Arriving on the Rock

We’ve often laughed at our over-zealous sense of adventure in our initial plans for the trip.  “We’re going to camp our way across the country!!”  

I love camping; there is nothing better than cooking over the fire, smelling like smoke, and falling asleep in fresh air.  But camping is a ton of work, and so is writing, and I realize now that doing both lifestyles fulltime would definitely be full of conflicts.  Besides that, basically all campgrounds close down after Thanksgiving weekend.  If it weren’t for so many tourism boards, including Tourism Newfoundland, saving us from our own lofty goals.  Camping, in Newfoundland, in November?  That would have been a challenge.

Despite our naiveté, I don’t think we would have gone without roofs over our heads even if Tourism NL had not come to our rescue.  After ten days on Newfoundland (a.k.a. ‘The Rock’), we were struck by how hospitable Newfoundlanders are; it’s a brand all its own.  I truly believe we could have knocked on anyone’s door, explained our situation, and their only concern would have been what they’d serve us for breakfast the next morning.  Everywhere we went, we felt cared for in a BIG way.

After smoothly crossing the Cabot Strait thanks to Marine Atlantic, we arrived to the dramatic and WINDY landscape of Newfoundland’s west coast, as well as the warmth and comfort of the Port-Aux-Basques hotel.  Joined by owner Michelle Best, we ate a hearty traditional Newfoundland breakfast of beans, fishcakes, eggs, toast, jams, bacon, and… toutons.  

Toutons are the kind of food that silence you; the kind of food that before you’re done chewing, you’re thinking about the next bite, and worried about how you’re going to get more once all the bites are gone.  Toutons are simply fresh bread dough fried in butter or pork fat, then drizzled with molasses.  Traditionally, they were the treats at the end of the bread-making process, though now they’re a beloved breakfast (or anytime) staple.  Just don’t pronounce them wrong!  Think “Tao-tuns,” not “TOO-TONS.”  They were one of our best discoveries in Newfoundland, and they happened on our very first morning – it felt like an omen.

Between bites of our breakfast, Michelle shared with us stories of growing up on the island.  Her stories were fascinating, and her manner kind and sincere; she was our first introduction to the charm of Newfoundlanders, and got us excited about all that was ahead.

Plus there was canned moose, bear, and rabbit in the front lobby, so THAT gave us plenty to talk about…..

Over the next few posts we’ll share stories about root cellars, moose pastrami, kitchen parties, and more.  There’ll also be some St. John’s experiences that made us momentarily reconsider whether we should bother heading back west.  

We are so excited to share our experiences on this big, friendly island.