Newfoundland Stories from August 5

Channel-Port aux Basques is nicknamed the “Entry” city. It’s here most people grab the ferry to the mainland or drive through as they exit the docked ship. It’s a colorful little port that is celebrating Come Home Year this week with colorful flags and concerts…

along the Port aux Basques Harbour

the locals waiting for the concert to start

Port aux Basques is a stay-one-night-leave-the-next- morning kind of village. The Trans Canada Highway starts and ends at itsĀ  ferry terminal, stretching only north west towards the northern peninsula before turning east towards St. John’s, where it begins and ends again. Most visitors to the island don’t realize there are signs of life east of Port aux Basques. We arrived early at the St. Christopher, giving us a good half day to fill with something. It was suggested that we take Route-470, head east 40km and explore the town of Rose Blanche and its lighthouse.

Having visited the lighthouses atop the gusty Lobster Head Cove and the far-easterly point of Cape Spear, we didn’t have very high expectations. Yet, as we drove along the twisting road, through undulating hills coated in a fuzzy green shrub and speckled with marbled granite boulders, we decided this might be one of the most stunning places on the island.

Rose Blanche was a lovely spot and its reconstructed, historical granite lighthouse a more than worthwhile excursion…

a view onto the Rose Blanche Lighthouse, an amazing setting

a cluster of homes in Rose Blanche

Appropriately, we found our final dinner at the Friendly Fisherman Cafe, a small family-run place overlooking the fishing boats at Rose Blanche. Fish and Chips and fishcakes. yum, yum yum.

my "healthier" fishcakes, made from bacaloa. note the frozen veggies

a final plate of Fish and chips for the father

The fog thundered in as we began the drive back to our hotel in Port aux Basques. The wind picked up and the rain clashed against the windshield. Our ferry was due to pull out of the dock at 8:30AM, Newfoundland time. Check-in was at 6:30, and so with lots of cod in our bellies, and warm memories playing through our minds, we trundled off to bed early, not in any hurry to leave the island that had taken hold of our hearts.

We may have said good-bye to Newfoundland, but there still lay 1,600 miles of road between the ferry terminal in Nova Scotia and our driveway. There was still some vacation left…

Advertisements

Newfoundland Stories of the Day (July 31)

With a 710km/440mi of road lying between us at Gros Morne and our destination of St. John’s, yesterday morning was a frenzied scene of packing, breakfasting (warm scones with patridgeberry jam), and car-loading-jigsaw-puzzle solving. It was a typical Newfoundland day — every possible seasonal weather variation passed overhead in a matter of hours. There are few to no services along the Trans Canada Highway once you leave the area near Deer Lake. 200 miles pass with few signs of life besides the cars that periodically appear in your rear-view mirror.

A thick, New England Clam Chowder-like fog hit us as we crossed onto the Avalon Peninsula, slowing us down to a crawl 150km outside of St. John’s…

I'm sure the landscape to either side was interesting... if only I could have seen past the hood of my car

Finally, around 6:30PM, we rolled into town. The drive down Duckworth St. offered us an introduction to the low-story clapboard buildings that characterize the city architecture.

Hungry, we decided it was time to sample some of Newfoundland’s famous fish and chips. Just as we began to head out into the city, the sky lit-up in reds and purples and a rainbow sprung from Cabot’s Tower atop Signal Hill.

the sun sets over St. John's clapboard-lined streets

a rainbow welcomes us on our frist night -- Newfoundland is friendly

Newfoundlanders will argue over who serves the best Fi n’ Chi’ in their capital city, but Ches’s is a St. John’s landmark and most residents agree their battered and fried cod is close to tops. It might look like a hole-in-the-wall kind of joint, but it’s been serving since 1951. 50+ years later, Ches’s is still a family-owned and operated business. Indeed, I’ve never had a fried piece of fish so fresh and so well-cooked. I’m sure it was good for me… I mean, tons of omega in all that cod oil, right? And of course the locally-brewed Quidi Vidi (pronounced: kiddee viddie) Honey Brown Ale is the accompaniment…

the exterior of Ches's, a St. John's institution

real, authentic, delicious Newfoundland Fi n' Chi'


Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: