Newfoundland’s Irish Loop, located on the southeastern part of the Avalon Peninsula, is named for its Irish history, which spans 400 years. Its scenery and culture make for the perfect road trip from St. John’s. Here are five things to put on your itinerary.
Lighthouse Picnics in Ferryland offer gourmet lunches in a wild setting. The historic 19th-century lighthouse is a 20-minute walk from the parking lot. Grab a picnic blanket from inside and find a grassy knoll near the Atlantic Ocean to enjoy a hearty meal of sandwiches, homemade lemonade and fresh-baked desserts. Tip: These picnics are popular, so order your picnic basket as far in advance as possible.
Newfoundland’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to thousands of fascinating fossils that are remnants of the oldest known creatures on earth from the Ediacaran Period (580- to 560-million years ago). Book a tour at the interpretive centre, because it’s only possible to view the fossils at Mistaken Point with a guide. The tour includes a stunning 30-minute walk through the coastal barrens.
Local Stan Cook knows Cape Broyle like the back of his hand. He’s been leading sea-kayaking tours here since 1970. Take an extended tour and paddle deep into the bay to visit sea arches and caves. Depending on the season, whales and puffins may come along for the ride—both come here to feed when schools of capelin come rolling in.
The Colony of Avalon was first settled in the 1600s by fishing merchants. Now, the archaeological site and museum make for a fascinating glimpse into European colonial life. In the reconstructed kitchen, colonial recipes are recreated using locally sourced ingredients. Show up at the right time and you may be offered a taste.
In scenic Tors Cove, letterpress printer and publisher Marnie Parsons runs this old-fashioned print shop. She owns several vintage printing presses including an antique iron hand press from England and a Heidelberg windmill press. This tiny shop is full of artwork, handmade books and original prints. It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir. Just ask and Marnie will show you how her presses work. If you’re visiting between October and May, call ahead for opening hours.
Why the History of St. John’s, Newfoundland, is Really Cool
The streets of St. John’s are teeming with history dating back at least four centuries. Visit historic attractions—like Signal Hill National Historic Site, Cape Spear Lighthouse and Mallard Cottage—to learn about one of Canada's oldest cities.