The Good, The Bad and the Thank-You’s – St. John’s Newfoundland

Jelly Bean Row

Have you read Farewell Newfoundland? You should read that before continuing here.

So now I’m home. But alas, we still have a few things to discuss.

First, the good: I cannot say it enough, the people of St. John’s Newfoundland are some of the friendliest, most polite and just generally the nicest people you will ever meet. If nothing else, you should go there to meet them. The Jelly Bean Row Houses; they’re everywhere. With the bright colors it’s easy to see why they call them that. I prefer to think of them as a floral bouquet in the middle of a long, cold winter. Then again, jelly beans might also get you through that winter.

The Rooms Museum is wonderful. It has something for everyone. If you tend to get bored in art museums, go to the historical and cultural sections. Love Art? Well, there’s plenty of that here. Got kids? Lots of hands on stuff and special programs just for them.

Signal Hill is a great hike. Even if you go in the winter (please take the road and don’t attempt the trail this time of year), the climb up the road will get your heart pumping and the spectacular view at the top is your well-deserved reward. Once at the top, you’ll also feel the history, not only of Signal Hill, but of all of St. John’s.

What else is good? The food. As someone there told me, it’s a place you can have a five-star meal for a really decent price. And even if you’re not up for a five-star meal, there are a ton of options. And while you’re there, try a local brew. That’s another good thing here. Also, you can’t go to St. John’s without hearing of music in every pub. Folk, rock, karaoke, jazz and Irish, yes, lots of Irish music. If you’re into winter sports, there is ice skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and other winter sports. And there are outfitters who lead tours and rent equipment. Finally, the people. Oh, did I mention them already? Yeh, well they’re worth mentioning again.

Now for the bad: Well, there’s not much. Okay, I’ll admit those couple of days of freezing rain could have been better. And would I have liked more chances to wear cute shoes? I’m a woman, of course I would have. But, if I liked the place this much in February, I probably never would have left if I’d gone in the summer. As a regular hiker, it was tough to hear about the amazing hiking trails throughout the area. Unfortunately, most are too dangerous to attempt in the winter. Also worth a mention are the guys that you meet in a dive bar who like to tell stories (true or not) and mess with the out-of-towner. There’s a Newfie name for them but, as it has a pretty disgusting definition in the resource of all great writers, the Urban Dictionary, I’ll just say that it wasn’t a great first impression of this place. Luckily, they were not representative of the people here.

Links to what I did:

Spirit of Newfoundland

Yellow Belly Brewery and Public House

The Ship Pub

The Gower House B&B

Signal Hill

Tim Hortons

Mt. Pearl Frosty Festival

The Bagel Cafe

The Inn of Olde

The Mallard Cottage

Quidi Vidi Plantation

Quidi Vidi Brewery

Christians Bar

George Street

Black Sea Restaurant

The Rooms Museum

Presentation Convent

Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Bannerman Park and The Loop

Newfoundland Chocolate Company

India Gate Restaurant

Rebel-With-A-Cause.org

Things to do in the summertime:

The St. John’s Regatta

Ferryland

Hiking the East Coast Trail

Cape Spear Lighthouse

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

Budgeting                                                                                                                                                                      Here’s what I spent (Note: I’ve converted all Canadian to U.S. Dollars. The average conversion rate at the time was 1 CAD = 0.9 USD

Air $870

Seven Night’s accommodations $485 (I got a 5% discount for paying with cash)

Taxis $74

Food $360

Fees and Tips $76

The grand total is $1863. Remember, this trip was done in low season and costs will be higher in the summertime.

The Thank-you’s:

Ali from the Hyatt Place Tempe – thanks for the parking. It’s so nice when big business supports small business.

Joseph at the Gower House B&B – thanks for the wonderful suggestions of things to do and nice conversation. Good luck at school!

John – thanks for being brave. I’d love to hear from you.

Jo from Yellowbelly’s – what can I say? My bartender, my waitress, my tour guide and now, my friend. You represent St. John’s well.

Janet – thanks for the ride on a snowy, Newfoundland evening.

Kathie and the whole Spirit of Newfoundland Team – thanks for the tour, the opportunity to find out more about this historical building, and the dinner and the show.

And speaking of the Spirit of Newfoundland – if you remember, one element of Drop Me Anywhere is the philanthropic part. I promise to spend a day, or part of a day volunteering with a local organization, person or effort in order to make a difference and let you know of their efforts. Kathie and her partner Peter own the Masonic Lodge, the historic building where the Spirit of Newfoundland are housed. I told you about my tour and showed you photos in Playing in Pubs and Dungeons and I told you about my volunteer time with them in Through Rain, Sleet and the Frosty Festival. Now I ask you to go to Rebel-With-A-Cause.org to read more about the building and Kathie and Paul’s efforts to preserve the outside of this beautiful building.

Finally. the next vote is up and running. You can vote once  per day (and per whatever electronic thing you’re using to get online). I’m not yet listing a closing date as it will all depend on a successful Kickstarter project. You see from the budget that simply staying in North America wasn’t cheap. My hope is that Drop Me Anywhere will, in the end, be a book. It will include these stories, with some tweaks in order to make them more cohesive. It will also include a few extra locations as well as the untold stories (yup, I might have held a few things back). I’ll let you know when it’s up and running (hopefully in the next couple of weeks) and I hope you’ll support it. In the meantime, you can vote here.

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