Not really sure. I had wanted to take a train from Toronto to Vancouver and spending a couple of days in each city but the itch I felt needed a scratching that took longer.
Given that it’d be summer, not too many places appealed to me stateside so I thought something in cooler climes ought to do the trick. Like Vermont. Or Maine. Then my eyes kept drifting further north. New Brunswick. Halifax. Newfoundland…..OOOOH!!! And a boat trip, too!!!
That settled it.
Then I did the research and realized I truly had plenty of reasons to have chosen it.
Here are the main ones:
Theories existed that long before Columbus Vikings had settled in the area. It wasn’t until the mid 20th Century that this proof was found at L’Anse aux Meadows in northwest Newfoundland, near St. Anthony’s.
Centuries went by and then the British sailor, John Cabot landed here. Then came the Portuguese fishing for cod and the French looking for land. Among the more famous was Captain James Cook who meticulously mapped the island and then went off to the Pacific to circumnavigate New Zealand. He then went on to confirm the then postulated existence of Australia and founded the infamous Botany Bay where in future years the British government shipped their most dangerous criminals.
He also was the first to get closer than any other person to that time to Antarctica.
He died at the hands of Hawaiian natives in 1779.
Birds, birds, and more birds. All manner of whales. Icebergs.
Whales can be found at Cape Bonavista, Cape Race, Signal Hill, Cape Spear, Trinity, Twillingate and Witless Bay.
Icebergs are all over the place but can be found principally at St. Anthony, Twillingate, Bonavista, Tilting (on Fogo Island), and Point Amour.
The picturesque houses and fishing villages. The lighthouses protecting ships from the perilous rocks and shifting sands. The scenic drives. The history.
Did I mention the wealth of different foods? I come from Portuguese heritage. THE dish in Portugal is “bacalhau.” Cod to us gringos. Guess where Portuguese fishermen caught these cod? Yep! So cod cheeks and cod tongue are on the menu.
Plus other delights like:
Jellies and jams that are to die for: partridgeberry (ligonberry), gooseberry (can’t eat too many or you’ll get sick), Bakeapple, marshberry and Cloudberry. Interesting thing about the cloudberry is that it smells like smelly feet but supposedly taste very good. I will find out.
Moose stews (at the B&B I am staying in at L’Anse aux Meadows.)
traditional Canadian bag pudding from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador most commonly served as a part of a Jiggs dinner. It is sometimes called a raisin duff since figs are rarely used and have been replaced by the more attainable raisin.
One traditional recipe lists the ingredients as breadcrumbs, raisins, brown sugar, molasses, butter, flour, and spices. These are mixed and put in a pudding bag, wrapped in cheesecloth, or stuffed into an empty can and then boiled, usually along with the cooking vegetables of the Jiggs dinner.
a traditional meal commonly prepared and eaten on Sundays in many regions around the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Corned beef and cabbage was the favorite meal of Jiggs, the central character in the popular, long-running comic strip, Bringing Up Father, by George McManus and Zeke Zekley for whom the dish is likely named after. The name of the dish is also occasionally rendered as Jigs dinner or Jigg’s dinner. In the rendering “Jigg’s dinner”, the apostrophe is incorrectly placed if in reference to the McManus character. The term “Jiggs dinner” is the most common of all renderings. This meal may also be called boiled dinner by some Newfoundlanders.
Many people say no visit to Newfoundland is complete without going to Gros Morne National Park. I’ve seen national parks. GREAT national parks. Grand Canyon. Zion. Bryce. Redwoods. Yellowstone. Yosemite. Banff. Tetons. I can go on and on.
So I am not sure what the big deal is. But read any travel guide or go to any travel forum and that’s all you read.
Maybe a matter of age and experience? After all, younger people have not traveled as much and have little to compare to? I don’t know. But I will find that out, too.
Gros Morne is known for being an excellent example of what plate tectonics can do. Plus you get to see great examples of landscapes after the glaciers rolled back when the EVIL GLOBAL WARMING which took place tens of thousands of years ago. WHY!!! OH WHY?!?!?! weren’t the bio-diverse entities on the planet able to stop it? Where was Al Gore to warn the mastodons and sabre tooth tigers?!?!?! Just look at how high oceans got! (OK, snark off.)
The ability to see the effects of plate tectonics, close-up and relatively unadulterated through time, is, really, a big draw for me.
Plus the park has not only mountains (albeit small ones no higher than 3,000 feet), it also has numerous waterfalls. And fjords! Yep, one of the lakes, Western Brook Pond, has cliffs rising almost 2300 feet as well as waterfalls and valleys sliced out long ago by those evil retreating glaciers. I hope to take a boat tour and see that.
It’s also renowned for the hiking trails among which is the Tablelands Trail, also on my list.
So there you have it.
The reasons. Now let’s move on to other aspects of planning. Click here for Stage 2.