The surprises of Central Newfoundland

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.

The Rafting

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.

I want this house in English Harbour

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.

One of my faves

I don’t think I’ll ever be done exploring.

  • January 09 2012

    Beautiful photos (as always, Candice).
    Although that last one is a painful reminder of my epic failure with knots…

  • January 09 2012

    What a great post, and what a gorgeous part of the world! You’re lucky to live around there. We tend to live in remote areas, and it’s often hard to get “away,” so we always do local exploring. Most of the time, we see and do things that people who have lived in these places all their lives have never done. It’s great when you can rediscover your own home. :-)

    • January 11 2012

      Totally, and when you live in a place as isolated as NL, sometimes you have no choice. ;) There are worse places to be stuck, just the same.

  • January 09 2012

    Hey Candice-
    Great photos! I think there is always tons more to discover in your own backyard than you think. That’s the beauty of having a travel mindset. You don’t always have to go halfway across the world to see it in a new light.


    • January 11 2012

      So true, although sometimes going halfway across the world helps give you a little nudge! Thanks, Jill.

  • January 09 2012

    Thanks for putting Wreck Cove on my list of places to visit this summer!

  • January 09 2012

    Great job Candice. I especially enjoyed your rafting article. It was a nice surprise to see the photo of the wall quote at 48 High. A little history … The restaurant was formerly owned by 2 women and was known as “The Blue Fish”. We were (still are) members of a 9 member book club called “Wine, Women and Words”. Just before the “Fish” opened we got together one evening, chose a quote we liked and ‘decorated’ the walls. It was a great evening! They sold the restaurant a couple of years later and some of the quotes were lost when the the lounge area was changed. Thanks for bringing back lots of memories! I’ve just forwarded your article to the club.

    • January 11 2012

      Hey Gwen,

      Thanks so much for dropping by, and I LOVE the story! How cool, I had no idea the quotes were so significant. Thought they were just little decals to add a special touch. “Wine, Women and Words” sounds like a club I want to be involved in. :)

    • January 11 2012

      Maybe I’ll start my own version: “Beers, babes, and books”?

  • January 09 2012

    Ahhhh this just reminded me JUST how much there is still to see in Northern California! I’m actually really embarrassed about how little I’ve see of my home state–or at least, how much I remember since I did heaps of camping and exploring with my family when I was a little kid, but not since I’ve been able to travel there on my own. I totally believe that it’s more important to just have the attitude of a traveler, no matter where you are–and that means seeking out new experiences–and you totally prove that! Inspiring me to make the most of my two months at home this year :)

    • January 11 2012

      Ain’t that just the way it goes, though? We never think to explore these places until we’re no longer there! While I was briefly living in Halifax, I didn’t do anything touristy until the last week or so. Such is life.

  • January 10 2012

    Love, love, love the Rock. I have a little piece of land in Loon Bay if you are interested….

  • January 10 2012

    Amazing what you can discover in your own backyard. And lovely photos to illustrate it. When I biked in Newfoundland we found loads of fantastic restaurants in way off the beaten path places. (Some were in the Where to Eat in Canada guidebook.)
    And one day when we had a very long distance to cover in horrific winds, a fisherman offered up his pickup and loaded in about 10 bikes + people and drove us where we needed to go.
    There are lots of stories out there of the kindness of Newfies – and that’s just one of many.

    • January 11 2012

      Oh I LOVE that story! You should blog about it! :)

      It’s crazy how much of NL I still need to explore. Overwhelming, really.

  • January 10 2012

    That 1st shot is gorgeous!

  • January 10 2012

    You are in a lucky spot! What beauty!!! I want to come visit you. Then, you can come visit me in Vegas and we can go explore my backyard … which isn’t quite as charming as yours, but filled with tasty beer, sensational food and a bit of debauchery. ;)

    • January 11 2012

      Dude, might be sooner than you think! If I make it to Burning Man, I intend to fly into Las Vegas and hang out for awhile. ;)

  • January 11 2012

    gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous… le sigh. There is to much I want to see and do within Newfoundland, I want to save some vacation time to explore here. . . DAMN REAL LIFE GETS IN MY WAY TO MUCH.
    . . . definitely exploring more this summer.

  • January 16 2012

    Catching bed bugs is my only feer when comes to travelling cheaply. I want to get back out on the road again more then anything.

  • November 29 2012

    I live like five minutes away from English Harbour. Hell, I know the people who live in that house! Really like it here, it’s quite nice.

  • November 29 2012

    I am a producer looking for crazy family/crazy family businesses in NF. Do any of you know of a family or even a group of old friends who work together in a business that is truly “different”, wacky crazy and/or just plain fun? If so, could you email me at thx

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