By Kari Svenneby
Newfoundland -- Just the name makes me think of Vikings, salt and wind. The Vikings settled in Newfoundland or ‘Vinland’ as they called it in 1001. In 1960 Helge Ingestad and Anne Stine Ingestad discovered the first Norse Village in North America. In 1978 L’anse aux Meadows was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
When I started to plan our trip, going to L’anse aux Meadows was naturally on the top my ‘to do list’. But a quick look at the map made us change our mind. With only a one-week mini-vacation, we felt we had too little time. Instead we chose to spend our trip in St. Johns, Trinty Peninsula and Twillingate.
The first day we arrived at Trinity we experienced Newfoundlander hospitality. Our daughter met a new friend and their family invited us for a bonfire and smores by the shore. A gorgeous evening on the beach.
The Skerwink Trail
The next day we hiked The Skerwink Trail, ranked by Travel and Leisure Magazine as among one of the best 35 trails In North America and Europe. In Canada it is ranked as one of three best trails in Canada.
Not without merit as it is packed with stunning ocean views, bogs and grassy meadows. Even though 5.4 km can be challenging for a 4 years old, our daughter never once gave up. She said there was so much to see on our journey. Forests filled with Fairy folk and Trolls. In my mind one of the most spectacular hikes I ever have done.
Watching Puffins at Elliston on the Bonevista
Peninsula Elliston is the self-proclaimed root cellar capital of the world. Peppered across the landscape are rocky knolls with doors attached where the residents store their root vegetables during the winter.
Another thing this place is known for is Puffins. According to the locals, Elliston’s Puffin Site is the best spot to view seabirds in North America. You are warned that this is not the spot for people afraid of heights or kids who are not very aware of their surroundings.
This place did not disappoint as we came face to face with many puffins, and my little daughter and husband got very close to the birds and the cliff edge. (While I had my heart in my throat.) We ended our adventure with a wonderful picnic in the sun watching the shoreline.
Twillingate iceberg capital of the world
As we drove into the small town of Twillingate, a gigantic iceberg in the mouth of the harbor greeted us. Though the weather was less than perfect we got very close to the iceberg and we broke off pieces from bits drifting to the beach so we could taste 10,000-year-old ice.
That evening there was a storm and the whole town had a blackout. Even though we where prepared with merino wool and rain gear, we did not last more than a 25 min outside the next day. The sideways rain and close to freezing temperatures even kept us inside. And this was in July. On our way back to St. Johns the weather had turne
d again and it was perfect summer weather.
We had a wonderful time in Newfoundland. We noticed that we where one of the few mainlanders with kids traveling around the Island. But really, the Island offers so much nature and adventure for a family. If you are looking for real nature experience and looking to meet real people.Newfoundland is for you.
Some other things to do in Newfoundland
Visit Gros Morne National park
Take the kids to the beach when the capelin rolls at the end of June or early July. Don’t worry the friendly Newfoundlanders will tell you where and when the capelin arrive; they might even invite you along.
Make sure you notice how the Newfoundlanders hang out their clothes in the wind. I swear it must be mandated there. Look for shells and sea urchins on the beach.
Go berry picking in Newfoundland (if you never have done this before make sure you have a guide who can show you)
Wild blueberries never taste as good as fresh from the bush.
Blueberries-in season from mid-August to mid-September.
Blackberries-in season from late June into the fall
Raspberries-in season from late July to mid-August
Bakeapples-in season from the end of July into early August
Partridgeberries-in season in September till first frost
Go to one of the flea markets and buy a Newfoundland quilt. They call it a Crazy quilt. The best deals are by the one done from the home.