We visited St. Johns Newfoundland during the off-season. There were no boat tours, no icebergs, and no whale or puffin sightings. In true Newfoundland spirit, however, we were greeted with hospitality by good people. Despite being CFAs (come from away), the locals ensured we had a memorable experience. From the screech in on George St. to cod jigging the following morning, the island truly blessed us with beautiful blue skies and mild temperatures most days.
We felt the strong wind gusts rattle our rib cage at Cape Spear and we were caught between a heavy rain fall and ocean mist at St. Vincent’s on the Irish Loop forcing us to drive a good portion of the Loop in our under clothes.
The weather is often unpredictable, but the true wonder of St. John’s is always on display rain or shine!
The more eastern part of North America. It is recognizable by the white lighthouse with red trim perched on the rocks. Be sure to hold on to your hat! The wind can be quite strong coming off the ocean.
A small neighbourhood at the Narrows and the entrance to the harbour, Fort Amherst served as a gun emplacement during the Second World War. Best views of Fort Amherst can be seen from Signal Hill. It’s a great spot for a hike!
Signal Hill and Cabot Tower
Signal Hill is a strategic vantage point in St. Johns making it a long standing defensive position since the 17th century. Today, empty gun magazines and fortification evidence are on full display. Cabot Tower, sitting atop Signal Hill, commemorates the 400th anniversary of John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland. There is a parking lot about half way up the hill. This cuts the hike in half; it’s quite a steep hike if your calves are up to it!
Check out the amazing views of St. Johns from the top of Signal Hill. Overlooking the harbour and the whole city, the hike up to Signal Hill really offers the best views of the city.
A short hike from Signal Hill will bring you into Quidi Vidi: a small fishing town and neighbourhood of St. Johns. Visit the Quidi Vidi Brewery or have brunch at Mallard Cottage. The roads are quite small and narrow – like a European village. You can also drive into Quidi Vidi, but parking spaces are limited.
A Night on George St.
No trip to St. Johns is complete without a night spent on George St. A street lined with pubs featuring live folk music similar to Irish folk, good people and the traditional screech in. Take a shot of screech and kiss the cod to become an honorary Newfoundlander.
Newfoundland Chocolate Company
Located on Duckworth St., the Newfoundland Chocolate Company is fairly new in St. Johns. The brand is easily recognizable by the wrappers inspired by JellyBean Row. Learn Newfoundland-speak as well with phrases like “Yes b’y” and “Crooked as sin.”
You can’t miss the street art in downtown St. Johns. Find art in the form of murals or simply decorated utility boxes. My favourite pieces are nautical inspired.
A short drive from St. John’s to Petty Harbour will get you out on the water jigging for cod. Fishing for Success offers tours and educational services on the fishing industry. A real treat and a fantastic experience!
One can argue that many streets can be labeled “Jellybean Row’ in St. Johns, but Gower St is one of the longest streets lined with beautiful and fun multicoloured Victorian houses. Super cute!
Take a stroll downtown and along the Harbour
Downtown St. John’s is a great juxtaposition between old and new, and between harbour and city life. Walk along the harbour, cross over to Water St. and pop in for lunch at Rocket Bakery. From there, browse the local shops on Water St. and Duckworth St. Don’t forget to stop at the War Memorial and the Harbourside Park.
Dress in layers: the wind can be quite cold