The Rock

If you’re wondering where to go on your next vacation, why not consider…Canada?

Peter and I recently spent a lovely week in Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, in the north Atlantic. It’s a place that many travellers have avoided, perhaps because of the distance, the weather, the unknown. Perhaps you should reconsider.

The Rock has been around for ages. There is evidence that First Nations peoples lived there about 9,000 years ago. The first Europeans, who landed in the north, were the Vikings led by Leif Erikson, about 1,000 years ago. In 1492 John Cabot landed, followed by another British group that tried to establish a settlement. They lasted only through one winter of snow, starvation and disease, before retreating. Fortunately another, hardier, group arrived a few years later and persevered.

So why should you visit The Rock?

Go for the scenery. It is a breathtaking coastal drive, along the Atlantic Ocean, following winding roads past cliffs, through tree-covered undulating hills, beside lakes, rivers, and ponds. Quaint wooden homes surround community churches at the centre of little villages like Plate Cove or Marysvail or the world-famous Dildo. Bustling fisheries in Ferryland and elsewhere support the economy with cod, salmon, and more recently, lobster harvests. If you get hungry, folksy restaurants like Nanny’s Root Cellar Kitchen await your arrival, with home-cooked seafood chowder and mouthwatering blueberries on a cloud.

Impressive views

Go to see the wildlife. Let the whales entertain you with their breaching, their tail flips, their blows. Don’t be surprised if they swim underneath your boat. Smile at the cute faces of the puffins with their colourful beaks and feet. Watch the gannets and eagles soar overhead. Stare in wonder as you pass a family of caribou grazing by the side of the road.

Whales swimming under our boat

Go to visit the capital city, St. John’s. Rows upon rows of brightly-painted wooden homes sit precariously along steep hills. Water St. running along the harbour welcomes cruise ships and tour buses along the lengthy pedestrian walkway; home to restaurants, pubs, quaint shops and an outdoor music venue. If museums are your thing, visit The Rooms, a modern glass building with a stunning view of the harbour entrance. It houses a military museum, art gallery, natural history museum, and theatre.

Colourful houses in St. John’s

Go to meet the people. As depicted in the Broadway success, Come From Away, the people are among the friendliest and most helpful you could hope to meet on any vacation. Don’t let their unique accent put you off – they are the real deal.

Go because it’s Canada. Not in recent memory have Peter and I had such an interesting holiday that was so effortless. We had no passports, no vaccine documents, no customs forms to worry about. Souvenir shopping was a breeze. Buy as much screech, as many cod-shaped pillows, as you can stuff into your suitcase.

There is no language barrier. We had no need to keep track of 2 currencies, trying to separate dimes from pesos or loonies from euros. It all stayed in 1 wallet. When travelling between Toronto and St. John’s, the time difference is 1 1/2 hours – no jetlag! And healthcare. At our age this is always a worry when we are away. We can pack our suitcase full of tylenol, gravol, immodium, and throat lozenges. But what if the unexpected happens? And it did.

Midway through the trip I developed a bad cough, chills and a fever. The whole group shivered with fear as I had one Covid test, and then another. Both were negative. The group relaxed but I was still sick and needed medical attention. Peer and I were dropped off at a local hospital, I got a chest x-ray, a medical analysis and a diagnosis – pneumonia- in under 2 hours. I left with a prescription for antibiotics, everything paid for with my OHIP card!

For our next adventure, Canada is certainly going to be on the list. Put it on yours too. Maybe even consider a trip to The Rock.


7 thoughts on “The Rock

  1. Dear Sue, submit this to a tourist magazine. I always wanted to go to the Rock and now even more. I’m also sorry that you got sick during your travel. I can imagine the fear of the group. Glad it was not Covid. Hope by now you’re all well.


  2. Hi Sue.

    And Peter too.

    So sorry about the pneumonia. Hope that you are 100% recovered.

    We also love the Rock. Years ago, one son, Steve, was living along the St John’s harbour entrance while the other son, Daniel, was living in Esquimault BC. Just about as far away from each other as possible within Canada! We loved our times visiting NL and we agree that it’s a terrific place to visit. Best is the people. But the rest that you describe ain’t shabby either.

    In support of your travel Canada idea, we are off tomorrow on a three week road trip to QC NB and NS. May the weather and Covid cooperate!

    Kind regards



  3. Sounds like a great vacation. We had tried to go but we’re too late to reserve a car for the summer when we tried in March. Maybe we need to reserve now for next summer.


  4. Can’t wait to hear all about your trip. Sounds fabulous. Sorry to hear that you were sick. Hopefully. on the mend. Glad they took good care of you.


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