Tuesday, December 6, 2016

10 NL Travel Experiences Just Too Good To Pass Up

Memorable travel should never be about the destination but the experiences encountered along the way. 

In our exceptional province, there are limitless opportunities for lasting memories. Here are 10 of our favorites:


#1. Showcase Your Creative Talent On Folk Night At The Ship Pub In St. John's

The Ship is one of St. John’s oldest and finest entertainment venues. This super looking old style pub is an unpretentious gathering place where locals and staff immediately make you feel at home. 

It is here every Wednesday evening, music lovers and musicians come together for Folk Night. There are some awesome local entertainers who perform and there are open mic sessions between sets. This is a unique experience that exposes visitors to up and coming local artists and you're own chance to shine! 

The Ship is a hangout with lots of local characters with many good imported and local brews on tap and a surprisingly awesome pub grub menu. 

It really is a great place to visit and enjoy Newfoundland hospitality and local entertainment at its best. Folk Night runs from 9-11:30 pm, get there early, this place fills up fast!

Ilustration of musicians playing instruments on Folk Night in St. John's
© NL Folk Art Society 
Male and female singer on stage playing guitar
© NL Folk Art Society 

#2. Take In World Class Community Theatre In Historic Grand Bank

Grand Bank Regional Theatre is Newfoundland and Labrador’s 3rd largest theater company and home to some of the most talented actors in the province. 

Situated in the historic Samuel J. Harris building, they have been entertaining audiences with diverse productions for 21 years. There is humor to knock your socks off, music to keep your toes tapping, romance to warm your heart and mystery to set your pulse racing. 

Each summer shows run every Tuesday to Saturday with dinner theater on select Wednesday and Saturday evenings which includes a delicious 3-course meal before each performance.

Watch history unfold or get your funny bone tickled at one of their top quality productions all set in historic Grand Bank. Not to be missed on your Burin Peninsula travels!


Outside of Grand Bank Community Theatre building
© Grand Bank Regional Theatre 
Male and female actors on stage at Grand Bank community theatre
© Grand Bank Regional Theatre 
#3. Go On A Hike & 'Boil-Up' In Bonavista

To experience the 'boil-up' is to take part in a cherished Newfoundland and Labrador pastime.

Tuckamore Discoveries, a nature-based tourism venture in Bonavista, offers hike and boil-up tours. Walk, snowshoe or ski your way along a number of selected trails followed by a good feed of traditional grub cooked over an open fire. (including capelin, salt fish, beans, toutons, jams and a few other delicacies served with tea or coffee).

Owner/operator Jon Joy, a local biologist, and educator, is a fantastic tour guide with a passion for the outdoors. On your journey John will talk a little about what wild things you can eat in the woods and you will also get the chance to start a fire using flint!

What better way to spend a fall, winter or spring day than a hike and a boil up. There's nothing quite like a good cup of tea and a ‘grub-up’ in the woods! Tours run from October to May only due to fire regulations.


Fried beans in a pan cooking over a beachside fire in Bonavista, Newfoundland, Canada
© Tuckamore Discoveries 
Man standing on the rocks in Bonavista oceanside with 2 icebergs in the background
© Tuckamore Discoveries

#4. Explore The World Class Caverns Of Corner Brook

Corner Brook’s impressive, world class cave system is one of western Newfoundland’s best-kept secrets. These amazing caverns have been featured on the Discovery Channel, yet rarely get much attention!

Thankfully, Cycle Solutions gets you to the heart of the “world down under”. Their adventure tours are like no other as you walk along a subterranean stream and learn about the forces and conditions that created the intricate system of natural cathedrals.

The cave is about one kilometer long and tours are individually tailored to the abilities of each participant. All caverns traveled through are large enough to walk in, but there are smaller passages for the more adventurous explorers.


Cycle Solutions can take you as deep as you’d like to go and have plenty of fun along the way with subterranean rivers and rappel sections. Helmets and headlamps are provided personal gear if available is still advisable.

This is a real caving trip, which requires climbing, crawling and stooping. The cave is unfortunately flooded when water in the Corner Brook rises, so safe visits require experienced local guides. Never visit this cave on your own.


