Change in Change Islands

Every now and then you find a place that offers the sort of peace and quiet and inspiration that can fuel a soul for days. Or weeks. Or months.

For me, those places are in nature. Away from busy cities. You can’t find too many places in the world these days that are undisturbed by people. Even the grandiose landscape offered up by the Rockies can’t compare, because you’re sharing the same space with a hundred other souls.

Cape Breton was one of those special places for me, and Gros Morne.

And now there are the Change Islands.

While planning this trip with Corbin and Riley, my friend Janice who works with Adventure Central told me the Change Islands are “magical.” I was skeptical, “magical” being the type of term you never want to use in travel writing. And having grown up in one of the most remote places in Newfoundland, I couldn’t see how this place would be all that different.

When we drove off the ferry and onto Change Islands, an isolated road to nowhere greeted us. So we drove, and drove some more, and then there it was. Magic.

The town was quiet. We joked about the apocalypse, not having seen ANYONE on the street, although we drove back and forth several times. We searched for a restaurant, and found one…deserted.

Well, the sign said, “Open” and the door was unlocked, but when we stepped inside, no one could be found. We even sang out, upon hearing footsteps upstairs. Alas, we decided to check into Seven Oakes Island Inn instead. (We did return to eat later, though. And the service was fab.)

We were out looking for the famous Newfoundland pony, a critically endangered breed (there’s only something like 88 left in the world), but did not find the refuge. It’s hard to find anything in a town where the directions given are, “Go up over the road, around the turn to the left, drive down the street, take a right, turn around, wander into the woods a bit, and there it is.” But, for curiosity sake, here’s what these itty-bitty ponies look like.

(Photo by: bernadettemacphersonmorris)

We hiked along Squid Jiggers Trail, overlooking tiny saltbox houses and the Atlantic Ocean and fishing stages clustered at water’s edge. Most times there was nothing to be heard other than birds chirping and wind whistling. I can see why so many writers and artists spend time here.

Back at the inn, Beulah, the grandmotherly owner of the household, took good care of us. She assigned us to our rooms, and we joined a couple from British Columbia for dinner in the dining room. Beulah had also assigned us to their table, because like all good Newfoundland homes, personal relationships are vital. We carried out the evening in the front parlor, drinking beer and chatting about life and blissfully ignoring the storm going on outside.

And again, I thought, how lucky to be born exactly where I belong.

  • November 22 2012

    Love these pictures!

  • November 22 2012

    Yes, yes and yes please. I have already decided on an east coast detox when/if I ever leave the Caribbean. This is exactly what I’ll need! Beautiful!

  • November 22 2012

    I always like coming to your website and finding out about places in Newfoundland I didn’t know about, like Change Islands. Change Islands looks pretty spectacular. I think that first photo alone has magic written all over it.

    • November 26 2012

      Even I didn’t know about Change Islands! It really was magic. I want a little home up there where I can retreat and do some writing. Swoon.

  • November 26 2012

    Gorge! Newfoundland is definitely on my list. Thanks for inspiring me to get there!

  • November 26 2012

    Candice, I am so glad that someone sent me your site! We love Newfoundland. We have not been to Change Islands yet, but have been to Fogo Island. After seeing these pictures and reading the story, we will be going to Change Islands next summer, when we arrive in Newfoundland. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

    • November 29 2012

      I am so happy to hear that, thanks so much! I was so tickled pink, I had to send your comment off to the tourism board. :) So glad to inspire! I love it there. You will too.

  • November 26 2012
    Linda Hoffe

    Yes Change Islands is beautiful, my husband was born there and we have a cabin there right on the ocean in main tickle. Beulah (Seven Oakes Inn) is one of my best friends, and all the food is made fresh – homemade everything including bread, cookies, cakes, soups etc. If you go to visit that is the place to stay for sure…..

    • November 29 2012

      I definitely need to get back. Would LOVE to spend a month or two there just working and writing. What a beautiful spot! And Beulah is amazing.

  • December 07 2012

    Candice, this is my first message on Matador – I chose your blog because of the beautiful pictures and exhilarating scenery of Change Islands.
    I’ve just started to read the discussions and I know I’ll enjoy reading about your travel exploits. Thank you. :)

    • December 29 2012

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope you stick around for awhile. :)

  • August 04 2014

    Please note that the correct name of the town is indeed Change Islands, and not THE Change Islands. A small detail for some perhaps, but for those who originate from Change Islands, an important one ;-) Thanks!

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