Come From Aways
Last week James and I received some very special visitors (come from aways) to Newfoundland! We were so excited to show off our quirky second home to our dear friends and packed their short time with many adventures.
We started off their tour with a visit to North America's most easterly point, Cape Spear. Cape Spear provides an incredible backdrop with some of the longest coastline views. The wind was something fierce, but the sun graced us for most of the trip, providing the best weather of the year to date.
We followed Cape Spear with brunch at Mallard Cottage. This was an absolute must for the group as it's James and my's most favorite restaurant on the island. Perhaps you've read about our first experience dining at Mallard, here. Adding to the unparalleled country-style banquet was the musical styling of a number of musicians, all collaborating in an informal, playful session. Major cuteness factor with the young boy playing the accordion.
Down the road from Mallard Cottage is Quidi Vidi Brewery. For as much as James and I have enjoyed the beer, we'd actually never visited the brewery. Having guests made for the perfect opportunity for some Sunday Funday post-brunch boozing, mixed with a grand amount of Newfoundland history. I was actually surprised to learn Quidi Vidi's Iceberg beer is truly brewed with iceberg water.
Monday we loaded up the truck for a ferry ride across "The Tickle" to Bell Island. There are a number of smaller islands situated around Newfoundland, each with something unique to explore. The Tickle is the narrow body of water between our position in the northeast area of the Avalon Peninsula and Bell Island. On our ferry ride we were entertained by the presence of a large iceberg, nestled in Portugal Cove.
Bell Island is an old mining town, once a great iron-ore contributor to the industry. In the early to mid 1900's there were up to six mines operating on the island. We were able to tour the number two mine. Until this tour, I'd never understood how mines were created along with the strategy behind where they choose to dig. The tour operators did an excellent job recreating the atmosphere of a live mine, including singing a song popular during the dark times.
After our tour of the mine we dined at the island's notorious Dicks on the Beach, known for their fish n' chips. Bellies full, we meandered down to the shoreline to soak up the sun and skip a few rocks. The dandelions sprinkled throughout the island created a playful framework for picture taking. A little off-roading took us to the opposite side of the island where a giant rock and forged tunnel served up sensational views of the setting sun and a little mischief greeted us in the presence of some loose goats and cattle.
Tuesday morning we took the North Head Trail through The Battery and up to Signal Hill. The final battle of the Seven Years' War was fought at Signal Hill. The Battery is a made up of colorful houses built into the cliffs of the Avalon Peninsula. The entire hike is graced with gorgeous views of the harbor as well as the vast north Atlantic Ocean. No matter what time of year James and I make this hike, the view and scenery is always a little different.
From the hike we moved on to Petty Harbor where North Atlantic Zipline took us for a ride! The course is constructed of ten zip lines varying in heights, distance and speed. We experienced a taste of it all, viewing the coast from atop the treeline. I'm so happy we waited to experience this adventure with company.
Tuesday night we made our guests honorary Newfoundlanders by having them Screeched In. Our Come From Aways partook in the ceremonial eating, drinking and speaking in addition to learning a number of interesting historical facts. You can read about the Screeched In experience, here. We're so excited to have made locals out of our friends!
Wednesday morning we awoke at the break of day, watching the very first sunrise in North America. The orange-pink colors of the sky touching the deep blues of the ocean at the horizon kept everyone in silent awe. Maybe it was the 4:30 time stamp on our iPhones. We tucked ourselves back in bed to rest up for our catered picnic in Ferryland. The Lighthouse Picnic is a sought after experience to Newfoundlanders and Come From Aways alike. Showing up we chose our sandwiches and dessert to accompany our mint lemonade and orzo pasta salad.
As if this experience, dining beside a lighthouse situated in an iceberg-freckled coast, wasn't fantastic enough; we witnessed the whimsical dance of a pod of whales!! I could not have been more shocked to see these beauties without going out on a tour. They were so close to the shore. Minke whales do not pop up out of water more than their dorsal fin, but they were still entertaining to watch. They also aren't known to travel in groups, however, three of them surfaced together causing a buzz. This was the perfect encounter to wrap up to an extraordinary, history and nature-filled tour of Newfoundland.
To be able to share in this unique time in our lives with those we hold so close to our hearts was beyond meaningful.