Top Eleven Experiences in Cape Breton and Newfoundland (in no particular order)

  1. The Lookout Trail up Partridgeberry Hill. It was a warm sunny day and the climb was steep but the 360 degree views were spectacular. Gros Morne National Park is known for Gros Morne but the trail to the summit is a 16 km all day hike with 800 m vertical so for those like us who have limited time and energy, the Lookout Trail offers similar views with less than half the distance and vertical.
  2. Western Brook Pond boat tour. The advertising photos for Newfoundland come from this ancient inland fjord and the advertising holds true. Continuous gasps of awe! We got a little bonus when one of the guides entertained us with east coast folk music on the return trip.
  3. Unique geological formations. A few of the best places to see layered rocks and unique formations are Green Point and Lobster Cove Head in Gros Morne National Park and Black Brook Cove in Cape Breton Island National Park. You don’t have to be an amateur rock hound like me to appreciate these. And if you see any “inukshuks” when you visit they might be my creations.
  4. Eating fresh lightly battered cod and drinking Iceberg beer at Quidi Vidi micro-brewery in Quidi Vidi Cove. The cod was actually good (I generally don’t like fish) and the beer was crisp and refreshing but what made it an experience was the location in a sheltered cove down and just north of Signal Hill. A feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.
  5. Cape Spear. Just because it is the easternmost point in Canada. Desolate and wide open, perhaps not unlike much of the country that lies to the west.
  6. Standing on top of a rocky knoll called Mill Cove Lookoff in the driving rain. Most of the weather was clear for us during our visit but for this short hike/scramble in Terra Nova National Park we got the full dose of iconic east coast weather.
  7. Seeing the sunset from the summit of Skyline Trail on the west coast of Cape Breton Island. Hiking 9 km in the evening and then returning after dark was one thing but the sunset from the multiple viewpoints was something else. Wow!
  8. Finding mini orchids along a few paths through bogs in Cape Breton, Gros Morne, and Terra Nova. Pitcher Plants, the unique provincial flower of Newfoundland, were abundant but spying a few of these miniature beauties was special.
  9. Walking the streets of old downtown St. John’s. It seems almost every residential street is a unique “jellybean row” with the iconic brightly and variously coloured row houses.
  10. Signal Hill. The Cabot Tower is the recognizable symbol but the short hikes around the North Head were where you not only saw the ocean but felt it in the breeze and got great views of St. John’s Harbour. The Newfoundland Chocolate Company Café is appropriately situated part way up the walk to the top of Signal Hill. They make a lovely iced dark café mocha latte.
  11. Supper on the deck with a view of the Exploits River in Bishop’s Falls. We cooked it ourselves at a lovely little Airbnb house and after dinner went for a walk to the old trestle bridge and ended the evening with s’mores around the fire. (I had to add an eleventh because all the others were from the east or west coast of the island and we did drive the entire Trans-Canada Highway from Port-aux-Basques to mile zero in St. John’s.)

All of the above were experienced with my sister and brother-in-law who were enjoyable traveling companions. And we only fought about directions once!

Two more posts coming about the “spirituality of the rock” and a sad story about New-found-land.

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