St. John's (Newfoundland) Overview
Canada's oldest city, St. John's was settled by Irish and English immigrants who profited from the area's fish rich waters. In addition to super friendly residents, the scenic harbor boasts whales, puffins, icebergs, and lively Irish pubs with toe-tapping Celtic music.
Locally made blueberry, bakeapple (a.k.a. cloudberry) and partridgeberry jams. Hand knit wool sweaters, especially copies of the sweaters worn by "The Shipping News" cast, available at Woof Design Limited (181 Water Street).
Where You're Docked
Ships dock in the heart of town, at the wharf alongside Harbour Drive.
Water Street, the main shopping street, is one block up the hill. Taxis wait at the pier (or you can call Bugden's Taxi at 726-4400). Thrifty (800-847-4389) and Budget (800-527-7000) rent cars from about $30 per day, including unlimited mileage.
Signal Hill National Historic Site commemorates the cliff top where signal flags once alerted local merchants, customs officials and harbor pilots to approaching ships. Cabot Tower, built in 1897, is perched atop the hill. The Tower was used for signaling until 1960 and houses exhibits of Marconi's historic, first-ever transatlantic wireless message, received on the hill in 1901.
Cape Spear, seven miles southeast of town, is the easternmost point in North America. The original Cape Spear lighthouse, built in 1836, has been restored and is Newfoundland's oldest surviving lighthouse.
Been There, Done That
Whale and bird watching boat tours out of Bay Bulls get you up close to huge colonies of Atlantic puffins.
Tour the Salmonier Nature Park to see more elusive native critters-moose, lynx, snowshoe hare, snowy owls, eagles, river otters and Arctic fox.
Go sea kayaking in Cape Broyle, or hike a part of St. John's Grand Concourse, 42 miles of scenic trails.
Take a day trip to Brigus, site of Hawthorne Cottage, the home of Arctic explorer Captain Robert Bartlett, navigator for Admiral Robert E. Peary on his voyage to the North Pole.
Rent a car and visit the picturesque fishing villages that dot the shores of the Avalon Peninsula. Local cafes serve delicious fish chowder, lobster (in season) and moose stew.
Casual, in-town joints: Green Sleeves Pub (12-14 George Street, daily from 11 a.m.) for fish (cod) and chips or pub fare on an outdoor patio. Django's (190 Duckworth Street, Monday - Friday from 11:30 a.m.) for pasta, seafood, wraps and salads in a Victorian house with a harbor view. The Hungry Fisherman (in the Murray Premises, 5 Beck's Cove, Monday - Friday from 12 - 2 p.m.) for fish and salads in a 19th century fish warehouse located on the waterfront.
Gourmet Dining: Aqua (310 Water Street, Monday - Friday from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.) offers fresh fish and shellfish prepared with an Asian twist, in a classy minimalist setting.
Staying in Touch
Wordplay (221 Duckworth Street).
For More Information
On the Web: www.CanadasFarEast.com or www.city.st-johns.nf.ca
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