Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Travel Destination: St. John's Newfoundland

View of the St. John's Harbor
Some of the colorful row houses
Later this summer Laura and I will be spending a week in St. John's Newfoundland. In a vacation we tend to look for scenic places, cool seaside villages, pubs/breweries, traditional music, affordable accommodations and hiking opportunities. St. John's seems to have it all.

St. John's has been described as a mix between New Orleans (for the George Street party atmosphere), Dublin (for the strong Irish culture) and San Francisco (for the hilly, crooked streets?).

Scenic Seaside Views
St. John's sits right on a harbor called the Narrows. It is thereby picturesque with nearby cliffside views and brightly colored row houses.

Petty Harbor
There are also many picture-perfect villages to the south of St. John's along the Avalon Peninsula/Irish Loop, such as Petty Harbor, Bay Bulls, Tors Cove and Witless Bay. We will definitely rent a car and get down to these locations.

There are at least three breweries in St. John's - Yellow Belly, Quidi Vidi and Storm. There are many other pubs that look interesting, including The Ship Pub, Duke of Duckworth, and Inn of Olde. Not to mention the pubs featuring traditional music. See below.

Traditional Music
Celtic music thrives here and there are many traditional Irish sessions in St. John's. We'll be visiting in the summer so chances are we should be able to catch something almost any day of the week. The info I've gotten so far is that there are sessions on Fridays in Erin's Pub, Saturday afternoons in O'reilly's and Sunday afternoons in Bridie Molloy's. There are also supposed to be jams in places called Nautical Nellie's and Shamrock City. St. John's has lots of other types of live music in and around George Street. Hopefully we luck out and get to hear some good bands and musicians.

St. John's isn't the cheapest place to stay, although there is the option of camping right in the city at Pippy Park. We considered camping there but instead decided on something more luxurious and chose a BandB with a one-bedroom suite, which will be nice for an extended stay. The place I found includes a full breakfast every day and is supposed to have harbor views from the top floor/dining room. It is walking distance to everything. Nice! The rate was reasonable, plus they are charging us for 7 nights with the 8th night free. There are many places to choose from in the city. Just poke around.

We will be walking A LOT in St. John's. We'll only have a rental car for a day or two, so the majority of our time will be spent on foot. There are over 75 miles of hiking trails within the city as part of the Grand Concourse. I've contacted the Grand Concourse folks and they are sending me maps of the trails. I hope to walk as many of them as possible. In addition the East Coast Trail and the Newfoundland T'Railway both run right through St. John's, offering even more hiking opportunities. Heading south from the city, the East Coast Trail proceeds from Fort Amherst to Cape Spear and beyond. To the North the ECT runs through Quidi Vidi and beyond via the Sugarloaf Path, et cetera. Should be challenging and lots of fun!

I will post more info as the trip draws nearer and will certainly write about it afterwards.


  1. Great preview, Lanny! However, regarding that car rental: you should definitely book it in advance. Otherwise, you will not be able to get one when you arrive. It's one of those things that people learn the hard way about this province. (Our tourism season is so short, it's not feasible for car rental companies to keep a large inventory on hand, year-round.)

  2. Thanks for the tip Geoff. I will look into that.

  3. Been to St. Johns twice unfortunately both times in the winter . Loved it both trips. pulling into the harbor from the sea is very impressive. The narrow entrance with shear cliffs both sides.The people of St. Johns were fantastic. They treated us like they new us for years. I would love to go back but this time in the spring or summer with my fly rod.

  4. wow really it's amazing traveling blog. Nice post.