2 people entering the entrance of a cave in Corner brook, Newfoundland
© Cycle Solutions
Cave entrance daytime with the forest in the background in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada
© Cycle Solutions

#5. Seek Out The “Blue Ghosts” Of Conception Bay To Help Conservation Efforts

Catch a thrill and encounter sharks up-close with Coastal Connections, an award-winning marine Eco-tour operator.

On this all day adventure, you will help find, tag, and release these amazing creatures – you’ll become a citizen scientist! Research data you collect with Coastal Connections will be provided to the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory.

This is much more than just a boat tour, guests learn about this magnificent place, participate in hands-on activities and view the wonders of our natural environment...in the sky, on the land, and particularly, in the sea.

Sharks prefer warmer temperatures so these Newfoundland tours are offered in late summer and early fall.

Don’t forget your camera to capture this amazing experience!


Great white shark swimming in Newfoundland's Atlantic Ocean
© Coastal Connections
Two pairs of hands tagging a shark on a boat in CBS, Newfoundland, Canada
© Coastal Connections

#6. Discover Rich History And Heritage At A Shed Party In Gaultois

The shed is a Newfoundland institution, symbolizing part of who we are as a nation and there is no better company to keep than at a shed party with ‘Gaultonians’.


Here the authentic culture of Newfoundland’s south coast comes alive as you step into a bubble of friendship and music the likes of which you’ve never experienced.

Through stories and songs, you will learn how the button accordion has become a mainstay in our province. Also try your hand at using an authentic Newfoundland musical instrument - the Ugly Stick and if you want to join in on a refrain, that’s fine too! Don’t forget to also try some local Gaultois food.

Shed parties happen Friday nights, or by request at 8 pm.

About Gaultois: a wonderful destination that is a Must See/Must-Do for anyone who wants to experience the "Real Newfoundland".

Gaultonians are a special people with personality and soul and the scenery here easily rivals that of the Gros Morne...a hidden gem!


2 Newfoundlanders in a shed in Gaultois, Newfoundland playing a guitar and an accordian
© Gaultois Inn
Gaultois harbour in Newfoundland with rolling hills and cute houses
© Gaultois Inn

#7. Stay At A Museum In Idyllic Durrell

The Pumpkin House in Durrell (part of the municipality of Twillingate) is actually a 3 bedroom ‘Museum Guest House’, a most exceptional accommodation. On the list of "Top 15 of the Coolest Canadian Airbnb Rentals" by Home & Garden Television, this is your 4-star vacation home with a twist!


Built in the late nineteenth century, this charming fishing village saltbox has been lovingly restored with comfortably curated rooms with original and period appropriate furniture and accessories.

The home features living on two floors connected by a steep old Victorian style staircase. Enjoy a homemade meal prepared in the farmhouse style kitchen and served up in the Victorian style dining room.

Outside the picket fence lined property features great views in all directions. Gardens, root cellars, and outbuildings original to the property offer glimpses to the past. Relax on their wrap-around deck, perfect for bird and 'Berg watching, catching the sunset, watching boats coming and going or just kicking back and watching the world go by.

Twillingate is one of the most picturesque outports in Newfoundland and Labrador, it's located on the center edge of what is known as Iceberg Alley." It has a famous reputation of being the 'Iceberg Capital of the World'. As early as May these mammoth ice sculptures drift literally around the town.

For those looking for an unforgettable experience, look no further than this ‘step back in time’ stay! Available to rent through Airbnb from May through October.


Pumpkin House B&B exterior with teal coloured deck and white picket fence
© Pumpkin House Museum B and B
Pumpkin House B&B interior with antique furnishings and leather seats in Twillingate, Newfoundland, Canada
© Pumpkin House Museum B and B

#8. Go Birding in the Grand Codroy Estuary

The Grand Codroy River Estuary is a 925-hectare area situated at the mouth of the Grand Codroy River, which gathers water from the Long Range and Anguille mountains.

Recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance and as an internationally Important Bird Area (IBA), this is an estuary like nowhere else in Newfoundland.

The moderate climate, protected shores, rolling cultivated grasslands and lush balsam fir forests give the Grand Codroy River Estuary a habitat attractive to flora, fauna and humans alike. As a result of its high biological productivity, the estuary is a hotspot of bird diversity.

