For this celebratory Come Home 2022, those in the tourism industry showcase and highlight their best with homey hospitality & loads of heart
Doctor’s House Inn & Spa ~Green’s Harbour, nl | Part two
Jerry Byrne might be an engineer, but he’s also quite an entertainer. On the day we visit the Doctor’s House Inn & Spa, owner Byrne is on wheels.
We tour the delightful property. There’s the barn that used to house Dr. Body (the original owner of the glorious estate) and his family and their many Newfoundland Ponies. It’s so quaintly beautiful. The main floor of this historic building on this phenomenal property is a general store in season while the upstairs is a quiet and relaxing retreat with a view.
There’s paths, secret gardens, stone walkways, and the outside wedding garden. The restaurant is a massive barn-like building that – once you are seated inside – looks like the bottom of a dory. There’s so much to see and one doesn’t have to be an overnight guest either! The dining room (make a reservation – the food and the service is exceptional) is open for all, and the sunsets are free!
We feed the resident African Boer Goats before moving on to visit Joseph and Clara – the only two Newfoundland Heritage Rams in the province. Then, the stars of the 30-room property – Newfoundland Ponies! Monty steals the spotlight, however, as he’s actually a magical colour-changing horse! The story is so delightful that, if ever given a chance, let Byrne tell it himself! It involves artist and Newfoundland Pony enthusiast Clifford George.
“That’s Monty,” Byrne said, sharing some oats for all to take a turn with feeding. “He’s known as a ‘radical changer.” Excuse me? Byrne laughed, launching into the yarn.
“(George) started telling me that Monty changes colour. He goes from black to white to brown to all colours in between. I thought he was pulling my leg, but then I was like, ‘yes b’y. why not?’ And you know what? He was right. You never know, do you?” Byrne commented with a laugh.
We continue; 140 acres and 2,000 feet of it are ocean front. Byrne has stories. From chickens that turn into roosters to how the first wedding came to be against all odds – it was like the Doctor’s House Inn & Spa was meant to be and Byrne was meant to be exactly where he is – playing host on the most glorious and historic property. “I love it here in all seasons. Yes, it’s beautiful now, but come out here after a storm in the winter. Norman Rockwell himself couldn’t capture the beauty.”
For more on the Doctor’s House Inn & Spa, visit The Herald online, or check them out at doctorshousenl.ca
Dunrovin Cabins, RV Sites, Restaurant, Gas Bar & Convenience
The carved wooden statues invite you in, if only for curiosity sake. Cowboys. A bear. Moose. Even a skipper stands proud on the entrance to Dunrovin. Wendy Penney and her husband Deon, who was born in Lethbridge, own Dunrovin but it just might be 11 year-old Lexie, their daughter, who runs the place, Wendy jokes. It’s obvious that operating Dunrovin is a family affair, and it’s a place where everyone has a role.
“We took over August 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic and it keeps us all busy,” she said while taking a break from office work.
There’s six cabins and 32 serviced sites for RVs and every site sits picture perfect. It’s almost like visiting a Lego-block-built campground, where every tree sits perfectly manicured. All greenery appears to have been planted on the exact same spot on each and every campsite, and all trees look to be identical.
The care and planning and love that goes into this place is evident. The beach area is serene yet inviting. There’s two playgrounds, a sandy area for walking or playing and plenty of space to just sit and enjoy the view or just listen to the frogs as the sun sets. Make no mistake, Wendy says, Dunrovin has been quite the undertaking. “This place has a lot of history and the maintenance requires a lot of hard work,” she says. There are many seasonal campers and passers-through too. Meeting and greeting them all is one of the joys of the job, she shared.
“They come from everywhere. Come Home Year has been busy, but then we always seem to be busy. “
The best part of the entire thing? “Making people happy.”
The downside? Having enough hands to deal with what has to be done. Penney looks out the window as tourists snap pictures of their wooden statues.
“It’s a tourist attraction. You look out pretty much any time of the day and you’ll see people stood up and pictures being taken.
“Aspen by the Sea Cottages, located not far down the road, are also owned by the family, another reason why everyone’s involvement is so important – especially their 11 year-old. They put in a new payment system and their daughter had it down in no time, even figuring out “the glitches,” Penney said proudly.
