Newfoundland feels a little bit like a secret world, hidden away from day to day existence. Some of that may have to do with its remote location and its landscape. The large island of Newfoundland sits as the easternmost landmass in North America. Its a land of extremes, where icebergs flow into small-town harbors and impressive rock cliffs, and stacks stick straight up from the sea. To me, there are three aspects that make Newfoundland an incredible place to travel. They may not be obvious at first glance.
Here are three of Newfoundland's best-kept secrets:
The landscape and hiking
Newfoundland is an incredibly accessible area to hike, with great trail maps, easy trail access, and some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes that I’ve ever seen. While many places have trails, few have the diversity and care that have gone into the trails of Newfoundland. Many of the hikes are part of a trail system called the East Coast Trail. This unique 190-mile long distance trail follows the east coast of Newfoundland through small fishing villages, coastal communities, and historic settlements. A typical hiking trip of the east coast trail also involves staying at various inns scattered throughout the area. The wonderful hosts love to share the stories of the area (more on that later). Expect big coastal cliffs, lighthouses, and a chance to see whales while hiking!
Newfoundland is a storied place. As a port town and one the last stops for ships traveling to Europe from North America. Newfoundland became a unique gathering point for fisherman, explorers, and even military engagements. In the city of St. Johns, you can walk Signal Hill, which was the site of a heated battle between the English and the French during the Seven Years War in 1762. A common spirit of Newfoundland is rum—based on the custom of Newfoundlanders trading salted fish with Jamaican merchants for rum and molasses. You can truly feel the history here as you walk through small fishing towns and historic communities.
Truly, the best-kept secret of Newfoundland is the people. A major part of traveling here is that innkeepers are often inviting you into their homes. You often feel like a distinguished house guest and not just a traveler. From taxi drivers to waiters, everyone is willing to share stories, give advice, and make sure you are well equipped for your travel. The people here care deeply and that’s a tangible part of travel in this region. I may never encounter so many fun stories, so much laughter, and so much good home-cooked food in such a short period of time ever again.