The surrounding Codroy Valley is well known to birders as a provincial mecca for songbirds. More than 150 species of birds have been identified in the area, including 19 species of waterfowl. It is also an important staging ground for a large population of North Atlantic Canada goose and also boasts an unusually high raptor population, especially during the fall migration.

Here, you can stand at the waters of the estuary and spend the day watching and photographing birds in their natural habitat.


There is also a seasonal visitors' center, located in Upper Ferry which has information on species in the wetlands and throughout the Codroy Valley, displays on waterfowl and the estuary plus a telescope for your viewing.

Aerial view of Grand Codroy River Estuary in SW Newfoundland
© Mike Dembeck/Nature Conservancy of Canada
A flock of birds at Grand Codroy River Estuary in Newfoundland, Canada
© Nature Conservancy of Canada

#9. Take Up An Artist Residency In Duntara

2 Rooms Artist Residency is an opportunity for professional visual artists and writers to pursue their creative work in the rich natural and cultural environment of Duntara on eastern Newfoundland's Bonavista Peninsula.


Your artist residency is based in one of the oldest buildings in Duntara, a restored historical saltbox house that was hand-built in 1881 as a fisherman's house. 
This local landmark's painted exterior distinctively displays the traditional architectural colors of the Bonavista region, home of some of the oldest European settlements in Canada. 

This is a space for multi-layered cultural exchange between artists, craftsmen, writers, and fishermen. The Artist Residency here provides studio space and living accommodation for 2 artists or writers at the same time. 
Artists and writers connect with the local community simply by living in Duntara, and with the larger art community in the surrounding area through events, studio visits, and recreation. 

2 Rooms also serves as a gallery and museum, a platform for temporary on-site installation projects, exhibitions & events, and an on-going Museum of material culture. 

Curated exhibitions of regional and international contemporary art are presented in the first-floor galleries. A continuing series of experimental museological displays featuring collections of local historical artifacts and natural specimens are presented on the second floor. This is a wonderful program that reflects the confluence of historical, natural and cultural conditions that exist interdependently in Newfoundland's outport communities.

In 2017, the Bonavista region will also be home to the Bonavista Biennale - Art Encounters on the Edge, an intriguing multi-site exhibition taking place from August 17 - September 17. Contemporary artworks by 20+ Newfoundland and other Canadian artists are being installed indoors and outside in sites such as a micro-brewery, fish store, community halls, beaches and a disused seal oil plant around the peninsula. Visitors will use on-line and print guides to drive from place to place. 

This will be a new experience of the spectacular area, combining its history and traditional culture with art by newer as well as established artists such as Kelly Richardson, Marlene Creates, Ned Pratt, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Catherine Blackburn and John Hartman. Rental cars and accommodation are limited so early booking is essential. A Canada 150 event!


Tri coloured (Brown and white) exterior of 2 Rooms artist residency hillside in Duntara, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland with salt fish hanging on the clothesline
© 2 Rooms
Art installation at 2 Rooms in Duntara, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland of Republic of Ireland flag made from sea urchins
© 2 Rooms

#10. Walk The World's Longest Boardwalk And Visit An Inuit Archaeological Site In Rigolet

Nestled in a sheltered cove at the entrance to Lake Melville, Rigolet is the most southerly Inuit community in the world.

The proud residents of Rigolet have come together to build the world's longest boardwalk, a stunning 9 km trek to Burnt Wood Cove that will take you along the waterfront and between the forest and the shore.

There are several lookout points along the way which give greats views of breathtaking Rigolet, the surrounding area, and its abundant marine life. Located at the top of the hill, just before reaching Burnt Wood Cove, is a gazebo, seating area, viewfinder, and storyboards.

At the end of the boardwalk is a most unique visitor experience, the archaeological site of Double Mer Point. Following three years of excavation, three late 18th-century Inuit homes dating back to between 1760 and 1800 can be viewed.

This site is particularly interesting because it was occupied when the Inuit operated a long-distance coastal trade network linking their traditional communities in order to exchange Inuit-produced goods with European fishermen and traders in southern Labrador who offered European goods. It was also occupied just prior to the settlement of the first European men in the region.

