Have you ever wondered what you can accomplish in seven days while touring beautiful Central Newfoundland? I have just returned to Ottawa from an epic trip to Central Newfoundland, and I’m excited to share with you all of my stops, hotels, inns, and the beautiful contacts that I’ve made during this fabulous trip. Look closely at the bottom iceberg photo, where you’ll see one of the highlights of my journey – a whale that decided to show up for me!
A flight into Gander, Newfoundland, is your best bet for arrival in Central Newfoundland, with the airport located just under one hour from Twillingate. Twillingate was my first stop on this trip. The drive from Gander to Twillingate is a beautiful mix of nature and coastline. Upon arrival, I picked up the keys to my accommodation, a three-bedroom vacation rental at Hillside Vacation Rental. I immediately noticed a view of several icebergs that hung in the bay where I would be spending my first two days in Twillingate Newfoundland. The landscape at Crow Head was perfect for me. It’s located a short 10-minute drive from the village centre.
Once I was settled at Hillside Vacation Rental, my vacation began. I made my way to the beach for a seafood boil with Crystal, a self-taught culinary guru, and the brains behind Experience Twillingate. Crystal spoils her clients with a seafood boil right on the beach, preparing 90% of the food onsite, on an open fire. You know how sometimes you meet a stranger and it feels like you’ve known each other for years? That’s how it felt for us. Even with the other guests present, it was very cool to have that feeling of old friendship.
Crystal prepared our beachside location, getting all of the furnishings ready for our group on the beach. This gave the other guests and me ample time to enjoy the beautiful view and fresh salt air.
Our evening started with smoked caplins. We heated the caplins up on the open fire, consuming them warm. We all participated in the preparation of the evening from gathering saltwater to cleaning the mussels, to keeping the fire pit going. Cod tongue and scrunchions cooked to perfection, resting on a bed of partridgeberry and rhubarb jam, was a first for me, and it will not be the last. Fresh local mussels prepared right in front of us, so delicious that we could not resist eating a few more. Pulling the fresh lobsters out of the pot, Crystal cracked the lobsters’ knuckles and split the tails in two, making it easier for us to consume them. After everything was cleaned up, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset alongside the beach.
The next morning I awoke, brewed myself some coffee, and enjoyed the ocean view outside my kitchen window. Excited and shortly after, I made my way to Twillingate Adventure Tours to explore the bay in search of whales and icebergs. Our tour was very successful. Our captain located 6 icebergs for us, making sure that we could see each side of the icebergs.
The team at Twillingate Adventure Tours has invested in new boats, like the one we had, making their tours so much more comfortable. Once off the vessel, I stopped at Anna’s Seafood Restaurant for some codfish and chips while enjoying the view of the bay.
This was a very fast-paced trip, but we slowed things down and checked out a local artist who is featured at Twillingate and Beyond. Joelle Sunshine and her sister curate the Artisan Market, which features art and products from 70 different Newfoundland artists. Joelle is herself a multi-level artist who lists weaving and singing amongst the talents she holds.
Not just artists, these ladies also own this gift shop, as well as some accommodations, including Sunshine Inn, Drift Away Suite, and Hi-Tides Hostel, all located along the coast of Iceberg Alley. Are you looking for coffee and vegan products? I suggest hummus and crackers while enjoying the company of these two beautiful people. Joelle’s new studio is just about ready, a place where she’ll create art and a place to jam with other musicians around the built-in fire pit. Something new to check out!!
I made a quick stop at Long Point Lighthouse, where my afternoon of hiking began. A beautiful trail took me around Crow Head with a view of the Atlantic Ocean that included icebergs and possible sightings of whales. These are breathtaking views! While hiking here, we encountered caves and some rugged terrain. That night I stopped in for a cold drink while listening to Mike Sixonate at The Captain’s Pub. Mike is a legendary singer and storyteller, who kept us entertained with loads of Newfoundland jigs and stories.
A stay at beautiful Fogo Island was a gift to me. Fogo Island is one of the most scenic islands in Newfoundland. Every community on the island has a story, history, and people that care about their guests that visit here. I arrived via ferry, and after checking in at Fogo Island Inn, my tour guide met me in the lobby, and off we went. We toured for 3 hours. We explored the gems hidden in every corner of the island. As you can see from the photo, this island is very picturesque.
I returned to Fogo Island Inn, where I spent the night and checked an item off my bucket list. I had wanted to see the spectacular architectural design of Fogo Island Inn, but having access to a room there made my whole adventure even better. You may say it’s costly to spend some time here, and I agree. Let me break it down for you. As a guest, you don’t need to worry about parking, your tour guide, your meals, or your tips, and included in the price of the stay – minus the alcohol that you consume. Fogo Island Inn isn’t like other hotels. Their guides and room attendants, when you check-in, are paid, but they give like volunteers. They are top-notch assets to this establishment, talented, knowledgeable, warm, and friendly. Fogo Island Inn is very special. One last tidbit about the hotel is that it is a not-for-profit organization. Below, I’ve added a few more photos of the hotel and the area!
