Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Cuisine’ category

Exploring the Irish Loop, Newfoundland

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Sunrise this morning

We have driven half of the east side of the Irish Loop on the Avalon Peninsula, but wanted to see more. We drove south to Ferryland and walked to the lighthouse from the visitor’s center. The harbor is so pretty with islands in the middle and rock cliffs on the north side. Seagulls and other birds are everywhere, and it didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day. It took us an hour to get out there and walk around the point, where a family was sitting on the rocks watching seals play. 

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We found a field of blueberry bushes, but they weren’t ready yet. I guess in another couple of weeks or so. I figured out a way to make a blueberry pie that Diego wanted so badly, but now he is back in Mexico City.

Ferryland was settled about 1610. I can’t imagine living here then, but unlike so many other colonies in America, the resources they had were plentiful. Trees, lobster, cod, crabs, mussels, oysters, ducks, geese and fresh water made it easier than many locations.

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Then we drove to the southern tip of the peninsula, Mistaken Point, where there is a UNESCO ecological reserve. All the tours were full, but we went in the visitor’s center and watched a video. On rock ledges by the sea, there are thousands of ancient life forms fossilized in the rocks that are 500 million years old. They are the oldest Ediacaran period fossils known in the world. Interestingly, they were discovered by a geology graduate student, Shiva Misra. The wreck of the Titanic was found 600 km from Mistaken Point. 

This area is so different from everything else we have seen in Newfoundland. It is called “The Barrens”. There are no trees, but wide-open grasslands, bogs and ponds as far as the eye can see. Partridge hunting is supposed to be good here, and brook trout plentiful. Little huts are seen next to ponds, perhaps a place where people come to fish and hunt. 

Heading back toward La Manche Provisional Park, we stopped at Bernard Kavanagh’s restaurant with the million dollar view overlooking Ferryland Harbor. We were early, the only ones in the restaurant. A lady sweeping the floor gave us menus and told us to sit where we want. “Number 5 and 7 are good”, so we sat at table #7. What a view! We were embarrassed to just order a tea, so we ordered cod bites, tea and a mixed berry crumble. The waitress said they were frozen cod, and we would be better to order one piece cod, so we did. Another lady brought the cod a short while later. She said they just made two smaller pieces so we could split it, and it was excellent, some of the best we have had. 

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A man came over to talk, but I couldn’t understand a word he said. He didn’t have his hearing aid in, so he couldn’t hear a word I said. However, his hat said “Boss”, and he was the owner. He said it was for sale, saying things were just getting too expensive. He asked where we were from, but wasn’t quite sure where Virginia was. Pointing to a pretty house on a bluff, he said a man from Boston lives there, but he has gone back now. 

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I think we met the whole staff, all coming to say hello. I asked one about driving here in the snow and ice. She said it was difficult, and they get plenty of it. She said it was so hot today, and she couldn’t stand the weather Virginia has had this summer. It was 26 deg C, which is 79 F, but that is hot here. We had worked up quite a sweat walking to the lighthouse earlier. All of these people were so nice! I told this lady we have really enjoyed our visit to Newfoundland, and that people have been so nice. She smiled and said, “Sometimes we are”. 

Back at camp, we didn’t need much for dinner, so we grilled a small piece of salmon and corn over the fire. 

La Manche Suspension Bridge Trail

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Diego went for a run for a little over an hour, while Martha and I rested on a warm, sunny morning. Then we hiked the Suspension Bridge Trail to La Manche, a tiny settlement that was destroyed by a terrible storm years ago. 

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La Manche is a beautiful spot sitting on a rock bluff above a river flowing into a beautiful bay. The East Coast Trail comes right through here. Diego has been wanting to hike the Appalachian Trail for a week with me. I told him I would much rather hike this trail. The scenery is spectacular and there are no rattlesnakes or bears. Every cove has a settlement where you might resupply and find something to eat. 

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Martha had enough, but Diego wanted more hiking, so he went ahead for another hour before turning back, while Martha and I headed back to camp.

We had a dinner reservation at “The Fork” in Mobile, so we got cleaned up and drove south for a couple of hours, exploring the villages along the way. We just got to Ferryland before we had to turn back, but we could see we needed to come back, as it is beautiful.

