It may sound like a cliché but Maureen S. had always wanted to visit Newfoundland. In fact, for 30 years she imagined travelling to this amazing Canadian destination. In July 2016, her wish became a reality when she booked with WestWorld Tours for the Newfoundland and Labrador Tour. It featured historic sites, picturesque national parks and coastal views, plus towering icebergs.
“I had never seen an iceberg before,” commented Maureen. Throughout the coastal tour, she saw icebergs of assorted sizes and shapes floating in the ocean. “There was a huge iceberg that had split apart into two pieces,” explained Maureen. “It was beautiful and very scenic with the mountains on each side and the icebergs in the middle.” There were more iceberg sightings during the ferry ride through Iceberg Alley. From the coast of Labrador to the northeast coast of Newfoundland, Iceberg Alley is where the famed Titanic struck an iceberg in 1912.
During the WestWorld Tours excursion, Maureen marvelled at the beautiful scenery found throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. There were planned visits to Signal Hill, Gros Morne National Park, Arches Provincial Park, Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse and L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. While there, Maureen visited a replica home of Lief the Lucky and enjoyed a traditional Viking Feast.
At Clarenville, she attended the Screech in Ceremony. “I had to kiss a real cod on the lips,” explained Maureen, “drink a shot of traditional Newfoundland screech (rum) while wearing a Sou’Wester (yellow rain hat). I received an Honourary Newfoundlander certificate.”
“The trip was wonderful; every day was a new experience,” said Maureen. “It was educational and there was always something to see and do, and the people were out of this world; friendly and willing to chat with me everywhere I went.” The area had unique expressions of slang, for instance, “wash out” meant there was clothing on the line (not an eroded section of a road caused by flooding). Maureen particularly liked the craft shops at Rocky Harbour. “The handcrafted items were colourful and very pretty.”
All throughout the various excursions there was traditional Celtic and seafaring music including sea shanties (songs sung by sailors to help pass the time while working) and sailing songs. “The music was amazing - the singing seemed to come so naturally,” said Maureen. “Some of the musicians even played the “ugly stick” (a traditional instrument made of household and/or tool shed items) which had a distinctive sound.”
The tour also included visits to the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada at the Point Amour Lighthouse Provincial Historic Site, the Atlantic Aviation Museum, and the Beothuk Interpretation Centre. Over 300 years ago, this was the site was of a Beothuk village. The centre had exhibits and artifacts telling the story of this now vanished culture.
Maureen explored the native flora and fauna of this rugged region. Along with her fellow travellers, they enjoyed the ancient thrombolites at Flowers Cove, salmon migrating upstream to its spawning grounds at the Salmonid Interpretation Centre at Grand Falls-Windsor, and watched the nesting seabirds and humpback whales at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve.
This was Maureen’s first excursion with WestWorld Tours and she was very happy with her experience. “Kari Carpentier, our tour director, was personable, fun and lively,” she explained. “She was well-organized and went out of her way for us. I would definitely go on another tour with WestWorld Tours.”