One Million Tiny Moments

6 Jan 2011

There’s a vacation and then there’s an experience; and the differences in the two couldn’t be more important. You can book a plane ticket to a famous destination and wait in line for your token photo of the same crowded attraction, or you can have an experience. Central Newfoundland provides the latter. Real adventurers seek out places long past the beaten path, and slip into the experience like a warm bath. They linger, soak up the destination, and immerse themselves in people, place, culture and nature. This is no cookie-cutter destination. This is Central Newfoundland - real, raw, rugged and wholly authentic. It calls to the adventurer because he knows that the greatest rewards are at the end of the longest path.

An experience is not the “wow” of a well-treaded tourist trap. It is the sum of sights, sounds, smells, adventures and interactions; a million tiny moments melded into something that leaves an indelible mark on your spirit and memory.

And what are these moments? Let us begin…

The satisfying crack of releasing a succulent lobster tail from its shell… Watching your wife’s shocked expression as the kind waitress, with whom you have no romantic history, calls you “my love.” Actually falling in love when she serves an epic blueberry cheesecake moments later… Pondering the astonishing colour scheme and design of the Greenspond Post Office… The fragrant waft of salted sea air easing through the window as you lie down in a coastal bed and breakfast after a long day’s adventure… Your cheeks flushed red as you recline on your snowmobile and take in the panoramic view atop Mount Peyton… Breaking open a succulent Partridgeberry Crème Brulee with your spoon at Nicole’s Café… The sand between your toes at Eastport Beach… Peals of delight as your kids get elbow deep in the Marine Interpretation Centre’s touch tank… Getting close enough to see the deep blue veins marbling a 10,000-year-old, 100,000 tonne iceberg… Choking down a fiery hot shot of Screech after being intimate with a codfish and wondering, “if this is Newfoundland hospitality, what do they do with those they dislike?”… Sharing a tranquil moment in a wooded clearing with Shanadithit at Boyd’s Cove… Wondering aloud whether you should have brought a parachute as you pick your way though the sheer cliffs of the Alexander Murray trail… Admiring the well-preserved fishing stages of Change Islands… Admiring the sheer resilience of Salvage, with houses clinging to exposed rock like stubborn barnacles… That wonderful sleepy feeling that wraps itself around you like a blanket as the ferry heads back to shore… Understanding that “nice rack” has a second meaning as a mammoth 24-point bull moose ambles across the trail… Easing your sea kayak into the nooks and crannies of Newman Sound as a bald eagle stands sentinel in the cliff above… The swirling Cyclops eye of the lighthouse peering through a thick cloak of fog… Laughing as your two-left-footed husband attempts a traditional jig… Getting caught in the rhythm of a tribal drum ceremony in Conne River… Finding that perfect souvenir at King’s Point Pottery… Waking in a tent with a sheaf of sunlight pouring through and the smell of bacon in the air… Enduring a “Fogo Island Traffic Jam” as a herd of caribou meanders across the road… Hearing your travel party scream – half adrenaline/half joy, as your raft bounces into the frothing rapids… Hearing an accent you can’t understand in one community and hearing another, entirely different yet still indecipherable, at another community ten minutes down the road… That unforgettable view as your car descends into Harbour Breton… Realizing your place in the food chain as a mammoth humpback whale breaches next to the tour boat... Wondering what “scuff and scoff” mean and finding out first hand... The incredible surge of excitement as a gunmetal coloured salmon, the greatest pound for pound prizefighter on the North Atlantic, takes your fly... That cup of hot chocolate after sashaying an unforgettable 10 kilometres of groomed trail at the Nordic Cross Country Ski Club... Ignoring the splendid view of the lake for a moment and successfully driving that wicked left dogleg at Gander Golf Course’s 16th hole... Understanding why we were blessed with 10,000 taste buds – and putting each and everyone to work – with a glass of Auk Island Winery’s Blueberry Shiraz... Greeting elusive monsters of the deep in Glover’s Harbour giant squid exhibit... Finding your breath and having it stolen again moments later as you reach the peak of Mount Stamford... Realizing that everything taste’s better with entertainment at the Queens Street or All Around the Circle dinner theatres... Meeting a people who are alternately, raw, rugged, unpretentious, sincere, kind and incredibly authentic; truly unique in a fast homogenizing world... Leaving Central Newfoundland with that same hollow emptiness as leaving old friends, because you’ve made new ones.

A million tiny moments, the sum of the Central Newfoundland experience. What’s yours?