What can one say about this extraordinary island that so often demonstrates such a cataclysmic affect on visitors?
Perhaps it’s the fresh air – or the clear, bright light. Perhaps its the genuineness of the people, or the astonishing landscape or the wildlife. Did you know, for example, that there are more moose in Newfoundland than in the whole of North America? Or that the oldest fossil deposits on the continent are just an invigorating hike from Portugal Cove South?
Firstly, Newfoundland is enormous. The whole of Britain would fit into the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, with room to spare. You could happily spend a year exploring the staggeringly beautiful 29,000 km coastline. Newfoundland has been a land of superlatives since the first French, Portuguese and English migratory fishermen visited in the 1500s, followed by the Irish settlers in the 1700s. Newfoundland is the most easterly point in North America. If you want to be the first person on the continent to see the sun rise, all you have to do is spend the night in Cape Spear. It even has its own time zone.
St John’s – the capital city – is the oldest settlement in North America. It dates back to the 1620s. The streets of St John's are narrow and twisting, with colour-washed row houses stacked into the steep hills overlooking the sheltered harbour and waterfront. Restaurants and cafes abound, jostling for space with bars, clubs, galleries and shops. There’s rip roaring music most nights (don’t worry, there’s something for every taste) and top class theatre too. And all of this is just a 45 minute drive from Avista House.
If you like outdoor pursuits, the best place to start is simply by opening the front door of Avista House. Pack a lunch and set off on the East Coast Hiking Trail and prepare to be amazed by some of the most spectacular scenery you will ever see. In May and June, each year, you can watch the stately progress of icebergs as they gently glide past Tors Cove. Later in the year, the Capelin (small fish of the Smelt family) arrive - and, so do 10,000 Humpback Whales on their summer migration. Did I mention the 35 million seabirds that cruise in to entertain you? If you are in need of a good chuckle, sit down and watch the puffins. You may never bother to turn on the TV. Would that be a bad thing?
I could go on and on but the best thing would be for you to come and discover it all for yourselves.