TRAVEL | Dildo Delights: Our Staycation in Dildo, NL Part 1

The little town that became a viral sensation – Dildo – manages to inspire awe for all the right reasons

 

No staycation is complete without a day – or better yet, an overnighter – spent in the little town with the most curious name. In this special feature, we dine in Dildo, Newfoundland & Labrador, take in the sights with a boat tour across the Dildo cove, tour one of our province’s beloved breweries, and so much more.

A Dildo Brewing Co. bucket hat sits on display in the Brewery’s lobby | Michael Chubbs

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

NTV’s Amanda Mews started the Dildo craze when she first visited the town with camera operator Glenn Andrews for a ‘Your Community’ segment.

That Dildo Days feature has since been viewed by millions thanks to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, and since then, the brilliance and beauty of Dildo and its people has become even more in the spotlight. Dildo and its Hollywood sister city sign welcomes all who venture into the town, but there’s so much to take in.

The Herald was welcomed to Dildo this go-round by Adam Dominix and his wife Vanessa, owners and operators of Tucked Away, a stunningly spacious  Airbnb located on Pretty’s Lane, a minute’s walk from the popular Dildo Brewery and other happin’ spots and eateries. With the most perfect view of the harbour as well as the now-famous Dildo sign, Tucked Away is a treasure of a spot to hang one’s hat.

Around Town in Dildo, NL

TOURING THE TOWN

Town Councilor Andrew Pretty, who was front and centre in the Kimmel for Mayor story, has an enthusiastic itinerary planned for me and Michael Chubbs, our Social Media/photography guru.

Our first stop is Dildo Brewing Co. & Museum and we are greeted by Brewer Lionel Rodrigues. As we tour the visually stunning facility, Rodrigues informs us that a visit is about more than just beer as the kitchen goes through between three and four hundred pounds of potatoes a day.

As we taste a few of the brewery’s best offerings – from succulent sours to a spectacular stout – Rodrigues fills us in on his best guess as to where the town’s name originated. D’isle d’eau is French for water island and, when spoken, to the English ear it does sound like Dildo, he began. Plus, Île d’Yeu is an island just off the coast of western France. It means the island of two harbours, and that’s certainly a good description when you consider Dildo and Dildo Island, where the government of the day operated a cod hatchery from 1889 to 1897.

The Dildo Dory, Dildo Boathouse and The Indian Kitchen

CAPTAIN DILDO

Our next visit is a short walk away to the Dildo Dory Grill for a bowl of chowder and a shared plate of their famous fish and chips. We sit outside and take in the views – including snapping a photo or two with the resident Captain Dildo.

After an afternoon and evening of beer and battered fish, it’s time to head back to Tucked Away to relax on the spacious deck and to watch the friendly neighbourhood chickens and the resident rooster clown around the rustic rural property.

It’s time for a walk and minutes away from our staycation spot is Anderson’s Cove Beach. It’s a glorious spot to watch the sunset, though we hustle back to watch the lights come on the Dildo sign.

In the morning, it’s off to visit Todd Warren at George House Heritage Bed & Breakfast. Coffee and orange juice with a little kick is our first offering before Warren delivers a stunning breakfast of homemade treats.

25 years of love has gone into this historic property built in 1885 and Warren’s pride shows. Visitors return time and time again, and it’s little wonder as views of the harbour are second to none, with the front porch and garden area a delight to relax in.

Dildo Cove Heritage Experience

STUNNING SEA ADVENTURE

Next, we visit Andrew Pretty and take a tour around the area in his traditional motorboat with an iconic make and break putt-putt engine. Pretty’s tour company, Dildo Cove Heritage Experience and Motorboat Rides, is a stunning sea adventure filled with history and photographic opportunities. The earliest recording of the name Dildo was on Dildo Island and that was 1711.

Pretty has his own thoughts on where the name originated. Bilbo, the Basque name for Bilbao which was the major city in the Basque Country of northern Spain, is one option. Somewhere along the line the ‘b’ was changed to ‘d,’ he surmised.

Another option? Dos Islas is Spanish for two islands, and Dildo has that. We tour the area by sea and experience the attraction of this place for ourselves. At land, we visit Nielsen, Pretty’s Newfoundland dog. It’s been quite the afternoon, but the day is not done. It’s lunchtime and we head to Yes B’y Indian Kitchen of Dildo and visit with the delightful Sulagna Sanyal and Raj Menon.

George House Heritage Bed and Breakfast

MILLION-DOLLAR VIEW

The couple moved here in 2019 following a short visit to the area while taking a break from their busy jobs and at times crazy life in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

“It’s been an interesting roller coaster ride opening a business during a pandemic,” shared a still upbeat Sanyal, who admitted the two made the decision to purchase their seaside home with the million-dollar view after an hour-long sit down in the Avalon Mall.

Their home, Trinity Paradise, is available as a popular Airbnb, and the couple share they love meeting patrons.

“Dildo has quickly become home and the people are the friendliest in the world. We feel like we’ve been welcomed in by family,” Sanyal shared as she handed over the tastiest smelling to-go lunch ever.

We head back to the waterfront to enjoy our Yes B’y meal before heading to visit Dildo Boathouse Inn and chat with owners Dennis and Paula McIntyre. Their boat, the Irish Mist, was the last boat built in the boathouse before it was converted to an inn.

Dennis actually built the boat with his father and he purchased the family property back in 1992. The couple had been operating boat tours of the area for over 17 years, but four years ago they decided to convert the building into an inn and a restaurant.

“It’s been a rough couple of years with COVID, but meeting people is still the best part.”

“We take anywhere between six to 12 people and we get a commercial diver to come with us to dive for scallops and we have cultured steamed mussels. The diver goes down and we’ll prepare on the boat whatever he got in that bag; scallop, sea urchins – it’s all turned into a feast, and then we pair it off with some green salad and potato salad,” Paula explained.

While we can’t stick around to experience the sea with them today, we promise to return.

Our next stop is The Treasure Trove for a chat with Lynette Reid. From unique houseplants to whale-tale tablet/phone stands, Reid has a little delightful something for everyone. It’s Christmas all year ‘round at the Treasure Trove, but there’s also Fall delights to be picked through and discovered.

SPECIAL & UNIQUE

With Moonjelly handcrafted jewelry and Faith Greenhouses of Lewisporte offerings, there’s a little, adorable something for everyone to be uncovered. Plus, it’s the real spot to stop in for a yarn and to find out some local can’t-miss stopovers, like the legendary Blue Whale Lounge on the way out – or into– town.

It’s time to head back to the city, but what’s clear is that no matter where we visited in and around Dildo, the people, as well as the place with the curious name, is what makes this town so very special and unique.

 


For more, including many extra snapshots from our Dildo adventure, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or check out our image gallery here!

Pam is the Managing Editor of The Newfoundland Herald. As the mother of two, she proudly writes about a life lived simply at home on 'The Rock.' When not interviewing or writing about NL's finest, Pam can be found spending her time in the great Newfoundland outdoors.

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