I’ve just returned from a vacation to Newfoundland. I usually travel internationally, but this, of all years, seemed like the time to stay in Canada for vacation, and I was not disappointed, because it had a foreign feel. COVID-19 wounded those of us who are afflicted with wanderlust. This trip allowed me to recharge my batteries with a lot of ‘new’ and different.
I was worried about travelling during COVID, especially with the Delta variant on the loose, but Newfoundland was taking vaccinations seriously. Newfoundland won’t let you in unless you are double vaxxed, or have a quarantine plan. You had to fill out a form and upload your proof up to 72 hours prior to travel and show a confirmation number upon landing.
On our first morning in Newfoundland, the province lifted the mask mandate, and we awoke to a whole new world of seeing the lower half of peoples’ faces. If I’d known this in advance, I probably would have brought some lipstick. It was so novel, and a bit weird at first not wearing a mask, but by the end of the trip when we needed masks in the airports and airplanes home, I was grumbly. It’s great to have a stack of travel photos with smiles, not masks.
The trip was not without issues, as we couldn’t get a rental car in any city in Newfoundland. We even tried calling U-Haul, and motorhome rental companies to try to secure transportation. We lucked out as a friend in the Sault has a brother in Newfoundland who was willing to loan us one of their vehicles.
The other problem that we faced was that many restaurants were closed permanently due to COVID, closed on the days we were there (typically Mondays and Tuesdays), or unable to seat us because they were full. We had pre-booked all of our accommodations, and one tour we didn’t want to miss out on, but had not booked restaurants. One evening we tried four different places before finding one that could seat us. We were a bit of a problem because we were travelling with my mother and stepfather and my two kids; three generations travelling together as a party of five.
Once in the restaurants that could accommodate us, we got to try all kinds of new food, local specialties, and pig out on seafood as it was so fresh and plentiful. Covering all of those new foods is a column in and of itself, but stellar cod, scallops, and oysters, as well as different flavours of Crush topped our food and drinks list.
We also followed up on some fun subthemes on the trip, including our inspiration for the voyage, the Come From Away musical, and the quest to add new wildlife sightings for the family.
The new things we saw were plentiful, though there were many similarities to Northern Ontario, including lots of wild blueberries, seeing foxes, and not seeing any moose even though there were signs everywhere. The most notable new sights were colourful row houses in St. John’s, seeing sperm whales and puffins on the Trinity and Bonavista Peninsula, and the craggy coasts and sea stacks.
We travelled coast to coast, meeting kind people with great accents and fun sayings, seeing amazing landscapes and wildlife, visiting Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks, and eating really well. I definitely recommend a trip to Newfoundland as it feels like being in a different country, without the risks of Covid-19.