted to make since the last time I was home. It too made Enroute Magazine’s 2015 Best New Restaurant’s In Canada list, placing a solid #7. When my ‘Thursday night crowd’ suggested we meet here on our annual night out, I was super excited.
The phenomenal food, small-plates style dining, great music and unpretentious atmosphere made for a super fun evening. If you go, have the fish tacos – they are so good I ordered a second round for ‘dessert’.
A trip home for me isn’t complete with a few scenic stops. I could go on for days about all the hikes and beautiful ocean lookouts and scenic drives you can do but I’ll just tease you with two of my favourite.
One of the best in-city walking trails and nature’s very own stair master. I do it most days when I’m home to breathe in the salty air that I love so much. I like it because it changes from day to do, depending on the weather, time of year and your headspace. One day I got a chance to look up (rest from all the stairs and see whales spouting in the distance. How could that not put a smile on your face?
MIDDLE COVE BEACH
It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me or even glances at my instagram that I have a love affair with anything beach related. So naturally, I had to make a stop at a beach that used to be in my back yard.
Of course beaches here can’t be like anywhere else, instead of sand the beach is littered with these sea-washed smooth rocks. I got lucky on this stop as Capelin season was in full swing. The small fish were are so plentiful they roll them selves up on the beach in the waves, you just have to scoop your bucket into the water to catch them. That particular afternoon a pod of porpoises and whales were jumping and playing in the distance, I was in complete awe!
MY HEART IS BURSTING WITH LOVE
So that was just a little glimpse at place I call home. I could write a post 10x as long if I wanted to give it all away, but I hoped I peaked your interest enough to know St. John’s is a pretty unique place to visit.
My heart is still bursting with love for all the family and friend time I had over this trip.
Going home is always something special for me and the longer I’m away the more I appreciate the pace, the people, the places (maybe not quite the weather).
Until next time St.John’s xo.