“The Fork” has only been open a couple of months, and is not exactly on the beaten path. Still in construction stage, the drive and parking lot are rough. Grass grew through the deck leading to the front door. Once inside, it was very nice with views of the harbor. The staff was very nice. It’s a small restaurant, but people kept driving in as we placed our order. Some walked up the drive. Did they come from a B&B or do they live here – maybe some of both, but the restaurant soon filled up.

We shared a starter salad and wonderful dish of brussle sprouts. Then we all ordered Tagliatelle with scallops, peas, mushrooms and parmesan. Bread rolls came with partridge berry and honey butter, which was quite different and good. Then we shared a desert of Pavlova, a dish with meringue and strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, sprinkled with oats and cream. Martha and I have been overeating, so we said we would just have a bite, but this was so good we couldn’t help ourselves. I asked if I could lick the bowl.

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I was happy to get into bed to read my book after a great day

Brigus Lighthouse Trail

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Driving 35 minutes west from Butter Pot Provincial Park along the coast, we arrived in Brigus, which we heard was very pretty. We pulled into a parking area by a pretty cove. A man and his family drove in behind us. The big man said they had never been there and just followed us. I told him we knew nothing. They were from Corner Brook on the west side of Newfoundland, and he was taking his teenage kids on a trip before they started school again. We chatted for a while, and he told us about a pretty drive when we go back through Codroy Valley. “Just turn at the convenience store with a gas pump and follow the road.” 

There was a tour van with a guide and 6 people. We followed them through a cave leading to the bay. The group was so excited and having such a great time, telling about all the whales they had seen on their boat tour. Meanwhile, the tour guide was telling Martha where to go and what to do. I was trying to listen to everyone, but that was not possible. 

For those who don’t know Diego, he is from Mexico City, and we were classmates in graduate prosthodontics residency at Ohio State University in 1984-86. Diego was 25 when he came from a GPR in Louisiana. I was 40, having sold my share of a general dentistry practice. We have been like brothers ever since. We asked him to come up and join us for any part of our 2-month trip, and he has come for a week, flying into St. John’s.

We drove around the beautiful, upscale village, then stopped at North Street Cafe for tea, a scone and rutabaga cake. Then we drove up to The Lighthouse Trailhead. The little parking lot was filled, so I parked right next to a cliff, which made me very nervous. I walked up the gravel road, which led to the trail, while Diego and Martha went up the trail at the parking lot. 

The lighthouse Trail

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The lighthouse Trail

It is a beautiful hike, well-maintained and pretty all along. there were a couple of unusual things. One was a greatly oversized Adirondack chair where the best pictures can be taken of the cove and town. The other was a big field where cows were grazing. There is more up and down than I expected, but otherwise an easy trail to walk on. There were many walking the trail on this pretty day. We had a late start, so we had it all to ourselves coming back. Diego and Martha had a running conversation all the way, and Martha liked the way Diego helped her at difficult spots.

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Back at the parking lot, I was nervous getting out of my spot on the edge of the cliff, but Diego and Martha were guiding me. First I pulled forward and then backed slowly over a little, wooden bridge with wooden supports for the tires. I was glad to get over it and turn around.

In the evening, we went back to St. John’s Fish Exchange. We have found making reservations is very important in Newfoundland. Again, we had an excellent dinner and service. I missed our previous waitress with the great smile, but Martha sure liked Chad, our waiter. A tall and handsome young man who was born and raised here. He said this is summer and lasts about a month. Then the winds, cold and snows come. I don’t know how they navigate these big, steep hills in snow. We shared a bowl of mussels, which would have been enough with a salad, but Martha and I ordered Cod, while Diego had Arctic Char. All were excellent, but the real treat was the mussels. The restaurant was packed.

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North Head Trail/The Rooms

Wednesday, Aug 14, 2014

We hiked North Head Trail in St. John’s, which works its way around Signal Hill, out to the point and back around the edge of St. John’s Harbor, through a pretty, little neighborhood. this is a gorgeous hike, one many residents hike every day. What a beautiful place to get your exercise. Diego is a marathon runner, so this was little strain for him, but Martha and I were tired, but happily tired. 

