This adventure really started 47 years ago this month (February 2020), when I wed a fella from Newfoundland. Since our marriage, we have lived here in Ontario however we have traveled back to visit his home province on several occasions. One particular visit stands out, it was the year we were married! We visited his hometown and family during the summer of 1973. Near the middle to end of August, the ferries went on strike. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness when I looked at those huge boats tied up at the wharf in Port-aux-Basques. I was a public school teacher unable to return for the first day of school in Ontario.
From the visits we have made "home" to this wonderful island, I have fallen deeply in love with this very special place. I look forward with anticipation to return to what I now call "my second home" to visit friends and family. Last year, my husband and I decided it was time to introduce our grandchildren to the province of grandpa's birth. It was a special summer - one that we will hold dearly for the rest of our lives!
We left Ontario with our grandson in early August for the two-day drive to catch the overnight ferry from North Sydney to Port-aux- Basques. The next day we drove across the island to Lethbridge on Bonavista Bay and to the cabin at Aspen by the Sea in Brooklyn that we had rented for our stay. That first week was packed full of my husband introducing our grandson to lifelong school friends, cousins from North West Brook and relatives who lived in Sunnyside. Upon our arrival to Lethbridge, we were informed that the squid were coming in and were up on the beach. Early in the morning, one could see people walking the beaches and picking up the squid to clean and freeze to be used later. That was a new experience for us, to walk the beach and pick up squids!
One weekend, Grandpa, Grandson and Grandpa's lifelong friend went fishing for cod. That day will forever be etched in their memories of the sculpin, cod fishing, and whale watching.
Our daughter and granddaughter flew into St. John's the next week and that gave us a couple of days to explore a bit of the city. Having a breakfast of toutons, visiting the shops on Water Street, and for sure the Downhome Shoppe, and standing at the top of Signal Hill with the wind blowing through our hair, were some of the St. John's memories. Spending some time at Cape Bonavista, visiting the lighthouse museum, and enjoying some traditional Newfoundland meals at Nan's Root Cellar Kitchen, and walking to see the puffins and the root cellars at Elliston created more memories. We were invited to share wonderful meals of fresh caught cod, Fisherman's Brewis and Jiggs Dinners along with fresh home baked bread with bakeapple jam and partridgeberry pies. We will never forget visiting the government wharf in North West Brook/Ivany's Cove to see the baby beluga who had decided to stay in their bay for the summer. On our second last night on the island, we were treated to a kitchen party.
Very soon, our vacation time was up and it was time to return home to Ontario. For our last night in Newfoundland, we stayed in an Airbnb salt box house in Fox Roost. It was another experience we wanted the grandkids to have. From the door of the house, we watched the waves crashing on the rocks a little way out in the water. For our last supper we visited the greatest little restaurant in Margaree called The Seashore Restaurant. I will never forget how we found this gem on one of our earlier visits. We used to stay in a Bed and Breakfast (now closed) in Port-aux-Basques and my husband asked the owner about where was a good place to eat. Her reply was, "Do you want fast food or your last supper?" She steered us to this spot and it is always one of our last stops before we leave this wonderful isle.
A few months ago, our grandson told his mom that he was flying back to Newfoundland this coming summer. When asked where he was going to stay, he replied, "with Aunt Ida and Uncle George!" He fell in love with the people and the island and we are sure our mission was accomplished because both our grandchildren want to return this summer to Grandpa's island of birth!