Returning to the Rock: A Love Letter to Newfoundland

The people and customs of Newfoundland were just as colourful as the scenery for this family of four.

French Point in Newfoundland, CanadaCourtesy of Amy Martin

“I have always felt that Newfoundland was almost like a country all its own.”

I have always felt that Newfoundland was almost like a country all its own, with its majestic landscapes reminding me of Scotland; yet, it is unique, brimming with friendly people who speak with an accent reminiscent of an Irish dialect, and celebrate customs that only they seem to know and understand. One I had the pleasure of taking part in was their “Screech In” ceremony. It’s a long-held tradition that they seem to take an endless amount of pleasure in performing! It’s used to christen mainlanders, making them honorary Newfies. They even have their own time zone—a whole half hour later than the Atlantic time zone.

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Scenic town of Channel-Port aux Basques in Newfoundland, CanadaCourtesy of Amy Martin

“The fog was right t’ick.”

My Newfie husband Keith brought me and our two children, Charlotte and Oliver, as well as his father Randy, to “The Rock” in early July 2018 for four days of exploring and visiting family. We boarded the evening ferry crossing from North Sydney, N.S., to Channel-Port aux Basques, a southwestern town founded by whalers in the 1600s, who hailed from the Basque region of France. All the cabins on the ferry were booked, but since we were planning to camp during this trip, I had all the means to make up some beds for us on the floor for the night. We adults didn’t find it very comfortable, but the kids slept well.

We arrived early in the morning to fog so thick it caused many passengers to get lost in the dock’s parking lot. As the locals would put it, “The fog was right t’ick.”

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Charlotte and Oliver exploring the Cambellton shorelineCourtesy of Amy Martin

“The fog burned away to reveal beautiful mountains…”

After we climbed the hill out of town, the fog burned away to reveal beautiful mountains still dotted with the June snows that the island had received the previous week.

As we travelled inland, we passed areas that reminded me of British Columbia, Scotland and even my home area in northwestern Ontario. We entered Lewisporte, known as the “Gateway to the North” and Keith excitedly pointed out places he’d once frequented as a kid. We made a stop at one of his old swimming holes, Porter’s Pit, which has since been changed by a flood.

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