I might have mentioned once or 300 times that I grew up in central Newfoundland, and yet my jaunt around the area this past summer had many surprises in store. That’s what happens when you live somewhere for 18 years: you start taking things for granted.
One perk of being a travel writer is learning how to look at things a little more critically, and in a new light. That’s how I rediscovered home.
48 High in Grand Falls-Windsor
I absolutely did not expect to find such the incredibly upscale 48 High restaurant in the middle of Grand Falls-Windsor. The walls are adorned with thoughtful quotes, and the wait staff is super friendly. I ordered the bacon wrapped scallops over pasta and mushrooms, and promptly went into a food coma.
The Gaultois Inn
Swanky accommodations and a gourmet meal at the Gaultois Inn, located on an island only accessible by ferry and without any vehicles other than ATVs? I ordered a delicious seafood medley, served up with perfectly toasted garlic bread. There’s some kinda weird food revolution going on in Newfoundland right now, and I freaking love it.
Rafting on the Exploits River was one of my most memorable experiences of 2011. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder, and the full-day tour was worth the money and more.
The amazing scenery of the Coast of Bays
I’ve never driven around the Coast of Bays before. I had heard lots about the towns there—English Harbour, Rencontre, Belleoram, and more—but I never bothered to check them out.
English Harbour took my breath away with its ocean views, and but when we drove into Wreck Cove, I was blown away. Rolling green hills, craggy cliffs giving away to long stretches of sandy beach, red roads, and purplish rocks. Lobster pots and fishing sheds crowded the shore, surrounded by cozy saltbox houses. I wanted to set up a tent and spend a few days near the water, if I weren’t such a big baby.
Yes, that’s about as far off the beaten path as you can get.
The life of a fisherman
While in Twillingate, I swung by the Prime Berth Heritage Center to visit my friend, David Boyd. He gave up a career as a teacher to follow in the footsteps of his father, as a fisherman. The lifestyle suits him well. Ange and I gathered along with a dozen other tourists in Boyd’s fishing shed, surrounded by buckets of cod oil and fish remains, and watched him demonstrate the art of his trade.
He cracked off the cod’s head, split the stomach to spill the insides with one deft manoeuvre, and showed us how to salt the fish. He explained how no part of the cod goes wasted, not even its little white ear-bones which are sold in the gift shop as earrings. Then he recited his own poetry to a room of silent, respectful tourists. If we were all half as passionate about our work as Boyd is, we’d all be better off.