I sure wouldn't have wanted to be out on these cliffs on the shore of Newfoundland this week as they're experiencing hurricane force winds and a storm of the decade! Seeing all the photos on the news of the beautiful city of St. John's instantly brought me back to a trip I took there last year for a long weekend of fun, the great outdoors, amazing food, fantastic people and lots of memories.
The photo above is from the cliffs at the bottom of Signal Hill. We were there a wee bit early for the icebergs, but they had just started to roll in. You can see one off in the distance in this shot.
We landed and were lucky enough to find a cab driver who took us on a bit of a tour of St. John's on the way to our hotel. I love seeing the sights with a 'townie' who knows the history and the 'out of the way' places that most tourists would miss. We checked in, dropped off our stuff and it was off for dinner. We decided on The Merchant Tavern....and wow, am I ever glad we did! The cocktails, the fresh seafood, the atmosphere and decor, our fantastic server...it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend!
Oh....My......Goodness...... for two gals in relatively good shape, that hike up that hill was TOUGH! We wondered why we were some of the only people walking vs the car after car driving by up the hill...but was it ever worth it when we got to the top! The views were absolutely stunning both out to the ocean and back into town. We wandered through the Cabot Tower (isn't that spiral staircase just gorgeous?) and we even climbed down those wooden stairs pictured above, through the grass and down/across the rocks, to get as close to the edge of the cliffs that we could!
By the time we got to Quidi Vidi, we were ravenous! Everyone we spoke to had recommended we go to Mallard Cottage for lunch and we were soooo lucky to be able to sit at the bar (they were booked full of reservations)and have an experience/meal that will always rank in my top 5 travel experiences! Let me set the scene...you arrive in this quaint and quintessential east coast village and when you walk up to the green and white building that is Mallard Cottage, it feels so comfortable, like a home away from home. You walk through the door and are instantly enveloped in the coziness and friendliness that is the atmosphere, decor, staff, food and overall experience. You feel like you've been there a hundred times before as you quickly settle in due to the welcoming atmosphere and once you start talking to the incredible staff, trying the absolutely scrumptious food, having a pint (or 3) of their local beer from the Quidi Vidi Brewery, you don't ever want to leave. We could've stayed from lunch all the way to dinner and late into the evening, just chatting with our fellow visitors/tourists, the staff, trying various cocktails and soaking in the laid back and oh so comfortable east coast atmosphere!
We had a very full first day and I will never, ever forget it!
Our second and final day was jam packed!! We walked around town and were enamoured by the colours of Jelly Bean Row, we went out on the ocean for very chilly but exciting bird, iceberg and whale sight seeing cruise. We saw thousands of Puffins, Minke Whales (a very fleeting glimpse), a few smaller icebergs (the shades of blue were stunning!) and an oil rig en route to Norway (how often do you get to see that?!). We then headed back into town and wandered around the harbour, where we saw these statues of a Newfoundland Dog and Labrador Retriever. They were the perfect symbols of our trip (and I'm biased as they reminded me of Charlie) and a great way to wrap things up before we headed to the airport to catch our flight home.
I can't wait to go back to this exceptionally beautiful province and I feel so grateful to live in a country as beautiful and diverse as ours! Next time, I hope to stay in the new Inn by Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi...they just started to take reservations! Cheers to travelling and all of the incredible experiences and memories that I will have to keep with me forever!