We arrived from Port Rexton in the middle of the afternoon and after a straightforward check in process, settled in to our room. We went out for a simple dinner at the YellowBelly Brewery & Public House on Water Street. Our timing was quite fortunate – we were one of the last couples to snag a table before the crowds really moved in. The food was better than the standard pub fare, but the popularity of the place left us wanting to get through dinner quickly and back to the quiet of our room.
While our room at the Murray Premises initially charmed us upon our arrival, we were less than charmed when we got back to the room after dinner. From the hotel hallway, we thought we were hearing a large crowd having a party in our room. We soon discovered that our room was located directly above a popular restaurant on Water Street. To make a long story short, we asked for and were successful in getting a room on the quieter harbour side of the hotel (something to keep in mind if ever we return!).
We did all of the popular touristy things on our first full day in St. John’s. Starting with a drive to Cape Spear, we enjoyed walking along the shoreline and watching the waves crash onto the rocks. This national historic site kept us busy for a couple of hours as we visited the lighthouse, and explored the rest of the grounds.
After touring the Cape Spear NHS, we made our way to the south side of St. John’s Harbour so that we could excellent views of The Battery, and downtown St. John’s on the opposite side.
Our final stop before dinner was at The Rooms. This beautiful museum and art gallery recounts the proud history of the people of this province. We regret not having allowed more time for our visit.
Our second full day in the area was fully charged as well. We hit the road early so that we could get to Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve at a decent time. Cape St. Mary’s is located at the southwestern tip of the Avalon Peninsula, and is a two-and-a-half hour drive from St. John’s. Once there, we walked the short hike to Bird Rock – a stack only a few metres from the edge of the cliff side trail – to see thousands of gannet, black-legged kittiwake and common murres. We even spied an eagle perched on the rocks across from Bird Rock.
We had lunch in Placentia, and made time for a visit of Fort Royal (later named Castle Hill). Visitor traffic was low when we dropped by, so the Park staff favoured us with special attention, lively banter, and a few laughs along the way.
That evening was spent at Aqua Kitchen|Bar in St. John’s. I enjoyed my first ever lobster poutine (butter seared lobster and chorizo, home fries, quebec bergeron cheese, bisque gravy and grilled asparagus) that night, and desperately needed a walk in the city afterward to burn a couple of calories and get the digestive process under way!
Our final morning, before rushing off for the airport, was spent souvenir shopping on Water Street, and a quick sidetrip to Quidi Vidi Brewery for a few beer glasses and, oh yes, a few beer to fill them!
You can read more about this trip, and the hospitality of the Newfoundland people, here.
This gallery showcases the sites that we observed while in and around St. John’s and the Avalon Peninsula: