We were there before, my wife and I, in 2019. On that trip we stayed with our now daughter-in-law’s family. They looked after us well and provided local connections that were a wonderful introduction to Newfoundland. On that trip we focussed on St. John’s, Trinity, and Bonavista.
Well, we did it again, accompanied by our older son. This trip was focussed on our younger son’s wedding in St. John’s and that celebration was wonderful.
I think many know that trying to rent a car in Newfoundland this summer had its challenges. We decided to do without. Because our AirB&B was within a few blocks of the main part of the old city, we walked everywhere and never felt limited.
The following is chiefly a photo essay of some of those walks.
During the summer months, Water Street is closed to car traffic and is turned into a walking mall. Much of this part of St. John’s has kept the old buildings intact and cared for. It is one of the more interesting parts of St. John’s and we walked Water Street often.
This summer the city ran a ‘Come Home Year Concert Series’ every Saturday, so we heard a lot of east coast music. Great fun.
During our stay we had a potpourri of weather, ranging from blue skies to pouring rain. On several days we had what I defined as ‘Scottish Dew’. This is a constant rain that is so fine that you can hardly see it. However, if you are outside in that weather for more than half an hour, you’ll be soaked through. I learned about ‘Scottish Dew’ when I lived in Manchester, England. That’s what I had to put up with every winter for several months. It got really boring.
However, this image was taken in the pouring rain. Thankfully, my camera is waterproof.
In 2019, I went up to ‘Signal Hill’ where Guglielmo Marconi made the first wireless connection across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901.
This time, my older son and I were dropped off at the top by my younger son and then we walked down to the ocean. That walk took us down the Battery Trail to the district of St. John’s called ‘The Battery’.
It’s named, ‘The Battery’, for the military defence of the St. John’s Harbour inlet.
That district has some unique houses and other buildings that are built on solid rock. No basements in this district!
I found it absolutely unique for a city the size of St. John’s; however, I’m certain that there are other villages around Newfoundland that also look like they are clinging to the rock rising out of the ocean. In their day, they would have been created for the local fishing families.
Along Outer Battery Road, the space for building homes becomes precious. It looks like a lane in places, but is the only road access to the homes at the east end of The Battery district.
Most buildings are well kept and have perfect views of the inner harbour. However some, like Jack Well’s Twine Store, are vacant and left to their own fate.
At the east end of Outer Battery Road, I came to the North Head Trail. This trail is popular and I saw dozens of walkers and runners out for their morning exercise. I had a talk with a few of them. That is easy in St. John’s. Newfoundlanders love to talk. That reminded me of travels in Ireland—same thing there.
The trail is precarious in places as it carves its way along the solid rock of Signal Hill and you experience cliff-edge sections with the ocean and its shore rocks sometimes over 100 feet below.
While on the North Head Trail, I saw many small boats heading out of the harbour. This particular boat, I learned later, was the pilot boat, probably heading out to take the pilot to a ship coming into the harbour.
The boats in the background are at Prosser’s Rock docks on the south shore of the harbour inlet and are commercial shrimp or crab boats.
Further out on the trail I composed this image with Amherst Point in the distance. That is where the lighthouse and fog horn are located for the harbour.
We had a couple very foggy evenings and the fog horn kept up its mournful sound all night. I kind of liked it.
This masterpiece of architecture and construction is the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s. During our trip in 2019 we looked at the architecture and construction of the Catholic Basilica-Cathedral of St John the Baptist, but never made it to this structure. Both the Basilica and this Cathedral are a must visit for anyone going to St. John’s.
The aesthetic features of the cathedral are fascinating, in particular, the stained glass windows. If you are interested, you can find out much about the cathedral at the link Anglican Cathedral & Parish of St. John the Baptist.
Here is the link to an excellent source of information on the Catholic Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
The age of these and some other structures in St. John’s make our old, historic buildings in the West seem quite modern.
A photo essay on St. John’s wouldn’t be complete without a picture of the well known St. John’s houses. Although they look like they’re connect as row housing, they are actually individual buildings. The colours of this row was a bit sedated compared to many, but this road was kept clear of cars for some reason, so I thought it was a better image. Note the interesting architecture in the windows. That reflects some of the times gone by when the St. John’s homes were built.
Almost every building in the old town centre was rebuilt after the ‘Great Fire’ of 1892.