3 people walking the boardwalk in Rigolet, Labrador, Canada with the ocean and beach on one side and the forest on the other
© Rigolet Community Archaeology
Aerial view of indigenous archaeological dig hillside in Rigolet Labrador
© Rigolet Community Archaeology

About Us

At Experience NL, we are planners of experiences…not simply vacations.

These are compelling, personally tailored getaways for engaged, curious travelers seeking life-enhancing opportunities.

Contact Matthew or John to start planning your most exceptional journey!

Matthew, Experiential Travel Planner with Experience Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Agency, sitting in a field at Spillars Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada with ocean and cliffs in the background
Matthew Barrett, Experiential Travel Consultant

 John, Experiential Travel Planner with Experience Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Agency standing next to a Leprechaun at Dublin City Center in Ireland
John Keough, Owner & Experiential Travel Consultant

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Why You Need To Explore Charming Champney's West

Situated Off Bonavista Peninsula Highway (Route 230 Near Port Rexton) You Will Discover Champney’s West. 

First settled in 1675, 70 Residents Now Call Champney’s West Home. This Is One Of Our Island's Oldest And Most Charming Out-Port Communities That Will Immediately Capture Your Heart!

Map of Newfoundland, Canada with a pinpoint indicating location of Champney's West, Trinity Bay

Overlooking Trinity Bay, Champney’s West Is Part Of A Collection Of Breathtaking Coastal Communities That Make Up The Trinity Bight Region.

Better Known As "The Island", This Enchanting Town Is Nearly Surrounded By The Atlantic Ocean With The Exception Of A Narrow Road/Isthmus.

Like Most Rural NL Communities, Champney's West Was Profoundly Impacted By The Collapse Of The Cod Fishery In The Early 1990s. (A Subsequent Moratorium On Fishing Saw This Town's +400 Year Way Of Life Literally Disappear Overnight.) 

Today The Town Is On A New Path Thanks To The Champney’s West Heritage Group (CWHG), A Non-Profit Volunteer Based Organization.

CWHG’s Mission Is "To Preserve And Promote The Heritage Of The Community And The Region Through The Development And Operation Of Educational Focused Facilities". 

Some Of Their Initiatives To Date Include The Heritage House Museum And Aquarium. Read More About CWHG's Amazing Work Here.

The road leading into Champney's West Newfoundland with islands and ocean in the background

Little red shed with a union jack/English flag on a pole mounted on the roof in Champney's West, NL Canada

Ella Freeman Heritage House

Our First Visit To Champney's West Took Us To The Ella Freeman Heritage House Museum. 

A Treasure Trove Of Artifacts, Pictures And Written Material Are On Display Here That Captures The Town’s Amazing History. 

The Museum Is A Definite Time-Capsule, Telling The Story Of A Resilient People From Early Settlement And The Fishery Right Up To The Present Day!

Ella Freeman Heritage House Sign with a flowerbed at the base

Yellow exterior and green trim of Heritage travel to Ella Freeman Heritage House museum in Champney's West Newfoundland

Old fashion four foot high floor radio with a mini yellow dory atop at Ella Freeman Heritage House museum in Champney's West Newfoundland

A room with a ole fashion kitchen table and shelves of historical photos at Ella Freeman Heritage House museum in Champney's West Newfoundland

Ole fashion wood spinning wheel inside Ella Freeman Heritage House museum in Champney's West Newfoundland

A collection of historical photos and ole fashion wooden utensils and artifacts at Ella Freeman Heritage House museum in Champney's West Newfoundland

The Fox Island Trail 

Fox Island Trail Is An Easy-Difficult 3 km Hike (Only Difficult If You Take The Optional Steep Climb To The Peak).

This Trail Takes You Across Meadows, Through Forests, Along Coastlines And Atop Hidden Beaches. It Is One Of The Most Glorious Hikes We Have Completed In NL!

Fox Island Has Two Distinct Plateaus, The Lower One Is Called "The Porch". 

An Archaeological Dig In 1995 Discovered Evidence Here Of Trenches Used As Defence During Queen Anne’s War (1701-1713).

