Doug & Morri Visit St.
St. John's - indeed, the whole
province of Newfoundland & Labrador - is a special place, quite
unlike anywhere else in Canada. Like most tourists, we were
utterly charmed; by the sights, certainly, but most enduringly by
the people. Newfoundlanders are a gregarious and garrulous
lot. A note of caution: don't engage anyone in conversation
unless you have lots of time to spare! Like their Irish cousins a
hop across the pond, they have the gift of the gab, an original
turn of phrase and a vocabulary all their own (I have a hefty
Newfoundland dictionary to prove it!) - the whole wrapped in an
irresistible brogue. It makes for a seductive package, which is
why any visitor who ventures to Canada's most easterly point -
and enters that disorienting time zone a half hour later than
Atlantic Time - is bound to return again and again.
Click here for a photo tour of
St. John's in winter.
of our St. John's experience that we highly recommend to
introductory 90-minute Irish dance lesson
with the extraordinary Shawn Silver, at his idance
studio. Cost: $20 per
person. 181 Hamilton Ave. (709) 690-2101.
Read more in our article,
"Jiggin' in St.
of Government House, home to the province's Lieutenant
Governors. This magnificent Regency edifice, built at enormous
expense in 1829, has a colorful history, including frescoed
ceilings done by Polish convict Alexander Pindikowsky. The
current Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Edward Roberts,
recently opened Government House to the public. Free one-hour
guided tours at 10:00 a.m., Wednesdays & Thursdays. Book in
advance. (709) 729-4494.
Veiled Virgin at the Presentation
Convent, next to the Basilica of St. John the Baptist at 200
Military Road, should not be missed. This small marble statue by
19-th century Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza is a remarkable
work of art and clever illusion, flawlessly executed.
Presentation Convent, in Cathedral Square, is open to the public
daily from 10:30 a.m. - noon, 2 - 4 p.m. No charge but donations
Nest, a private officers' club tucked
away in the heart of historic St. John's, is a treasure trove of
World War II memorabilia, including a working periscope,
reclaimed from a captured German submarine, protruding through
its roof. Visitors with a serious interest in naval artifacts and
history are welcome to call and arrange a visit. (709) 753-6927.
of Quidi Vidi Brewing, the largest
microbrewery east of Quebec. In business since 1996, this
private company ships over 100,00 dozen bottles a year from its
picturesque locale and brews six brands of beer and ale,
including our favorites, 1892 and Eric's Red.
Sample them all in the tasting room. Call in advance to book a
tour. (709) 738-4040.
Nightlife in St. John's
Most of the
action happens on George St., which is wall to wall pubs,
each with its own style and clientele.
15-17 George St., (709) 722-3735,
Bridie Molloy's Pub & Eatery,
5 George St., (709) 576-5990
Dining in St. John's
a taste of traditional Newfoundland fare, head to the
Bona Vista restaurant at the Fairmont Newfoundland,
115 Cavendish Square, (709) 726-4980.:
Friday lunch buffet, $22 (plus taxes)
features a traditional Jigg's Dinner
(salt beef with boiled cabbage, turnips, onions and potatoes),
fish & brewis (soaked hard tack boiled with salt cod) with
scrunchions (crisply fried salt pork pieces), a carved meat
(turkey, pork or ham), and often mussels.
Night buffet, $27 (plus taxes)
features cariboo or other game meats, seal and fish in season.
for tasty food, reasonably
priced, homey atmosphere. 71 Duckworth St. (directly across from
The Fairmont Hotel), (709) 579-8050.
Crae's, an old-fashioned emporium of
fresh baking and specialty foods, is the place for
a wholesome cafeteria-style lunch, a chai latte or afternoon tea.
Its sitting room is a downtown oasis of calm where you can read
the paper, listen to music and relax with no obligation to
purchase a thing. However, that would be a mistake! Everything
baked or cooked on the premises is scrumptious, and Auntie Crae's
apple flips, stuffed with chunks of apple and raisins, at $1 a
piece, are one of the best deals in town. 272 Water St. (709)
Tea Room, a charming restaurant-bar
owned and operated by Emir Mahic, a handsome Bosnian émigré,
features an eclectic, multi-ethnic cuisine deliciously executed
at surprisingly reasonable prices. After the kitchen closes,
tables are pushed back and the place rocks as dancers sway to a
mainly Latin beat. 195 Water St., (709) 739-4766. Reservations
Restaurant specializes in fresh
Newfoundland seafood and traditional Newfoundland specialties
done fusion style. The menu is creative; the execution exquisite.
198 Duckworth. (709) 738-4115.
stay in St. John's
Winterholme Heritage Inn,
an opulent Queen Anne Revival-style mansion, has been restored to
its former 19th-century glory by its congenial hosts,
Ruby and Richard Cook. Fourteen rooms to choose from including
king and queen suites, with whirlpool baths and working
fireplaces. 79 Rennies Mill Road, (709) 739-7979 or toll-free
Leaside Manor Heritage Inn.
An elegant and romantic manor built in the 1920s, this inn is
both luxurious and cozy. 39 Topsail Road. (709) 722-0387 or