The dinner was a piece of art in itself, the impeccable service, presentation of each course had a different agenda for the evening. While this evening took place in a well balanced and modern decore dining room that was dressed with extra-large chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows.
A quick twenty-four hours passed, and I headed to the mainland. This time to a small village called Newtown. The village of Newtown is located just over one hour and thirty minutes from Gander airport. You’ve heard that it takes a village to raise a child? In Newtown, it has taken a group of three friends to change a village. Newtown is home to approximately 400 villagers. When Curtis Roebotham of The Homestead Adventures moved here just over a year ago, he met Irene Woodworth of Karma Kafe and Find Junque; they started collaborating, adding Steven Perry of Welcome to the Rock Tours (Barbour Living Heritage Village). They all had ideas to get some lifestyle changes for the children of Newtown.
Irene began to organize a theatre presentation with local kids. Success struck, and after expenses were accounted for. There was shared funding left, and all of the kids gave back their shares.
Irene moved up and rented a safe space, and started adding more productions. Kids participated, the theatre became more successful, local youth had something to do, and the elders went to watch the plays.
Steven comes into the picture and, boy oh boy, he’s got a lot to say. Steven, a comedian, an actor, knows all of the history of the Barbour family and three-quarters of the thirty-six villages that surround Newtown. I’m exaggerating, yes Steve knows the history of many people that have left a legacy in and around Newtown.
Mix this great group of people, and you’ve got the A-team of residents that wanted to change a village. My head was spinning with information. We went for a quick lunch that lasted over 2 hours. Each explained what they do, they completed each other sentences, and we had laughs after laughs after laughs.
Curtis had some ideas too. He loved outdoor activities and teaching and was well-educated. He was the perfect person to show the kids in the area how to survive in nature, amongst other things. Now, Curtis gives kayak tours, fishing tours and owns a glamping business. I had the chance to test the glamping during my trip to Newfoundland – glamping with minimal WIFI, no tv, but with heat, big blankets, and a lake. This is the Homestead Adventures
The last two days, Mother Nature didn’t want me to go boating, kayaking, or fishing on the high sea. I still managed to get a hug from Heather, owner of @idasplace in Greenspond. Ida’s Place is a tea house that seats 12 guests at a time. It’s so pretty that you can walk around outdoors while you wait for your table and grab a made fresh daily cinnamon bun. Don’t forget to sign the guestbook and ask Ida about her history with this home of theirs! BTW It’s the yellow homestead in the top left photo above.
With more details about Greenspond. I learned about the sealing industry, the danger of being out of the ice, and how physically demanding the job was. I took a tour with Duane and Steven of Hare Bay Adventures. Did you notice as I’m moving from one location to the next, the guides are slowly switching.
When I arrived in Newtown, in New-Wes-Valley, Greenspond, and Gambo, I found out these guides, and these experiences are all interlinked! They collaborate to give you the best possible experience they can. I’ve taken the liberty to add their website link in my blog if you need information. They cater to your wants, needs, and anything that they can help you plan to make this experience a success.
Hare Bay Adventures guided tours will show you scenic routes, museums, survival in nature, fishing for trout, salmon, and they collaborate with The Shark Co. with Brian and Alex Oram. They will take care of everything in between -like your meals, seafood boils, and more.
This group of people will entertain you because the Newfoundlander in them will come out. They will cause you difficulty breathing, stomach pains, and you will become delirious as you will laugh your vacation away. It was the best time of my life; I already miss them all!
There’s a hidden gem at @innathappyadventure. The service was spot on from the moment I arrived till the next afternoon when I left. The room was perfect for a long staycation, adding all that you need for a few days away.
Then there were the addictive iceberg tours that I had the pleasure of experiencing. It took a long time to get to the iceberg but, it was so worth it as this giant measured about 100 feet in height. The Inn at Happy Adventure opens daily for dinner. I took the surf and turf plate; you can see it in the photos. Moose steak, crab legs, veggies, fries, and bun. They had the nerve to ask if I wanted dessert. Of course. You’ve got a cheesecake, and it’s my favourite meal! The folks at the Inn at Happy Adventure sent me a packed lunch for the road… thank god I stopped to eat it; I had left my camera at the inn. I got it back, and with a great big smile, I was on my way. Thanks, Inn at Happy Adventure, for a fabulous staycation!
If you’re travelling in this area of Central Newfoundland, the Inn at Happy Adventure is located 15 km before the end of Terra Nova National Park. To help you, I’ve added their link attached to their name. Terra Nova park has some fantastic hiking trails, beautiful lakes and lots of activities for adventurous hikers. Sleep in a yurt, and enjoy nature at its best. Unfortunately for myself, it was just a quick afternoon of exploring, as the black flies invaded my face, and I was not prepared for it.
Thank you, Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board and Central Newfoundland for hosting me during this epic trip. The memories, the people that I met during my stay, the new friendships and everything in between pulled me back a few notches to realize how fast life is like in the big city. I can’t wait to return, icebergs, unique landscapes, puffins, whales and more amazing people are on my list.
Thank you/ Merci 🙂