Then we drove over to the pretty, little lighthouse guarding the entrance to the harbor on the other side. Parking at the bottom, we walked through maybe 10 homes in a beautiful spot, one with a porch looking back at St. Johns and another looking out toward the sea. A young couple walked by, saying “Good morning”. The girl was wearing a backpack, so they were off to hike the East Coast Trail that follows the coast south for 300 km along the coast. It is rated one of the best hikes in the world.

 

They hadn’t gone 20 yards past when she screamed, “Whale!” At the mouth of the harbor was a whale blowing steam straight up. We watched for about 5 minutes as it worked its way north around the corner. We had been watching all morning, and it was great to finally see one. The young lady was so excited and smiling broadly. She said they had taken a whale tour for $70 each and seen nothing.

We followed them up to the lighthouse for another great view of the harbor and the hike we had just taken on the other side. A little house sits at the top with two chairs on a porch looking out at this incredible view.

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Hungry now, we went back downtown and parked in the same parking garage beside the wharf. In a busy downtown, it was the only way to park a big truck. Martha had decided on a Chinese vegan restaurant, wanting a lighter lunch than yesterday. St. John’s is a bit like San Francisco was 50 years ago. From Water Street it was a steep climb uphill for several blocks before we found The Peaceful Loft, a tiny place run by a husband and wife. The husband did everything downstairs, while his wife did the cooking upstairs. He was quite a character, very nice and very informative about their foods and where they get them. 

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After lunch we climbed the big, steep streets to “The Rooms”, a great museum. Like San Francisco, it is a city of steep hills. We enjoyed the brightly colored houses. A Newfie told us there is so much fog, cloudy weather and snow, they need the color.

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Following Google maps, we climbed up the streets, but stopped to try to determine where we were going. A couple passing us, overheard our conversation and said to follow them. They were going somewhere else, but it was close. Several times the lady looked back to see if we were following. At the top, they stopped to show us where to go. The husband said to be sure to go in the cafe because it is the best view of the city.

“The Rooms” is a beautiful museum with great views of the city, just as our guides had told us. The art of one sculptor was particularly interesting, Billy Gauthier, but it is always the wildlife displays I enjoy most. Gauthier is from Labrador and uses all natural products, whalebone, Labrodite, baleen and others.

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Diego Arrives in St. John’s

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

We did laundry in the morning, then went to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a new sheet, bag clips, new drying towel. Then to airport to pick up Diego, who was coming from Mexico City to join us for a week. He had a long night and morning of travel to Toronto, then on to St. John’s. We drove into town looking for a place to eat. It was busy, and parking the big truck was a problem. Then it was hard to tell where we could and could not park. We found a good spot along the docks. It’s the first time I have seen where you pay with an app. Of course we didn’t have the app, so Martha called the listed number where you could pay. After pushing a list of buttons on the automated call, she was unable to list my license tag. I think it didn’t fit the Canadian profile. After several tries, we gave up and went to a parking garage with a 7’2 clearance. It was a little hard making the turns in the garage, but we made it.

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As it started raining, we opted for The Fish Exchange in the garage, and it was excellent. It was a good place to spend time catching up with Diego. Our waitress has the greatest smile that just makes you happy. It was a great meal of mussels, salads and Turkey sandwich on pretzel roll and bread pudding with raspberry sauce. We didn’t need dinner. 

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We walked around downtown a while, but couldn’t keep up with where the downtown tour went. A nice lady came up to help us, but she didn’t know where the tour went either. She was great at telling us about Signal Hill, which she walks “all the time”. She loves her city, and she was so nice, talking to us for about 10 minutes. Newfies are just plain nice and courteous. Step one foot onto the street and traffic stops so you can cross. I waved them past several times, but they won’t go, waiting for you instead. 

Back at camp we sat around the campfire and listened to more of Diego’s stories before sorting out his unpacking and going to bed. The couch was quite comfortable, although without a reading light. I figured out a way to put a paper cup over my little flashlight to dim it a bit. Then I could read just fine. Patton was being handcuffed by Eisenhower so Montgomery could lead the final charge into Germany.

