Sunshine isn’t taken for granted in St. John’s. Every year, winter sweeps over the city, dropping balls of ice, mountains of snow and heavy rain—sometimes all within a span of 24 hours. It’s not uncommon to be wearing flip-flops and t-shirts in May, and then have a freak blizzard the next day.
So when the sun finally returned from its long winter hiatus a few weeks ago, I decided to get out of the house and stretch my legs.
My destination was Quidi Vidi Village—pronounced “Kiddy Viddy” by most—a historic fishing village just beyond Quidi Vidi Lake. This is where the famous annual St. John’s Regatta takes place each summer.
The village is a little sheltered corner of the east coast, with a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean from inside the gut.
Quidi Vidi Village was used after World War II for the construction of the United States’ Air Force Base. Nowadays, however, the village is a quiet community, where you can walk from one end to the other in five minutes flat.
Check Out the Antique Shop and Old-Fashioned Pub
Two of Quidi Vidi Village’s biggest charms are the antique shop and the old pub. A squat, white cottage sitting beside the road, the whole building looked like it might fall apart with just one touch at any given moment.
It was closed when I arrived, but from the outside I could see dolls dressed in lacy gowns sitting on the top floor windowsills, and glass trinkets and dusty books on the bottom floor.
Then there’s the Quidi Vidi Inn of Olde, one of those dive bars you wouldn’t expect to have much life. But trust me, the small-community vibe and charm is worth stopping in for a beer—or three. A warning: the slanted bar may play a few mind tricks on you, especially if you opt for a few pints.
Chock-full of knick-knacks from all over the world, the bar is practically a museum, with 1956 spoons on display, along with buttons and license plates.
Grab a Pint at the Brewery
Newfoundlanders cherish their local beer. And most of that beloved brew comes from the province’s largest microbrewery, the Quidi Vidi Brewery.
Located at the mouth of the gut, the brewery is the place to go for a tasting tour. The employees are enthusiastic about sharing their brew and eager to get others hooked. A measly 10 bucks gets you a slew of ale and lager samples, along with one beer to sip (or chug—it’s delicious) while roaming the facility.
The easiest way to get to Quidi Vidi Village from St. John’s is by car. Simply take Forest Road (next to Quidi Vidi Lake) and head northeast until the road changes to Quidi Vidi Village Road
Feel like something more than the straightforward route? Try the 8.9 kilometre trek from Logy Bay, a route that follows the coastline, ascends a hill known as Sugarloaf with views of Robin Hood Bay, and then leads deep into the woods.
The stops along the way are all dubbed with quirky names, including Skerries Bight, Bawden’s Rock, and Jim Ryans Rock. Eventually, Quidi Vidi Village will appear.
Enter the Village by Boat
My favourite way to see Quidi Vidi Village, however, is by boat. Two years ago, I did a boat tour with Deejay Charters, a small touring company operating out of St. John’s Harbour. For $50 apiece, we spent about two hours chugging around Cape Spear, past Signal Hill and Fort Amherst, and then started heading towards Quidi Vidi Village.
When we entered the gut, it took me a few seconds to recognize where I was. Everything looked different from the outside. Fishing stages near the cliffs looked even smaller, and bright dory boats hauled up on land stood stark against the surrounding homes.
It just goes to show that a different perspective can change your entire outlook.