2014 in Review – Thanks for a great year!

What a year it has been for us at the Artisan Inn and Twine Loft.  A big thank you to those stayed and dined with us this season.  Here are a few highlights from the 2014 Season.

Iceberg Mania:

2014 was without a doubt the year of the Iceberg, bringing thousands past the Bonavista Peninsula from May to late July and attracting international attention, including Olympic athletes who wanted to kayak with them to our island.

Olympic Gold Medalists visit Trinity to kayak with icebergs

Olympic Gold Medalists Jennifer Jones and Jill Officer visit Trinity to kayak with icebergs.

Happy Whales:

A close second to the icebergs were this year’s whales who seemed to go out of their way to entertain both visitors and locals.  This summer it was hard not to spot a whale when looking towards to sea.  Their playful breaching and fin slapping made it hard to get anywhere on time because it was just too difficult to walk away. 

A Taste of TV:

In May The Artisan Inn was chosen by the French TV show Le Gout du Pays to represent Newfoundland and Labrador on their cross country exploration of Canadian cuisine.  The show will debut in January 2015. Many thanks to the awesome crew, our own staff for, as always, being up for a challenge and thanks to Chef Chris Sheppard for taking a day to give us a helping hand.

The crew of Gout de Pays

The crew of Le Gout du Pays with Artisan Inn staff

In Print:

We were thrilled by the press coverage both the Bonavista Peninsula and our Inn received this year including mentions in: The New York Times, USA Today, HikeBikeTravel.com and Walk Magazine. Thanks to the wonderful writers who stayed and ate with us, our DMO Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland and the Department of Tourism for the FAM tours we were privileged to host this year.

A visit from the Dutch Family:

This year Tineke’s Brother Ben and his wife Eke, followed by her niece Maike and her boyfriend Ivo, visited for the summer from Holland and were determined to help out around the inn despite being on vacation. Their contributions including gardening, dishwashing, reception and entertaining travel writers.  Needless to say, our staff were sad to see them go.

Maike and Ivo helping in the dish pit.

Maike and Ivo helping in the dish pit.


In November we were honoured to attend the national awards Lauriers de la PME in Moncton, NB which recognizes the successes of Francophone and Francophone friendly businesses. The Artisan Inn won in the Coup de Coeur Category (From the Heart), which recognizes a business’s positive impact on the local community. We would like to thank RDEE Terre Neuve et Labrador for their nomination of  our business.


Marieke Gow accepting the award on behalf of the staff.


With 2014 coming to an end we are pleased to find ourselves ranked #1in Trinity and amongst the top 5 accommodations in our category for all of Newfoundland and Labrador on Trip Advisor.  The feedback from our guests is important to us and we appreciate those who have taken the time to contribute a review this year.

Our housekeeping team taking a break from making everything just right for our guests.

Our housekeeping team taking a break from making everything just right for our guests.


Why We Invest Financially in Our Local Trails

Anyone who runs a small business knows how it feels to receive phone calls, emails and surprise visits from people and organizations asking for donations of money, goods or time to charitable causes or not-for-profits. As much as we would like to help everyone who asks, its not always possible. As a result, there is often a process of considering whether or not a contribution will make an impact that means something to us personally, our business or our community.  When the Artisan Inn was asked to become a yearly sponsor of the Hike Discovery Trail Network (a network of six trails and growing) we knew that it would be a contribution that would mean something to all three and here’s why…


With the exception of a few donations, the trails themselves don’t generate money from those who use them so finding the money and man-hours to maintain them can be a struggle. The government will often only invest in such projects if the private sector insists that they see a value in it, which often means investing one’s own money. When the private sector, government and other funding agencies collectively invest in preserving our natural landscape, it sends the message that creating a tourism industry that is ecologically sustainable is not only important, but a top priority.

photoIf it weren’t for trails we would have a more difficult time running our business in the shoulder season.  While we would sometimes like to think that people are coming to Trinity just to see us, we know that if we are going to expect anyone to drive to the Bonavista Peninsula for multiple days they are going to need great things to do.  During the shoulders of the season (early May and late October) many of the standard attractions are not open because many can only hire staff for the busy season.  Knowing that we can provide days worth of high quality, well kept coastal hiking and walking trails that offer spectacular views of wildlife, the ocean and breathtaking geological formations, means that we can confidently insist to those booking that one day in the area won’t be enough to see it all.

securedownload-11Trails aren’t just a tourist attraction; they are an important piece of infrastructure for our community.  Going out for a daily walk is how many people maintain a healthy lifestyle in our area.  As a business, it is important to us that our staff has access to clean, safe and beautiful places to walk.  Its great to talk to them about their morning and evening walks, jogs and hikes and how they saw whales, icebergs, moose, foxes or picked berries for hours.  It makes everyone more positive about life and where we live and that attitude is reflected when they are on the job.

As for myself, I can often be found on the trails when I need time to think, weigh decisions, spend a little alone time, or better yet when a friend is visiting and I want to show them that we live in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

To learn more about some of these trails on the Bonavista Peninsula visit our Hiking and Walking page.  If you would like more information regarding how you can help maintain the trails, contact us at hiking@trinityvacations.com and we will put you in contact with the the right people!

Be sure to look for our sponsorship plaque as you hike the trails!

Hike Discovery Sponsorship Card

Marieke Gow
Artisan Inn Manager and Blogger

The Artisan Inn Operates between the months of May and November in Trinity, Trinity Bay Newfoundland.  The inn offers a selection of rooms, suites and vacation homes as well as a fine dining experience by the water at the Twine Loft.

Shoulder Season Travel in Newfoundland: Three Must See Natural Wonders to Visit on the Bonavista Peninsula

Image There is lots to do during a visit to the Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland, but let’s be honest, not everything is open during the “off” and “shoulder season”.  The shoulder season typically takes place from May 1st – Victoria Day Weekend and October 1st -November 1st. Various accommodations and restaurants are open at this time, but the municipal, provincial and national historic sites tend to operate between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving (some closing at the end of September) The Rising Tide Theatre operates between June and Late September and the whales come and go between July and September.

Don’t let this fool you into thinking that you will have nothing to do if you come outside the season.  The Bonavista Peninsula is a paradise for hikers, photographers and artists.  With some of the most breathtaking coastlines the world has to offer, and a geological history spanning over 600 million years, this is a place to shed the suit and tie and trade high heels for a pair of hikers.

Here is a sample of just three of the must see sites accessible to visitors at anytime of the year.*  The added bonus is that they are all free to enjoy.

  1. The Dungeon Provincial ParkImage

The Dungeon is a large sinkhole located near the cliffs of Cape Bonavista.  Visitors can walk around the top of the sinkhole and look down to witness two large arches letting water in and out from the ocean.  Just as beautiful are the sea stacks that emerge from the chilly waters as you stare out into the Atlantic from the Dungeon’s edge. Image Getting there from the Artisan Inn in Trinity:  Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn right on Route 230. When on Route 230 near the town of Bonavista turn right towards Spillar’s Cove and then left to the Dungeon. Signage will indicate when to turn. Alternatively follow route 230 towards the Bonavista Lighthouse and take the road towards the Dungeon (turn right) marked with signage. 

2. The Devil’s Footprints in Keels Image The Devil’s Footprints are cavities left where limestone nodules, called concretions, have weathered out of the roadside outcrops.  Maybe the true story behind the “footprints” can be explained away by science, but we like the version where locals say they are a sign that Satan himself has walked this trail.  The footprints are located near the parking area in Keels so you will not need to walk far to find them. Image When you arrive in the town of Keels you will see a hand painted sign indicating where the footprints are.  Keels itself is a beautiful spot to hop out of the car and snap some shots of outport life.  The Canadian National Consensus recorded 61 residents in Keels as of 2011, that is down from 372 in 1940. Image Getting There From the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn Left onto Route 230. Turn Right onto Route 235.  Turn left at King’s Cove to arrive at Keels. Alternative Route From the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn right on Route 230. Turn Left on Route 237. Turn Left on Route 235. Turn Right at Kings Cove to get to Keels.

