Newfoundland and Labrador is where wild and dramatic landscapes meet the allure of St. John’s, its bustling capital city with candy-colored houses that tumble from the cliffside and line the harborfront streets. In Vacations of the Brave, LA producer Tamika Lamison and her brother Cleve, an artist in New York City, reunite and hike, forage and eat along Canada’s Atlantic coast. Miles away from their urban worlds the siblings learn about the strength of the tightknit communities they visit and as well as their own family bonds.
Has the episode inspired you to plan your own trip to Newfoundland and Labrador? This list of local experiences will help you get started.
Newfoundlanders have a deep connection to both land and sea, which is showcased in its hyperlocal culinary scene. Award-winning chefs have helped shine a spotlight on this idyllic edge of North America by producing both traditional and inventive cuisine that celebrates ingredients fished, foraged and hunted close to home. At Raymonds in St. John’s — voted one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018 — you can indulge in sustainable and seasonal dishes like its signature roasted Newfoundland moose. Then take a deep dive into local drinking at Quidi Vidi Brewing Co., located in its namesake fishing community just five minutes from downtown. The brewery uses water sourced from ancient icebergs (they have a license to harvest the seaborne glacial ice) in its signature Iceberg Beer.
As Tamika and Cleve discover, nearby Mallard Cottage — rated one of the top 20 restaurants in Canada — is an ideal place to enjoy a boil-up. This favorite Newfoundland tradition is all about cooking outdoors over an open fire and eating with family gathered around. Mallard Cottage itself has cultural significance. The 18th-century Irish-Newfoundland vernacular style cottage is one of the oldest buildings in North America and has been recognized as a National Historic Site. For a hands-on experience in wild foraging, wander the forest trails and Avondale seashore with Cod Sounds. Newfoundlanders have a long history of living off the land and you’ll hunt for treasured cultural foods like partridge berry, which is often made into preserves. Then join a workshop where you’ll cook (and eat) your bounty in dishes like local scallops seared over a hot stone slathered with local seaweed butter.
With more than 18,000 miles of coastline and 300-plus hiking trails, Newfoundland and Labrador’s sweeping scenery begs to be explored from all angles. It’s worth getting up early to stroll the pathways surrounding Cape Spear Lighthouse and be the first on the continent to witness the sunrise. Located on North America’s most easterly point, the iconic 1836 structure is the province’s oldest surviving lighthouse and a National Historic Site. Face the sea and what spreads out before you is the limitless blue Atlantic. What’s ahead? Ireland! For a front-seat window on this otherworldly area, buckle up and take an exhilarating ride with Newfoundland Helicopters like Tamika and Clive did. You’ll buzz above breathtakingly beautiful shorelines, soaring sea cliffs and seemly endless emerald forests punctuated with glints of gold.
Getting out onto the water is another thrilling way to explore this pretty province. Hop on a boat with Bonavista Adventure Tours and you’ll travel along Cape Bonavista’s incredible coastline, motoring past massive seastacks, icebergs and quaint fishing communities that each have a fascinating history. This stunning ecosystem is a feeding area for whales where you can spot these massive mammals as well as dolphins and seals. There are also opportunities to get up close peeks at Atlantic puffins with bright-orange beaks.
Immersive arts scene
Art and storytelling are how people connect in Newfoundland and Labrador’s flourishing cultural communities. Tamika and Cleve discovered that first hand at enchanting Fogo Island, a magnet for artists who have brought a renewed vitality to the 11 fishing villages that once thrived here. For an immersive experience visit the acclaimed Fogo Island Inn, which is filled with furniture handmade by local craftspeople. It also boasts a residency-based arts program that supports a global community of musician, writers, designers and filmmakers among other creatives.
Hospitality away from home
The province’s largest island is also just a quick plane ride from Gander, whose residents’ open-hearted heroics are chronicled in the hit Broadway musical Come From Away. In the wake of 9/11, 38 transatlantic flights found refuge at the city’s international airport. The community of around 10,000 attended to some 7,000 people who were stranded, bringing them into their homes and treating them like family.
Want more information about the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador?