Saturday, 4 October 2014

Take a trip with Marine Atlantic to see Newfoundland’s best fall colours


by Keith and Heather Nicol
   Every fall several cruise ship itineraries include Corner Brook as a port of call so that passengers can see the fall splendor in Newfoundland. These cruise ships often travel between Quebec City and Boston and make several stops so that passengers can see the best fall colours in each province or state. And generally Corner Brook is their main stop in Newfoundland since this part of the province has scenic fall colours. But you don’t have to take an expensive cruise ship to Newfoundland to see this autumn brilliance. You can simply board a Marine Atlantic ferry from North Sidney to Port aux Basques and then drive north for 2.5 hours to Corner Brook and the Humber Valley. Here you can easily create your own itinerary and depending on your interest you can explore by car, foot , bicycle and even by kayak. 

Corner Brook and Humber Arm from the Quarry Lookout trail
    One of our favourite fall trips involves a trip down the Humber River by canoe or sea kayak. The river is easy to navigate and the birch trees that line the shore make for a colourful autumn paddle.  
A paddle down the Humber River is spectacular in the fall
 We also love biking in the fall and there are various trails near Marble Mountain that are well worth exploring. Also nearby are tree lined back roads near the community of Little Rapids that are ideal biking for the whole family. 
Cycling near Marble Mountain
      We recommend hiking as another great way to see the views in the Corner Brook – Humber Valley area. You can hike trails that give fine views of Corner Brook and Humber Arm or others that take you past vast stands of yellow birches. No matter how you travel, fall peaks in this area by mid October so don’t delay if you want to see the colours at their peak. For more information on Marine Atlantic see: http://www.marine-atlantic.ca/langselect.asp?rd=index
Hiking in the Humber Valley is especially scenic in autumn

      

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Glynmill Inn has been satisfying the traveling public for 90 years!



by Keith and Heather Nicol
    This year the Glynmill Inn celebrates 90 years in the hospitality business catering to both local Corner Brook residents and visitors alike with its old world charm. The Glynmill Inn was built in a distinctive tudor style and currently includes 78 hotel rooms, 2 restaurants, meeting rooms and other amenities. It was designed by architect, Andrew Cobb of Halifax in 1923 and was turned into a hotel a year later.

The Glynmill Inn is known for its distinctive architecture

      Besides its outstanding architecture, another great feature of the Glynmill Inn is its location which is adjacent to the Glynmill Inn Pond as well as numerous walking trails. Although it is near the centre of Corner Brook it enjoys a fabulous park- like setting. 
The Glynmill Inn has numerous walking trails nearby

We have enjoyed taking visitors to the Glynmill Inn for years to see its well kept grounds and to enjoy a meal in the Carriage Room Restaurant. We often walk around one of the Corner Brook stream trails which wind next to the Glynmill Inn property and we think it is especially scenic in the fall.
Glynmill Inn Pond is very picturesque in the fall
      On a recent evening we enjoyed a walk around the pond and then had a superb meal at the Glynmill Inn’s renowned Wine Cellar Restaurant.  The Wine Cellar is known for its steaks and we ordered the popular filet mignon and strip loin steaks. Both were very tender and they come with your choice from a variety of homemade steak sauces as well as oven roasted potatoes and vegetables. We had a tasty avocado and tomato salad and delicious seafood chowder to start.  Later the dessert menu had lots of tempting options and even though we were very full we couldn’t resist splitting an order of tarts ,one bakeapple and the other partridge berry. If you want to have a fine meal out you can’t go wrong with the Wine Cellar. For more information on the Glynmill Inn contact : http://www.steelehotels.com/hotel.aspx?id=2&pid=1
Here we are enjoying a special meal at the Glynmill Inn's Wine Cellar
 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Great fall golfing at Humber Valley Resort in Western Newfoundland



      by Keith and Heather Nicol
       Fall in the Humber Valley of Western Newfoundland means brilliant autumn colours and where better to enjoy these than on Newfoundland’s top rated golf course at Humber Valley Resort.  When we walked into the pro shop on Tuesday, September 16 we met the Managing Director of Operations, Gary Oke who told us that despite the slow start to the season, that they had had a great season so far. “ One of our big new accolades is that Score Golf Magazine ranked us as number 16 in Canada up from number 32 last year. There is no other course in Newfoundland with that kind of ranking which suggests that we have a great product here” he told us before our round. 
Heather putting on the par 3 fifth hole
  We love playing this course since it is challenging but also very scenic. This course will test all of your golfing skills from tee to green. There are over 100 sand traps that will penalize the errant drive or approach shot and the large greens will test your putting skills.  Be sure to bring your camera since the front nine features fine vistas of Deer Lake, especially on the first 5 holes. In fact, the par 3 fifth hole is right along the water (see photo above). Some courses have 1 or 2 signature holes, but the course at Humber Valley Resort has many, perhaps the most famous is #10 which provides a magnificent view of the Humber Valley. The back nine winds toward the Humber River and both #14 and #15 are along the river. If you want to play the course when the fall colours  are peak , try playing in the first and second week in October. For more information on the Humber Valley Resort golf course see: http://humbervalley.com/

 
Heather on the scenic 14th hole
      After our round we had a chance to chat with Heather Oke, the resort’s marketing and events manager. “So far the September weather has perfect for golf and it has been a very busy summer. The course continues to be a big draw for golfers in the St. John’s area but we also have had lots of people from Ontario and B.C. play here as well.” She also told us that the golf course has been ranked by Golf Digest as the 10th best modern course in Canada . As we were leaving she added, “We hope to be open until the end of October so there is still lots of golf left “ 
If you want to golf at the peak of the colours try early to mid October



Friday, 5 September 2014

You only have a few more days to see the iconic play “Tempting Providence” in Cow Head


By Keith and Heather Nicol
       “Tempting Providence” has been running for 12 years and has become one of the favourite plays at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival (GMTF) in Cow Head. It has toured internationally and has been performed over 650 times! This  summer it has again played to sold out crowds but you still have a chance to see it this September. We recently saw the play on September 2 for our 4th time and it is still just as powerful as the first time we saw it 9 years ago. “Tempting Providence” is the true story of nurse Bennett  who was dedicated to serving the health care needs along Newfoundland’s rugged Northern Peninsula for over 50 years beginning in 1921. She was known as the “Florence Nightingale of the North” and delivered more than 700 babies, extracted over 5000 teeth and amazingly reattached a logger’s foot that had been severed in an accident! It has masterful staging (it is hard to believe how many uses a white table cloth can have) and Adam Brake, Colin Furlong, Amelia Manual and Marquita Walsh received a standing ovation for their great performances in this play. “Tempting Providence” was commissioned by Theatre Newfoundland Labrador (TNL) and was written by Robert Chafe and directed by Jillian Keiley. 
The simple set and costumes let story telling stand out in Tempting Providence
      Another bonus is that the TNL and the Shallow Bay Motel have teamed up for a great fall special.  This includes one night's accommodations, breakfast for two at the Shallow Bay Motel and two theatre tickets for “Tempting Providence” all for $149.99 plus tax.  Check out the Gros Morne Theatre Festival September schedule at www.theatrenewfoundland.com, choose your show and call the Shallow Bay Motel at 1-800-563-1946 to book your “Tempting” Fall Package (based on availability). Note that “Tempting Providence” runs until September 13 and that the GMTF season ends on September 21. Also if you are looking for a place to have supper, then look no further than the Shallow Bay Motel. We ate there before seeing the play and we had superb grilled salmon and pan fried cod. And for dessert we had partridge berry and bakeapple cheesecake. Yum, Yum! 
We enjoyed a delicious meal in the Shallow Bay Motel before the show!
  If you are in the Cow Head area and want to go for a beach walk or even a swim then have a look at the Parks Canada day use area at Shallow Bay. It is one of the few sandy beaches in Western Newfoundland and it is just a couple of kilometers north of Cow Head. The beach is 3-4 kilometers long and  Heather spent half an hour swimming on our recent trip and there were several other people enjoying the water as well. There is also a picnic area and playground for kids near the beach. Also birders will enjoy looking for shore birds along the beach.
Shallow Bay Beach was still warm enough for a swim on our early September visit









 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Check out the Gros Morne Golf Course for fall great specials



By Keith and Heather Nicol  
     When we go to a play in Cow Head at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival we often like to head up early in the day to enjoy a hike or to Shallow Bay beach. But if you like to golf we suggest you also pack your clubs and test your skills against the Gros Morne Golf Course. The course was closed for a year a couple of years ago according to manager Lorne Warren but they have been working hard this year to get the course back in shape. “Business has really been picking up especially during August and we plan to be open until mid October this year “Lorne told us.  We had played the course a few years ago and really liked it so we were glad to see the course back in operation. If you do decide to play you will be pleased that it is easy to book a tee time. On our most recent round in early September we played 18 holes with a power cart in less than 3 hours.   The course is very scenic with the Long Range Mountains as a backdrop and some holes have views of St. Paul’s Inlet. 
Many of the holes have views of the Long Range Mountains and St. Paul's Inlet
 The 18 hole course measures 6264 yards off the white tees (5443 yards off the women’s tees) and has a typical mix of 4 par 5’s, 4 par 3’s and 10 par 4’s. There is water on several holes and numerous sand traps but the fairways are generally wide open which makes it forgiving for the average golfer.  Perhaps the most challenging hole is #13 where the green is surrounded by a moat! There are also lots of great specials which Lorne Warren told us have been very popular. For instance, on Tuesdays seniors can play 18 holes for just $30, Wednesdays are 2 for 1, and Thursdays are $30 for everyone.  The course also has a driving range and you can book a tee time by phoning 709-243-2606.   
Many of the fairways are wide like the par 5 6th hole