In an earlier column I wrote about how you become an instant celebrity if you travel to the Island of Newfoundland with a Newfoundland dog. But what if you don’t have a Newf with you? Well such travellers who love our breed keep a lookout for any specimens. Regrettably most return complaining that they didn’t see a single Newfoundland dog on their trip. Well I decided to play amateur travel agent for the Newf lover visiting the ancestral Island. Assuming you will start from the south-western tip of the island, I have you getting off the ferry at Port aux Basques. First stop is the Newfoundland Emporium in Corner Brook. This shop features a wide selection of Newfoundland crafts, folk art, antiques, rare Newfoundland books and Flotsam and Jetsam. Best of all however, is the usually present resident Newfy dog, Flossie. She and her predecessor, Moose, have been a hit with tourists, particularly those from the cruise ships. Next issue I hope to have a special feature on Moose who ended his glorious life in 2007 with a front page obituary in the local paper, The Western Star, and a letter of condolence from then Premier, Danny Williams. Next we go to the first of four Bed & Breakfast places that have a resident Newfoundland dog. Folks that I talked to in Newfoundland were surprised that I found that many. While others have advertised a Newf on the premises, when I phoned to verify I sadly discovered that the Newf had passed away and they had no plans for a successor. There seems to be a trend to cater to people who might be allergic to animals and to stress modern conveniences like Wi-Fi. Makes me wonder, who would go to the Island and prefer Wi-Fi to a furry host? Anyway, we should continue west on the Trans Canada Highway and stop at Springdale. There we will find Coffee Cove Seaside Retreat with hosts Nola and Paul and their Newf, Nicky. You can choose from a B & B suite or a cottage but the big draw is Nicky. Here is how their boy is described:
Allow us to introduce to you our baby… Nicky the Newfoundland Dog. He is now almost 4 years old and 175 lbs. Nicky has become a permanent fixture on the property and a loving member of our family. Nicky is naturally drawn to the ocean and he insists on his morning dip every day before settling in for a nap. Nicky is also looking forward to welcoming our guests again this summer. He will probably be the first to welcome you and the last to say good-bye, but he insists on having his picture taken with you before you leave.
While in Springdale you should also visit another B & B, Indian River Brook Bed and Breakfast. While they no longer have their resident Newf, the hostess, Doreen is also an author and one of her works is a children’s book entitled The Newfoundland Dog’s Birthday Surprise. While visiting you can purchase a copy or two and have them signed by the author. The next three B & B’s are on the Avalon Peninsula, which is the jut of land at the far east end of the Island. First we come to Blueberry Hill Bed and Breakfast. It is located in Cavendish on the Trinity Bay side the Baccalieu Trail coastline. You will be greeted by hosts Randy and Rose along with Fifi their Newfy girl. This facility is recommended as a paradise getaway for special occasions including honeymoons. From Trinity Bay we proceed to Conception Bay where we find the last two B & B’s. First is the very peaceful sounding Roberts Sleepy Hollows at Clarke’s Beach. If you can’t find the place and you are within a 10 km radius, just phone and host Lewis Roberts will come and get you. Special treats include Lewis’ special creation called “space ship breakfast” as well as his scientific electronic research museum. Of course the biggest treat of all is Lady, the resident Newfoundland dog.
Your last overnight stay will be in Harbour Grace on the Conception Bay side of the Baccalieu Trail. Harbour Grace is renown in Newfoundland dog circles as the home of the famous Harbour Beem Kennels of the late Megan and Bob Nutbeem. Here you will find Rothesay House Inn Bed & Breakfast. One of your hosts will be O’Mally, a Harbour Beem Newfoundland. While I couldn’t find any resident Newfs in the capital city of St. John’s, it is still worth commuting to this city from one of the B & B’s on the Avalon Penninsula. Cruise ships often stop at the Harbour and are met with special greeters such as traditional dancers and mounted members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and most especially by a Newfoundland dog. So contact the Port to get a schedule of cruise ship arrivals. While there, check out the War Memorial Park which overlooks the Harbour; there you will find statues of the Newfoundland dog. It is my hope that readers will let me know of other tourist attractions that feature a resident Newfy Dog so that I can do an update on seeing Newfs while travelling in their native land.Peter Maniate has been writing a column about Newfoundland dogs since January, 1996, originally for Dogs in Canada magazine and now for Newf News. The preceding column originally appeared in the July/August, 2012 issue of Newf News. Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.