If you’ve ever been to Newfoundland, Canada’s most eastern province, you know that it boasts infinite charm. It has Canada’s friendliest people – which is saying a lot in a country known for its polite and affable population. It’s not uncommon for visitors to be adopted by locals, invited to kitchen parties and over for supper.
Newfoundland’s hospitality meets its match with its rugged beauty that remind some of the landscape of Ireland with dramatic cliffs and coastal views. One of the province’s prettiest areas can be found around Trinity Bay, about a three-hour drive from the capital city of St. John’s. The perfect hub to explore its fishing villages, hiking trails, local theatre scene and cuisine is Fishers’ Loft, a luxury inn in Port Rexton.
It’s tucked away in a quiet spot overlooking the picturesque harbour of Ship Cove. It’s not so much just an inn, but a collection of buildings built to reflect the local architecture dating to 1850 to 1900. This includes saltbox style, featuring simple lines and long, steep roof.
With just 33 unique rooms in total and a small state-of-the-art conference center, it has an intimate feel that really makes guests feel at home. Rocking chairs lined up on the porch are popular spots for relaxing and staring out at the pretty village nearby with brightly colored houses sitting atop the rocky terrain. Meadows, forests and a blueberry bushes border the property.
The rooms offer rustic luxury, furnished with plenty of wood furniture, ladylike floral patterns, manly plaids, armoires, down duvets and original artwork. Extra perks include free local calling and complimentary wireless internet. If you happen to fall in love with one of the art pieces – most from local artists – in your room, chances are, you’ll be able to buy it and take it home. There’s also a small gift shop on the property.
The focus on art comes naturally to the inn. Owners John and Peggy Fisher came to the area from Toronto almost 30 years ago to start their business. They brought with them plenty of experience and passion for the arts, which they incorporated into their four-room B&B. With rooms in such high demand, they started building two new buildings so they could accommodate more guests. They have grown at a steady pace, but are reluctant to get too beg lest they risk losing the important relationships the innkeepers have with visitors.
A well-stocked kitchen garden and greenhouse underscore the inn’s other focal point – food. The dining room menus highlight local produce grown on the property as well as seafood, fruit and vegetables. Breakfast features a small buffet with baked goods, hot and cold cereals, plus a daily special. A guest favorite is the blueberry pancakes served with maple syrup and yogurt.
Dinner is a casual elegant affair with a four-course dinner served in the dining room overlooking Trinity Bay. At the right time of year, guests can spot whales or an iceberg while they dine. Chances are, there will be cod on the menu – grilled, in soup, or in fish cakes. You may also be able to try cod tongues or cod cheeks _ both local delicacies. After dinner or before, you can lounge in the library and brush up on your knowledge of the local flora and fauna in the area or find out more about Newfoundland’s famous birds – those very cute puffins.
Though your vacay should include some do-nothing time, you should definitely go out and explore the area with camera in hand. Its scenery is famous! It has served as filming locations for TV miniseries and feature films, like The Shipping News. Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey, the stars of that movie, stayed at Fisher’s Loft. The staff still talks about Dench marching into the kitchen to demonstrate exactly how she liked her eggs cooked. Meanwhile, Kevin Spacey was happy to spend his time shooting pool when he was not filming.
Discover some of the top sights nearby, including: the Skerwink Trail, a 3.3-mile long loop ideal for wildlife spotting; Port Rexton Brewing Co., a small craft brewery; whale watching tours; walking tours of the historic village of Trinity; and theater performances by local companies. Golfers should head to The View Golf Resort, a nine-hole public course. Photography buffs will want to go and get stunning images of Cape Bonavista Lighthouse or visit the set of Random Passage, a TV series set in a fishing station of the late 1800s.
Newfoundland is one of those places that gets into your soul. It leaves you with memories that create longing for repeat visits in the near future. It’s unlike any place you’ll find anywhere and Fishers’ Loft is an ideal introduction to the best the province offers.
Room rates start at US $145 per night at the hotel website.
Michele stayed as a guest of Fishers’ Loft. As always, her thoughts and opinions are her own. Photos courtesy of Michele Sponagle and Fishers’ Loft.