Lunch at Chucky’s Seafood and Wildgame Restaurant

 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My leg being sore, I opted out of hiking for a few days. I offered to take Martha anywhere she wanted to hike, but instead we decided to go to the Burnside Archeological Society. I love driving around all the little coves and harbors. We drove all around cute, little Burnside before finally finding the building that was now defunct and withering away. These little outports (small harbors, not the main harbor) need things to keep them going, but this one didn’t work out.

I like to research places on Google maps, then press the ˆNearby” button for restaurants, campgrounds or other points of interest. In searching restaurants nearby Terra Nova National Park, I marked Chucky’s Seafood & Wildgame Restaurant. I’m not big on eating out, but I love wild game and seafood, and it is rated 4.8/5 by 91 people. We went looking for it in Happy Harbor, but couldn’t find it. We had to Google it and get directions. You know you’re good when there is no sign on the street, and it’s not easy to find even when you know where it is.

Driving into a small parking lot at The Inn at Happy Adventure, we headed for the door. A lovely young lady with a gorgeous smile stuck her head out the door to tell us they don’t open until 12:00. Martha said, “OK, can you save us a spot?” With that great smile, she said the classic Newfoundland response, “No problem.” 

We drove to nearby Sandy Cove to check it out. Traffic was crazy, with frantic drivers desperate to get to the beach at Sandy Cove. The parking lot was filled with more cars coming. It was Sunday, after church, and a warm, sunny day – perfect for the beach. We wanted to see, but it was 12:00 and there was too much commotion. Later I took this picture from the internet.

Sandy Cove

Back at the Inn at Happy Adventure, we went in. A nice lady asked if we had a reservation. Then the pretty, young lady came up, smiling, and said she had promised us a place. At 12:15 there were 5 couples already ordering. I guess they don’t have wild game at lunch, and they are famous for their fish and chips, so we both ordered that. 

Clay was our waiter. He is from a town near Happy Adventure and is studying literature and writing at Memorial University in St.John’s. They work 72 hours a week at the inn from June-August. Then they close. I learned later that the owners, Chuck and Brenda Matchim. Chuck grew up here, then went to St. John’s where he had a restaurant by the same name for years before moving back. He also ran Smokey Hole Boat Tours, and the inn still offers tours. Brenda has a diploma in Food Technology, and has been a valuable contributor. She is also an excellent artist, and her paintings decorate the inn. I found a painting of Clay right beside one of Anthony Bordain, my favorite travel guy. I am so sorry we have lost him. I loved his shows, and I’m sure he would have loved a place like this.

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The fish and chips were great, maybe the best ever. Clay talked me into trying bread and gravy topping. It tasted great, but is just too heavy for my taste. Martha ordered plain fries and saved a fish and half the fries for tomorrow night. $14 Canadian for fish and chips. I gave it 5 stars on Google.

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On the way back we drove up to Blue Hill for an incredible view of the whole park with TCH 1 going right through the middle. A young couple sat in two Adirondack chairs having their lunch. As she moved over to sit on his lap, I said, “OK, we’re leaving.” She smiled.

View from Blue Hill

View from Blue Hill

We had a relaxing afternoon planning where to go after St. John’s, and just had soup for dinner.

Hike Ochre Hill Trail and Sandy Pond

Saturday, August 10, 2019

In the morning we hiked the Ochre Trail, a 4 km easy to moderate trail. It first went beside a pretty pond (natural, as opposed to a lake, which is man-made). I always wonder if there are fish in these pretty ponds that are everywhere. 

The hike was a bit boring at first, especially after reading a sign telling us the pretty Kalmia, which is like a rhododendron, is poisonous, killing livestock. It also poisons the soil so other plants can’t grow. Fires used to destroy the plant, but fires have been controlled in recent years, but they are now doing controlled burns.

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Once we climbed to the top of a big hill, everything changed. The views were impressive in every direction. A young German couple was just leaving the peak. With their binoculars, they were able to see their first moose. 

We went on to a second overlook with even more impressive views. Looking at a lake below, with a stream leading to Clode Sound, I thought how cool it would be to camp and fish that area. There is so much land that is not easily accessible. Hiking down there without a trail would be tough.

