Outports to Urban: Petty Harbour, Maddox Cove and St. John’s

We started this trip in Bay Bulls and drove through Petty Harbour on the way to town.
We noticed towers high on a couple hills going into Petty Harbour, evidence of a new ziplining venture. One thing I won’t ne trying soon but it seems to be catching on.

Petty Harbour and neighbouring Maddox Cove show signs of prosperity in new home starts and big rigs in the driveways. There are lots of fishing boats on Petty Harbour and tour boat companies too. Maddox Cove seems to have more and bigger homes being build from the drive through vantage point. image

So, Keith Urban was playing at Mile One and any excuse will do for a weekend in Town.
First, cowboy hats off to Keith Urban. Not only can he sing and wring a guitar’s neck, he’s a great entertainer. He invited an 8 year old boy on stage, lent him a guitar and played and sang with him. Benjamin from Fowlers Road, you rock! He went into the audience twice and sang from the seats and had a great sing off with 3 ‘contestants’. He played to the audience and they responded in kind. Great audience appreciation.
We were unable to stay in our usual spot Spa at the Monastery so camped out at the Murray Premises Hotel. This historic building features harbourview rooms and is located just off Water Street and crawling distance from George St. Excellent downtown location for restaurants, shopping and just beating the streets. Prices range depending on the room features. The do have a substantial selection in the breakfast room and rather than continental, most people looked like they were having several courses.



We splurged for our last nights of holidays. Sigh…..
The rooms have exposed beams and joists so the fireplace nightlight is a good idea if you tend to get up in the night. Wouldn’t want to run into a 12×12 post in the middle of the night. The newest section, renovated after another tenant left is Euro style with glass walls between showers and room.
I forgot my tablet in the room when window shopping on Water Street. Coffee shops, craft and gift stores are mixed with boutiques and galleries. My finds on this excursion were a great display of local artists at the Leyton Gallery just across from the Court House and next to it, the soapstone Nathaniel Noel Sculpture Gallery. Noel work I appreciate the time his wife took telling me about rocks and geology. Both husband and Michele, his wife, are geologists.  She’ll be one of my go to people for science this year.
This is true Newfoundland art and the soapstone is from Baie Verte Peninsula for the most part or other areas of Newfoundland.  The sculptures are beautiful and available in a variety of sizes and animals from whales to bears. I’m sure this gallery is popular with the cruise ships parked at the end of Cliff Baird Cove.
“Leche vitrine” is the French expression for window shopping. It literally translates to “window licking” and I have to confess to some severe drooling in the NaturaL boutique. . Since Shawn Silver started bragging about his seal skin sneakers, I’ve been wanting to check this out.

Canadian made Seal Skin boots at Natural Boutique, Water Street, St. John's.
Canadian made Seal Skin boots at Natural Boutique, Water Street, St. John’s.

Seal skin coats, hats, shoes and boots are beautiful and practical in our climate. The staff of fresh young women were fun and helpful and when a sealer came in to wish them well, encouraging to him. This store is more than a business, it’s a statement that the seal fishery is viable. It’s a food fishery and an income at a time of year when many seasonal workers are between fishing seasons and EI, and it puts food on tables. It’s also fashionable and a value added product when it’s used in clothing. Many of the products in this store were Canadian made.

Natural Boutique specializes in Seal Skin apparel for men, women and children. Water Street, St. John's, NL
Natural Boutique specializes in Seal Skin apparel for men, women and children. Water Street, St. John’s, NL

Back at the Hotel we tried the Gypsy Tearoom Courtyard. Alfresco dining isn’t as compatible with our climate as seal skin but the sun has shone on this great idea. The food and service were great! Andrea B. is pleasant and efficient and fun. Thanks!image



The beef slider plate was just right for a hungry lunch and the grape martinis are this week’s new favorite. With Gypsy inspired music and lights at night, this is a great spot to sit out and discuss the rotten weather we had last summer and once again marvel at how good we’ve got it.

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