In Newfoundland, a
North America |
Of everything I discovered while guiding our Newfoundland Walking trip last year, perhaps the most surprising has been how profoundly the place has stayed with me. All these months later, I still find myself reminiscing about the landscape, the culture and – above all– the delightfully spirited people.
Culture & People
Like many cultures forged from hardship (in this case, inflicted by both the land around them and the government above them), the people of Newfoundland developed a unique combination of resilience and ingenuity in order to survive. From the challenges of life in outport fishing villages without access to basic services to the endless winters and treacherous ice, from the forced resettlement of 30,000 residents from 300 communities to the complete collapse of the cod fisheries, the people have endured by remaining deeply rooted in their sense of place and their attachment to their communities.
The people you will meet are almost all born characters, larger-than-life storytellers, improvisational kitchen musicians, storm-weathered sailors and uncommonly generous and warm hearted individuals. While we all too often spend our spare time (not to mention money) focused on getting ourselves centred and developing mindfulness, in Newfoundland people are so present in the moment and comfortable in their own skin that it is almost jarringly real, like bumping into the sheer rock face of Brimstone Head, one of the four corners of the earth on Fogo Island.
See for Yourself
The draw for travellers has traditionally always been the wide expanses of raw nature, but on our Newfoundland Walking trip, see firsthand why the island is rapidly garnering a reputation for a keen arts scene and a meaningful approach to preserving a traditional way of life.DETAILED ITINERARY
In Newfoundland, a “shed” is much more than a place to store tools – it’s an almost mystic refuge from the chaos of the home and the hurly burly of daily life, a sacred space for replenishing the spirit. A shed is a place for creativity, for dreaming, and of course, for the occasional late-night drinking/singing/spoon-playing dance party. “Shed culture” is so central to life in Newfoundland that there’s even a radio station in St. John’s devoted to shed connoisseurs. The most decorative and colourful sheds tend to be the fishing sheds, clustered down by the water in almost every fishing port in Newfoundland, where the fisherman clean their cod and store everything from boats and nets to family memorabilia. My personal induction into shed culture happened in Tilting, on Fogo Island, at Phil’s shed, where Phillip Foley and his gang of friends (not to mention his four brothers) hang out , play darts, chew the fat and tell tall tales to anyone who will listen. And listen we did.
The Skerwink Trail, which runs almost directly from the doorstep of the incredibly charming Fisher’s Loft Inn, has a fun little B&R backstory. Julie Ritchie, one of the first B&R researchers to have the pleasure of staying at Fisher’s Loft, fell in love with the trail so much that she made it her personal mission to get it the recognition it deserved. B&R’s long history with Travel + Leisure magazine (Ed Kelly, the former Editor-in-Chief of all Amex Publications used to sit on our Advisory Board) meant that they would take our recommendations seriously, and so they dispatched one of their writers to verify the calibre of the walk. Soon thereafter it showed up as one of Travel + Leisure’s top 35 coastal hikes in the world – and could arguably occupy the top spot! The five-kilometre groomed trail runs around a headland of sheer cliffs, with a stunted spruce marsh on one side and endless oceans vistas on the other, interrupted only by drifting icebergs, dramatic sea stacks, breaching whales and the occasional bald eagle in search of prey.