Our Travels: 13 Days in Newfoundland and Labrador
Their trip to Newfoundland completed this couple’s quest to visit every province in the country.
Visiting the Rock and Big Land
In July 2015, my wife Wendy and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary by visiting the final Canadian province on our list, Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the years, we have been privileged to have visited all the other provinces, as well as Yukon and the Northwest Territories. I must admit that we have not ventured to Nunavut, as it was still part of the Northwest Territories in 1997 when we visited Tuktoyaktuk. We have also visited all 50 of the United States, mostly by car, as part of our connection with the Buick Club of America.
Our visit to Newfoundland and Labrador was with the Canadian tour company DeNure, located in Lindsay, Ont. On June 25, 2015, we flew into Deer Lake to start our exciting 13-day trip and discovered that most of the other members of our tour group were on the same flight. We were bused to our hotel on a DeNure purple coach, which has fewer seat rows than other tour coaches to allow for more leg room.
Our first overnight stay was at the delightful Glynmill Inn in Corner Brook, where we became acquainted with the other people on the tour. The majority of the people were Canadian, mostly from Ontario, along with one lady from Winnipeg and a couple from Maryland. Our tour guide, Floyd Walden, was accompanied by our jovial driver, Russ Davidson.
On June 26, the day began with a visit to the statue of Capt. James Cook, a British explorer who made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to his voyages on the Pacific. On our way up the west coast to Gros Morne National Park, we walked to the area where “deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed.”
We then travelled north to visit L’Anse aux Meadows, the Viking settlement, where we had a guide who had actually grown up playing there before the settlement was discovered in 1960. We also took the ferry across to Labrador, where we visited a small museum featuring a whaling boat that had sunk in the harbour.
After an overnight stay in L’Anse au Clair, we had a group photo snapped beside the official Newfoundland and Labrador sign.
Another trip on the ferry back to Newfoundland followed, where we visited the Rocky Point Lighthouse. We then travelled along the north side of Newfoundland with stops at an insectarium, King’s Point for lunch, and a new whale museum and a pottery shop.
We also visited Twillingate, which is supposedly the iceberg capital of Newfoundland, but we didn’t see any on our visit. We did eventually see some, however, on the way to Labrador and L’Anse aux Meadows as well as in L’Anse au Clair.
We made a stop at Prime Berth, where we learned all about cod fishing and how to properly clean them.
A visit to Gander Airport, where the people landed during 9/11, was interesting. We expected to see the plaque from the United States thanking the people of Newfoundland for their hospitality; however, it turns out that it is located in the Gander Museum.
That evening we were all “screeched in,” a tradition for first-time visitors to the island involving a shot of screech, a short recitation and the kissing of a cod!
We finished our tour in St. John’s with visits to Signal Hill and Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America. Also in St. John’s is Johnson Geo Centre. A showcase of earth and space, it is well worth a visit. We took a whale-watching boat tour and saw plenty of whales and puffins.
Our tour group was wonderful and there was even another couple who were also celebrating their 50th anniversary. We both received gifts from DeNure and enjoyed a great final banquet.
What a wonderful trip. The people are great and so welcoming to visitors. If you have not visited the “Rock,” do so. I promise you will love it.