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Newfoundland, Canada has loomed just out of reach.
Two years ago I found last minute award space on United to St. John’s, then could not find a rental car so called it off. Later, United dropped the Newark-St John’s route.
Today I am Newfoundland-bound with a rapid plan for my must-sees.
#1 is Viking landing site L’Anse Aux Meadows. This is the spot of first European landing in the Americas.
#2 is French (smuggling) entrepôt St Pierre & Miquelon, this year celebrating its bicentenary.
Connecting these two is a 12-hour drive and a ferry. Local airlines Air Labrador, Provincial Airlines and Air St-Pierre are not Air Canada Aeroplan parters. They are all expensive and so are rental cars to link them up. The limited schedule of the St Pierre Ferry further complicates non-fight options.
The Newfoundland season is so short, and accommodations/rental cars/facilities so few outside St John’s and Deer Lake that costs are high and advance planning is necessary.
- Arrive Deer Lake (YDF) and drive 4.5 hours up to St. Anthony, passing UNESCO-listed Gros Morne National Park
- Overnight at Wildberry Country Lodge, the only option with a bed I found, reviews are polarized
- L’Anse Aux Meadows 9 am opening
- 12-hour drive to Fortune (Not excited about that! There is little in between except Deer Lake at the 1/3 mark and I have a morning ferry to catch so I am plowing through)
- Overnight Fortune Harbourview Vacation Home (they will leave a light on for me)
- Morning ferry to St Pierre
- Afternoon ferry back (originally planned to overnight in St Pierre, most accommodation sold out two months in advance, the rest are telephone booking or manual booking with all-French websites and I lost patience trying to confirm a room)
- 4-hour drive to St John’s
- Overnight Holiday Inn Express St John’s Airport (20k points/night; accommodation in St. John’s is pricey)
- Enjoy St John’s & surrounds, possibly whale watching though I hear it is late in the season
- Back in the air
What I will miss: time is limited. I will not be able to explore the many parks such as Gros Morne, or get over to Labrador. Next time!
Readers, have you been to Newfoundland?