Never underestimate the value of a party with friends… especially when they live in a national park in Newfoundland.
We went to Gros Morne National Park to visit some friends who moved to the eastern most province of Canada for work and weren’t sure what to expect. Growing up in ‘normal’ Canada, (ie the mainland) it wasn’t uncommon to make jokes about those from Newfoundland, called Newfie jokes. These jokes were all the same, two normal people doing something typical but the punch line would come from the Newfie appearing foolish. Ha ha ha – until I found out from my grandfather that our ancestors were from Newfoundland…. Ugh. Nothing like some regional prejudice to bring us all together, right?
Well not only were we blown away by the hospitality of our friends and everyone we met there, but the natural beauty of that island is something to behold. Rugged, majestic terrain teeming with wildlife and every turn brings you to some new vista that makes you feel cheated for living anywhere else. They even have mainlander jokes! Maybe these Newfies aren’t as foolish as these jokes led me to believe…
And man can they party.
When you consider the historic industry of Newfoundland was fishing, you can see what life there is like when you’re off the boat. Add in the fact that there are places named ‘Conception Bay’ and ‘Dildo’ on the island and, well, you get the picture.
In one of the towns in Gros Morne National Park, Norris Point, a great way to spend the day is just to sit at the local pub by the bay and drink it all in. And by ‘it’ I mean the nature AND the local beer, which is mighty delicious I might add. After a few of those in your system and a hearty maritime dinner (crab legs or lobster of course), head over to the bar in Rocky Harbour and sample the local whiskey, affectionately named ‘Screech’.
Legend has it Screech was brewed by a fishmonger to keep the local owl population from eating the mice he relied on for sustenance (he was not a successful fishmonger), using salt water, fish entrails and sulfur for that rich aftertaste as the ingredients. It was never meant for human consumption, but such is life in Newfoundland.
Actually that was all a lie – it’s actually very similar to other whiskeys… which may or may not be a good thing.
Aside from all that, something you will immediately realize is valued in Newfoundland are the relationships you forge with others. The tight knit communities really look out for each other and make for great get togethers no matter what the occasion, swapping stories, sharing laughs and making fun of the mainlanders. If you ever make it out there, they’ll make you feel right at home.