Warning! Not the normal intinerary-style report---this will be a long, rambling story of my unfolding trip---okay, you've been warned :)
I left Portland bright & early on 9/5/11 and finally arrived in St. John's Airport at almost midnight their time. I had reservations at the Comfort Inn near the airport---a call for their shuttle provided transportation very quickly. The Inn was clean & comfortable & had a very nice restaurant. They do offer a breakfast buffet during certain hours that comes with the room charge, but having gotten in so very late, I slept in and enjoyed a very nice breakfast in their restaurant.
The front desk was nice enough to call Enterprise Rental Cars for me, which I had my rental car reserved at a town location-not the airport. I would recommend this as the rates are much lower, they come to pick you up, and you do not pay for mileage---it's unlimited mileage, which is very important for traveling across the island.
Now, my only other task to complete before beginning my trip was to procure a prepaid cell phone and service, as mine did not work in Canada. Not wanting to go into too much detail here, I do not recommend Telus. After spending rest of afternoon to no avail to get hooked up, I did spend another night in St. John's, which afforded me the opportunity to visit the famed George Street. I had beer and food at both O'Reilly's and Greensleeves---both were really nice-good music and I felt comfortable in each place.
Next day success! proper cell phone service in hand, I took off with anticipation on my adventure. My first stop after leaving town was Petty Harbour, a very pretty little harbour town-slight detour on way to Cape Spear. I enjoyed lunch at Chafe's Landing, tasting my first Newfoundland fishcakes. These were different from our crabcakes, being they were mashed potatoes, seasonings and a smalll amount of flaked fish. (Oregon's crab cakes are mainly a large amount of crab, seasonings & a small amount of bread chunks as filling). I liked them, though, and would enjoy them several times during my trip, and they made a very nice breakfast.
Travel is just another good way to discover different ways to prepare food, right?
After lunch I left with coffee & dessert to go, having rememered seeing a cliffside spot on my way into town with a picnic table and trail. Was a great way to see the harbour and enjoy the afternoon.
On to Cape Spear! I lucked out with the weather. Sun was out, making the ocean various incredible shades of blue. Also, the wind was very strong, creating a wonderful display of wave action-a visual orchestra. I laughed as a huge wave pounded the rugged coastline so hard the spray came up & hit my face-and I was on the trail far above the ocean-a fun & surprising walk! I was thrilled at my introduction to the North Atlantic and Newfoundland. The Cape Spear National Historic Site and Lighthouse were very interesting-wonderful first afternoon in Newfoundland.
Headed south on Hwy #10 to explore the Avalon Peninsula. Stayed in Ferryland at Ark of Avalon B&B. Settled in with help of hosts' son and took off to locate a place to eat. After a nice seafood dinner at a local diner, I walked up the trail leading to the Ferryland Lighthouse (where they normally have the picnics) to take advantage of the last rays of light. Saw 2 red foxes on way up-didn't stay long as daylight was fading and the road/trail went through some forestland, making it darker-but it was a really nice way to end the day.
Settling back in at the Ark of Avalon, I finally got to meet the hostess, a lovely lady who immediately gave me a hug and a homemade muffin to go with my cup of tea. Yes, I'm going to love it here! Lovely full breakfast the following morning along with a good chat with the host, a commercial fisherman of the Grand Banks. As my father has been a sports fisherman (mainly salmon & sturgeon) as long as I can remember, our chat was fun and interesting. Another hug and off I go-lovely 1st Newfoundland B&B experience.
Colony of Avalon Archaeological Site & Museum was my next stop.
Extremely interesting-both walking along & watching the volunteers working the dig and the museum, with it's many artifacts and stories of this English Colony-fascinating!
Continued south towards Trepassey, wanting to go out to Cape Race on the way. Extreme fog conditions kept me from seeing anythingbut hey, that's ok-was worth a try :) Maybe next trip.
Cape St. Mary Ecologic Reserve - initially dismayed due to fog but was told at the visitor center that it was often clearer out at the point. The walk along the cliffs was very easy-going and luckily the fog did lift just as I reached the point-hundreds of gannets in the air, on the cliffs, in the waves-playing, swooping & generally entertaining the observer. Very pretty birds-I sat on a rock near the cliff and quietly took it all in. A young lady with a clipboard was observing & writing-as she started to leave I got a chance to talk to her-she volunteered as a gatherer of data-the birds' activities & species. Apparently I had missed several other types of birds as I was there in September but I didn't mind-I thoroughly enjoyed my time with only gannets...and gannets...and gannets.
I enjoyed a very late llunch at a seemingly touristy-appearing restaurant as I got back to the main road but I did have one of the best bowls of seafood chowder! Every type of seafood you can imagine & a thich slice of homemade bread. (like they say, don't judge a book by it's cover).
Spent that night in St. Mary's at Claddaugh Inn-very nice, clean & comrtable with a very good breakfast.
.......okay, enough rambling for Part 1----more later .....
END OF PART 1Edited: 13 January 2012, 21:43