With 20-plus staff on during the summer, Dunrovin is a busy spot. We ask about the name. Where did it come from? “The guy that originally built this place in 1975 worked very hard. When he was done he sat down and said, ‘I got the name done figured out. I’m going to stay here. I’m done rovin’ – and that became the name. Dunrovin.”
For more visit Dunrovin Cabins, RV Sites & Convenience And Gas on Facebook
Long Point Lighthouse – Twillingate, NL
Long Point Lighthouse is one of the most photographed – and videoed –landmarks on the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland. Located at Crow Head, it’s more than 300 feet above sea level, making it a great lookout point where thousands of visitors every year enjoy the panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean with the added excitement of the possibility of viewing icebergs, whales, seals and sea birds.
Operational year-round, we meet Thelma, who used to own and operate Iceberg Alley Bed & Breakfast before passing over the reins.
The fog horn blows on the day we visit, making the magnificent scene even more authentic. Thelma, after filling our head with some delightful tales involving the late Geoff Stirling who visited the area – and her family –often, suggests Ethan, a student tour-guide, take over. He leads us up into the top of the lighthouse.
Ethan snaps pictures of us high above the land and points out some interesting facts about the region. The tour continues on the main level and is no less breathtaking. Period pieces, displays of pictures from ‘back in the day’ and a whole lot of Twillingate history is on display for all to absorb. Boats. Bedrooms.
The kitchen table is set as if it’s ready for skipper to come in for a cup of tea. An operational lighthouse ran by the Canadian Coast Guard, the building was complete in 1876. On the wall boasts a list of lighthouse keepers – 14 since it first opened. We thank Ethan and embrace Thelma – they have been so incredibly entertaining and informative making this stop a highlight of our trip.
For more visit twillingate.com
Frozen in Time Winery & Ironberry ~ Markland
Owner from that first peak around the corner once you enter the main doorway. There’s updates galore inside the building that used to be known as Rodrigues Winery in Whitbourne.
The wines themselves – with labels worth admiring – are amazing. Cloudberry. Blackcurrant. Blueberry. Strawberry and so many more. But there’s so much more to Frozen in Time than wine. There’s their made in-house vodka too, as well as some tasty after dinner liquors like green apple. There’s a nutraceutical line called Ironberry (a pharmaceutical alternative which can offer physiological benefits) and the most amazing display of flavoured maple syrups one can imagine.
“We are a proud, family based business dedicated to producing premium berry wines and spirits using quality, clean ingredients, minimal processing and no added sulphites,” their website claims. It continues, “We are passionate about maintaining the essence of the berries and fruits to create our unique products. Our objective is not to follow the status quo, but to lead, innovate and inspire.”
Well, they’ve certainly done that, and one must experience it all first hand. On the day we visit, fresh from a few hours spent floating down the local river with Wind at Your Back Lazy River, my crew head up to the house rental – our beds for the night –located above the winery.
The history of the building – a former cottage hospital – is evident in the stunning architecture and we’re presented with the most amazing charcuterie board ever seen. We meet our tour guide and Frozen in Time’s vintner Dwayne Day, who has his own interesting history with this place. He started working for the company as a young lad – long before he was even legal drinking age, he said laughing. Over the years Day has moved up in the organization he shared, as he began a tour of the facility.
“The wine process can take up to three and a half weeks per batch of wine, and we use about 1,800 pounds of berries per batch. That will give us about 330-350 cases of wine with 12 bottles in each case.”
Two staff, on an average day, can do 310-330 cases, he shared. Blueberry wine is their biggest seller, he added, leading us through the facility.
Frozen in Time is open seven days a week during the busy summer season from nine in the morning until ten at night. Besides wine tasting (and maple syrup tastings) there’s the AirBnB and a restaurant which serves everything from wings and nachos to those incredibly designed charcuterie boards.
We ask Day what the best part of his job is. Standing amid glorious case after glorious case of wine, he smiled.
“I love how blown away people are when they come here and they see the product lines available. I love it when people taste the products and then say how much they enjoyed it. My favorite wine right now, I would have to say, is probably the cranberry and the strawberry. I like them both really about the same.”
He smiled, then offered, “but the vodka. That’s my favourite. It’s really smooth. You’ll know when you taste it,” Day teased before heading back to work.
Next week: wine tasting at Frozen in Time, plus, we learn about their nutraceutical line. For more visit frozenintimeltd.com