Courtesy Newfoundland Tourism. Map Illustration by Emma Dibben.
Day 1: St. John’s
Start the morning by exploring Cape Spear, the place where North America receives its first ray of sunlight, and feel the unforgiving weather coming off the Atlantic.
For grub, hit up the inlet of Quidi Vidi at the adorably appointed Mallard Cottage (MallardCottage.ca). Its take-away box of brunch desserts is practically tailor-made for road trips. Then, wash it down with a blue-bottled Iceberg ale at the Quidi Vidi Brewery (QuidiVidiBrewery.ca) across the street.
In the afternoon, give your journey a bit of context by walking through The Rooms (TheRooms.ca), a veritable Wikipedia of Newfoundland’s history annotated by artifacts, dioramas, and short films. (Don’t miss the view of the city from the top floor.) For dinner, reserve a table at The Merchant Tavern (TheMerchantTavern.ca) to gorge on the raw bar and inventive seafood favorites.
Day 2: The Irish Loop
The Avalon Peninsula juts out beyond the rest of the island of Newfoundland like eager fingers reaching for Europe
. The Irish were the first to establish permanent so-called “outports” in this area, in the second halfof the 18th century, and today, an eponymous 160-mile circle showcases its friendly fishing villages set among some of Canada’s most stunning scenery.
Link up with Stan Cook (StanCook.ca) for a “go and tow” kayaking tour through a hidden fjord, and then travel down to Ferryland for a gourmet picnic (LighthousePicnics.ca) along the grassy bluff. Wind in and out of the faraway fishing communities, and before rolling back into the capital in the evening, loop through scenic Petty Harbour to chow down on fish and chips at Chafe’s Landing (ChafesLanding.com).
Day 3: St. John’s to the Bonavista Peninsula
Meet Lori McCarthy of Cod Sounds
) for a morning of foraging along the beaches and fields of Trinity Bay. She is the behind-the-scenes pro who sustainably delivers wild ingredients to the region’s top chefs. Search for everything from cockles and sea urchin to wild blueberries and mint, and then boil them up beachside as McCarthy brings the morning’s ingredients together for a delicious lunch.
Hit the road again, belly full, for the town of Trinity, famously featured in the film The Shipping News. Once a shipbuilding hub, the town’s expert craftsmen added flourishes to its seaside homes, which lend the community its enduring storybook charm. Unpack at Artisan Inn (TrinityVacations.com), a family-run cluster of historical rooms and cottages. You should have a bit of time to meander through the local village before indulging in a glass of sundowner wine and an impeccably prepared cod dinner at Artisan’s restaurant, Twine Loft.
Day 4: Trinity
Enjoy breakfast and scenic views from your wooden craftsman cottage, then hike the Skerwink Trail — three miles of manicured track that traces cliffs of turreted granite, winds through forested patches of tuckamore, and passes
vistas where humpbacks breach in the distance. Afterward, reward yourself with a pint of Baycation Blonde at the always-social Port Rexton Brewing Company (PortRextonBrewing.com).
Day 5: Bonavista
Start making tracks toward the tip of the Bonavista Peninsula, stopping first in Elliston for up-close birdwatching at the aptly named Puffin Site
, before having a look at the John C. Crosbie Sealers Interpretation Centre
) to fully appreciate the hardships the locals endured supplying London its lamp oil throughout the 19th century.
At the tip of the peninsula is the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse, a hot spot for Instagramming, short coastal walks, and whale watching. Do dinner early at Bonavista Social Club (BonavistaSocialClub.com) in Upper Amherst Cove. Built on owners Katie and Shane Hayes’s rural property, the small restaurant promises garden-grown greens, wood-fired pizzas, fresh moose burgers, and views of fin-flipping whales in the bay at sunset. Bonus: Katie’s father makes all of the furniture and wooden dishware by hand.
Day 6: Bonavista Peninsula to St. John’s
If you didn’t manage to spot any whales from the shoreline, hop aboard a Zodiac tour by Sea of Whales Adventures (SeaOfWhales.com) for an up-close experience with these gentle beasts as they glide through the deep and puff plumes of mist at the surface. On your way back to St. John’s, it’s well worth dipping off the highway to poke your nose around a few of the lesser-known outports, like Tickle Cove, with its ochre cliffs and gravity-defying sea arch.
For dinner in the capital, make a toast to your incredible week with a prix fixe experience at Raymonds (RaymondsRestaurant.com), often lauded as Canada’s best restaurant since its inception in 2010. A sincere passion for the plate comes through in every dish — from the cod with a pork reduction sauce to the savory chunks of PEI beef tartare — and sommelier Jeremy Bonia (see Liquidity, page 18) pairs his wines in a manner that’s both playful and informative.
Like what you see here? Subscribe and be the first to receive the latest issue of Out. Subscribe to print here and receive a complimentary digital subscription.