Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lots of FDR in St. John's, Newfoundland

When we were on our South America cruise in February, our cruising buddies, Barb and Ed, mentioned they would like to go to St. John's, Newfoundland. We missed St. John's on our Newfoundland trip last year, so we were definitely on board for that. We arrived to find lots of low hanging fog. We soon found out why they call this weather FDR...fog, drizzle and rain!

The Ocean Princess was in port and a couple we had met on our Antarctic cruise was on board. We thought we would head down to the port to see if we could see them.

Yup, we saw them...sailing away!

At least it wasn't raining, so we decided to walk downtown. Love the bright colours on Jim and the buildings!

Hill O'Chips...gotta love it!

This monument commemorates the landing in 1583 on this "New Found Land."


The street was closed for filming of The Republic of Doyle. I haven't seen the show, but I had heard of it. They must be struggling to find good shooting weather with all the rain St. John's has had. We were told by several people that they had had 5 sunny days since June.

Now that's a cute name for a lingerie store!

This is the fourth courthouse constructed on this site since 1730. This one was built between 1901 and 1904. The second courthouse was built with two stories to accommodate public hangings, which were staged from the second story window.

We found a place with a menu we liked and realized we had arrived at Nautical Nellies. It was on my list of place to eat, so mission accomplished. It was great!

A nice way to liven up a concrete wall...

The next morning we had breakfast at the Classic Cafe just up the street from our hotel. It also had great reviews on Trip Advisor. Then we debated what to do on another foggy day.

And decided to drive up to Signal Hill. Hmm...I think they were staging a re-enactment. Not much to see here, folks! We agreed to return on a less foggy day.

We went to The Rooms, which houses the Provincial Archives, Art Gallery and Museum. It sounded like a good foggy day activity.

It is beautiful inside!

A painting by Newfoundland artist, Gerald Squires. It shows the narrow opening into the St. John's harbour. No wonder cruise ships quite often cannot get into the port. You can see Signal Hill on the left, a great viewpoint to spot incoming ships.

Picture taking of exhibits was not allowed, so I don't have much to show of our visit. The centre is extremely well done and it was a very worthwhile morning.  A view of the foggy downtown...

We swung by the Basilica Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a beautiful church that celebrated its 150th year in 2005.


When we arrived in St. John's yesterday, we found out it was the day of the Royal St. John's Regatta, which is a huge event in the city. It is North America's oldest annual sporting event and there is documentation to show races beginning in 1816, but it is believed they were held even before that. The Regatta is held on Quidi Vidi (Kiddy Viddy) lake. I heard that Quidi Vidi is an adorable fishing village so we headed in that direction. There is also a brewery there, so that got votes from the guys.

One of the quiet streets...

How beautiful is this!

What's this? No rain or drizzle!

Quidi Vidi Brewing Co.

Eric's Red Cream Ale got a thumbs up!

The plants don't seem to mind the weather...I doubt they need to be watered much!

Our million dollar van...by the time we added on this and that...well, let's just say we thought we had purchased it! (Note to selves: do not rent cars at the airport.)

Quick! We have lots of room in the van!

Back in town...Fat Nanny's sounded yummy!

While we were on a roll and the weather was somewhat favourable, we decided to head to Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America.

The mural on the wall shows the Cape Spear lighthouse. It's not your traditional looking lighthouse, but this style was common on the East Coast at that time.

Guess what we have run into! More fog...we hoped we were going to be able to see the lighthouse when we got there.

The scenery actually reminded me quite a bit of Ireland...

And here we are! Cape Spear lighthouse on the right is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it has been restored to the way it would have looked in 1839. The lighthouse on the left was built in 1955.

A stunning view without the fog...

Cape Spear National Historic Park was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983.


These trees have pretty well been flattened by the winds.

These lilies must be very hardy!

Some of the remaining WWII fixtures. They would have had an excellent view of the ships coming in.

A tour boat below. Look...no guardrails! Amazing...

These kids were having a great time running around. It was surprising, but good, that there are no fences.

Jim and Kim at Cape Spear at last! Two cruises we have been on have not been able to get into St. John's. You know for sure if Jim had his hood up, it was blustery and cold!

The lighthouse as it would have appeared in 1800s with a stone tower surrounded by a frame residence. It was the second lighthouse in Newfoundland with the first at Fort Amherst.

The inside has been restored to show how the lightkeeper's family would have lived. Quite nice actually!


OK...maybe the bed is a little lumpy!

The many tools the lightkeeper would have required in this isolated outpost.

Interesting broom...

You needed lots of supplies. No running to the grocery store!

The various stages of the lighthouse. The top left shows it in 1836 and again as it is today.

And it was back to town again.


We didn't realize when we booked the trip that we would be arriving on the day of the Regatta and the day after the George Street Festival where "the Biggest Little Street in North America comes alive for six days of musical entertainment." 

The evening we went to George Street...crickets! I think everyone was home recuperating!


Trapper John's Home of the Screech-In. This was even too touristy for us. Instead we found a pub where we had a drink and headed to another pub for dinner. That's a geriatric Pub Crawl!

It was a great day!

Tomorrow we are planning to drive around the Irish Loop. We're hoping for less FDR!


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