If I am being quite honest, landing in St John's, Newfoundland, was never something I had planned. Like the majority of my unplanned trips, I had no idea what to do when I got there. My research planning process started when I found myself at the gate, waiting to board.
I knew how much time I had and from what I heard from other people I spoke with before, I knew that going to Newfoundland for a weekend meant I had to get a car, as without that, it would be very hard to move around. Renting a car always calls for a road trip, and so the adventure began as soon as we landed!
With no hotels booked, we were also very flexible about where we ended up for the night. The first stop was the grocery store, where we decided to check out the local goods and get some snacks before we hit the road. There, we met a local who suggested that we do not drive on the highway at night, as there may be wildlife crossing (such as Moose) and it can be dangerous.
So we decided to stay in the city and explore the tourist sites (not something I like to do, as personally, I prefer to go off-the-beaten paths and find my own "hidden" gems rather than visit the crowded landmarks).
Did you know Newfoundland & Labrador is home to Mary Brown's? Unfortunately, the meat is NOT halal though, unlike the locations in Ontario, so I could only try the apple pie (something that is also not on the menu in Ontario!). My friend tried the chicken sandwich and said it tasted better.
A few weeks prior to this trip, I also happened to be working as Brand Ambassador for Mary Brown's (a side gig I love to do in my free time) and it was interesting to see how some of the menu items offered in Ontario were different. During my time at Mary Brown's, I also remember them telling me how they bring the pineapple-flavored crush once a year to the Ontario locations.
Next stop: the Jellybean Row Houses. This popular "Instagrammable" spot was quite nice. It is not an actual street, but rather, located in Downtown Hillside, where you can find a bunch of Victorian houses and buildings painted in different colors.
I found it quite difficult to find parking, so I parked at a cafe nearby and walked down. You can start off from Duckworth St and King's Rd. Then continue walking to Colonial St and Grower St. I loved the pop of color!
In the city, we also visited Signal Hill National Historic Site (nice views, but too many tourist buses for my liking!). We ended the night at a nice restaurant in Downtown St John's, where we tried the fish and chips. The prices were a bit high, but the fish was fresh and delicious. Make sure to stop by George St., where you are surely not going to be out of choices of where to grab a bite!
The next day, we headed out early and made our way out of St John's. Some places on our list included: Costco (it was fun to see how different some of the things offered are and to compare the prices as well), the Cape Shore Trail, Bonavista Lighthouse, Dungeon Provincial Park, Klondike Trail, Sandy Cove Beach, East Coast Trail, and Witless Bay Islands Park.
We drove a lot, but as we didn't really have a hotel booked (we would just find something 2-3 hours before checking in and booking it then), it made the journey a lot easier. I quite enjoyed the scenic route. I quickly learned that there is a lot more to explore, such as Gander, but it would not be possible as we were too tight on time. One thing though,
we couldn't leave Newfoundland and Labrador without searching for Atlantic puffins first - the official provincial bird!
They are so adorable and small, and I knew I wanted to see at least one before leaving since I was gifted a plush puffin when I was a child from a cousin who had visited the province for work. I loved them since.
There are several sites you can go to see them. We chose these two: Elliston Point on the Bonavista Peninsula (it also happened to be the closest land-viewing site) and Witless Bay Islands Park!
If you want to snap pictures of them up close, I would highly suggest taking a tour so you can get a better view. From where we were, though we enjoyed the experience (and watching them fly around too), it was quite hard to snap a picture up close - rather, it was an experience to be cherished. As you can see below, it is very hard to see them in the photo:
Another stop I quite enjoyed on our trip, was the lighthouse. The view was breathtaking and it was peaceful to just sit and enjoy the waves crashing against the rocks.
By the end of the trip, despite being a little tired from all the driving (since I was the only driver), I was happy that I managed to spend a weekend in Newfoundland and Labrador. It gave me a better taste of all that Canada has to offer. Though when thinking about it, I couldn't help but appreciate Canada's beauty - yes a lot of places look the same in the country, yet they have something about it that makes it so different.
My experience in Newfoundland & Labrador is one that I enjoyed a lot. I had a wonderful experience with the locals and found them to be so welcoming and friendly! It made this unplanned adventure turn out so much better.
If I'm being quite honest, what I loved most about this beautiful place is the peace! Since there are not many tourists around (especially in most of the places we found/stopped along the way on our road trip), we mainly had the nature spots to ourselves and enjoyed being one with nature.
I would love to go back to explore Gander and other places in the province!
Have you visited Newfoundland & Labrador yet? If not, let me know if it's on your list!