Newfoundland is like no place you’ve ever been. This remote and craggy piece of landscape gets under your skin. Rugged beauty co-exists with a brooding melancholy as the raw ingredients of rock, sea and sky combine in endless variation. But, in the end, it is the people—a unique maritime subculture—who work a special magic on those from away.
Carved out of the formidable granite that gives the island its nickname (The Rock), St. John’s is a photographer’s dream. Here, spend five days starting to unpack the social history of Newfoundland while meandering the lanes and byways with their candy-coloured clapboard houses. Meet descendants of the English and Irish stalwarts, dreamers, and adventurers who originally settled Newfoundland. Spend time at The Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public cultural space, where history, heritage, and artistic expression converge.
We will decamp to the windswept Eastport Peninsula, where we attend Winterset in Summer—Newfoundland and Labrador’s unique literary festival founded by author and political journalist, Richard Gwyn. It is a fabulous long weekend filled with readings by new and established authors, traditional music, and great homemade Newfoundland food. While there, walk heritage pathways over bluffs, marshes, cliffs, and fjords.
The legendary Joey Smallwood dragged a reluctant Newfoundland into Canada in 1949 and ruled his island province from 1948 until 1972. He is still part of the province’s psyche and a subject of fiery dispute. We will wade into the debate. Newfoundland-born author Wayne Johnston used Smallwood as the main character in The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Our festival host Richard Gwyn interviewed Smallwood extensively and enjoyed his subject’s full cooperation for his 2015 biography, Smallwood: The Unlikely Revolutionary.
What is the Newfoundland soul? How is it produced? Is it found in isolation, struggle, weather, history, character, or spirit? Come, breathe, look, listen and talk, and you can decide.
For more information, see our detailed itinerary.
Photo credit: Salvage Bay, Eastport Peninsula by Tango7174/Wikimedia Commons