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Turning back, the trail joins a loop along another pretty pond, then back out to the parking area. A young man and his son were studying the map. He had on a trout fishing vest, the first I’ve seen. He said the Information Center told him there are salmon in these lakes, along with Brown Trout. I wished him luck, and he said, “It will be great if we catch something, but at worst it will be a relaxing day in a peaceful place”. 

I wanted to go back to camp for lunch. The solar keeps cutting out on me. I keep fiddling with the settings, but really don’t know what I am doing. I took a little nap while Martha paid bills, then read several websites on recommended settings. You would think there would be a guideline from the manufacturer, but they are very vague. I guess there are many variables, depending on your system.  I have read many times, but haven’t grasped it yet, but this time it became more clear. I changed the settings again while Martha took a nap. I watched it for a while and it was bulk charging, and didn’t cut out.

We wanted to do one more hike, but an easy one, so we drove to Sandy Pond. The parking lot was full, and families in bathing suits were headed to the beach on a hot day – 28C (82F). That is very hot here, and the humidity was high. The hike, rated easy) went around the pond, which looked like a long way, but was only 3km. It was so shallow, I think you could probably walk across. At the top of the lake, it was quite pretty. Signs told us of the animals we might see, but we saw nothing. It was too hot. They were probably sleeping in some cool, shaded place. I was sweating like a dog when we got back, but it was a good walk. 

Sandy Pond

Sandy Pond

We went to the Visitor’s Center, which is going to be very nice when they finish a big upgrade. Kids and adults were gathered around a big, open fish tank with crabs, starfish, muscles and other creatures. You could touch or pick up these creatures. One little girl was timidly reaching for a starfish. I wanted desperately to scare her, but I resisted. 

Driving back to camp, we followed a road past the campground. It led to the docks where two young ladies and a man were fishing in Newman Sound. They said sea trout could be caught, but no one had a bite yet.

Back at camp, Martha fixed a delicious meal of pork chops, potatoes and onions and sugar snap beans. It was Saturday night and the campground got crazy. A big group was having a loud party at the shelter until 12:00. Many cars kept coming and going late into the night. Kids were still up until late. I stuffed my ears with tissue and tried to sleep.

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Southwest Brook Trail and Salvage Coast Trail

Friday, August 9, 2019

We said we would do a couple of easy hikes today and opted for Southwest Brook first. It’s an easy “Sauntier” along a perfect trout stream until it meets the Southwest Arm of the sea. It’s a nice, easy walk with boardwalks and bridges. Picnic tables and benches along the way to rest and have lunch. There are even a couple of covered ones. 

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We then drove to the little town of Salvage, stopping to fill up the gas tank. Salvage is outside Terra Nova National Park, but is gorgeous. Its name is derived from the French name, Salvaje, meaning savage. The Beothuk natives were not receptive to Europeans. 

As our friend, Jim Tulk on the ferry said, “Things are changing. We all used to be pretty much all the same, but now there are more rich people.” There is the still-alive fishing business, but it is highly regulated and a dying industry. The salmon don’t come the way they used to. Now there are newer houses with expensive boats. In 20 years, this will be a very different place. Who would come here, you might ask? It’s a 5-hour flight from London, 3.5 from Toronto or Montreal into Gander International Airport or St. John’s. Salvage is 200km from St. Johns. Richmond, VA to St. John’s in 9 hours for $475 on WestJet.

We hiked up to Net Point, about an hour out and back, easy to moderate. These trails are well-maintained with boardwalks and great signage. Stopping for pictures all along the way, Salvage photographs well from any angle. Newfoundland has the best cemeteries, and the Salvage cemetery is in such a pretty place. 

_1GW2244We went from Parking to Net Point

Arriving at a platform overlook of the entrance to Salvage Harbor, we ate lunch and enjoyed the view. Martha took her sandwich and walked down the rocks to the point to watch for whales, then waved me down. Three islands form their own interesting cove. No doubt a great place for whales, but not seeing any, we headed back up to the platform. Just then I saw a big whale right in the harbor, then another and maybe a third. We watched and listened to them blow and round their backs, happily feeding along the other side. A pair swam in perfect harmony, side by side. 