3. Brook Point Lookout on The King’s Cove Lighthouse Trail Image Along the route of the King’s Cove Lighthouse Hiking Trail, hikers will find a detour to Brook Point Lookout. The layer upon layer of multi coloured sedimentary rocks seen at the lookout are known as the Crown Hill Formation. According to the National Geographic Geotourism Map:

“These sediments accumulated over a span of tens of millions of years, more than 550 million years ago. At that time, the land lay in another part of the globe, part of the ancient supercontinent geologists call Gondwana, which was located south of what was then the Equator. It consisted of present day Africa, Arabia, Antarctica, Australia and India. Over the millennia, the mud, silt, sand and gravel were gradually converted, via heat and pressure, a process called lithification, into sedimentary rocks called mudstone, siltstone sandstone and conglomerate.”

Image Besides for telling us the story of Earth’s evolution, this lookout is a spot to appreciate just how beautiful Atlantic Canada can be.  If you are an artist, bring along some paints or coloured pencils and try to capture the many aspects of this breathtaking view.

Getting There from the Artisan Inn in Trinity: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn Left on Route 230. Turn Right onto Route 235.  Park at the King’s Cove Church to hike to the Lighthouse and Brook Point Lookout. Alternative Route: Exit Trinity and turn right onto Route 239. Turn Right on Route 230. Turn Left on Route 237. Turn Left on Route 235. Park at the King’s Cove Church to hike to the Lighthouse and Brook Point Lookout.

These are just a few of the attractions one can still visit during the shoulder and off season.  For more information contact the Artisan Inn at 1-709-464-3377 or 1-877-464-7700 or email us at info@trinityvacations.com visit: www.trinityvacations.com for a full list of things to do in Trinity and the Bonavista Peninsula.

*If there is heavy snow during the winter some of these attractions will not be accessible by car and will be difficult to hike to. 

Post and Photos by Marieke Gow 

Artisan Inn Trinity Discovery Trail Newfoundland Check out great off season savings with the Artisan Inn Trinity on rooms, suites and vacation homes. Starting at $99 a night. Artisan Inn, Trinity

A Day of Rugged Beauty

ImageOn a sunny May morning I set out from Trinity at 9:30am and make my way to New Bonaventure.  When I arrive 20 minutes later skipper Bruce Miller is waiting there to greet me and his other passengers down by the dock.  There are 6 other passengers on the tour this particular morning and we each grab a yellow life jacket from the stage before climbing into the boat. 


I can safely say that Bruce’s boat tour is unlike any other offered in Newfoundland.  While most tours on the island focus on whales, icebergs and birds, this tour is designed to share with visitors what once was in rural Newfoundland.  The tour hugs the rugged and breathtaking coastline as he takes you from one abandoned community to the next including Kearley’s Harbour and Ireland’s Eye, where members of his own family once resided.


I doubt that this tour could be duplicated in any other part of Newfoundland.  Not because other communities didn’t share a similar fate, but because Bruce himself is the real highlight of the tour.  When he quiets the motor in front of one of the older communities you stare out at the shore and it is hard to imagine that anything could have ever been there.


As Bruce recants tales of his family, you can almost see his Uncle Joe waving goodbye from the schooner leaving the tickle, his Aunt Meg fertilizing the garden with capelin or his father loading up the dog sled with wood.  As these stories unfold you start to appreciate how painful it must have been for them to be forced from these places they all loved so dearly.  Bruce points to a few grey boards on the cliffs and tells us who once lived there.


As we go from spot to spot Bruce stops the boat near a giant iceberg.  He grabs a net, leans over the side and scoops up a chunk of broken off ice.  With a mighty bang he breaks it into smaller pieces and we all have iceberg popsicles.  As if to make the moment even more magical a humpback whale surfaces and dives down, giving us a wave with his black and white tail.  Bruce never promises these moments on his tour, because he knows that nature is unpredictable.  He waits around for another few minutes for the whale to surface one more time (this time we all have cameras ready) Once we get the shot he heads towards the next destination, his cabin in British Harbour.


We dock the boat and Bruce runs ahead of us towards the cabin to get the kettle on for tea.  Two of the passengers say goodbye because they have opted to do the two hour hike back to New Bonaventure, passing through some of the communities we have seen from the water.  The rest of us sit around the kitchen counter with Bruce’s homemade partridgeberry jam on purity crackers, warming our hands over our cups of tea.  Everyone is enthralled in conversation about the politics of fishing and we can hardly believe that almost an hour has past.  We have to go because we have far exceeded the 2 ½ hours allotted for the tour.  Bruce says he would happily let us stay, but he has to be back in time for the 2pm tour.   Warmed up from the tea we board the boat and take in the coastline one last time before finding ourselves back on Bruce’s stage.