Fox Island trail sign at Champney's West, Newfoundland, Canada

Fox Island trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland overlooking rocky beach, ocean and green rolling hills

Fox Island trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland overlooking the forest, trees, ocean, hills and neighbouring towns

Cliff-side overlooking the Atlantic ocean on a sunny blue sky day at Fox Island trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland

Spreading my arms beach-side along our adventure hike at Fox Island trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland

Standing next to a rock wall on a beach in Champney's west, newfoundland

Standing on a hill with sun rays over me and having a coffee  on Fox Island Trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland

Wild flowers and trees on a hill overlooking a pond and landscape along the Fox Island Trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland

Overlooking a small secluded beach on Fox Island Trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland

Trail leading into the forest with moss on both sides on Fox Island Trail in Champney's West, Newfoundland Canada

Aquarium

We Were Fortunate To Be On Hand For The Unveiling Of Champney's West Aquarium Which Officially Opened In September. 

This State Of The Art Facility Is A Unique Marine Learning Experience. It Includes Touch Tanks And Large Viewing Tanks That Exhibit Many Of Our Aquatic Species Including Salmon, Cod, Sculpin, Starfish, And Crab.  

A Must-See For All Ages!

Exterior of red building of Champney's West Aquarium and wheelchair ramp in Newfoundland Canada

Champney's West Aquarium touch tank with 2 starfish stuck to the side

Champney's West Aquarium touch tank with crabs and rocks

Black and white Auk bird mannequin inside the Champney's West Aquarium

Shell fish and marine life in the touch tank at Champney's West Aquarium

Fish swimming at the Champney's West Aquarium

A fish looking side on at Champney's West Aquarium touch tank in Newfoundland Canada

Men and women chatting at the touch tanks inside the Champney's West Aquarium in Newfoundland Canada

Champney's West Days

Held Annually In August, This 3 Day Weekend Extravaganza Includes An Old Fashioned Variety Concert, Traditional Foods, And Games of Chance.

The Highlight, Of Course, Is The Famous "Island Girls" Who Take The Plank Plunge Into The Atlantic.

Equally Famous Is The Cardboard Boat Races. In This Event, Brave Souls Set Sail In Creatively Designed Cardboard Boats Held Together By Duct Tape. 

Here Each Participant Hopes To Make The Round Trip From The Beach Midway Out To The Harbour And Back Again (Without Sinking That Is). 

2 men dressed in drag, one playing guitar, the other using a ole fashion washboard as an instrument at Champney's West Heritage Days weekend festival
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
Men in drag on a boat en-route to the plank plunge
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
Men in drag dancing on the wharf at Champney's West Heritage Days festival
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
Man jumping from a plank into the water with crowds on onlookers from wharf
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
Man just about to hit the water after taking the plunge into the harbour at Champney's West Heritage Days festival
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
2 women in a makeshift cardboard boat paddling at the Champney's West Heritage Days festival
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
3 men paddling in the harbour in a cardboard boat modelled after the Matthew ffrom which John Cabot sailed in 1497 and discovered Newfoundland at the Cardboard boat racing at the Champney's West Heritage Days festival
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
Little girl kneeling on the wharf next to a cardboard boat that looks like poo and called Piece of Ship
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.
Group of people on the wharf next to a cardboard boat built like a toilet at the Cardboard boat racing at the Champney's West Heritage Days festival in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
© The Champney’s West Heritage Group, Inc.

Be Sure You Pencil In Champney's West As You Explore NL. This Idyllic Rural Community With An Endearing And Enduring Cultural Heritage Represents The Finest In "Off The Beaten Path" Newfoundland Travel!

About Us

At Experience NL, we are planners of experiences…not simply vacations.

These are compelling, personally tailored getaways for engaged, curious travelers seeking life-enhancing opportunities.

Contact Matthew or John to start planning your most exceptional journey!

Matthew, Experiential Travel Planner with Experience Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Agency, sitting in a field at Spillars Cove, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada with ocean and cliffs in the background
Matthew Barrett, Experiential Travel Consultant

John, Experiential Travel Planner with Experience Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Agency standing next to a Leprechaun at Dublin City Center in Ireland
John Keough, Co-Owner & Experiential Travel Consultant