As they left the harbor, we hurried down the rocks to the point to watch them right out front. It was a great show for about 30 minutes or so. Twice they came all the way out of the water. Of course I had a 70mm lens for the scenery. Too late, Martha said shoot a video to capture the sounds of the spouts and splashes. It would have been great in the harbor, but they were too far away now, and the wind too strong, so we just watched. Then there were two more to the left of the islands, but we never saw them again. The original 3 worked their way around the point to our right and were gone, but what a show they gave us!

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It was just as pretty walking down, as you notice things from a different perspective. It is just a beautiful, unspoiled place.

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Back at camp, Martha made her own version of Seafood Chowder, and it was delicious. With a little lobster and some muscles in addition to the cod she put in, she might win a prize in a local contest!

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Change Island, Newfoundland

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

We took the 8:45 am ferry to Change Island for $11.50. It’s an easy 30 minute ride, and only 8 cars were going, Fogo getting most of the tourists and traffic. One road runs right up the middle of the small island, then branching out at the north end of the island in the town of Change.

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That was a trick trusting the ferry man to back us into that spot!

We passed the little visitor’s center before we saw it, and turned around in a tiny settlement in a beautiful cove with a street named Parson’s Lane. Returning to the small Visitor’s Center, we met Kimberly, a cute, young lady who is on a student grant from the government to work there. Her family has lived here for generations, and she was great about telling us all about life here. There are few jobs, most people still making their living fishing.

They had many craft items, mostly made on Change Island, but some from other Newfoundland places. The cold winters are great times for people to do crafts. They are quite good at knitting wool and making quilts. The prices were very reasonable.

We drove around, taking as many pictures as Martha would allow. This is a rich photographic place, especially as the sun came out in the afternoon, turning the waters blue, the grass more green and the buildings more bright. There are so many little coves at the top of this little island, and every one like a private place for just a few houses.

Then we went out and hiked the Squid Jigger Trail, which starts in a neighborhood and winds around coves and points with great views everywhere. We stopped for lunch at a half-collapsed picnic table. Soon enough, a lady came up the steps on her walk. She introduced herself as Wendy, and was born and raised here. She now lives near St. Johns, but was home for a visit. She talked for a half hour about what it was like to grow up here, and how rough the winters are. She said her father drove had an oil delivery business and used to drive across the winter ice to the mainland or to Fogo! She told us the millions of berries we had seen are blackberries, but they weren’t quite ripe yet. They are black and grow on what looks like a dwarf Juniper. The others we had seen were bake-apples. Her father loved them, but she remembers her mother cooking them on the stove and they smelled like sweat socks. She suggested more places to go and see and a restaurant in St. Johns called Chaffs I think. I should have been taking notes.

Change Island

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Blackberries

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Bake apple

 

We walked back to the truck and drove around the coves some more, but we wanted to take the 3:00 ferry back so we could go to Sansome’s for dinner. We did take one more quick hike around a pretty lake on the way back. I fell in love with Change Island.

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Sansome’s is quite a unique place on the water, where the family catches the seafood, cooks and serves it. Martha made the right choice with lobster, which she said was so sweet. I tried the fishcakes again, and they were good, but I don’t think I will do it again. With so much lobster, crab and mussels, I’ll stick to the pure thing. We shared a seafood chowder and moved it into first place – not so much cream and cheese, no potatoes and lots of seafood – lobster, crab, cod and muscles – yum!

 

St. Anthony

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Driving into St. Anthony near the top of the northwest arm, we hiked Lighthouse point, which was very pretty and an excellent place to look for whales.

We went to lunch at the Lightkeeper’s Restaurant, which was OK. We shared fish tacos, moose spring rolls and seafood chowder. The winner was a rice dish that came with fish tacos. I think it was a wild rice with other things in it.  

Hiking the point around the lighthouse, We saw a whale a half mile away, a minke maybe, smallish and black. 

In town, we got propane, and a few other items at a great hardware store, Shears, Sears with an H. It had a very nice staff and was well-equipped. We found more roof tape, since we still had a leak, and now a new one around a window.