The Newfoundland Food Fishery

The Newfoundland food fishery is a time when Newfoundlanders are able to return to age old traditions of catching cod fish for personal consumption.  The Newfoundland cod fishery was the key industry on the island for centuries until the Canadian Government shut it down indefinitely in 1992.

This decision ended the traditional way of life for many Newfoundlanders living in outport communities.  The annual food fishery is a small conciliation for this loss of
lifestyle and staple ingredient in Newfoundland cuisine.  During the fishery each boat on the water can pull in 5 fish per person to a max of 15 codfish per boat.

The food fishery certainly changes the scenery around Trinity during this time.  The normally empty bays are dotted with small fishing boat, the wharfs occupied with men and women bent over the splitting tables skillfully filleting their catch with skill and
precision before they leave a select few out to dry in the sun.  The rest of the fresh fish fills the fridges of friends and family and everyone comes up with different ways to serve the
catch: cod au gratin, cod chowder, cod provençal, or pan fried on its own…the
list goes on.

Over the years many of our guests staying during this period have been offered to ride along with the local fisherman and share in the experience. It is without a doubt one of the most authentic and memorable experiences any of our guests could ask for. It has served as an excellent way to educate visitors in the traditions of this place and people.

The next food fishery will be open from   September 24th – October 2nd and is open to both residents and non-residents.

Cod Jigging in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland

The Perfect Pre or Post St. John’s Conference Getaway!

The Perfect Pre or Post Conference Getaway

It is well known that there are no accidental tourists in Newfoundland.  Visiting this island takes organization, effort and time, but it is well worth the trip.

Many of the guests who stay at the Artisan Inn have come to Newfoundland to attend one of the various conferences held throughout the spring, summer and fall in St. John’s.  Because it takes such an effort and investment to come to the island, many conference attendees take a few extra vacation days to allow for exploring Newfoundland outside the city.

With such a vast island to visit and little time to explore it, many visitors make the mistake of trying to see too much and, as a result, spend most of their time in their car.

A seal relaxes on the government warf in Trinity

Just a 3 hour scenic drive away from downtown St. John’s, a visit to the town of Trinity offers the perfect getaway for those who wish to connect to Newfoundland’s past and outport lifestyle in only a few days.


With numerous hikes, boat tours, film sets, a theatre festival, heritage structures to tour, wildlife to spot and a variety of restaurants to sample from in the immediate area, a stay in Trinity allows visitors to have a wide range of cultural, culinary and historical experiences without long drives in between.

Spring and fall Conference attendees have an additional advantage of off season rates from May to mid June and Late September to November.

For further information about the area, activities and accommodations visit www.trinityvacations.com

When to Spot Icebergs in Newfoundland

It’s cold and snowing today in Newfoundland so we thought it appropriate to blog about icebergs!

If Newfoundland has an advantage over any other province in Canada, it is the fact that icebergs flowing from the north directly past the island, allow visitors to spot them from land.

Typically, the best time to come see icebergs in Trinity Bay are the months of May and June.

Only 10% of icebergs can be seen on the water’s surface, which is why the expressions “just the tip of the iceberg” is used when referring to a problem that is only a small manifestation of a much more profound problem.

Icebergs come in two main forms, tabular and non-tabular, both can be seen from the shores of Trinity Bay.

Before the historic collision of the Titanic with an Iceberg as it sailed across the Atlantic in 1912 there was no system in place for monitoring icebergs.  In 1914 the International Ice Patrol was formed as a reaction to the incident.

Now monitoring icebergs can help visitors to Newfoundland know where and when they can spot an iceberg by visiting www.icebergfinder.com.  See where and when icebergs were spotted off the coast in past years and where they are now.

Icebergs can sometimes move quickly only staying close to shore for a few days at a time before moving away from the coast. If you are in Newfoundland and your plans are flexible follow the Artisan Inn on Twitter @trinitygetaway to receive tweets whenever icebergs appear!