Cruising the area’s ghost harbours with Rugged Beauty Boat Tours, fisherman-cum-guide Bruce Miller shows us black and white pictures of the outposts where his family lived before resettlement in the 1960s. Besides eagle sightings (which are commonplace), we also catch the “outers” (back) of a dolphin.
The 5.3-kilometre Skerwink Trail loops over the Boreal Shield and across cliffside plateaus. Strategically placed benches offer the best views this side of Ireland: look for Newfoundland’s own sea stacks – standing stones that are hundreds of millions of years old.
After shows at the popular Rising Tide Theatre (we caught a Newfoundland folk opera), the cast, crew and visitors head to Rocky’s Place Lounge for drinks and the occasional comedy show.
A “mauzy” night – Newfie for damp and foggy – is best spent at a kitchen party at Twine Loft, a restaurant and art gallery that’s part of Artisan Inn. Along with concerts by groups such as St. John’s folk trio the Once (above), the Loft holds painting workshops. Head upstairs to stock up on audiobooks featuring Newfoundland writers.
Tart wild partridgeberries carpet the ground at Cape Bonavista on a jutting sliver of rock, about an hour north of Trinity Bight. You can’t miss the unusual striped round lighthouse perched on the cape, but also look down at the shore for rainbows forming against the water-slicked rocks.
Fishers’ Loft Inn, in Port Rexton, is a tribute to vernacular Newfoundland architecture; reproduction houses are randomly sited to mimic the way houses haphazardly dot the island. Inside, regional artwork – which they sell for no commission – rivals what you’ll see at top St. John’s galleries. (Our pick: the Christine Koch linocut above.) The inn’s food is also a work of art: partridgeberry waffles for breakfast; grilled salmon with capers and pesto for dinner, accompanied by new potatoes dug from the garden that afternoon. The new greenhouse means you can enjoy tomatoes right up until the first frost.
PHOTOS: CRAILLE MAGUIRE GILLIES (SKERWINK TRAIL, CAPE BONAVISTA); BRUCE MILLER (EAGLE); FISHERS' LOFT INN (FISHERS' LOFT INN); TWINE LOFT (THE ONCE AT TWINE LOFT)